MEK Iran: Prisoners Rebel to Escape Unsanitary Conditions
Iranian prisoners across the country are staging massive revolts and breakouts, according to reports from MEK sources. The rebellions are due to the regime’s failure to take basic steps to safeguard the health and wellbeing of prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, March 29, inmates in Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, Fars Province, rioted after an outbreak of coronavirus infected a large number of inmates. Prison authorities have neglected to provide medical care for the sick prisoners or basic supplies to control the outbreak.
Rebellion in Prisons Against Regime's Criminal Conduct in #Coronavirus Catastrophe, Clashes, and Prisoners' Mass Escapes
Rebellion in Hamedan, Mahabad and Greater Tehran prisons follow rebellions in Saqqez, Tabriz, Aligudarz, Khorramabad Prisons #Covid_19https://t.co/8DIyyc6yBb
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 30, 2020
Local reports indicate that a number of inmates escaped the prison. Several locals reported hearing gunshots in or near Adel Abad.
On Saturday, March 28, inmates in Mahabad Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, staged a riot and prison break due to the regime’s failure to provide safe conditions for the inmates during the pandemic. The prisoners set fire to parts of the prison and fled, while suppressive forces opened fire upon them. An unknown number of prisoners were killed and wounded. Gunshots were heard late into the night.
Earlier Saturday, inmates in Alvand Prison in Hamedan, Hamedan Province, held a similar protest, setting fire to parts of the prison. Some inmates were able to escape, while others were gunned down by security forces.
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) March 30, 2020
On Friday, March 27, inmates in Saqqez Prison, Kurdistan Province, protested conditions in the prison and the regime’s refusal to grant them temporary furlough during the coronavirus pandemic. Suppressive forces, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), opened fire, killing and wounding dozens. 80 prisoners managed to escape.
Additional protests and rebellions have occurred at Khorramabad’s Parsilon, Aligudarz, Tabriz Central, and Fashafouyeh Prison. The women at Urmia Prison recently launched a hunger strike in protest of the conditions at the prison. There have been a large number of unprecedented escapes from Iranian prisons.
A Vulnerable Population
On Monday, the MEK announced that more than 14,200 people in Iran have died as a result of the coronavirus. The regime continues to underreport its coronavirus numbers to public health authorities and currently claims 2,757 total deaths from the virus. The disparity in these numbers is largely due to the failure to test sick and dying patients.
Iranian prisoners are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the deadly virus because of severe overcrowding in the regime’s prisons, unsanitary conditions, and lack of access to medical care. Prisoners are also often in poor health due to inadequate nutrition, untreated medical conditions, constant infections that spread in the unsanitary environment, and torture at the hands of prison guards.
Political Prisoners Targeted
Although regime Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi claims to have temporarily furloughed 85,000 prisoners for the duration of the pandemic, this has done little to relieve overcrowding and nothing to address the unsanitary conditions that lead to the spread of disease. Further, political prisoners were excluded from the furlough. Peaceful protesters, journalists, activist teachers, union members, and religious minorities are imprisoned in appalling conditions while infection spreads rapidly among them.
The November Uprising brought millions of Iranians into the streets to call for the end of the regime. 1,500 protesters were killed by security forces and another 12,000 were arrested. Many if not most of those protesters still sit in the regime’s prisons today. In January, thousands of students took to the streets again to protest the regime’s coverup of its involvement in the downing of a Ukrainian airliner. In February, a nationwide boycott of the parliamentary elections led to the lowest voter turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic. The rebellion is in the air.
The clerical regime must free all prisoners and stop arrests, torture and executions in #Iran. It must particularly refrain from preventing national solidarity efforts and the aid provided by rebellious youth to our compatriots #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/IXvco3VzjR
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 29, 2020
Iran’s political prisoners are now locked in unsanitary environments with no access to medical care or supplies while a deadly and highly contagious virus spreads between them. The regime has no incentive to furlough them, and they have little incentive to provide them with the disinfectant, soap, masks, and testing kits they lack. They have shown no signs that they will do so.
The Iranian regime has consistently underestimated the will of its people to resist tyranny. The recent prison breaks are the latest example of this refusal to give up. The fight for a free Iran is a life or death struggle for many, and the coronavirus has laid this bare.