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Amid Coronavirus Crisis Iran's Exiled Prince Calls For Release Of Political Prisoners


Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of Iate Iranian Shah Mohamad-Reza Pahlavi. FILE PHOTO

In a statement published on Wednesday, Iran's exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi said the Islamic Republic must immediately free all political prisoners, including the November protesters, to protect them from contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some Iranian prisons including Karaj Central Prison and Evin have reportedly been infected with the deadly virus in the past few days. According unofficial reports the unacceptable sanitary conditions in these prisons may cause an epidemic.

"Fear is spreading of yet another crime against humanity by the regime, this time inside the prisons. The Islamic Republic must immediately free all prisoners of conscience," Prince Reza Pahlavi, a leading opposition figure said in his statement and added: "The regime and its leaders are responsible for any harm - including through contraction of the coronavirus - that may be caused to any of those who remain unjustly detained in its dungeons".

Ali-Asghar Jahangir, Head of Iran's Prisons Organization, on Wednesday ordered prison wardens across the country to take special measures to prevent the coronavirus outbreak in the country from spreading to prisons. Wardens are to avoid sending prisoners to courts unnecessarily or transfer them between prisons, he said and advised them to limit prison visits to so-called "cabin visits" from behind glass windows.

On February 23 in a letter to Chief Justice Ebrahim Raeesi, the families of 14 political figures who have been imprisoned for demanding Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's resignation, said the Judiciary will be responsible if coronavirus infection spreads among inmates and leads to a "massive human tragedy" and demanded that they be allowed to go on furlough.

Judiciary authorities have not officially acknowledged the concerns of the families or responded to their letter.

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