The coronavirus and its mismanagement by the Iranian regime are victimizing more and more people every day.
According to reports posted by the Iranian opposition, more than 3,300 people have lost their lives to the virus so far, second only to China. The situation of the prisons and prisoners in Iran is deplorably catastrophic, and Tehran officials continue to close their eyes and ignore the tragedy about to happen.
Prisons in Iran already are overcrowded and at maximum capacity, which is the perfect condition for the spread of disease.
These prisons are also devoid of many amenities, including basic sanitation, warm water, disinfectants, proper prisoner allocations, and ventilation. If even one prisoner carries the virus, an irreparable catastrophe is going to happen, and the news coming out of prisons is indicative that such a tragedy is taking place right now.
In a letter to the regime’s judiciary, the families of several political prisoners demanded a temporary release of the prisoners in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The families insisted on the release of the prisoners until the coronavirus crisis comes to an end.
While the regime has released some prisoners, the chief of the regime’s judiciary system announced that the political prisoners accused of “acting against national security” with sentences longer than five years are going to be denied any temporary release. His decision puts the lives of many political prisoners in peril in a way that suggests that the regime’s judiciary chief is prescribing death by coronavirus for political prisoners.
According to a human rights activist in the city of Mashhad, on March 8, 2020, the political prisoners of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad were transferred to another ward, where suspected coronavirus-afflicted prisoners were held. The prisoners who were subjected to the transfer were all healthy. In a message sent from the prison, the transferees announced that the prison authorities had long wanted to get rid of them, and now they were trying to do this by exposing them to coronavirus, in an inhumane act.
In another letter written by the families of a number of political prisoners held in solitary confinement in Vakilabad Prison, they stated:
Today is the 211th day that Mr. Hashim Khastar, a representative of Iranian teachers, and his companions are imprisoned. They have dedicated their bodies and lives to justice and freedom. Those who have transferred to Vakilabad Prison since Feb. 12, 2020, were initially quarantined for ten days. Later, due to the outbreak of coronavirus, inmate visits were canceled.
The inmates themselves decided to cancel their own cabin visits due to inmate congestion, lack of hygiene, and risk of contamination. The prisoners opted to do so in case of their own infection so the visiting families would not be affected. The prisoners could have phone calls, but that privilege was taken away from them because they had objected to the prison situation and were being punished for doing so.
Now, with the spread of the coronavirus in Iran, we are increasingly concerned about the prisoners and demand their immediate release.
According to the latest news, with the death of at least two prisoners in Tehran and Orumiyeh Prisons, thousands of prisoners held in Iran’s prisons have been exposed to the coronavirus. According to the human rights website Hrana, “[s]o far, 16 suspected coronavirus inmates have been transferred from Urmia Prison to an out-of-prison hospital.” It adds: “In Tehran Grand Prison, four inmates have been quarantined.”
Meanwhile, another human rights organization, Henegav, reported: “In Orumiyeh prison, an inmate suspected of being afflicted by the coronavirus was transferred to a medical center on Thursday, Feb. 28, after his health condition deteriorated, and later died.”
The people of Iran are going through tough times these days. The authorities of the regime in Iran are busy fabricating the facts and hide the true expanse of this tragedy. In this catastrophe, no one is spared.
The people of Iran, alongside the political prisoners, are left with one option: take matters in their own hands and stop leaning on a government that is skillful in destroying lives and ruining hopes. The youths, alongside others, are fighting not only the coronavirus but also the mullah regime.
The people are helping each other by distributing masks, disinfectants, and other necessities. Nurses, doctors, and hospital staff are gradually taking control of treatment facilities and ambulances. Their incredible planning and courage have provided care for those affected in many ways and in many areas. The regime had hoped the spread of the coronavirus will dampen the protests in different cities in Iran, but on the contrary, the people are more dissatisfied than before, and their dismay is bad news for the Iranian regime.