MEK Iran: COVID-19 Prison Deaths Cause Riots and Prison Breakouts
Prisoners across Iran are increasingly exposed to COVID-19 with deaths mounting up amidst a total failure by the Iranian regime to deal with it. The fear amongst prisoners is causing many of them to riot and flee the prison if they can get out.
The latest prison riot was in the northwestern Iranian city of Mahabad. Inmates of the Mahabad prison rioted on Saturday, 28th March and many of them managed to flee the prison. The riots started as inmates were making a protest about the prison authorities not releasing them despite the obvious threat from the rapidly spreading virus.
Gunfire was heard throughout the night after clashes between prison guards and inmates took place.
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) March 30, 2020
The riot at Mahabad is not the only incident. Another riot took place a day earlier at the Greater Tehran Prison or Fashafuyeh. A number of prison inmates have died due to COVID-19 at the prison and many others have been infected.
Anti-riot units and prison guards removed prisoners’ personal belongings from the cells after the riot in reprisal. Conditions at the Greater Tehran Prison are particularly grim. At least 5 inmates have died after being infected. Many prisoners are housed in each cell, causing such crowded conditions that many of them are forced to sleep on the filthy floor. Family members have been stopped from contacting the prisoners, putting considerable pressure on their morale.
The Iranian regime has put prison guards on full alert in this tense period but has done almost nothing to deal with conditions in the prison relating to the spread of the virus. Prison authorities have refused to make any comment or provide updates on conditions in their prisons. Both ordinary and political prisoners in prisons across Iran face grave danger from the effects of the disease.
Other protests and riots have spread like wildfire across Iran’s prisons. A hunger strike in Greater Tehran Prison was launched by 45 of its political prisoners and riots have now taken place in Aligudarz, Hamedan, Khorramabad, Saqqez, and Tabriz.
Over 200 female prisoners in Urmia have been on a hunger strike since the 28th march. The protest is against the appalling conditions inside the jail they are in and the refusal of prison authorities to release them in the current dangerous conditions caused by the virus outbreak. The hunger strike followed the death of one of the female inmates in the prison. She was a 53 year old from the western Iranian city of Kermanshah, Fatemeh Alizadeh. None of the prison’s medical staff did anything to help Fatemeh when she started to show symptoms of COVID-19.
In the past ten days following the new Persian calendar year, inmates in prisons across the country have launched protests and riots, and many have been able to escape.#Iran#COVID19 https://t.co/uldlEDB5hZ
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) March 31, 2020
The President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi, has urged the international community to intervene on behalf of all those prisoners who have been detained under the horrific conditions they are facing. Madam Rajavi says that the death of prison inmates in Greater Tehran Prison and elsewhere due to COVID-19 is a crime against humanity. She has specifically called for the U.N. to send a delegation to Iran to inspect the conditions inside the Greater Tehran Prison and learn about the real fate of its inmates in the present crisis.
When we review the regime’s approach since the outbreak of the virus in Qom, it becomes clear that the current crisis is actually not a medical issue in #Iran, but a profound political problem #COVID19 #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/6zwX3JxHxO
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 31, 2020