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Hundreds Of Iranian Political Activists Urge Chief Justice To Free Prisoners With COVID

Iran -- Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi (C), in front of Evin prison, undated.

In a letter to Chief Justice Ebrahim Raeesi on Wednesday, nearly five hundred political activists living in Iran and in exile abroad have urged him to order the release of prisoners infected with the coronavirus, including the prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.

The letter signed by many prominent activists expresses concern about the spread of coronavirus in prions and warns that putting the lives of the prisoners at risk is not defensible, as health and treatment protocols are not sufficiently observed in prisons.

Reports about Narges Mohammadi and several of her cellmates in the Women's Prison of Zanjan has caused much concern. Judiciary officials say they have extended the furlough of 100,000 prisoners and will grant furloughs to more, but many political prisoners have been kept in jail.

The signatories of the letter have particularly urged the Judiciary to allow Narges Mohammadi who suffers from other serious health conditions, including respiratory problems, and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 to go on medical furlough.

In a letter from prison on July 13, Narges Mohammadi said she and 11 of her cellmates in the Zanjan prison, some 330 kilometers west of the capital, Tehran, are suspected of having been infected with the coronavirus.

The rights activist who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for "anti-government propaganda" and membership in a banned group opposed to death penalty said she would file a complaint against the authorities for being denied medical care and being subject to "unbearable conditions in prison".

“Unfortunately, the judiciary wants to teach her a lesson and force her not to take any stands. Not to be herself. Narges Mohammadi is being denied every basic right because she takes a stand,” her husband, Taghi Rahmani, told the New York-based Center for Human Rights In Iran last week.

On Thursday a notorious news bulletin of the state-run television known as 8:30 aired footage from the clinic at Zanjan Prison which had been filmed secretly as proof that she was getting medical attention. The short video which looked heavily edited showed a doctor taking Mohammadi's temperature and asking her how she is to which she responds: "I'm good, thanks".

The news bulletin in which Narges Mohammadi was shown is famous for defamation and slander targeting politicians and activists.