Health of Three Men at Risk
(New York, June 5, 2008) - Iranian authorities should immediately grant three
men detained on politically motivated charges access to proper medical care,
Human Rights Watch said today. Cleric
Ayatollah Kazemi Boroujerdi, journalist and activist Mohammad-Sadiq Kaboudvand,
and prominent human rights defender Emad Baghi are in poor health and urgently
require specialist medical attention.
The authorities are holding all three men in section 209 of Evin
prison, a security unit where Human Rights Watch has previously documented
abuses. Baghi had a heart attack on May 11 and Kaboudvand had a stroke on May
19, while Boroujerdi suffers from a range of ailments, including Parkinson's
disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
"It's outrageous that these men's health is being comprised for no apparent
reason," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human
Rights Watch. "Iranian authorities have yet to produce evidence for why these
men are in prison to begin with, and now they are refusing to provide them with
In March and April 2008, authorities transferred Boroujerdi to the prison clinic
on numerous occasions. According to sources familiar with his case, Boroujerdi's
physical and mental health have continued to deteriorate, and the authorities
have denied his repeated requests to access outside medical care.
On October 8, 2006, authorities arrested Boroujerdi at his house in Tehran and
transferred him to Evin 209. In July 2007, the Special Court for the Clergy
convicted him on unknown charges in a closed court. Boroujerdi espouses an
interpretation of Islam that calls for the separation of religion and politics.
It appears likely that the authorities have targeted him for his
about the current form of the Iranian government.
Throughout his detention, Boroujerdi has not had access to a lawyer or physician
of his choice.
Baghi, who had previously served a three-year sentence for his writings, has
been in Evin Prison since October 2007. On
Branch 1 of the Security Unit of the General and Revolutionary Public
Prosecutor's Office charged him with "propaganda against the State" and
"publishing secret government documents" in his capacity as president of the
Society for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights, a nongovernmental organization
that he founded in 2003.
While in solitary confinement in Evin 209, Baghi developed heart problems. In
February 2008, authorities granted him a two-month release from prison on
medical grounds, although they continued to summon and question him during this
time. After the expiration of his release on April 15, authorities rearrested
Baghi and returned him to prison.
On May 11, Baghi suffered a heart attack. Authorities transferred him to the
prison's clinic but soon returned him to his cell.
Kaboudvand, a journalist and a founder of Human Rights Organization of
Kurdistan, was arrested in 2007 on charges of "endangering national security"
and "propaganda against the State."
On May 19, 2008, Kaboudvand suffered a heart attack in prison. According to
public statements by his lawyer, Kaboudvand's numerous requests for medical care
have gone unheeded.
Kaboudvand was also the owner, general manager, and editor of the
Persian-language newspaper Payam-e Mardom, which the government suspended
in 2005. In April 2006, the Public Prosecutor's Court in Sanandaj gave him a
suspended sentence of one year in prison on charges of "creating splits among
groups of people by raising tribal and racial issues."
Under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, prisoners
who require specialist treatment should be transferred to specialized
institutions or to civil hospitals.
"The Iranian authorities are responsible for the well-being of these prisoners,"
said Whitson. "This includes ensuring that each of the three men get immediate
access to the specialist care that they need. If this care is not available in
the prison, it should be provided outside."
... Payvand News - 06/06/08 ... --
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