A number of prisoners including 50 political prisoners held at Urmia Central Prison have been infected with the coronavirus.
The 50 political prisoners were held at ward 15 of the prison. The names of 11 of these prisoners are as follows:
1. Behnam Foruzandedel
2. Mohammad Hossein Irajnia
3. Akbar Kamel
4. Omid Afrasiabi
5. Ahmad Manuchehri
6. Karim Ashrafi
7. Hojjat Nouri
8. Hamid Moazzam
9. Navid Beigi
10. Saber Kaseb
11. Hamed Firouzeh
In addition, in wards 3 and 4 of Urmia Central Prison, 12 people have contracted the virus, the names of seven of whom are as follows:
1. Rahim Shikh-khanlou
2. Shirzad Payon
3. Jafar Masoudinia
4. Farhad Rahimi
5. Arsalan Eivazi
6. Ramezan Shekh Kanli
7. Heidar Gheiratmand
Prison authorities took 15 of the ill inmates to out of the prison. Two other prisoners identified as Javad Amadi and Heidar were taken to the emergency.
Davoud Ghassemzadeh, a paraplegic patient is also suspected of having coronavirus. He is now in the prison’s clinic.
The death-row prisoner had recently gone on a hunger strike along with his brother, who is alo on death-row, to protest being denied medical treatment.
The prison’s internal director, Mehrali Farhang has reportedly said that the denial to transfer to the hospital should not be reported anywhere and that the matter should be kept secret.
Further reports indicate that two prison staff working juveniles’ ward have contracted the virus.
Following recent riots by inmates in various prisons across Iran, authorities are worried about more protests.
The prisoners in this facility have been told that the anti-riot police have orders to kill any prisoner who riots.
The riot police equipped with shockers, sprays, batons and shotguns are on standby in the prison.
The authorities launched an attack against the inmates on March 31. Reports indicate the attack took place after a number of the inmates intended to launch a riot, yet authorities had previously learned of their intentions.
Following the attack, the Urmia prison authorities pulled out eight death row inmates from wards 14 and 15, dragging them outside and transferred them to the prison courtyard. Units of the anti-riot guard forces initially blindfolded these inmates, chained their feet and cuffed their hands behind their backs. All eight inmates were transferred to an unknown location.
These measures aiming to instill fear among the inmates are taking place while coronavirus is spreading in Iran’s jails with a considerable number of inmates being infected. The threat of the deadly virus is endangering the inmates’ lives.
The regime’s Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, had claimed in March that the authorities had released 85,000 prisoners.
But many peaceful political prisoners in Iran’s jails have remained in limbo despite the outbreak.