Call for urgent international action to rescue prisoners in Urmia and send an inquiry commission to visit prisons
According to reports from Urmia Prison, hundreds of prisoners have been rioting in wards 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this prison since the morning of Wednesday, November 25, shattering the wards’ windows and setting fire to blankets in the hall opposite the guards’ room. The guards’ desk was also set on fire.
The riot is in protest to the beating of a prisoner named Hojjat Kazemnejad, as well as the lack of basic hygiene provisions in the face of the Coronavirus, the high cost of goods inside the prison, the refusal to release prisoners until the end of the Coronavirus pandemic, and holding prisoners after their term is over.
On Wednesday morning, Hojjat Kazemnejad, a prisoner whose term ended 25 days ago, set himself on fire in front of the prison guard’s room to protest his continued detention. But the prison guards beat him while he suffered from burns. Last week, he had gone on a hunger strike to protest his detention, but he was convinced to end his strike after being promised to be freed.
Following the protest of the enraged prisoners, the prison guards closed the doors of other wards and banned the movement inside the wards. They then attacked the protesting cells and brutally beat the prisoners. Among the guards who beat the prisoners were, Keramat, Heydari, and Babaei.
As a result of this attack, at least 15 prisoners have been taken to hospital due to the severity of the beatings and their deteriorating condition. Prison guards cut off all prison’s public telephones so that news of the riot could not be leaked out.
The Iranian Resistance calls for the immediate intervention of the United Nations and all human rights organizations to save the lives of protesting prisoners in Urmia Prison and reiterates the need for the temporary release of prisoners until the end of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It also urges the immediate establishment of an international commission of inquiry to go to Iran and visit prisons and meet with the prisoners.
November 26, 2020