More than 80 political and civil rights inmates in Sheyban (Shiban) prison in Ahvaz have been taken to an unknown detention center, an Iranian-Arab activist, Karim Dahimi, told Radio Farda on Tuesday, April 7.
Ahvaz is the capital city of the oil-rich Khuzestan province, southwest Iran, where the majority of Arabic-speaking Iranians live.
The decision to transfer the prisoners was taken after the inmates held a protest to the lack of health facilities and the possibility of the novel Coronavirus outbreak on March 31, Dahimi said, adding that the security forces suppressed the uprising with full force.
According to Dahimi, several inmates were hit by bullets, and there is no information on their whereabouts.
Speaking to Radio Farda, Dahimi asserted that he has collected the names of eight prisoners, some battered and tortured by the security forces.
Several prisons across Iran witnessed protests to conditions in facilities and being deprived of furlough amid the deadly virus outbreak.
Meanwhile, an unknown number of inmates in Sheyban and Sepidar prisons in Ahvaz were killed during clashes with the security forces last week, reports say.
Based on separate reports filed by human rights groups, the Islamic Republic security forces have so far killed ten inmates in Tehran's infamous prison, Fashafuyeh (the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, GTCP), and Qarchak detention center in the city of Varamin, as well as in a jail in the city of Orumieh, northwest Iran.
"The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing pre-trial detainees and those who may be at particular risk of severe illness or death," Amnesty International said in a statement on March 26.