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Commission warns COVID-19 spreading in prisons

Graphic: Commission monitoring staff undertake a prison inspection

The Commission's monitoring teams in Baghdad and other provinces have reported COVID-19 infections among inmates and prison employees.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) has warned of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases inside the country's prisons and called for immediate measures to curb the spread of the disease in places of detention.

"The Commission's monitoring teams in Baghdad and other provinces have reported coronavirus infections among inmates and prison employees," the IHCHR said in a statement.

According to IHCHR figures, a total of 67 infections have been confirmed in five facilities in the capital. Health officials have also recorded 15 cases in Basra's central prison, including one death, and 12 infections in a Diyala province detention centre, the IHCHR said.

The number appears highest in Nineveh province, where, the IHCHR said, the number of infections has reached 111, including one death.


Graphic: Commission monitoring staff undertake a prison inspection


The Commission recommended that the Iraqi Government prevent the situation from deteriorating further, as the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the disease continues to rise nationally.

The IHCHR statement said that pardons to selected inmates was a measure that could reduce the prison population.

"The Commission stresses that the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior apply the precautions required to prevent coronavirus infections and impose an effective control system to ensure the application of these measures," the IHCHR statement concluded.

Senior Iraqi officials, as well as human rights organizations, have previously called for a blanket amnesty for persons who have been convicted of crimes other than murder and corruption to reduce the prison population and ease preventative measures to curb viral transmission.

Date: 11 July 2020

Source: IHCHR


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  1. Commission monitoring staff undertake a prison inspection - IHCHR
  2. Commission monitoring staff undertake a prison inspection - IHCHR