UN ‘horrified’ as young offender dies in Iran after guard beating

Iran, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, has released some 100,000 prisoners, or around 40 percent of its entire prison population, to reducing crowding. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 03 April 2020

UN ‘horrified’ as young offender dies in Iran after guard beating

  • The United Nations rights office said it had received information that Daniel Zeinolabedini died after suffering beatings following a riot in Mahabad prison
  • Zeinolabedini was put in solitary confinement and beaten by security officials

GENEVA: The UN voiced outrage Friday over the death of a juvenile offender in Iran following reported beatings by guards after prisoners protested seeking their release due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United Nations rights office said it had received information that Daniel Zeinolabedini died after suffering beatings following a riot in Mahabad prison in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province on March 28.
“We are horrified at the death of a juvenile offender after he was reportedly badly beaten by security officers,” spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva in a virtual briefing.
He said prisoners at Mahabad had been protesting against their “prison conditions and the failure of the authorities to temporarily release them amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Iran, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, has released some 100,000 prisoners, or around 40 percent of its entire prison population, to reducing crowding.
Zeinolabedini, who was on death row for a murder he allegedly committed in September 2017 at the age of 17, was put in solitary confinement and beaten by security officials at Mahabad.
He was then transferred to Miandoab prison in the same region, where he also suffered abuse, according to information provided to the rights office.
“His family said he called them on March 31 to tell them he had been badly beaten, could hardly breathe and desperately needed help. His death was confirmed on April 2,” Colville said.
The rights office said it was “particularly shocked” at Zeinolabedini’s case, since his conviction and death sentence were upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court, despite death sentences for crimes committed by minors being strictly prohibited by international law.
Colville stressed that Zeinolabedini had continued to profess his innocence.
“We call on the Iranian authorities to immediately conduct an independent and impartial investigation into Zeinolabedini’s death and hold those responsible to account,” he said.
’We are also concerned at the fate of six other people who were also reportedly beaten during the riot on March 28 and taken to Miandoab prison,” he added, urging Iranian authorities “to take all measures to protect their lives.”


UAE confirms 661 new coronavirus cases

Updated 31 min 30 sec ago

UAE confirms 661 new coronavirus cases

  • There were two fatalities overnight, raising the death toll to 264
  • A total of 386 people were cleared of COVID-19 infections

DUBAI: The UAE has recorded 661 new coronavirus cases overnight after conducting additional 37,000 tests, bringing the country’s total to 34,557, the health ministry said.
There were also two fatalities overnight, raising the death toll to 264, state news agency WAM reported citing the ministry.
But 386 people meanwhile were cleared of COVID-19 infections, raising the number of patient recovery to 17,932.
The ministry urged people to follow social distancing and other preventive measures to avoid coronavirus transmission.