Coronavirus outbreak in Iranian prisons

Posted on: March 4th, 2020

On February 29, 2020, Ebrahim Raisi, the Chief Justice of Iran, issued a circular laying out policies to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in prisons.  This order mandates giving 15 -30 days furlough to prisoners with sentences less than five years. Another part of this order is about reducing entries into prisons, temporary releases, and public activities in prisons. In addition, this order mandates to increase alternative sentences and suspended prison terms instead of imprisonments.

Although the Chief Justice of Iran announced that the prisoners with less than five years prison term will be granted furlough, the prison authorities are not cooperative with political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to implement this regulation. As an example, Esmaeil Abdi and Negin Ghadamian were sentenced to five years imprisonment and after spending four and three years in prison respectively, they were not granted any furlough. Nazanin Zaghari’s husband reported that she is suspected to have Coronavirus. She is serving the 4th year of her five-year imprisonment sentence. Reportedly, three women were diagnosed with Coronavirus in Evin Prison.

The number of prisoners suspected of having coronavirus is increasing. Several prisoners suspected of having coronavirus were identified in Urmia, Khorramabad, Gorgan, Sanandaj, Qom, and other prisons.

 

A letter from political prisoner’s families

With the current spread of Coronavirus in prisons in Iran, some of the families of the political and security prisoners have written a letter to the judicial authorities on February 26, 2020, requesting furlough for prisoners until this crisis (Coronavirus) is over in the prisons. Considering the closed environment of the prison, malnutrition of the prisoners, shortage of medical care and facilities, high density of prisoners, and the occurrence of some cases suspected to be related to coronavirus has raised concerns of the families of prisoners.

The families of the following prisoners have signed this letter:

Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi, Esmaeil Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Narges Mohammadi, Amir Salar Davoudi, Farhad Meisami, Roeen Otoufat, Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahnaz Akmali, Majid Azarpey, Atena Daemi, Sam Rajabi, Morad Tahbaz, Niloufar Bayani, Abdolreza Kouhpaieh, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Taher Ghadirian, Neda Naji, Mehrdad Mohammadnejad, Mohammad Abolhasani, Peyman Koushkbaghi, Aras Amiri, Jafar Fazel, and Alireza Golipour.

In some of the prisons, such as Khorramabad or Sanandaj Prisons, the prisoners asked the authorities to provide them with medical and hygiene necessities and to quarantine the prisoners who are suspected to be infected and have threatened that if this negligence is continuous, they will go on hunger strike. Other prisons such as Karaj, Tabriz, Evin and many other prisons across the country are also demanding similar precautions.

 

A death in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary

It should be noted that on the same day, a prisoner of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who had symptoms similar to that of Coronavirus passed away after the prison authorities delayed in transferring him to the hospital to receive proper medical care. His name was Hamid Reza and he was 44 years old. He was convicted of a financial felony who was serving his sentence in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. He was initially diagnosed with symptoms of flu but after a few days, he started to cough and eventually passed away in the prion.

In addition, 60 prisoners of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who were working in the kitchen or service sector, were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison. Moreover, 7 other prisoners in section 5 ward 2 have Coronavirus symptoms; they were kept in the medical ward without receiving medical care and were not transferred to the hospital.

 

Evin Prison and the violation of the Prisoners Classification Regulation

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, Milad Arsanjani, Jamil Ghahremani, and 15 other arrestees of the last November’s protests who were kept in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, were moved from their cell after an inmate was diagnosed with Coronavirus in their cell. Amir Hossein Moradi returned to prison on February 29, 2020, after spending a week in the hospital for another disease. He returned to his cell but after an hour he was transferred to the medical ward for his positive test results of Coronavirus. Although they were told that they will be transferred to Yaft Abad Hospital, they were transferred to ward 1 of this prison, which belongs to the prisoners who committed violent crimes. In June 2019, Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a political prisoner, was fatally stabbed in this ward by two other inmates of this ward who were charged with a drug felony. After this incident, the prison authorities moved other political prisoners from this ward to avoid future incidents. This is against prisoners’ segregation rule. According to a close source “section, 1 of the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary has 10 wards and one suite which had been used as an exile to punish the prisoners who get in the fight or carry drugs. Since 2018, the political prisoners have been transferred to this suite. This suite has limited facilities and does not even have access to prison commissaries. Their door should be locked all the time however, in the case of Mr. Shir Mohammadi, the warden intentionally did not lock the door which was illegal.

Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a 21-year-old political prisoner at the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary was murdered in prison on June 10, 2019. He was attacked by two other prisoners, who were later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The prisoner in question was stabbed in the neck and stomach and died before arriving at the hospital. Shir Mohammad Ali was arrested on July 14, 2018, and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “blasphemy”, “insulting the former and current Supreme Leaders”, and “propaganda against the state”.  He was detained in a solitary confinement cell for 36 days after being arrested. His bail was set at 80 million Tomans but the Revolutionary Court illegally rejected his release on bail. Throughout his prosecution process, he did not have access to an attorney because of his financial conditions. He was waiting for the decision of the appeal’s court when he was murdered. He protested his detention along with non-political prisoners and went on a hunger strike on March 14, 2019, which ended on April 16 after prison authorities accepted his demands. He also wrote open letters criticizing the “unsafe” and “inhumane” conditions of Greater Tehran’s Penitentiary Prison. He wrote an open letter five days into his hunger strike on March 18, 2019. In this letter, he explained the awful condition he was experiencing in prison. In addition, he claimed that he was denied regular social rights that any prisoner is entitled to have. However, his main request, reflected in this letter, was to be transferred to another prison (Evin prison). No judicial authorities or prison officials reacted to his open letter. 

A prisoner of ward 4 of Evin Prison was transferred to an unknown place for his positive test results of Coronavirus. He kept with several other prisoners and political prisoners of this ward who are on hunger strike and are more vulnerable to this disease.

 

Khorramabad and Ghezel Hesar Prisons

On March 1, 2020, the prisoners of Khorramabad Prison have started a sit-in to protest not being sent to furlough although Coronavirus has spread in this prison. There is a shortage of access to medical care and hygiene products for the diagnosis and treatment of Coronavirus. Several prisoners who have symptoms of this disease did not receive any treatment and were kept with other prisoners. Several prisoners who went on furlough were returned to prison. A close source to a family of a prisoner in this prison told HRANA that a sick inmate with severe coughs received neither medical care nor disinfecting substances and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.

Two prisoners of Qezelhesar Prison, Basat Ali Khazaei, and Gholamhossein Abolfavaei were moved to the quarantine section in the health ward due to having positive test results of Coronavirus. They were charged with drug felony and kept in a ward with 500 other inmates.

 

Rajai Shahr and Urmia Prisons

The prisoners are deprived of medical care, disinfecting substances, and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.  Payam Shakiba, Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, and Majid Asadi are serving their third year in prison. Arash Sadeghi, who is diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma (bone cancer), has had an infection in his right hand, digestion issues, and because of his weak immune system should be prioritized to be granted a furlough. Saeed Shirzad is spending the last months of his prison sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Mohammad Ghanbardoost, a political prisoner, was transferred to the hospital due to having symptoms of coronavirus disease. He kept with other political prisoners and may infected others. He was arrested on August 16, 2017, and was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “cooperating with Takfiri groups”.

Several Coronavirus suspected patients in Urmia Prison were transferred to hospitals outside the prison. One Urmia prisoner died in hospital, but prison authorities claimed that he was infected outside the prison.

 

Update on political prisoners temporary releases

On March 3, 2020, Mohammad Karimi granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. Mr. Karimi was sentenced to one-year imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state” which was upheld by the appeals court. on July 3, 2020, he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Shahnaz Akmali, political prisoner, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. She was arrested on January 15, 2020. She was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was banned from having any social media account, membership in any group, and leaving the country on the charge of “propaganda against the state”. An appeals court upheld her sentence without hearing either Ms. Akmali or her attorney. She is the mother of Mostafa Karim Beygi one of the people who was killed by security forces during green movement uprising in 2009.

