Iran Frees 54,000 Prisoners in Desperate Bid to Stop Coronavirus in Jails
Country resorts to urgent measures to tackle virus
Iran has ordered the temporary release of over 54,000 prisoners in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus in its jails.
Prisons in Iran are notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary, which reportedly makes them hotbeds for the spread of the virus.
Among those released from the jails include some of the regime’s political prisoners.
But only inmates who tested negative for the coronavirus and have been sentenced to less than five years are set to be released, according to the Iranian judiciary.
Moreover, Iran has not been transparent with hard data about the spread of the coronavirus within its prisons.
The Evin prison, described as a hellish dungeon where physical and psychological torture is common, has deplorable sanitary conditions.
On Tuesday, the British Foreign Office asked the Iranian government to “immediately allow health professionals into Evin prison to assess the situation of British-Iranian dual nationals there," but the country is yet to respond.
On Tuesday, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died from the virus, as other key officials are also infected with the deadly COVID-19.
On Monday, the Iranian Health Ministry recorded 523 new cases coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the known total to 1,501 in the country.
The number is a staggering 53 percent increase since Sunday.
American with coronavirus speaks out about what the disease is really like, shares advice— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) February 29, 2020
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71-year-old Mohammad Mirmohammadi was an Expediency Council member who advised Khamenei and settled disputes between him and parliament.
Iran's mortality rate from the virus is roughly 5.5 percent, higher than 2 percent in China.
The difference in rates has led people to suggest the number of infections in Iran is higher than what the country has officially reported.
The country's first case was reported less than two weeks ago.
Iran has also closed schools and universities due to COVID-19, but they have left religious Shiite shrines open.
Meanwhile, defiant Iranian Muslims demonstrated their faith by kissing and licking public shrines stating they are "not afraid of coronavirus."
Devout Islamic Iranians released online videos showing faithful Muslims licking and kissing shrines to show they have no fear of infection.
Nine hundred seventy-eight cases in Iran and 54 deaths have now been officially confirmed in Iran, the highest death toll of any country outside China.