Reza Khandan, a women’s rights activist and the husband of prominent imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, has called on Iranian authorities to release political prisoners and other prisoners to the extent possible to protect them from contracting the potentially deadly COVID-19 coronavirus in overcrowded prisons and detention centers.

“After my detention last year, I was incarcerated with 60 people inside a 72-square-meter room,” he wrote on Facebook on February 26, 2020, referring to the time he spent in Tehran’s Evin Prison for peacefully advocating women’s rights. “The room was in a ward with 10 large and small rooms holding 250 people. The first person who enters the area without initial symptoms of the disease can immediately infect hundreds of people with the virus.”

Khandan’s post comes on the heels of an open letter signed by relatives of other political prisoners calling on Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi to free their loved ones on furlough (temporary leave) until the coronavirus threat is contained.

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