On February 29, 2020, Reza Gholamhosseini, a political prisoner of Bandar Abbas Prison, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. He was arrested on September 25, 2019, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment on the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “insulting supreme leader”. His sentence was reduced to 18 months later because he did not request an appeal.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 14, 2019

Posted on: January 14th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 14th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Five Kulbars (Kurdish back carriers) have been shot by border patrol in Sardasht and Baneh. Namagh Gholami died and Sirvan Hassanzadeh, Jabbar Ahmadi, Karzan Aminzadeh, and Shahryar Khezri were injured in this incident. Moreover, three other Kulbars died or were injured in Salmas and Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province. Ayob Amini died and Hashem lost his hands due to hypothermia. In addition, Osman Ramezani died of drowning in the river.

(2) Ali Rabiei, the former labor minister, shows concerns about protests in 160 cities in January 2018. He added that people’s dissatisfaction, injustice, and dysfunctional politics caused these uprisings.

(3) At least five protests were organized on January 14, 2019. Educators in Tehran, the workers of inter-city rail in Ahvaz, the customers of SAIPA Company in Tehran, the shareholders of the bankrupt financial institution of Caspian, and the customers of Sekeh Samen website in Tehran have been demanding their requests in separate protests.

(4) A worker of Iran National Steel Industrial Group (NSIG) in Ahvaz, Behzad Alikhani, was released today. Three workers of NSIG are still in prison. More than 43 workers of NSIG have been arrested on December 16, 2018.

(5) At least four prisoners were executed in Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj. Mohsen Rezaei, Reza Farmanjou, and Baratali Rahimi were executed on Wednesday. They were transferred to solitary confinement on Monday.

(6) 219 poachers have been arrested in the South Khorasan Province in the last 10 months. More than one thousand and 573 animals and their carcasses were confiscated from them.

(7) Yazd court of appeals sentenced two Baha’i citizens to two years imprisonment, combined. Mehran Bandi Amirabadi and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi were sentenced to prison terms and exile on the charge of ‘propaganda against the state’ earlier.

(8) Alireza Golipour has not received access to medical care in Evin prison. Although he has severe seizures and a prison doctor requested his transfer to the hospital due to his deteriorating health condition, he was not transferred to the hospital.

(9) Nazanin Zaghari and Narges Mohammadi , prisoners of conscience, began three-day hunger strike in protest of denial of medical care. They suffer from serious health conditions which have been exacerbated in prison due to authorities’ refusal of medical care to them.

(10) Iraj Mohammadi was summoned to the intelligence office and was arrested in Miandoab on January 13, 2019. He had been released from prison after completing a ten-year sentence, in October.

(11) Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights lawyer, was being banned from having visitors. She is imprisoned on   security-related charges.

(12) Expulsion of Shirin Baninejad, a Baha’i Computer Science student, from Azad University of Andisheh (Sama) due to her faith. Bahai students in Iran routinely experience denial of entrance to university or expulsion during their studies.

(13) Saeed Sadeghifar, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, is summoned to the Ardabil Revolutionary Court on January 23. He was charged with ‘forming an illegal group to disrupt national security’. Asgar Akbarzadeh, Rahim Gholami, and Ali Vaseghi, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activists, have been also summoned to the Ardabil court.

(14) A 36-year old prisoner accused of murder, was spared from hanging on gallows by paying the blood money and consent of next of kin. He was spending 12 years in prison.

(15) A worker and a firefighter were injured in Tehran because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions in workplaces.

(16) The workers of Farnakh and Mahnakh Company have 180 billion Rial [approximately one million and 80 thousand USD] unpaid wages.

(17) Mohammad Karimi, a labor activist, was released from Bukan prison after 13 months of imprisonment. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison in November 2018.

