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Environmentalist Suspected of Contracting Coronavirus In Iran Prison

Jailed environmentalist Sam Rajabi suspected of having contracted coronavirus in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. FILE PHOTO

An Iranian environmentalist behind bars in Tehran's notorious Evin prison is suspected of having contracted coronavirus and taken to Taleqani hospital, his sister disclosed in a tweet.

Earlier, Sam Rajabi's attorney, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, had divulged that authorities at Evin's clinic disregarded the environmentalist's condition and transferred him to the public ward.

Describing the authorities' decision as a "crime", Aghasi asserted, "If Sam Rajabi is indeed infected by novel coronavirus, they should isolate him. It is a crime to transfer a suspected coronavirus patient to the prison's public ward and possibly endanger the lives of other inmates."

The agents of the fearsome Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Organization arrested Sam Rajabi and seven other ecologists on January 24 and 25, 2018.

All eight are members of the renowned Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF). The Judiciary, hardliner politicians, and the IRGC accused them of espionage without presenting any evidence despite the public announcement of the Deputy President of the Islamic Republic and the head of the Department of Environment, Isa Kalantari, and even the Intelligence Ministry that there is no evidence to support such charges.

The environmentalists accused of espionage and acting against national security were held in detention for months without indictment. Some were in solitary confinement. They were tried a year later by a Tehran Revolutionary Court behind closed doors.

The founder of PWHF, Iranian-Canadian Professor Seyed-Emami, died under suspicious circumstances in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran two days after his arrest.

Weeks after the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, the judicial officials in the clergy-dominated Iran announced that they had temporarily released 70,000 prisoners to contain the deadly virus.

However, none of the political and dual national prisoners were among the 70,000 allegedly sent on furlough.

Meanwhile, prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate, Nasrin Sotoudeh, is on hunger strike to protest keeping political prisoners behind bars while the deadly novel coronavirus is killing hundreds in Iran, her husband Reza Khandan told Radio Farda.