28 March 2020 :
Coronavirus Fatalities on the Rise in Iran’s Prisons. Coronavirus fatalities are on the rise in Iran’s prisons. The number of prisoners suspected or infected with coronavirus have been increasing as the regime refuses to provide prisoners with the means to protect themselves. There have been at least six coronavirus fatalities in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary (GTP) since the onset of the outbreak in Iran. According to reports, wards in GTP lack sanitary and hygienic supplies. The only available detergent in the prison is dishwashing liquid. Sources describe the condition of the wards as “deplorable”. Inmates have remained in overcrowded rooms. Due to lack of space and beds in cells, many of the prisoners are forced to sleep on the ground and on cardboards. Prisoners are in poor psychological conditions. Meanwhile, there is also news that coronavirus has been spreading in Urmia prison. On Wednesday, March 25, a prisoner died after showing symptoms of COVID-19. Hassan Javadi, who was serving a 15 year-sentence, had suffered from heart disease and had heart surgery. Forensics have not yet commented on the cause of his death. Being suspected of coronavirus infection, Abdolsalam Mardan Zargeh, a political prisoner who is on hunger strike, was transferred to the medical center on March 21, following the deterioration of his health. According to reports received from inside the prison, Kia Mazaheri, the prison store owner of the Central Urmia Prison, was transferred out of prison because he had contracted coronavirus. All the political prisoners were in contact with him daily, and as a result, all of them are at risk of contracting coronavirus. There have also been two coronavirus fatalities in the Qarchak women’s Prison in Varamin, south of the capital. After the two female prisoners tested positive for coronavirus, they were initially taken to a newly established ward along with eight other prisoners. Subsequently, they were sent to a hospital outside prison after their health condition deteriorated. But the hospitals refused to admit them. So, they were returned to prison and taken to solitary confinement. Their lifeless bodies were eventually sent out of prison for burial. Despite the coronavirus outbreak in Ghezelhesar Prison of Karaj, there are no hygienic supplies such as soap and detergent for the prisoners. The prisoners are also lacking masks and gloves. The cells are not disinfected regularly. The prison’s water is cut off four hours per day. Baths are closed and there is no warm water. Prison authorities have reportedly told prisoners that the hot water tank is broken and asked prisoners for money to buy a new one. In a video posted on social media channels from inside the prison, an inmate said two-three prisoners have died from COVID-19. While complaining of not receiving any adequate aid from the government, the inmate pleads “whoever sees the video” to help.