Based on the Judiciary documents, five inmates were killed during the prison riots last March in the Sheiban Prison of Ahvaz. Some sources say the number of deaths of inmates is higher.
Dozens of inmates have been accused of inciting the riots, including 30 who face more serious charges including providing the grounds to cause murders.
The charges were brought against the detainees after the March 31, 2020 protests, and the ensuing clashes between inmates and prison guards.
The protests erupted after the outbreak of the coronavirus and after the failure of the Prisons Organization to undertake measures and provide the necessary equipment to disinfect the prison environments. It also failed to grant leaves to more prisoners, to distribute medical packages including masks, disinfectant gels, and to transfer to the quarantine the prisoners suspected of infection.
In the meantime, similar riots and clashes erupted in the Sepidar Prison of Ahvaz, Adelabad Prison of Shiraz, the Prison of Saqqez, Alvand Prison of Hamadan, the Prison of Mahabad, the Prison of Tariz, the Parsilon Prison of Khorramabad, and the Prison of Aligoudarz.
Thirty of the inmates have been accused of disruption of public order and rest through noisy brawl; participation in the murder of 4 Muslim men, 2. Participation in the said charges; deliberately damaging and burning public properties; disruption of public order; Tasbib or causing the deaths of five prisoners.
In article 506 of the Islamic Punishment Law adopted in 2013, tasbib has been defined as follows: “Tasbib in crime means that someone has caused and provided for waste or damage of another person, and is not directly committing that crime such that in the absence of his behavior, such crime would not happen; for example, someone digs a well that another may fall into it and be hurt.”
In light of this definition, it seems that the Judiciary is blaming the deaths of prisoners killed in the clashes –even by the anti-riot forces– on a large portion of prisoners who are accused of participating in the riots. But the person who directly ordered the killing will not be persecuted.
These individuals have objected to the legal proceedings regarding their case. So, their case was referred to Branch 101 of the Penal Court No. 2 of Bavi County presided by Judge Mansour Motamedzadeh. The court has presently turned down their objection and ruled that the procedure should continue as it did before.
In March and April, thousands of prisoners in at least eight prisons around the country staged protests over fears of contracting the coronavirus, sparking deadly responses from prison officers and security forces.
On 30 March and 31 March, security forces resorted to brute force against the inmates to quell protests in Sepidar and Sheiban prisons in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan province.
Numerous videos taken from outside the prisons which were shared on social media that time showed smoke rising from the buildings, while sounds of gunfire and screams can be heard.