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Conditions further deteriorate in Iran’s prisons

Rajaei-Shahr (Gohardasht) prison located west of Tehran, Iran
Rajaei-Shahr (Gohardasht) prison located west of Tehran, Iran

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, October 16, 2020—The Iranian regime is setting new records every day as the death toll and the number of Covid19 cases is soaring. The rising numbers of Covid19 victims in Iran is not normal and cannot be compared to any other country, and the lives of the Iranian people continues to spiral into poverty and misery as the regime continues to mishandle the outbreak.

When it comes to prisons in Iran, however, the situation is even worse.

Based on reports from inside Iran, 119 prisoners in Gohardasht prison in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran have contracted coronavirus according to the prison's medical staff earlier this month. At least four prisoners have died of the virus in the past month.

According to a previous report on October 5, 45 prisoners had contracted the virus in the Hall 11 of Ward 4 in Gohardasht prison, and 34 of them were being held in Hall 11 without medical care.


The inmates say the virus was transmitted through prison food. For this very reason they have repeatedly asked for dry food rations, but their requests have been constantly refused by prison officials.

Authorities are also refusing to provide medicine and oxygen capsules to prisoners who have contracted Covid-19. According to the same report, Zogh Ali Abbassi, a prisoner in Gohardasht prison, died on October 3 from Covid-19.

 

Rajaei-Shahr (Gohardasht) prison located west of Tehran, Iran

Rajaei-Shahr (Gohardasht) prison located west of Tehran, Iran

 

Abdul Wahid Rahmani, a foreigner, died of coronavirus in the Gohardasht prison this week. He was kept in a secure cell for one day before being sent to a hospital where he eventually died in an intensive care unit.

 

Tabriz central prison in northwest Iran

Tabriz central prison in northwest Iran

 

Covid-19 is not the only problem prisoners have to deal with. A woman in Tabriz Central Prison, northwest Iran, contracted shingles recently. She was transferred to solitary confinement after being initially taken to the prison’s clinic, according to reports. However, despite this disease being contagious, she was transferred back to the public ward again after two days.

There is a threat of the illness spreading among 150 female prisoners. Earlier, at least nine women in Tabriz central prison had contracted coronavirus. Another issue for inmates in this facility is the distribution of Methadone (an opioid used for opioid maintenance therapy in opioid dependence and for chronic pain management) by prison officials in the women’s ward.

 

Greater Tehran Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh prison), Iran

Greater Tehran Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh prison), Iran

 

Regime officials have also increased pressure on prisoners in various cities across the country. Inmates in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary are suffering from food shortages and starvation.

According to a report, eggs have been removed from prisoners' diets for some time now. While distributing food, each prisoner receives about 10-12 tablespoons of rice, and the prisoners have to make up for the food shortage at their own expense.

On the other hand, water in this prison is supplied from polluted wells and the prisoners have to buy each bottle of water for 30,000 rials, which is more than many can afford.

These prisoners have no income and they depend on their families to provide for them. Ironically, many of these prisoners were the breadwinners of their household, which makes the situation bad for them and their families.

It is worth noting that the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has repeatedly emphasized on the necessity to release all inmates, especially political prisoners, even on temporary circumstances, until the pandemic ends.

The NCRI has also repeatedly called on international human rights organizations to dispatch delegations to Iran and meet with the prisoners, especially political prisoners.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi tweeted in this regard: