By Jubin Katiraie
With the passing of every day, more evidence proves the Iranian government's role over the coronavirus outbreak by mismanagement and secrecy. In addition to spreading the COVID-19 across the country, prison guards' neglect has resulted in an irreparable calamity among prisoners, particularly political prisoners.
Iran mismanaged coronavirus outbreak
The Iranian government has completely mismanaged the coronavirus outbreak and turned the situation into a catastrophe through its attempt to conceal information, which has led to the rapid spread of the virus across Iran and to neighboring countries.
The mullahs took no pre-emptive measures to stop the coronavirus from spreading or to monitor the situation in infected cities, clinics, and medical centers.
One source from Qom, which is the epicenter of Iran’s outbreak, said that they had visited the Behesht-e Massoumeh Morgue on March 3 and thought that there would be a special platform for coronavirus victims, but they were “being washed like the other deceased”. There had been 250 coronavirus victims buried so far, with only “50 centimeters of soil on every corpse”.
Meanwhile, hospitals in most Iranian cities are full and cannot admit new patients. Worse still, many hospitals do not have the sanitary conditions to manage the virus, so the medical staff and other patients are getting ill.
Other hospitals, like Imam Ali Hospital in Karaj, which is dedicated to coronavirus patients don't have a CT Scanner, so they send coronavirus patients to Madani Hospital for these scans of their lungs, according to an employee of Madani, which means that people at Madani are getting sick.
In Gorgan, people have to self-isolate at home. The people are in danger and more people are contracting the disease by the day.
Meanwhile, the authorities are still trying to cover up the coronavirus by listing people’s deaths as heart stroke, respiratory problems, and influenza.
Even the government officials, like MP Abdul Karim Hosseinzadeh, acknowledge that the mullahs’ incompetence has led to the spread of the virus and increased deaths.
Medical equipment, like masks and sanitizers, are in short supply in Iran. In many cases, they are sold out at pharmacies because the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have intercepted the supplies in order to make a massive profit on the black market.
The IRGC has even gone as far as putting new stickers on regular deodorizers to sell them as alcohol disinfectants.
One employee from a sanitary products factory said: “The [manager] of our department is a member of the IRGC. He went to the Health Ministry and it took him only five minutes to receive a license to produce the vaccine. Since we do not have any equipment for doing this, we worked like underground workshops.”
They explained that the bottles are filled with water and “very low dosages of alcohol”, but it still sells for 150,000 tomans per liter.
Coronavirus threatens Iran’s political prisoners
The sources report that the coronavirus is spreading fast among prisoners, which is not surprising considering the cramped and unhygienic conditions they are forced to live in, so the number of patients is increasing by the day.
Prisoners with existing critical health conditions have been transferred to Bou Ali and Khatam hospitals in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan province. However, it’s important to note that inmates across the Iranian prison system are being denied vital medical items, like facemasks and disinfectants while being kept in the worst of conditions.
There are several reports about the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran’s prisons, with several prisoners being held in Urmia, Qezel Hessar, and Khorramabad suspected of contracting it
In Evin Prison in Tehran, the dire conditions and refusal to treat sick prisoners could very well lead to another humanitarian catastrophe.
Many political prisoners are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, including severe coughing and high fever, but the authorities have not given them the appropriate medical care or even quarantined them to stop others from getting sick.
Prison guards are terrified of getting sick, so they are refusing to enter cells to do a headcount; instead of counting from outside.
Again, there is a lack of medical supplies and test kits, so prisoners are being told that their families must purchase the items outside the prison at exorbitant prices and bring them in.
In Ghezel Hesar Prison of Karaj, a large number of inmates have been infected.
These inmates have, thankfully, been moved to a quarantine section, but it is not clear how many other inmates are infected. Also, in the quarantine section, the prison warden built a new kitchen, which inmates were forced to fund.
Since the outbreak began in Iran, many have feared what would happen once it reached the jails.
Some 70,000 prisoners were granted temporary leave, something allowed for prisoners serving short sentences, but many political prisoners are given long sentences for arbitrary arrests and the virus is a serious danger to them.
A coronavirus patient jailed in Zahedan has died from the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Iranian human rights sources.
The man, who has been identified as Mostafa Kamali, tested positive for the virus recently and died shortly afterward on the seventh ward of Zahedan Central Prison. Authorities claimed that he died because of a drug overdose.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary-General, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other relevant international organizations to take immediate action to save the lives of prisoners, particularly political prisoners.