Friday , 23 July 2021

Alarming Rise of Inmates contracting Coronavirus in Southwest Iran

Iran-HRM – The coronavirus is spreading quickly in Sheyban Prison of Ahvaz as the number of inmates has risen in the past month, deteriorating hygienic conditions at the prison.

The number of inmates contracting COVID-19 in the prison has jumped up in recent months.

Following the March protests over COVID-19 safety fears in Sepidar and Sheyban prisons in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, most of the prisoners in Sepidar were transferred to the Sheyban prison.

The transfer included all political prisoners, death row inmates and those sentenced to less than five years behind bars.

The number of prisoners in ward 5 (allocated to political prisoners) has tripled in the past month from 100 to 300. These numbers are rising daily,” one source said.

However, this ward does not have more than 100 beds. Thus, the other 200 prisoners are forced to sleep on the floor that is very dirty and not at all suitable for such uses.

Due to the high number of inmates, more than 60 people are forced to sleep in a 25-square-meter room. In addition to sleeping on the floor, prisoners are sleeping in corridors and in front of restrooms and showers.

“The space of the rooms and wards is so cramped that the prisoners sleeping on the floor have to sleep side by side and cannot move until the next morning,” the source said.

With this concentration of prisoners, a large number of them are already suffering from coronavirus and prison officials are preventing any reports being leaked from the inside to the outside world.

Coronavirus deaths are on the increase in jails and penitentiaries across the country, with officials taking no measures to contain the deadly virus. Prisoners are unable to observe adequate distancing in crowded cells and face shortages of sanitizers and protective items.

In late March protests over COVID-19 safety fears erupted in Sheyban and Sepidar prisons of Ahvaz. security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to quell protests, causing injuries and at least 15 deaths.

In late July, Amnesty International disclosed that the Iranian regime has ignored repeated pleas by prison officials for additional resources to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s prison system.