600 Iranian Prisoners Exposed to Coronavirus: Human Rights Defenders

Human rights’ defenders sounded alarms about the dire health condition of about 600 prisoners in the central prison of Karaj who are under the risk of infection with the coronavirus
Human rights’ defenders sounded alarms about the dire health condition of about 600 prisoners in the central prison of Karaj who are under the risk of infection with the coronavirus

Reports indicate that the Iranian regime’s authorities have left these defenseless prisoners in dire hygienic conditions, amplifying the likelihood of infection of these people with the coronavirus. Former prisoners said this ward was previously allocated to the prison’s workshop. However, the guards have converted it to a place for quarantining new detainees and those who are back from furlough.

In mid-May, all prisoners who were in furlough got back to the penitentiary based on an announcement by the prison’s authorities declared the end of the vacation. Notably, a significant number of older prisoners are still held in this place. this matter led to a large number of inmates contracting the coronavirus.

In this context, Iranian officials have placed almost 600 prisoners in this ward, which is only 2,500 square meters.

Several days after the furloughed prisoners returned, authorities tested about 100 people for coronavirus with outpatient testing on May 23. However, the test results showed several prisoners were infected with the COVID-19 disease.

Prison guards immediately removed these prisoners from the ward and transferred them to an unknown place. However, authorities postponed the continuation of testing to the next days, which paved the way for a human calamity.

A reliable source from inside the prison who preferred to remain anonymous revealed a new scope of the predicted disaster. “[Authorities] deal with this issue very easily. Karaj’s attorney has issued new orders and summons for arresting people and transferring them to this ward in return for pretending from a human disaster by extending prisoners’ furlough. Furthermore, around 300-400 new prisoners were supposed to be added to this ward in upcoming days,” the source said.

“Prisoners have been confused and under stress. They say, ‘We are not afraid of death, but it is hard to lose our lives due to this mismanagement and chaos. Here, it is unclear who is sick and who is not,” the source added.

According to this report, the system of running water and blackwater doesn’t have the capacity of this scale of the crowd. All toilets have been stuck and have been evacuated through pumps. The unpleasant smell has created an unbearable atmosphere for the prisoners round the clock.

On the other hand, most new prisoners are addicts who heartbreakingly shout pleading for a few drugs. Their cries also intensified the unbearable atmosphere of this ward.

Prisoners of the Central Prison of Karaj urge global human rights organizations to help them and rescue their lives.

 

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