The Prisons, Security, and Corrective Measures Organization in a southwestern Iranian province confirmed a COVID-19 contagion in the province’s prisons.
Despite numerous reports from human rights organizations over the infection and death of prisoners across Iran, this is the first time that prison officials and the Islamic Republic’s judiciary have officially confirmed a COVID-19 contagion in prisons.
The confirmation that a number of prisoners in Khuzestan Province were infected with COVID-19 came a day after the families of a number of prisoners gathered outside Sheiban Prison in the oil-rich city of Ahvaz to demand news on the fate of their loved ones.
Ahvaz, SW #Iran
Distressed families of prisoners at Sheiban Prison gathered today outside the prison gates to demand news on the fate of their loved ones.
This comes after prisoners rioted at the beginning of the #COVID19 epidemic in protest to prison conditions. #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/vgKIYKkGXF
— Iran News Wire (@IranNW) May 9, 2020
The Khuzestan Prison Organization said in a statement last night that “with the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province in recent days, several prisoners with cold-like symptoms were referred to the prison medical clinic”.
According to the statement, the prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 and were “quarantined”.
Despite this, the Khuzestan Prison Organization said that prisoners would not be hospitalized outside of prison because “there were in good condition”.
The Organization did not say how many prisoners were infected.
The regime is known for covering up crises that hit the country including the COVID-19 epidemic that has left at least 40,700 dead according to the National Council of Resistance.
Since the epidemic hit Iran, at least eight prisons across the country rioted in protest to prison conditions and the dangers of getting infected with the virus. Prisoners in Sepidar and Sheiban prisons in Khuzestan were also among those who rioted. Several prisoners in Sheiban Prison were killed and wounded during the ensuing crackdown by prison guards.
The latest prison riot was today when inmates at the Urmia Prison torched their blankets and set fire to the “secure section” at the northwestern prison. According to informed sources, 150 prisoners are kept in the section which has the capacity for only 50 prisons. Prisoners are held in crammed conditions with only one restroom and shower for 90 prisoners.
Previous reports by human rights organization said that at least seven prisoners had died from the virus in Urmia Prison while hundreds were infected.
Despite acknowledging that the prison riots were linked to prisoners’ concerns over COVID-19 infections, Judiciary and Prison officials repeatedly denied prison contagions until today.
This is while human rights organizations reported several cases of COVID-19 contagions, and even deaths from the virus in Qarchak Prison, near Tehran, Urmia Central Prison, Sheiban Prison, Tehran’s Evin Prison, the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, and Mashhad’s Vakilabad Prison in northeastern Iran.
The Islamic Republic’s judiciary announced in March that it had given amnesty or furloughs to many prisoners to prevent COVID-19 contagions in prisons. But most political and non-political prisoners were not allowed amnesties or furloughs.
Since March, many prisoners who were released have once again been returned to prison, aggravating the already horrid conditions in Iran’s notorious prisons.
Source » iranwire