Political prisoners’ lives are at risk amid the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran prisons. Many women inmates have yet to be granted temporary leave, despite the spread of the Coronavirus in several Iranian prisons.
Maryam Akbari Monfared, a political prisoner, has been denied leave for the past 11 years. This deprivation continues despite the Coronavirus outbreak and the prisoners’ extreme susceptibility to it.
Political prisoner Atena Daemi, who is ill, has been denied both treatment and face-to-face visits with her family. Throughout her prison term, she has suffered from multiple illnesses, including kidney infections and numbness in her hands and feet. Prison authorities continue to deny her medical leave.
Women political prisoners have gone on a hunger strike to protest that prison authorities continue to deny prisoners any leave, despite the spread of the Coronavirus. Nasrin Sotoudeh and Rezvaneh Ahmad Khan Beigi have been on a hunger strike in Evin Prison since March 16, 2020.
Saba Kord Afshari is among the prisoners denied leave. Her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, announced, “I will not be on leave without my daughter.”
The regime’s Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed that in March 2020, authorities released thousands of prisoners. However, the authorities have refused to grant many political prisoners and prisoners of conscience temporary leave, despite the prisoners’ poor health. The authorities continue to put political prisoners’ lives in grave danger.
Fatemeh Sepehri, who is serving a 3-year sentence in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad, announced that several cases of the Coronavirus had been reported in the women’s ward.
One of the halls in this ward is used exclusively for patients suspected of having contracted the Coronavirus. With overcrowded wards, prisoners face dangerous conditions as well as a lack of protective gear and proper health facilities.
Every time they requested that prison health officials provide them with face masks and gloves, they were told, “Even we – let alone you – are facing a challenge in obtaining these items!”
In another development, on Sunday, April 5, 2020, several families of political prisoners in Ahvaz gathered in front of the city’s Revolutionary Court. The families were demanding details about their loved ones, prisoners who had been beaten in the wake of the Ahvaz prison riot and who were taken to an undisclosed location.