As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, some countries are liberating prisoners to curb the spread of the virus in overcrowded prisons or to make room for COVID-19 patients.
According to official reports, Iran has released 80,000 prisoners. Among them were the British-Iranian helper Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, who was arrested in 2016 for alleged allegations by the United Nations, activists and their families, and the U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, who is 48 years old In prison since 2018 after being sentenced to 13 years in prison for insulting the country’s top leader and publicly showing a private photo.
The United States Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said in a Explanation “Recent reports indicate that the COVID-19 virus has spread to Iranian prisons,” adding that “overcrowding, poor nutrition, and poor hygiene” were also concerns.
In Poland, some prisoners are sent home to serve the rest of their terms, many of which, according to Reuters, are monitored by electronic tags. The Polish Ministry of Justice said on his website that his plans could be extended to around 12,000 convicts.
Prison visits to England and Wales were canceled this week after people in the UK were told to stay at home while plans to deal with outbreaks and staff shortages were made. according to to the government.
The United Kingdom is also considering whether to increase the use of temporary release programs and is looking into ways to expand the ability to accommodate thousands of prisoners pending to be released anyway, Justice Minister Robert Buckland said on Tuesday in front of a parliamentary committee.
Such efforts would “relieve some of the pressure” and “reconcile the protection of life with the need to protect the public,” he said.
A 66-year-old inmate was the second prisoner to die in the UK after being tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to prison service. So far, 19 prisoners in 10 prisons have tested positive.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is being held in a London prison while fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States, was denied bail on Wednesday after a judge dismissed his lawyer’s argument that he should be due to the pandemic to be released.
Outbreaks have also started in US prisons. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is preparing to release hundreds of inmates this week, who he says are “at immediate risk” of contracting the corona virus. His plans could also include more than 1,000 prisoners detained in Rikers Island prison NBCNewYork.
“Our focus is to do this safely and with proper supervision after the release,” said de Blasio Twitter.
The convicted rapist and ashamed film mogul Harvey Weinstein tested positive for coronavirus in New York prison this week, according to the New York State Correctional Officers’ Union chief. The 68-year-old Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on March 11 and remains isolated.
Conversely, authorities in Moscow and Saudi Arabia have threatened to lock up citizens who are not isolating themselves or flaunting lockdown rules as governments continue to deal with the rapidly spreading corona virus.