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Many inmates contracting Covid-19 in Sheyban Prison of southwest Iran

Sheyban prison in Ahvaz, southwest Iran
Sheyban prison in Ahvaz, southwest Iran

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 25, 2020—A daily increase in the number of prisoners in Sheyban prison of Ahwaz, a major city in southwest Iran, is rendering deteriorating hygienic conditions for the prisoners and the number of inmates contracting Covid-19 in the prison has jumped up in recent months.

Following riots in Sepidar and Sheyban prisons of Ahwaz in recent months, most of the prisoners in Sepidar were transferred to the Sheyban prison. This included all political prisoners, death row inmates and those sentenced to less than five years behind bars.

 

 

“The number of prisoners in ward 5 (allocated to political prisoners) has tripled in the past month from 100 to 300. These numbers are rising daily,” one source said.

However, this ward does not have more than 100 beds. Thus, the other 200 prisoners are forced to sleep on the floor that is very dirty and not at all suitable for such uses.

Due to the high number of inmates, more than 60 people are forced to sleep in a 25-square-meter room. In addition to sleeping on the floor, prisoners are sleeping in corridors and in front of restrooms and showers.

 

 

“The space of the rooms and wards is so cramped that the prisoners sleeping on the floor have to sleep side by side and cannot move until the next morning," the source added.

With this concentration of prisoners, a large number of them are already suffering from coronavirus and prison officials are preventing any reports being leaked from the inside to the outside world.

In late July, Amnesty International found that Iran’s prisons are “catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks.” The organization reported that Tehran has ignored appeals from prison officials to provide resources aimed at combatting the spread of the virus and treating prisoners. To no avail, jails have requested disinfectant products, personal protective equipment, and medical devices.