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Newly obtained official letters by #AmnestyInternational reveals that the Iranian Gov has ignored repeated pleas by senior officials responsible for managing Iran's prisons for additional resources to control #COVID19 spread and to treat infected prisoners.
Amnesty reviewed copies of 4 letters signed by officials at Iran's prisons, which operates under the supervision of the judiciary, to Iran's Ministry of Health. It raised alarm over serious shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products and essential medical devices.
These official letters provide damning evidence of the government's failure to protect prisoners. Urgent requests for resources have been ignored for months. #FreePoliticalPrisoners Ministry of Health in Iran failed to respond, in which prisons remain catastrophically unequipped.
Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East & North Africa of Amnesty continues: Details in the letters stand in stark contrast to public statements by the former head of prisons organization and current advisor to the head of judiciary, Asghar Jahangir.
Asghar Jahangir has lauded Iran's exemplary initiatives to protect prisoners from the #coronavirus pandemic and denied reports of increasing infection rates and #COVID related deaths inside resulting from overcrowding conditions and lack of access to healthcare.
The letters provide damning evidence of the government's appalling failure to protect prisoners. Requests for urgently needed disinfectants and medical devices have been ignored for months @DrTedros Letters alarm of highly vulnerable population in Iran's prisons.
Overcrowded, poor ventilated, lack of sanitation & medical equipment and deliberate neglects of prisoners' health probl's are making Iranian prisons a perfect breeding ground for #covid19. Iranian authorities must stop denying the health crisis in Iran's prisons!
Iranian authorities must take urgent steps to protect prisoners' health and lives. Head of the health care office of the Prisons Organizations first submitted a letter to #Iran's Ministry of Health on 29 Feb 2020. Four follow-up letters were submitted on 25 Mar 2020, 12 May 2020.
Also on 14 June 2020, and 5 July 2020 and these have been seen by @amnesty The letter dated 25 March 2020 requests disinfectant products and protective equipment to last 3 months including 5,400,000 masks-100,000 N95 masks-3,600,000 latex gloves-10,000,000 plastic gloves...
Continuing, 450,000 liters of hand sanitizers and 1,000,000 liters of surface disinfectant, 5,000 face shields-5,000 protective goggles-5,000 protective gowns-300 air ventilation systems and 250 de-infestation machines. The letter also highlights urgent need for funding...
Fund to purchase hundreds of essential medical devices including blood pressure and blood glucose monitors, thermometers, pulse oximeters, stethoscopes and defibrillators .@doctors_iran "The letter warns that "security hazards" and "irreparable harm" will result from inaction."
While the letter does not clarity how many prisons these items and devices are intended for, the figures raise concerns about very serious shortages in prisons across the country. @WHOEMRO Letter warns that populated individuals have pre-existing medical problems and use drugs.
Or that prisoners suffer from malnutrition, anemia, and infectious diseases such as #HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis @CanadaFP It also notes that Iran's prisons house for elders, pregnant women or mothers with infants, suffer from weak immune system.
Subsequent letters repeat these requests and note the absence of any government response. In the latest letter obtained by Amnesty Int'l, 5 July 2020, a senior official at the Prisons Org. states they had received no response from the Ministry of Health, wanting urgent meeting.
State Denial: On 6 April 2020, Asghar Jahangir said Iran must be recognized internationally for its efforts to protect prisoners during #COVID19 outbreak and claimed prisoners enjoy "better standards of healthcare and sanitation than they would in society."‼️
He also claimed that medical teams had been stationed in prisons across the country to monitor health of prisoners daily and that those who show symptoms are immediately tested and transferred to hospitals outside prison if results are positive. He claimed NO case of deaths...
However, documents obtained by Amnesty, together with the information received from prisoners and their families and independent #HumanRights defenders, paint a far grimmer picture. Amnesty has distressing reports of prisoners with pre-existing heart and lung problems neglected.
When their conditions worsen, many are merely quarantined in a separate section in the prison or placed in solitary confinement without access to adequate healthcare. Zeinab Jalalian tested positive and was forcibly disappeared since 25 June 2020.
She had been on hunger strike from 6 days earlier over the authorities' refusal to transfer her to a medical centre outside Shahr-e Rey Prison (AKA Gharchak Prison) in #Tehran province for #covid_19 related treatment.
@KuwaitMissionUN @PLinUN @UN_Women
As seen most recently in the case of ailing human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Narges Mohammadi, authorities have refused to inform prisoners of the results of their #COVID19 tests‼️ @WHO
Independent HR groups with contacts inside prisons have reported +20 cases
These #coronavirus death cases in prison include:
⭕️Ghezel Hesar(2)
❌Greater Tehran Penitentiary(6)
⭕️Shahr-e Rey(2)
As media states, the regime in Iran denied WHO access to Evin Prison in Tehran on March 2020 @mbachelet
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