Many rights groups and activists called for prison evacuations so far. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has warned about a human calamity in Iranian prisons and requested the international community to pressure the mullahs to release all prisoners, especially political ones.
The true dimensions of the clerical regime’s cruelty and crimes could be best seen in abandoning hundreds of thousands of prisoners defenseless vis-à-vis the #Coronavirus. #Iranhttps://t.co/IVChMVq9Ay pic.twitter.com/4WDJ7SEp6B
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 6, 2020
However, the Iranian regime’s incompetence and inability led the country to an absolute disaster with more than 24,000 mortalities so far, according to the main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The situation in prisons is worrying. Warnings and concerns are now materializing and more prisoners day after day fall victim to the regime’s criminal secrecy and indifference. The coronavirus outbreak prompted the mullahs’ captives to free themselves. Many prisoners launched riots across the country. Several jailed people managed to escape, and a significant number were killed or injured by guards.
On March 30 and 31, following riots in different penitentiaries, prisoners of two jails in Ahvaz city, southwestern Iran, launched a riot to free themselves before dying of the COVID-19. The guards of Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz killed at least 10 prisoners on March 30. They also fired teargas to subdue rioters, which resulted in respiratory difficulties for prisoners, particularly those suffering from the coronavirus symptoms.
“The number of prisoners shot dead by the [Revolutionary Guard] IRGC in the Sepidar prison in Ahvaz on March 30, 2020, has reached at least 10, including, Faizullah Mokhtari, Sajjad Pishdad (Mahrooi), Alireza Hajivand, Mohammad Tamoli, Mohammad Lefteh, Mohammad Salamat, Ali Khafaji, Majid Zobidi, Shahin Zuhairi, and Seyed Reza Khorsani (Moghinami). Two prisoners, Majid Qaitasi and Ismail Qalavand were killed during the rebellion at Shiban Prison on March 31, 2020,” the NCRI stated on April 8.
Notably, since March 30, the regime has cut off all prisoners’ communications with the outside. This measure intensified concerns of inmates’ families about the fate of their loved ones. Remarkably, authorities banned prisoners’ relatives from mourning and commemorating deaths to cover-up their horrible crimes. The regime had even announced suffocation as the reason for the death of Faizollah Mokhtari while his family witnessed an obvious sign of a shot to his head.
On April 5, a large number of families and relatives of inmates in Sepidar and Sheiban prisons held a rally in front of the regime’s Judiciary in Ahvaz. However, the IRGC dispersed protesters with shots and teargas. One can imagine how the regime suppressed prisoners from the guards’ vicious behavior against innocent families outside jails.
Additionally, the guards cut off the water on prisoners in Sepidar Prison to take revenge from them. However, given the coronavirus outbreak in the prison, this inhuman action put the lives and health of many inmates at risk. The Judiciary’s officials also canceled all furlough for prisoners.
Regardless of the coronavirus’s impact on prisoners, these criminal measures along with the continued banning of inmates from family visits or even making calls to their relatives reveal that the regime has yet to overcome the situation. The mullahs’ oppressive apparatus truly received a harsh blow. In this context, officials try to compensate for their lost authority by more suppression against defenseless prisoners.