Detained Activist Sheds Light On Evin Prison Conditions During Coronavirus

Alireza Farshi Dizjikan, an Azeri activist detained in Evin Prison, wrote an open letter to the legal deputy of Evin prison to attend to the horrendous conditions during the coronaviurs pandemic and enforce social distancing measures.

Noting international standards and the internationally recognized definition of prison and prisoners, the activist questioned the authorities’ conduct with regards to the safety of inmates during the pandemic.  


In his letter, Mr. Farshi raised the following questions:


Is there anyone to attend to the just demands of prisoners?


Are prisons supposed to turn into a killing field or a place where inmates are infected physically and psychologically?


What happened to the directives on granting leaves to prisoners during the pandemic?


Why don’t the authorities agree to releasing the prisoners, even temporarily until the conditions are safe?


Is it the law enforcement agents, or the interrogators, or the legal cases’ experts, who are stubbornly preventing implementation of the directives?


Is this just an issue of mismanagement or there are certain interests involved?


Are there individuals who intend to kill prisoners in the coronavirus infected jails?


Do you not think that these conditions are harming everyone, including the prison staff and personnel?”


What is more important than all these life-threatening risks and most necessary of all, is the failure to implement social distancing and to observe the hygienic protocols and standards during the pandemic.


For example, 17 inmates have been detained in a 12-square-meter room.


For 150 inmates detained in Hall no. 9 in Ward 8, there are only 5 toilets, only three of them are working. There are only three lavatories for these many inmates.


There are only 5 bathing rooms for 150 inmates detained in this hall. The toilets, baths, yard, etc. are filled with inmates who are living in close proximity to each other.


The small kitchens of the halls are also filled with inmates using them and no hygienic protocols are observed in the kitchens.


The yard of Ward 8 is too small for 450 ward detainees. The halls and the yard lack any disinfection and sanitary equipment.


In view of these circumstances, the possibility of getting infected is very high particularly these days when there is a new wave of detainees entering Ward 8.


There are rumors about the infection of 12 inmates in the halls of Ward 8. Since none of the inmates have been tested, it is very likely that if everyone was tested, many would test positive. I should note that the 12 infected detainees are presently kept in the prison’s dispensary.