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Riots in Iran’s Prisons Over Fear of Coronavirus Infection

Iran's Prison Prisoners at Sheiban Prison of Ahvaz rioted on Tuesday, over a severe lack of cleaning and hygiene supplies during the coronavirus epidemic

Prisoners at Sheiban Prison of Ahvaz rioted on Tuesday, over a severe lack of cleaning and hygiene supplies during the coronavirus epidemic, and clashed with prison guards.

This came after a riot at Ahvaz’s Sepidar Prison, again over a fear of coronavirus infection, which resulted in prisoners setting the facility ablaze and guards shooting at the inmates. Worried relatives of prisoners held a gathering outside the facility on Ahvaz-Shushtar road to find out whether their loved ones were okay, but security forces hurled teargas canisters at participants and injured three people.

On Monday, several prisoners escaped from Sepidar Prison after a protest about the regime’s refusal to grant temporary leave (known as furlough) during the coronavirus crisis. The inmates clashed with prison guards and took control of the sentry post for some time. During the riot, at least three inmates were killed by security forces and several were wounded.

There have been several riots and protests in Iranian prisons over the coronavirus since the Iranian New Year began on March 20.

Here are some of the other cases:

  • Sunday, March 29 – Dozens fled Mahabad prison during a riot and at least 14 inmates were wounded by guards at Adel Abad Prison following unrest in two or three wards
  • Saturday, March 28 – At least 200 female inmates went on hunger strike at Urmia Central Prison and a number of inmates fled while being shot at by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during a riot at Alvand Prison, where various sections of the prison were set on fire
  • Friday, March 27 – Inmates launched a riot at Tabriz Central Prison, 70-80 inmates escaped from Saqqez Prison, as confirmed by the public prosecutor of Kurdistan Mohammad Jabbari, and a riot broke out at the Greater Tehran Prison (Fashafuyeh), which resulted in prison guards launching a counterattack on the wards; throwing out inmates’ belongings and banning phone calls with the inmates’ relatives.
  • Friday, March 20 – a riot at Aligudarz Prison led to clashes with prison guards
  • Thursday, March 19 – At least 23 inmates escaped, one was killed and one was wounded during a riot at Parsilon Prison of Khorramabad

Prisoners are scared that they will contract (and die from) the coronavirus because of the overcrowded and unhygienic nature of the prisons, where medical care has never been available.

The coronavirus has now killed over 16000 people in Iran.

About Siavosh Hosseini (352 Articles)
My background is in the visual arts, particularly in photojournalism. I have had the opportunity to cover scores of international artistic and news events in the US and across Europe since the mid-1980s. I was active in television newsrooms and production as a graphic designer and producer for more than 12 years in different television and news outfits in Europe.

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