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#IRAN

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Source: Middle East Monitor

Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, urged the state judiciary to temporarily release political prisoners to prevent them getting infected with the coronavirus, and allow them to spend the duration of the outbreak with their families, in a video posted online yesterday.

Fears of an outbreak within the prison were sparked after prisoners protested plans to transfer them to Ward 4, where as many as three inmates are suspected of having contracted coronavirus.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is reportedly investigating the claims, which are yet to be confirmed.

Sherry Ashoori, whose husband, Anoosheh Ashoori, 65, has been jailed by Iranian authorities for 12 years, said that a bus dropping off prisoners around Tehran stopped at the Taleqani Hospital to leave a patient, according to a report by the Guardian.

Families of political prisoners in Iran published a petition on Monday urging the release of their relatives and calling on officials “to put all prisons under quarantine in order to stop the spread of this dangerous disease among the prisoners”.

The petition stated that “given the very worrying news about the spread of the coronavirus in the country’s prisons, we the families of 14 political prisoners held in Mashad,