On Friday evening local time, March 27, about 80 prisoners in Saqqez prison escaped after clashes with prison guards. It should be noted that in recent days, HRNA has reported similar clashes in Tabriz, Parsilon Khorramabad and Aligudarz prisons. The crisis comes amid growing concern among inmates about the spread of the Coronavirus and the delay in assessing inmates’ cases for furlough.

Fars News Agency reported that some of the prisoners had entered the city through the streets in front of Saqqez prison. And these are two videos of escapees from Saqqez prison.

Earlier on Thursday, March 26, there were reports of clashes in Tabriz prison. The prisoners protested the admission of new prisoners without a quarantine period. They also are furious because prison officials have delayed the examination of prisoners’ files for furlough despite the spread of the coronavirus in the country. According to witnesses, heavy smoke was seen coming from the prison and gunfire was heard. Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported of at least 7 injured inmates due to prison guards’ shooting. It has been reported that the atmosphere in Tabriz prison is still shaky and prisoners are demanding to meet with senior Judiciary officials.

This is a video from afar which you could hear a few shots fired.

Smoke coming out of Central Tabriz Prison after the riots. Courtesy of @chawshin_83

Last week, on the first day of Persian New Year, March 20, Hamid Kashkoli, the governor of Aligudarz, had said that “the prisoners of the Aligudarz had protested inside the prison in an arbitrary and unlawful manner, which was causing concern to some citizens outside the prison.” Videos of the riot and shootings were posted on social media. Here is one of them:

The riot at Aligudarz prison came a day after a similar incident occurred at Parsilon Prison in Khorramabad. During the incident on the last day of the year, Thursday, March 19, clashes broke out between prisoners and guards at Parsilon Khorramabad Prison. Local and judicial authorities have confirmed that 23 of the prisoners have escaped from Parsilon Khorramabad Prison. It is said that none of the convicted inmates committed any “dangerous” crimes and the incident had left at least one dead and one wounded. Mahmoud Samini, the deputy security director of Lorestan’s governorate, said, “One person was shot dead by prison guards while running and one wounded whom was taken to hospital.”

It should be noted that this crisis is due to the spread of the Corona virus and the lack of special measures by the prison authorities, including disinfection of the prison environment, the granting of maximum time for leave, the provision of hygiene kits including masks and disinfectant gels, as well as transferring suspected cases to quarantine.

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