Prisoners run amuck in Iran jail due to coronavirus scare


A riot broke out at Adel Abad Prison, the main lockup in the city of Shiraz in southern Iran, where prisoners broke cameras and caused other damage during a prison riot. Inmates panicked because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country which is the worst hit in the Middle East, Iranian state media reported.

Prisoners caused damage in two sections housing violent criminals. No one was wounded and no one escaped, Gov. Enayatollah Rahimi of the southern Fars province told IRNA news agency.

Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called “security cases,” often dual nationals and others with Western ties.

Families of detainees and Western nations say Iran is holding those prisoners for political reasons or to use them as bargaining chips in negotiations.

IRNA reported Friday, 70 inmates had escaped Saqqez Prison in Iran’s western Kurdistan province. Prisoners beat guards during the chaos, a local prosecutor said. Several inmates later returned on their own volition to the prison.

Since the beginning of the year, riots have broken out in prisons in Aligudarz, Hamedan and Tabriz as well, with some prisoners escaping, IRNA reported.

Iran has reported more than 44,600 infections and 2,898 deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

The virus causes mild symptoms, including fever and cough, in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. But it is highly contagious and can be spread by people showing no symptoms. It can also cause severe illness and death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems.

The virus has infected more than 857,000 people worldwide, causing more than 42,000 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. More than 150,000 have recovered. (Source: Mainichi Japan)