By Pooya Stone
After the emergence of the coronavirus in Iran, many rights activists issued warnings over the outbreak of the viral disease in public centers like universities, schools, military bases, sports stadiums, theaters, and particularly prisons.
Given Iranian prisoners have been deprived of basic disinfectant and health measures, the deadly virus can potentially and rapidly spread among the jailed people.
Dr. Nasser Fahimi, a Kurdish political prisoner held in ward 5 of the Fashafuyeh Prison, commented about the spread of disease among prisoners. “After the emergence of coronavirus COVID-19 in the country, the disease quickly spread across Iran due to the government hostile function over non-quarantining Qom province, where the virus originated in the country,” Dr. Fahimi said.
Dr. Fahimi also highlighted the consequences of the mullahs’ incompetence that resulted in spreading coronavirus in prisons. Given the lack of minimum health measures in the Iranian regime’s jails, the virus can potentially infect many prisoners.
“Following the regime’s [disastrous] function and incompetence, the virus has entered and spread in prisons and many prisoners are dealing with crisis and irreparable catastrophe. On the other hand, the mullahs have increased the possibility of prisoners contracting the virus by long-time prison sentences, not facilitating prisoners’ cases, depriving them of vacation, and unconventional and discriminatory behaviors toward prisoners.
“Unfortunately, clinics located in prisons are at a very low level both from a scientific perspective and in terms of equipment and they’re unable to deal with coronavirus cases. Lack of medical and medicinal facilities, health items including face masks and disinfectant fluid inside prisons and overcrowding the wards and cells (50-70 per each room), sending prisoners to judiciary centers with fully contaminated and unsanitary clothing, very inadequate nutrition, imposing stress and anxiety on prisoners, there are obvious documents of the Islamic Republic’s crimes and human rights violation in these sensitive and critical circumstances,” Dr. Fahimi added.
Dr. Fahimi urged human rights defenders to pressure the theocratic regime to respect prisoners’ rights and provide basic healthcare needed in prisons. “The current situation in prisons is the beginning of a major catastrophe among prisoners. I call on all human rights activists to support us and publish statements in media outlets to carry out the voice of voiceless and defenseless prisoners to the world,” Dr. Fahimi concluded.
Earlier, reports from inside prisons confirmed the outbreak of coronavirus among prisoners. The disease has swept different prisons across the country so far. The prisons are Qezelhesar and Rajaeishahr in Karaj province, Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, and Urmia Prison.
There are also seen several suspicious cases in prisons in the Ilam and Ahvaz provinces in addition to several wards of notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. However, the mullahs don’t care about the health of prisoners and several observers reckoned that the regime is abusing coronavirus outbreak in prisons to eliminate dissidents.
On February 26, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged the international community to immediately intervene and preserve the lives of defenseless prisoners. “The outbreak of the coronavirus in Evin and Gohardasht prisons is a serious danger. I urge the UN High Commissioner for human rights and the Human Rights Council to immediately intervene to save the lives of prisoners and prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe in Iran. The theatrical instructions by the mullahs’ chief executioner, Ebrahim Rai’si, to secure prisons and prisoners from the coronavirus is a hoax to cover up this disaster,” Mrs. Rajavi tweeted.
The outbreak of the #Coronavirus in Evin and Gohardasht prisons is a serious danger. I urge the UN High Commissioner for #HumanRights and the Human Rights Council to immediately intervene to save the lives of prisoners and prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe #Iran— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) February 26, 2020