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Startseite Urgent Actions 2015 10 Elderly prisoner in need of medical care Health of elderly prisoner remains at risk
FI 233/15-1
Abgeschlossen am 11. März 2016

Health of elderly prisoner remains at risk

AI-Index: MDE 13/3342/2016

Kamal Foroughi, a 76-year-old British-Iranian serving an eight-year prison term in Tehran’s Evin Prison, was taken to hospital and received a number of medical tests in November 2015. The outcome of these tests have not yet been shared with him. He remains without consular assistance and has restricted contact with his family members.

Kamal Foroughi was taken to hospital and received a number of medical tests in November 2015. The outcome of these tests, however, have not yet been shared with Kamal Foroughi or his family members. He also had a meeting with doctors from the Legal Medical Organization in December, but the nature and purpose of this meeting remain unclear. Amnesty International understands that, prior to his arrest, Kamal Foroughi was told that he was at increased risk of cancer and was advised by doctors to have regular specialized medical tests and check-ups, including screening for cancer. Since his imprisonment he has complained about several health problems such as memory loss and back pain. He was transferred to a hospital outside prison several times between December 2014 and October 2015 but did not receive the medical care he needed because no specialists were available.

Kamal Foroughi was arrested on 5 May 2011 by men in plain clothes who apparently did not show an arrest warrant or explain to him the reasons for arrest. They took him to Evin Prison where he was held in solitary confinement for periods of time, without access to a lawyer or his family. He was only allowed to meet his lawyer the day before his court hearing which took place in early 2013. He was told in April 2013 that he had been convicted of espionage and «possession of alcoholic beverages», for which he is serving seven years and one year, respectively. He now has very limited access to his lawyer and is not allowed to write to, or receive letters from, his relatives living abroad. He is allowed regular phone calls but is only permitted to speak in Persian, making it difficult for his family members who do not speak Persian well. The authorities have not allowed him British consular assistance.


Kamal Foroughi was working as a consultant for the Malaysian national oil and gas company, Petronas, when he was arrested. International fair trial standards were not followed. He was not charged until a year later, and even then, was not given information regarding the reasons for his detention or the charges against him. He had no access to a lawyer until the day before his trial in early 2013, before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. He was not allowed to phone his relatives living abroad until August 2014 and Amnesty International understands that he was denied contact to anyone outside the prison between October 2013 and early May 2014. Kamal Foroughi has persistently denied the charge of espionage. His family believes that his friendship with a former British ambassador in Tehran may have raised the authorities’ suspicion.
Under Article 58 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code, the court, with the recommendation of the prosecutor or the judge overseeing the implementation of sentences could order the conditional release of a prisoner provided that, among other things, the convicted individual has shown good character while in prison and is not likely to reoffend upon release. Prisoners who have more than 10 years prison term against them become eligible for conditional release after serving half their prison term. Those under lighter prison sentences are eligible for conditional release after serving one third of their prison term.
The Iranian authorities frequently return prisoners whom they transfer to hospital to prison without ensuring that they receive the medical care they need. (See this public statement for more information) Failing to provide adequate medical care to prisoners is a violation of Iran’s international human rights obligations. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Iran is also a state party, specifically recognizes the right of every person to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules) state that prisons must provide adequate medical care to prisoners without discrimination (Rules 24-35). Rule 27(1) of the Mandela Rules provides that «Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.»
Under Principles 25 and 26 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1988), detainees have a right to access their own medical records and request a second medical opinion. Detainees also have a right to communicate and receive visits from family without unreasonable restrictions.

Name: Kamal Foroughi

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