Recent reports indicate horrific health and hygienic conditions in Mahabad Prison. The Coronavirus has plagued the prison and prisoners are at high risk of infection.
A number of staff and employees at the prison have already contracted COVID-19.
No accurate figures are available on the number of fatalities and COVID-19 cases in this prison. However, it is known that Ahmad Alipour, who was serving his fourth year in the Prison of Mahabad, died due to Coronavirus infection just this month. The authorities of the Prison of Mahabad concealed the real reason for Mr. Alipour’s death, registering it as a heart stroke.
Despite the circumstances, prison authorities have deprived prisoners of the minimum hygiene and sanitation. The washrooms and showers have been out of order for more than three months. Leaving 600 inmates in this prison with only four washrooms, which is one for every 150 prisoners.
Waiting in line for hours to use the bathroom has created kidney and GI issues for the inmates. Lack of warm water has also multiplied prisoners’ problems as winter approaches in this cold region.
Overcrowding of the prison, four times its capacity of 150, is also another factor which facilitates transmission of the virus. The report from Prison of Mahabad indicates that prisoners have trouble finding a spot to sleep.
The high density and lack of the most basic sanitary and hygiene requirements have caused a number of prisoners to contract Coronavirus, but they are not receiving any care.
On the orders of Ali Mehr, representative of the Prosecutor’s Office and supervising judge at the Mahabad Prison, prison authorities are refusing to temporarily free the prisoners amidst the pandemic.
As is the case in other prisons, the regime’s mafia-style networks are involved in buying, selling, and distributing drugs on a mass scale in Mahabad Prison. This serves as a source of income for the clerical regime’s judiciary.
Iranian independent Human Rights defenders once again draws the attention of the international human rights authorities and organizations to the abysmal conditions in Iranian prisons, calling for an international fact-finding mission to visit Iranian prisons, and secure the temporary release of prisoners during the pandemic.