A Report on the Latest Status of Alireza Golipour

Posted on: April 17th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Azita Gharebigloo, the lawyer of Alireza Golipour, security prisoner in Evin Prison, said that the prosecutor did not pay attention to the condition of Mr. Golipour despite issuing punishment intolerance verdict and having the right of medical furlough and he is still serving his imprisonment in uncertainty with the severity of his illness. He is currently able to tolerate pain only by injection of morphine.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Azita Gharebigloo, lawyer of Alireza Golipour, security prisoner in Evin Prison, described her client’s latest status in an interview with HRANA’s reporter. (more…)

Alireza Golipour Ended Hunger Strike after 54 Days

Posted on: February 21st, 2018

HRANA News Agency- Alireza Golipour who had already been on hunger strike in protest against the procedure of his case, ended his hunger strike on Sunday December 10, after 54 days, due to deterioration of his condition and in light of the authorities’ promise to handle his case. However, due to a long strike and his chronic disease, he was physically weak and he is already in a hospital. According to Mr. Golipour’s lawyer, this prisoner suffers from epilepsy, digestive diseases and heart problems.

According to the report of Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Alireza Golipour, prisoner in Evin prison, who had already been on hunger strike for protesting the procedure of his case, ended his hunger strike on Sunday December 10. (more…)

Alireza Golipour Suffering from Cancer in Evin Prison

Posted on: July 27th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Alireza Golipour, political prisoner who suffers from cancer in ward seven of Evin Prison was sentenced to 39 years and 9 months in prison at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran headed by Judge Salvati. The verdict was sent to the Supreme Court but has not been confirmed yet. Sending the case to the Supreme Court led to the delay in the treatment of the prisoner. His physical condition is not good and he has not received his chemotherapy since more than a week ago.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Alireza Golipour, political prisoner in ward seven of Evin Prison who has undergone two surgeries to remove the tumor, was sentenced to 39 years and 9 months in prison at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran headed by Judge Salvati. (more…)

The List of 55 Political-Security Prisoners in Ward 7 of Evin Prison

Posted on: May 8th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – The following list contains the names of 55 political-security prisoners of Evin prison who were arrested and sentenced and imprisoned on charges of “communication with enemy states” or “espionage”. At least 9 of these prisoners are sick and need urgent medical attention.

 According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), separation of political-conscience and security prisoners is based on the nature of the charges raised against them, the majority of the security prisoners were tried under article 501 (espionage) and article 508 (in collaboration with a hostile government) of the Penal Code and are prosecuted in Iran. Due to the lack of transparency of the judiciary in dealing with such cases, in some cases the judiciary uses the security charges as a toll to deal with political opponents and due to the uncertainty of a fair trial for the convicted, preparing and filing the list is based solely on the formal charges against prisons by the judiciary and Human Rights Activists in Iran in the absence of transparency in the court cases, cannot independently confirm the allegations to these prisoners. (more…)

Alireza Golipour In Critical Health Condition In Ward 7 Of Evin Prison

Posted on: February 6th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Alireza Golipour, prisoner in ward 7 of Evin prison who have been diagnosed with cancer, was returned to the ward the day after surgery and removal of the tumor from his lung. Due to the necessity of chemotherapy, he is in a critical condition in the prison.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), after having a surgery during which a tumor was removed from his lung and also a stent was placed in his heart, he was returned to the ward after a day of his surgery. It is worth mentioning that his chemotherapy to cure cancer has continued and his drugs have also been added. (more…)

Alireza Golipour In Critical Health Condition In Evin Prison

Posted on: November 14th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – The health condition of Alireza Golipour, prisoner in ward 7 of Evin prison, has been reported critical and the prison doctor has requested for the transfer to the Medical Centers outside the prison as he says there is no sufficient facility inside the prison for doing useful treatment on him.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Alireza Golipour, security prisoner in ward 7 of Evin prison, has been reported critical and after that he was transferred to the clinic, the doctor announced that he was in a critical condition and also said that this prisoner’s condition was urgent and there was no sufficient facility for doing useful treatment on him inside the prison. (more…)