News : Human rights

Political Prisoners’ Riot and Hunger Strike Over Coronavirus Crisis

According to the mullahs' refusal of prisons evacuation, political prisoners launch riots and hunger strike to announce their protest

The families of prisoners in AhvazSheiban and Sepidar prisons have not been told anything about their loves ones since riots broke out there on March 30 and 31. 

Reports suggest that intelligence authorities moved political prisoners from Sheiban Prison to an undisclosed location on March 31 and put them under interrogation, torture, and severe pressure to force confessions. 

Some family members said the political prisoners, including supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were moved to the local Intelligence Department. 

The families gathered in front of the city’s revolutionary court on Sunday to voice their concerns. They are also visiting the prison every day, hoping for information on their relatives, but are given no information and prevented from visiting or phoning their loved ones. 

The prison authorities have even closed the side road that leads to the prison, which means that families must wait hours on the main road before they can even get to the prison, where they wi be refused any information on their loved ones. 

The riot in Sheiban Prison, which broke out on March 31 with inmates demanding temporary leave during the coronavirus epidemic, ended with several prisoners, including Sajjad Pishdad and Alireza Hajivand shot dead by guards. 

A report on April 4 explained the horrific conditions there, including the overcrowding, the lack of contact with the outside world, and the brutal mistreatment of prisoners. 

On March 30, the inmates of Sepidar Prison rioted to protest lack of soap and cleaning products, as well as the authorities’ refusal to grant temporary leave. Security forces opened fire and used tear gas against inmates, killing several and injuring several more. 

Meanwhile, on Saturday, political prisoner Soheil Arabi announced in an open letter that he is going on hunger strike again to protest the Greater Tehran Penitentiarys authorities for: 

  • failing to send him to hospital 
  • the dire conditions of the prison 
  • refusing to send him on leave because of the coronavirus crisis 

He wrote“Why was I deprived of prison leave? They say because I adhered to my beliefs. I am neither a murderer nor a thief. All I did was to write the truth. And I have been imprisoned for telling the truth. Those who had embezzled money were granted prison leave and are now at large. Armed robbers are now at large. What is the danger of a journalist? That he reveals the truth and informs people of their rights and duties.” 

He had initially gone on a hunger strike on March 16 to protest that inmates at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary are kept in horrible conditions, denied medical care. He ended it on March 26, when authorities said they would send him to hospital, but vowed to restart his hunger strike if they had not kept their promises within two weeks.

 

Read More:

Iran’s Coronavirus Prison Riots Are Causing Chaos for the Regime

A Week of Prison Riots in Iran 

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