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The start of a fifth COVID-19 wave in Iran, amidst national water and electricity shortages and unhygienic prison conditions, has greatly increased the risks of outbreaks among prisoners, some of whom have died and a growing number of whom are testing positive for the virus.  

In an audio message recorded in Tehran’s Evin Prison and shared on Twitter on July 17, 2021, Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, a women’s rights activist, said the authorities were doing nothing to ensure prisoners’ safety. “The deputy prison director came by and I told him, ‘It looks like you have thrown the prisoners behind closed doors so they could all die together,’” said Motallebzadeh in the message.  

“Very casually he replied,‘It’s the same outside. People are dying outside, too. There’s no difference.You die, too.’ "