Iran: Medical treatment is denied to political prisoners

Press Release
July 16, 2010

Iran: Medical treatment is denied to political prisoners

Iran Denying Medical Treatment to Political Prisoners; Many are Ill

Prisoners Held in Inhuman and Degrading Conditions, Say Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders

July 16, 2010

A year after the start of a major crackdown in Iran in response to the demonstrations that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection, more than 100 political prisoners are still being held in Iranian jails in inhuman and degrading conditions. Their most basic rights are being violated, starting with the right to adequate medical treatment, the human rights organizations Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said in a joint statement today.

The organizations say most prisoners are ill and being held in poor conditions. The organizations believe that medical treatment is being denied to the prisoners to put pressure on them and their families.

"We reiterate our condemnation of the arbitrary detention and mistreatment of prisoners of conscience," Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said. "All those who were arrested solely because of their legitimate media activity or for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly should be freed immediately and unconditionally."

The information obtained from families and from reports often published in the official media confirms that in the past year many prisoners of conscience have had heart attacks or other cardiac problems in different prisons, especially Evin and Raja'i Shahr.

The health of some detainees is deteriorating steadily. The prison authorities refuse to transfer ailing prisoners to hospitals despite their urgent need for treatment available only outside a prison and even when prison doctors themselves recommend it.

Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders urge the Iranian authorities to provide adequate medical treatment as a matter of urgency to the following political prisoners:

Shiva Nazar Ahari, Masoud Bastani, Amir Khosro Dalirsani, Rahim Gholami, Kouhyar Goudarzi, Nader Karimi Jouni, Mansour Ossanlu, Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand, Masoud Lavassani, Mojtaba Lotfi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Said Matinpour, Abolfazl Abedini, Nasr Hamed Rouhinejad, Issa Saharkhiz, Ali Saremi, Hengameh Shahidi, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Majid Tavakkoli, Behrouz Javid Tehrani, Ahmad Zaidabadi and Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi

"The authorities are responsible for the health and safety of all persons they detain," the organizations said. "They must provide them with access to adequate medical care, outside detention centers if necessary."

Iran's internal prison regulations require that prison officials provide needed medical care to detainees. Articles 102 and 103 of the regulations say that "monthly medical checks are obligatory in the prison clinic" and that "if necessary, the detainee must be transferred urgently from the prison to the hospital." These regulations also say that the judge in charge of the case is responsible for the health and safety of any prisoner with a serious and incurable illness.

According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, denial of medical treatment can be regarded as violation of the ban on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights protects the right of all persons to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Furthermore, the United Nation’s minimum rules for the treatment of detainees state that ailing detainees who need special treatment should be transferred to specialized prison facilities or to civilian hospitals.