Iran: UN appeals for medical care of political prisoners
A group of independent United Nations human rights experts on Thursday voiced alarm at the denial of medical care to two political prisoners in Iran who are at risk of dying in detention due to worsening health conditions, and urged the authorities to provide them with treatment.
The experts have made a number of urgent appeals to the Iranian Government about the denial of medical care and mistreatment of blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari and religious cleric Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi. However, a formal response from the Government to the most recent appeals is yet to be received, the experts noted in a news release.
"We are gravely concerned about the worsening health condition of Pourshajari and Boroujerdi, who require urgent access to specialist medical treatment outside prison," they stated. "The prison authorities have so far denied this fundamental right, despite prison physicians recommending such urgent care."
Pourshajari (aka Siamak Mehr) was arrested for blogging in September 2010, and is currently serving a four-year prison term in Ghezal Hesar prison in Karaj. He had a heart attack and has been suffering from prostate disease, and has kidney stones, high sugar level, breathing problems, and high blood pressure.
Boroujerdi, currently held in Evin Prison, was arrested for his religious beliefs on 8 October 2006 and is serving 11 years in prison. He suffers from Parkinson's disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, breathing and walking problems, kidney stones and a heart condition.
According to the news release, the two men's health condition, deemed to require urgent hospital transfer, has deteriorated due to "physical abuse, poor prison conditions, prolonged solitary confinement, and other forms of repeated torture and ill-treatment."
The experts reminded the Iranian Government of its obligations under international standards to respect the prisoners' right to health and to ensure humane treatment, which requires transferring sick prisoners who need specialist medical care to a specialized institution or civil hospital.
"Pourshajari and Boroujerdi were imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression. They should not only receive urgent medical treatment but also be released," said the experts.
The Special Rapporteurs on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed; on the right to health, Anand Grover; on torture, Juan Mendez; on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue; and on freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt are all appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and charged with monitoring, reporting and advising on human rights issues in an independent and unpaid capacity.
(Posted on 11-04-2014)