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Startseite Urgent Actions 2015 05 Release jailed iranian human rights defender Rights defender denied urgent medical care
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Abgeschlossen am 16. September 2015

Rights defender denied urgent medical care

AI-Index: MDE 13/2233/2015

Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned since 5 May, was taken to hospital on 1 August suffering from partial paralysis. She is being denied the specialized treatment she needs, and is facing charges based on her human rights activities. She is a prisoner of conscience.

Narges Mohammadi was taken from Tehran’s Evin Prison to the city’s Taleghani Hospital on 1 August, she had suffered partial paralysis for eight hours that day. Doctors at the hospital advised her that she needed to be examined by a specialist in order to be treated. Despite this medical recommendation, she was returned to Evin Prison the next day without receiving specialized care.

Narges Mohammadi’s husband, Taghi Rahmani, a refugee in Paris, France, has said that Narges Mohammadi was also taken to hospital on 27 July after complaining of lung pains. He said the doctor advised that Narges Mohammadi needed to be hospitalized for treatment of a possible pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in her lungs), but she was returned to prison without receiving adequate care. The next day, prison officials refused to take her to an appointment with a neurologist for her medical history of partial paralysis.

As well as being denied the medical care she requires, Narges Mohammadi is not allowed to make phone calls to her children, eight-year old twins who recently moved abroad to live with their father as they had no caregiver in Iran.

Additional Information

Narges Mohammadi was arrested at home on the morning of 5 May 2015 and taken to Evin Prison. Two days earlier, she had appeared at the first session of her trial before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on national-security-related charges, including “spreading propaganda against the system” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” Before her arrest, Narges Mohammadi told Amnesty International that the charges stemmed solely from her peaceful human rights activism. She said that this included giving media interviews; gatherings outside prisons before executions to support the families of death row prisoners; her connections with other human rights defenders, such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi; and her March 2014 meeting with Catherine Ashton, the then European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Narges Mohammadi also faces the charge of “membership of an illegal organization whose aim is to harm national security” because she founded Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty, a group campaigning against the death penalty in Iran. Narges Mohammadi’s lawyers were not allowed to see her casefile before the start of her trial.
Narges Mohammadi had been previously imprisoned in April 2012 and released three months later, after being granted leave from prison to obtain medical treatment for a health condition which caused partial paralysis, which was exacerbated by her imprisonment. Narges Mohammadi has also suffered from seizures and temporary loss of vision. Until her recent arrest she has remained mostly at liberty. It is unclear whether her arrest is related to her previous case or only to her current charges.
In July 2015, Narges Mohammadi wrote a lengthy open letter from Evin Prison to the Public Prosecutor of Tehran, in which she said: “And I, a mother in pain who is tired of hurt and suffering, has stayed behind. My heart has been torn into hundreds of pieces. My hands – without even trying – face the sky. Dear God, please take my hands and give me the patience I need. For a long time, I won’t be able to see their [her children’s] innocent faces. I won’t be able to hear their voices. I won’t be able to smell them while holding them in my arms. Oh God, my arms feels so cold and empty without the presence of my children. My hands move towards my chest which feels as if it’s on fire. My cheekbones burn from the tears that run down my face. The lava flowing from my eyes feels like fire from the depths of my heart.” See more information.
The Iranian authorities frequently transfer prisoners in need of medical care to hospital, but Amnesty International understands that prisoners are not always provided with actual medical care and instead are simply returned to prison. Whether done on purpose or by neglect, failing to provide adequate medical care to vulnerable prisoners is a breach of Iran’s international human rights obligations. The denial of medical treatment may amount to a violation of the absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment, provided in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Iran is also a state party, recognizes the right of all persons to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners also state that prisoners who require specialized treatment must be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Prison medical facilities must be adequately equipped and staffed to provide appropriate medical care and treatment to prisoners.
Iran’s own prison regulations are also routinely flouted by prison and judicial officials. The regulations governing the administration of Iranian prisons stipulate that a prisoner suffering from a serious medical condition that cannot be treated inside prison, or whose condition will worsen if they stay in prison, should be granted medical leave in order to receive treatment.

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