Amnesty International this morning, Friday, July 31, 2020, released documents that provide a documentary picture of the appalling conditions inside the Islamic Republic’s prisons and reveal the criminal approach of the responsible institutions, especially the Judiciary and the Ministry of Health, in caring for the lives and health of prisoners.
The human rights organization has posted pictures of four official letters from senior officials of the Prisons Organization on its website. In these letters, prison officials have written about the severe shortage of sanitary and disinfectant items, as well as essential and key medical equipment, and asked the Ministry of Health for help. These correspondences have started from February 29, 2020 and yet all of them have remained unanswered to this day.
In one of these 4 letters published by Amnesty International, which is dated March 25, 2020, a list of “urgently needed items” is mentioned:
- 5,400,000 masks
- 100,000 N95 masks
- 3,600,000 latex gloves
- 10,000,000 plastic gloves
- 450,000 liters of surface disinfectants
- 5,000 face shields
- 5,000 goggles
- 5,000 special overalls
- 300 air purifiers
- 250 disinfectant sprayers
these official letters provide scandalous evidence of the Iranian government’s catastrophic failure to protect prisoners.
The letter also outlined the urgent need for other medical equipment, such as glucose and blood pressure monitors, thermometers and the like. These figures alone show the catastrophic dimensions of the crisis in the Islamic Republic prisons.
Amnesty International writes about these documents:
“The details in these letters are in stark contrast to the official statements made by the former head of the Prisons Organization and current adviser to the head of the Judiciary, Asghar Jahangir, who said that the authorities’ actions in preventing the spread of the coronavirus in prisons were” great” and “unparalleled.” He mentioned that it could be considered as “an international standard”. He has denied reports of rising infections and coronavirus-related deaths inside prisons due to overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and lack of access to medical facilities.”
According to Diana al-Tahawi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, “these official letters provide scandalous evidence of the Iranian government’s catastrophic failure to protect prisoners.”
Reports published by human rights organizations and related sources from inside the prisons so far indicate the death of more than twenty prisoners suspected of contracting the coronavirus in Ghezel Hesar prison (2), Greater Tehran Penitentiary (6), Shahr Rey prison (2) Urmia Prison (8), Kamyaran (1), Saqqez (1) and Sepidar Prison in Khuzestan Province (1).
Since the writing of the first letter published by Amnesty International, i.e. February 2020, several reports have been published in the media. We have also published many articles and reports on this website about the protests against the horrifying situation in prisons, the hunger strike of the prisoners and the riots in the country’s prisons. The regime’s response to all these protests has been violence and severe repression.
The situation in the Islamic Republic prisons is so catastrophic and horrible that the regime rejected the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) to visit the prisons to inspect their health condition. The letters published by Amnesty International well illustrate the inhumane face of the ruling criminal sect in Iran. A sect that imprisons people, tortures, and extorts confessions in front of its media cameras from them, threatens their families and relatives; In prisons, exposes them to a deadly virus and leaves them alone. And when they protest, it sends its repression machine into the prisons: tear gas, batons, stun guns, beatings, shootings, and secret executions.
Translation of this post by Sahar.