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A Week of Prison Riots in Iran 

Iranian prisoners try to release themselves in response to the regime's authorities negligence about their dire conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak in prisons

The inmates, on Wards 12 and 15, began shouting that they were “not dangerous” but had still been kept in jail and “Shame on you! Shame on you!” 

Their cries could even be heard over a call to outside the prison, with a source describing the atmosphere inside as tense. 

Since the beginning of the Persian calendar year on March 20, riots and protests in Iranian prisons over the threat of coronavirus have become a major occurrence, with many inmates escaping, even as security forces shoot at them from behind. Here are just some of the recent incidents: 

  • March 19 – Parsilon Prison of Khorramabad; at least 23 inmates escaped, while authorities killed one and wounded another 
  • March 20 – Aligudarz Prison; a riot led to clashes with prison guards 
  • March 27 – Tabriz Central Prison; inmates launched a riot 
  • Saqqez Prison; 70-80 inmates escaped, as confirmed by Kurdistan’s public prosecutor Mohammad Jabbari 
  • Greater Tehran Prison (Fashafuyeh); a riot broke out and prison guards attacked, throwing out inmates’ belongings and canceling telephone calls with the inmates’ relatives 
  • March 28 – Urmia Central Prison; 200 female inmates went on hunger strike 
  • Alvand Prison; a number of inmates fled during a riot, with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) shooting at them and fires being set at various sections of this facility 
  • March 29 – Mahabad prison; Dozens fled during a riot, which resulted in clashes with authorities and gunfire 
  • Adel Abad Prison; the regime sent a large number of security units to encircle the prison and close down surrounding streets, following unrest in two or three wards, which led to at least 14 inmates being wounded by guards 
  • March 30 – Sepidar Prison; a riot broke out in which inmates set fire to various parts of the facility and their relatives gathered outside to express concern over the loved ones’ safety

Notably, the Iranian regime intentionally deters political prisoners from basic health and hygienic items that put their lives and health at severe risk.

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said that the death of inmates in the Greater Tehran Prison was a “horrific crime against humanity” by the regime and urged the international community to ensure the release of prisoners, especially political prisoners, and prevent thousands of deaths. 


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