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Coronavirus outbreak: riots at two Iran prisons

Coronavirus outbreak: riots at two Iran prisons

Iranian inmates in danger of being exposed to the coronavirus rebelled at Aligudarz Central Prison, disarmed some prison officials, and tried to escape on Friday.

The clashes continued for several hours, moving outside of prison as several inmates escaped, and resulted in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) being called in. Several prisoners were killed or wounded when the repressive forces began shooting, with some guards also wounded.

Although the state-run Mehr news agency reported the regime’s story that no one escaped, only one prisoner was killed, and only one was wounded. This is an example of the regime trying to appear in control.

The previous day, around 250 inmates at Parsilon Prison of Khorramabad rebelled, disarmed the guards, and managed to escape, but the guards and the repressive forces shot at the fleeing inmates, killing 40 of them and wounding 40 to 50 others.

It is hard to get accurate numbers, with several conflicting sources. One soldier who was present said that one prisoner was killed and 40 to 50 were wounded, while locals say that 40 were killed and 130 escaped.

The authorities are trying to re-arrest the escapees.

A former Parsilon inmate said: “Prisoners escaped because they are treated like animals in this prison.”

He advised that inmates are forced to pay considerably higher bails than at other prisons, which cased at least one young man – Ramin Biranvand – to die from suicide last year.

The inmate also explained that sewing lips and hunger strikes are common among inmates in this prison, but that these brave protesters “are thrown into cages out in the freezing cold weather”.

Many inmates across Iran are infected with Coronavirus and are unable to self-isolate, which can (and will) lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths unless the regime releases many more prisoners, especially political prisoners.

The situation is dire because the majority of prisons in Iran were already overcrowded by two to three times their capacity and lacking in hygiene, with guards refusing to quarantine coronavirus patients. It is the same all across Iran, from the Greater Tehran Penitentiary to Ghezel Hesar Prison to Evin Prison to Qarchak Women’s Prison and dozens more prisons.

Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly warned of a major catastrophe brewing in Iranian prisons and frequently urged the international community to take urgent action to ensure the release of prisoners to prevent thousands of deaths.