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Human Services

Coronavirus: Citing Crowded Prisons Renowned Attorney Nasrin Sotoudehs Husband Calls for Release of Political Prisoners

Reza Khandan a womens rights activist and the husband of prominent imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has called on Iranian authorities to release his wife and other prisoners to the extent possible to protect them from contracting the potentially deadly COVID-19 coronavirus in overcrowded prisons and detention centers.

After my detention last year I was incarcerated with 60 people inside a 72-square-meter room he wrote on Facebook on February 26 2020 referring to the time he spent in Tehrans Evin Prison for peacefully advocating womens rights. The room was in a ward with 10 large and small rooms holding 250 people. The first person who enters the area without initial symptoms of the disease can immediately infect hundreds of people with the virus.

Khandans post comes on the heels of an open letter signed by relatives of other political prisoners calling on Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi to free their loved ones on furlough (temporary leave) until the coronavirus threat is contained.

Following is a translation of Khandans Facebook post provided by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI):

The lives of prisoners are seriously in danger because of the spread of the coronavirus and the high possibility that it may reach inside prisons.

The judiciary is responsible for anything that may happen in this regard especially considering the fact that the political prisoners are innocent and there is no reason to hold them in prison. All of them must be released.

Non-political prisoners as many as possible should be freed on bail until the disease is contained and sufficient arrangements made to control the entry of people infected to this virus inside prisons.

After my detention last year I was incarcerated with 60 people inside a 72-square-meter room. The room was in a ward with 10 large and small rooms holding 250 people. The first person who enters the area without initial symptoms of the disease can immediately infect hundreds of people with the virus.

Photo: Nasrin Sotoudeh in Evin Prisons visitation booth in 2011.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran


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