Protest Erupts in Evin Prison Over Inadequate Coronavirus Protection
Protests began this week in Tehran’s Evin prison after 12 prisoners recently tested positive for coronavirus, according to Iran Prison Atlas researchers. 27 prisoners sat in the prison courtyard and demanded immediate attention to resolve the situation. Iran’s prison conditions have been scrutinized by human rights organizations for years for their inadequate conditions and poor treatment of prisoners, and these issues have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Prisoners reportedly decried an utter lack of any protections for those incarcerated in Evin. Prisoners reportedly do not have access to masks or other personal protective equipment, disinfectant to clean their cells and other facilities, and Ward 8, which houses those who participated in the protests, is far too crowded for meaningful social distancing to be enforced. These conditions are believed to have contributed to the recent outbreak in the prison.
Following the sit-in, the head of Ward 8 spoke with the prisoners and agreed that their concerns were justified, but told them that the prison does not have the space or the resources to accommodate their demands.
The recent protests are not the first to have taken place over the prison’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a famous human rights lawyer and political prisoner in Evin’s women’s ward, recently went on a hunger strike to protest the situation. Sotoudeh was especially concerned with the judiciary’s refusal to allow prison furloughs for political prisoners.