Reports from the Central Prison of Mashhad indicate disastrous prison conditions as prisons across Iran are plagued with the coronavirus.
Rights groups say between five and six inmates in this prison lose their lives every day in this prison. As for reason of these deaths, prison authorities say they die of natural causes to cover up the disastrous prison conditions.
The minimum sanitary requirements are not present in the Central Prison of Mashhad. Like other prisons, inmates in this prison are deprived of basic hygienic products.
Overcrowding has made social distancing impossible in this prison, facilitating transmission of the virus.
The toilets and bathrooms in this prison are also in horrible condition. Water pipes leak and water drops from ceilings. The halls housing the prisoners are full of ticks, lice and cockroaches, making life very difficult for them.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet declared in a statement on October 6, that she was deeply concerned about the conditions of most of those who may have been arbitrarily detained — including human rights defenders, lawyers, dual and foreign nationals, conservationists, and others deprived of their liberty. She said they have been placed at a heightened risk of contracting the virus.
She called for their release during the coronavirus pandemic. “It is particularly important to rectify such injustices at a time when COVID-19 is coursing through Iran’s prisons.”
Lack of hygienic and sanitary resources and products and overcrowding of prison halls put the lives of prisoners at high risk during the pandemic. This has been verified by Amnesty International on July 31, 2020. Amnesty International published images of four letters from Iranian prison authorities to the Ministry of Health, warning about “the widespread shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products, and medical supplies.”