Iranian authorities 'toying with life' of seriously-ill prisoner Arash Sadeghi | Amnesty International UK

Iranian authorities 'toying with life' of seriously-ill prisoner Arash Sadeghi

Activist Arash Sadeghi has been on hunger strike since October in protest at his wife's imprisonment © Private
The human rights activist had been on 71-day hunger strike in protest at his wife’s imprisonment over stoning story
 
Sadeghi has lost 20kg and is suffering from serious kidney malfunction 
 
The Iranian authorities must immediately transfer the jailed human rights activist Arash Sadeghi to hospital so that he can receive the specialised medical care he urgently need, said Amnesty International this afternoon.
 
Sadeghi had until yesterday been on long-term hunger strike in protest at the imprisonment of his wife - the writer and human rights activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee - who was jailed for writing a fictional story about stoning. After a global outcry, she was eventually released on temporary prison leave yesterday.
 
After ending his 71-day hunger strike yesterday, Sadeghi was due to be transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to a hospital last night. However, well-informed sources have told Amnesty that the prison authorities have refused to transfer him.
 
Sadeghi is suffering from multiple health problems, including inflamed and severely-infected lungs, severe drops in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting blood. Over the course of his hunger strike he has lost more than 20kg in body weight and doctors have expressed concern about long-term damage to his kidneys and estimated that about 70% of his right kidney and 20% of his left kidney are not functioning. 
 
Early this morning, he was transferred to the prison medical clinic after he began to vomit blood and suffered from severe coughing, nausea, and abdominal pain. There, he was given some anti-nausea medicine, pain medication and intravenous fluids before being returned to his prison cell. Iran’s prison clinics offer only very basic medical services and prisoners with serious conditions need to be transferred to medical facilities outside prison for treatment.
 
Sadeghi has since last June been serving a 15-year sentence for his peaceful human rights activities. His wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee has also been sentenced to six years in prison on charges including “insulting Islamic sanctities”. Her request for judicial review is currently pending before Iran’s Supreme Court. 
 
Amnesty considers both Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi to be prisoners of conscience who should be immediately and unconditionally released.
 
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director Philip Luther said:
 
“The delay in transferring Arash Sadeghi to a hospital is cruel and degrading.
 
“His situation is critical and he must receive specialised, urgent and potentially life-saving treatment without any further delay.
 
“By failing to authorise his transfer to hospital the Iranian authorities are callously toying with his life and flouting their obligation under international law to provide him with access to adequate medical care. 
 
“The Iranian authorities’ treatment of Arash Sadeghi has been utterly deplorable.
 
“First they unjustly imprisoned him, then they ignored his legitimate protest against his wife’s unwarranted imprisonment for weeks, and now they are denying him urgent medical care. 
 
“They must stop endangering his health and his life and order his transfer to hospital immediately, pending his unconditional release.”
 
Amnesty has documented a pattern of political prisoners in Iran being denied timely specialised medical care outside prison, often as a deliberate act by the judicial authorities, in particular the Office of the Prosecutor and prison administrations.
 

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