Iran’s Hidden Coronavirus Victims: Prisoners, Migrants, And the Poor

Iranian security forces killed thirty-five prisoners during a riot over coronavirus, Amnesty International reported.

The novel coronavirus has spread through Iran amid an economic meltdown, leaving the poor and vulnerable segments of society more at risk. Reports have emerged of violence in prisons—particularly in ethnic minority regions—as well as coronavirus cases in migrant neighborhoods and social service centers. Meanwhile, the government has struggled to provide for the poorest segments of Iranian society.

“If you are a second-class citizen, your community is likely to be more impacted by this pandemic in Iran,” noted Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “We’re talking about fewer and fewer resources in an already-discriminatory system.”

The riots identified by Amnesty International took place at Sepidar and Sheiban prisons in Khuzestan, a restive Arab province often known as al-Ahwaz, on March 30 and 31. Prisoners had staged protests over their conditions, which they feared would spread the coronavirus.

Read More: The National Interest