(TEHRAN, Iran.) JUST IN: #Coronavirus Amnesty International Report: Says it has obtained several leaked docu ments signed by officials at ‘ Iran’s Prisons Organization ‘ that reveal that the go vernment has ignored repeated pleas by senior prison officials for additional resources to control the sprea d of the #COVID19 in the country’s overcrowded correctional facilities #AceHealthDesk

#AceHealthReport – July.31: The organisation reviewed copies of four letters signed by officials at ‘ Iran’s Prisons Organisation ‘ which operates under the supervision of the judiciary, to the Ministry of Health, raising the alarm over serious shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products, and essential medical devices: The Ministry of Health failed to respond, and Iran’s prisons remain catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks ‘

Amnesty International Report: Iran: Leaked official letters reveal state denial of #COVID19 crisis in prisons

31 July 2020, 00:20 UTC: PDF: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1328112020ENGLISH.PDF

These official letters provide damning evidence of the government’s failure to protect prisoners. Urgent requests for resources have been ignored for months.

Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

Leaked official letters newly obtained by Amnesty International reveal that the Iranian government has ignored repeated pleas by senior officials responsible for managing Iran’s prisons for additional resources to control the spread of COVID-19 and treat infected prisoners:

We once again call on Iranian authorities to urgently address overcrowding in prisons, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing all those detained for the peaceful exercise of their rights.

According to recent official statements, as of 13 June 2020, Iran’s prison population was around 211,000, two and half times more than the officially declared capacity of 85,000. In July of last year, Iran’s prison population was 240,000, according to officials.

The details in the letters stand in stark contrast to public statements by the former head of the Prisons Organization and current advisor to the head of the judiciary, Asghar Jahangir, who has lauded Iran’s “exemplary” initiatives to protect prisoners from the pandemic, and denied reports of increasing infection rates and COVID-19-related deaths inside prisons resulting from overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and lack of access to health care: “These official letters provide damning evidence of the government’s appalling failure to protect prisoners. Requests for urgently needed disinfectant products, protective equipment and medical devices have been ignored for months. This is particularly alarming as the letters also note the presence of a highly vulnerable population in Iran’s prisons” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of basic sanitation and medical equipment, and deliberate neglect of prisoners’ health problems, are making Iranian prisons a perfect breeding ground for COVID-19. The Iranian authorities must stop denying the health crisis in Iran’s prisons and take urgent steps to protect prisoners’ health and lives.”

The head of the health care office of the Prisons Organization first submitted a letter to Iran’s Ministry of Health on 29 February 2020: Four follow-up letters were submitted on 25 March 2020, 12 May 2020, 14 June 2020, and 5 July 2020 and these have been seen by Amnesty International.

#AceHealthDesk report …………Published: July.31: 2020:

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