A prolonged delay in hearing children’s rights activist Atena Daemi’s appeal against her 14-year prison sentence is causing a serious deterioration in her health, particularly as she has not been able to leave prison for the past eight months to receive specialized medical treatment.
Daemi’s mother, Massoumeh Nemati, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that prison conditions were causing her daughter to have severe headaches and weakening vision.
Earlier, Daemi’s mother reported that the doctor at Evin Prison had determined the imprisoned activist was displaying symptoms of multiple sclerosis and recommended she be seen immediately by a neurologist.
“We and Atena’s lawyer have made many requests to get her out on bail but every time it has been refused. Judiciary officials say they are afraid she’ll escape [the country],” Nemati said.
Prison authorities in Iran routinely deny proper medical treatment to political prisoners. Even though Daemi was sentenced on May 10, 2015, no date has yet been set for the Appeals Court to consider her case and she continues to remain in prison.
“She’s only 27 years old. How long should she stay in prison? Prison is not where she belongs. She has never been a political activist. She has never been a member of any political group. She doesn’t even understand the first thing about politics,” Daemi’s mother said.
Atena Daemi, a children’s rights activist and death penalty opponent, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization on October 21, 2014. Judge Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court condemned her to 14 years in prison - the maximum possible sentence for all the charges combined, which included “acting against the state” (7 years) and “insulting the Supreme Leader.”
Four other young civil activists are co-defendants with Daemi. They are Omid Alishenas, Aso Rostami, Ali Nouri, and Atena Faraghdani. The Campaign has learned that Omid Alishenas is also awaiting a date for his Appeals Court hearing. Atena Faraghdani’s appeal was heard on December 20, 2015, but no verdict has yet been issued.
The daughter of prisoner of conscience Mohammad Hossein Rafiee fears her elderly father is in danger of attracting serious diseases, including HIV, because of a health epidemic in Ward 8 of Evin Prison.
Mohammad Hossein Rafiee
“According to Article 100 of the Prison Regulations, the authorities have a duty to prevent contagious diseases. But unfortunately some inmates are HIV positive and some are suffering from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C but they are not receiving any treatment and no effort is being made to prevent the spread of these diseases,” Ana Maryam Rafiee told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, is a retired chemistry professor and political activist in the Nationalist-Religious Alliance, a peaceful political opposition group that is banned in Iran. He was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on June 16, 2015, and held at Evin’s Ward 8 ever since.
His daughter noted that prison authorities had failed to comply with Article 69 of the Prison Regulations which requires that prisoners be separated according to their background, type of crime committed, gender, age, nationality and physical condition. Mohammad Hossein Rafiee has been locked up with financial criminals and drug traffickers.
“Also, contrary to Article 95 of the Prison Regulations...inmates should be served dairy products, vegetables and fruits as well as meat three times a week. But my father said that soya has replaced meat and it’s rare to see vegetables and fruit in the meals,” Ms. Rafiee said.
“The regulations say that prisons should be disinfected once a month but...there are a lot of bed bugs and other insects and the authorities have done nothing to disinfect the ward, despite many requests by the prisoners.”
Mohammad Hossein Rafiee was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from political and media activities for two years by Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on May 25, 2015. The charges against him included “propaganda against the state through interviews with opposition media,” “membership and activity in a banned group,” and “use of satellite equipment.”
Three days after his lawyer lodged an appeal against the sentence, Rafiee was taken to Evin to serve an earlier prison sentence handed down in 2003, even though the statute of limitations on that case had since expired.
“One of the accusations against my father is that he was a member of the ‘illegal’ Nationalist-Religious group. But this group has never been declared illegal by a jury in an open court, as required by Article 168 of the Constitution and therefore the validity of this particular charge is questionable,” Ana Maryam Rafiee told the Campaign.
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