The Ahwaz Centre for Human Rights monitors the fate of the Ahwazi prisoners after the outbreak of the Corona virus
Thousands of Ahwazi prisoners are imprisoned by the injustice Iranian’s occupation authorities. The prisoners are in dire conditions and are forbidden from all their human rights. They are imprisoned because they ask for freedom of speech and for their human rights.
A reliable sources from within the “Sheyban” prison reported very dangerous information regarding what is known as the “Clinic” Prison and the situation of the Ahwazi prisoners there and how they are being treated. In this report, we try to address some of them.
In his conversation with the Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights, one of the prisoners affirmed that there are approximately seven thousand prisoners who are squizzed in very narrow spaces. The prison does not have nearly enough facilities to accommodate for this number of prisoners under normal circumstances and regardless of the COVID pandemic.
The Iranian occupation regime place the Ahwazi prisoners, who are in fact human right and cultural activists, in the same place as the murderers, the drug smugglers, and the people with dangerous histories, waging a psychological war against the Ahwazi prisoners.
He adds that the prison’s section in which more than 250 Ahwazi and none Ahwazi prisoners are housed has only four bathrooms. The bathroom’s condition is extremely poor and are barely usable even for a third world country such as Iran. With this situation and the prisoners have to wait more than an hour so that he can go to the bathroom to fulfil his need and perform ablution to perform his prayers.
Furthermore, he mentioned another great issue that the prisoners are suffering and that is the single phone available in the department for all the thousands of prisoners. It is considered a miracle for the prisoner to be able to contact his family or loved ones. He adds “There is a large waiting line and you have to wait until it is your turn, and many of us were unable to talk to their families or loved ones due to the large number of prisoners.”. Every prisoner has a time limit of no more than two minutes, and contact is made with the family through the prison’s officials and the phone number must be provided by the prisoner in advance.
He adds that the prisoners have to work in carpentry, construction and electricity with no wage, but only in order to obtain a permit to visit their families that they may or may not get from the prison administration. Also, every prisoner has to pay fifty thousand IR a monthly fee.
The source asserts that it will be a catastrophe if the situation remains the same because the Iranian regime is neglecting them in prisons, just as they neglected and impoverished the entire Ahwazi nation ever since the occupation. Note that the Iranian authorities made a decision in the past few days to temporarily release some Ahwazi prisoners in exchange for expensive financial bails estimated at hundreds of millions in which was difficult or even impossible for the families of some Ahwazi prisoners to pay. Also, this decision will not be applied to all Ahwazi prisoners, but to those who have been sentenced to less than five years in prison.
The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights confirms that two Ahwazi prisoners has been infected with Corona Virus (COVID-19), and after prisoners’ health deterioration they have been transferred to other section of the prison. one of the Ahwazi prisoner stated that after removal of infected prisoners, the prison’s in-charges are coming from time to time to disinfect our compressed room’s corners but we can see some of the prisoners are having high temperature and continuous coughs.
Only recently the world started going through the Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, which invaded the whole world and is threatening the lives of millions of people, despite the many measures taken by the countries around the world until this moment, but this virus does not want to stop and continues strongly to infect a large number of people and have sadly taken thousands of lives so far. Up to this moment, and according the Iranian officials, more than 1500 people sadly died due to the COVID-19 and number of prisoners were infected in Sheyban prison.
The Ahwaz Centre for Human Rights declares it concerns about the fate of the Ahwazi prisoners and what they will encounter due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading greatly in the so-called Iran and its geographical borders affecting innocent people with no measures put in place to control or stop it. We call upon the international institutions and Human Right Organisations concerned with the rights of prisoners to act urgently and to urge the Iranian authorities to re-consider the situation of prisoners and to provide necessary health care to them before more people lose their lives to this vicious outbreak. This neglect will only help the spread of the virus even further and so measures need to be placed to protect the prisoner’s lives and welfare according to the WHO (World Health Organisation) standards.
Report By: Saleh Negravi (10th March 2020)
Translation to English: Athar Yaghoub (17th March 2020)
Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights