Iranian Prison Guards’ Unprovoked Attack on Political Prisoners

Iran - Urmia Central Prison
Iran – Urmia Central Prison

By Pooya Stone

Over 20 guards raided the political prisoners’ ward in Urmia Central Prison on Tuesday, attacking inmates and looting their belongings, under the guise of a “routine inspection”, shortly after the prisoners had protested the dire living conditions, including constant water and power outages.

The attack began at 1 pm local time and continued for three hours, with inmates doing their best to defend themselves and stand up to the heavily armed guards (six prison guards and 15 anti-riot guards) who were led by prison warden Sohrabi, the prison’s financial deputy Nouri, inspections officer Azar-Nia, and someone called Mohammadi.

Nouri and prison security chief Karbalaie planned to place political prisoner Ahmad Tamuie in solitary confinement but other prisoners reacted quickly and stopped them.

Many political prisoners were injured in the attack, while there was significant damage to the ward’s doors and windows, and it was reported that after the attack, anti-riot guards remained outside the prison, ready to attack again at the first sign of unrest.

One informed source said that all 48 prisoners held on this ward protested the attack by launching a hunger strike and that many of the prisoners are in danger of losing their lives.

The Iranian Resistance said: “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi are responsible for the health and safety of political prisoners across Iran. The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to take swift action to save the lives of political prisoners in Iran, send an international fact-finding mission to visit Iran’s prisons, and meet with the inmates, especially political prisoners.”

This call has been made by the Iranian Resistance, particularly NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi, on multiple occasions, increasingly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the threat of the coronavirus became unmistakably clear in March, the regime has failed to take the appropriate action to protect any of its people, let alone prisoners. The mullahs refused to allow non-violent prisoners furlough, to allow for social distancing among remaining inmates, and allow others to be at home with their families. They have even denied, as is typical of the regime, sanitary items, such as soap and bleach, to prisoners and prevented them from seeking adequate medical care. They are using the pandemic to thin the herd of political prisoners and this must be stopped.

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