In a statement posted on her website last week, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), address the case of the teacher and activist Mohammad Hossein Sepehri sentenced to six years in prison last week.
She quoted Sepehri’s brother as saying that the teacher was imprisoned in Mashhad for his activism and then he contracted Coronavirus, but the regime is refusing to release him so that he can seek medical care and not spread the disease throughout the prison.
Maryam Rajavi has condemned Sepehri’s harsh sentence, which came after he signed a letter asking Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to resign, and called for his immediate release, along with the other political prisoners in Mashhad who are at the risk of contracting the virus, particularly teacher Hashem Khastar, who was sentenced to 20 years.
Maryam Rajavi’s comments come after 10 prisoners were shot dead by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) during a riot at Sepidar prison in Ahvaz on March 30. The deceased prisoners, named as Faizullah Mokhtari, Sajjad Pishdad (Mahrooi), Alireza Hajivand, Mohammad Tamoli, Mohammad Lefteh, Mohammad Salamat, Ali Khafaji, Majid Zobidi, Shahin Zuhairi, and Seyed Reza Khorsani (Moghinami), were trying to escape from prison in order to protect themselves from the Coronavirus. Those who started the riot had help from guards and people outside the prison.
Of course, the regime is trying to hide both the riots and the murders by threatening relatives to keep quiet and providing false causes of death, according to Maryam Rajavi.
This was far from the only riot or protest in Iranian prisons over the past few weeks. Just one day later, at Ahvaz’s Shiban Prison, prisoners Majid Qaitasi and Ismail Qalavand were killed during a riot.
Maryam Rajavi advised that the regime has also cut off the prison phone lines, to prevent prisoners from contacting the outside world about the repression they face and are refusing to respond to inquiries from family members of an inmate. This caused many relatives to protest outside the regime’s Judiciary in Ahvaz on April 5.
The situation is dire in various prisons across the country, including the Greater Tehran Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh), Ghezel Hesar, Evin, Urmia, and more, where several inmates have contracted Coronavirus due to the overcrowding and unhygienic facilities. Some have sadly died.
But the mullahs will not release prisoners because it will eat into their profits Maryam Rajavi said. She advises that the regime uses prisoners as slaves, extorts them and their families, steals the prisoners’ food rations, sells them drugs, and get them to buy necessities at a major mark up, all to increase the profits of the Judiciary.
Maryam Rajavi urged the United Nations Secretary-General, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the European Union to take immediate action to save the lives of prisoners and called for their release.