Iran Should do More, Act Transparently to Protect Prisoners from COVID-19
March 6, 2020
As reports of COVID-19 infection across Iran multiply in a context of state secrecy, prisoners held in precarious conditions in prisons, detention centers, and camps across the country face grave danger. On February 27, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) expressed concern about prison overcrowding and the absence of measures to protect prisoners’ health (see newsletter ). Steps since taken by the judicial and prison system to head off the spread of the virus are welcome, though their scale and effectiveness remain hard to evaluate given a systematic lack of transparency. ABC is concerned by reports of outbreaks in several prisons, which may portend a serious health crisis for prisoners and staff.
*Correction: The arrests of alleged drug users in Qom here cited were conducted in July 2017, not March 2020, and the publication date of the ISNA piece referenced was July 17, 2017. ABC regrets the error. Mass arrests for drug offenses have nonetheless continued through the COVID-19 crisis, including the arrest in Hormozgan Province of more than 400 people in early March 2020 (Mehr News, March 7, 2020: https://www.mehrnews.com/news/4872302/)