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A Young Doctor and Suicide?

I watched the graduation video of Ramin Pourandarjani, in which he appeared in his best: a nice suit & tie (in the Islamic Republic wearing tie is not accpeted ), deligating his fellow students, addrssing his teachers with utmost respect, thanking them for their efforts of 7 years to make him a doctor, and calling his fellow-students guys (children) and reminising their joys and efforts to become doctors. He remebered that while talking among themselves, sometimes they questioned their decision to become doctors and he emphasised that every time he and his friends would repeat that they never regret that decision though they knew it was a hard job especially when one is a junior trainee in the A&E of the hospitals.

This young, energetic doctor's first assignment was the notorious Kahrizak prison, in which they kept regular prisoners and punishment was harsh. During the first weeks of the protests after the June rigged elections, tens of young men and women who were peacefully demonstrating against the results were thrown into vans and taken to Kahrizak, where in the middle of the hot summer of Tehran, they were kept in tin boxes as they called them, which were actually containers without proper ventilation and sanitation. The guards deprived them of the basic needs of a human being: water. The tortures these people endures is beyond words. Some were raped, many beaten up to death and some were infected with various viruses including manengitus. Three cases of death was reported, one of which was the son of an Islamic republic's high ranking personality (Mohsen Rouh- al Amini). All this happened while Ramin was a doctor at the centre and one can only imagine how he coped with what he witnessed and what he had imagined for himself as a doctor. He spoke against the conditions and his bitter experiences and now it has been reported that he had a heart attack in sleep! Kahrizak was ordered to close down on the orders of the supreme leader who wanted to do damage limitation.

A young, healthy man and heart attack! No one not even the functionaries of the regime believed such an explanation and for that they have ordered an autopsy. Will the results be public and those who created the 'heart attack' will ever be known is in serious doubt but the fact remains that Iran is losing its best brains in prisons and detention centres, on the death rows and behind closed doors where criminals are at work.

Two years ago, the young Dr Zahra Bani-Yaqub was killed in a prison in Hamnadan, a city in the west country in similar circumstances. She was detained in a park while walking with her fiance and a few hours later, the guards at the detention centre claimed she has committed suicide. Some fifteen minutes before 'suicide' she was talking to her brother over the phone in a jolly mood, telling him that she was waiting for her father who was on his way from Tehran to get her out of there. The efforts of Zahra's family to know what really happened to their young daughter has so gone nowhere. 

Ramin, Zahra, Mohsen, Sohrab, Neda, Zahra Kazemi (the Canadian-Iranian journalist who was killed in Evin prison), and hundrds of others are among thousands who have lost their lives under the cloak of secrecy  which shrouds the Islamic regime's judicial and security system which seems to have merged in a concerted effort to undermine human rights and the right of humans to life in a free society.   


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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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