Political prisoners in Iran exposed to coronavirus

Kurdish political prisoner Esmail Moridi, who is being held in Iran’s Dizel Abad Prison, has sewn his lips shut and gone on hunger strike to protest the authorities’ decision to deny him temporary leave given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Moridi, who has been imprisoned in Kermanshah for five years, began his strike on April 12 when his request for leave was denied. After he began his hunger strike, prison authorities increased pressure on him by canceling all phone calls and family visits, which has left his family concerned over his health as he is now reported to be in critical condition.

He was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Kermanshah in June 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on the charge of collaborating with Kurdish parties.

In a separate case, labor activist Shapour Ehsani Rad was summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran on April 12 to begin serving his six-year prison sentence after the Appeals Court upheld the primary verdict, even though Rad and his lawyer were not allowed to attend court.

Rad, who is a founding member of the Social Security’s Retired Workers Council and a member of the board of directors of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Iran, was arrested in July 2019 for his activism. He was sentenced to six years in prison, two years of exile in Sistan and Baluchestan, and two years of not being able to join any political or social groups.

He’d previously been arrested for representing workers of Safa Pipeline who protested to demand their five months’unpaid wages. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of “association and collusion against the state’s national security” and “propaganda against the state”, but was eventually exonerated.

Meanwhile, labor activist Nahid Khodajou was also summoned to Evin Prison to begin serving a six-year sentence.

Aside from the obvious crime of imprisoning peaceful activists in the first place, Iranian prisons are a particularly dangerous place to be right now as the overcrowding, poor hygiene, and lack of access to healthcare mean that COVID-19 is spreading easily, infecting thousands and will likely kill many of them.

Yet still, the regime will not allow them the basics to protect themselves, including bleach, masks, or soap.

United Nations human rights experts have urged that thousands of political activists, dual nationals, and foreigners imprisoned in Iran be released immediately.
They wrote: “Iran’s prisons have long-standing hygiene, overcrowding, and healthcare problems. We urge the Iranian authorities to implement measures consistent with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right of persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity, and the right to life.”

Source » irannewsupdate

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