Azerbaijani Turkic human rights defender Alireza Farshi DizajYekan is arbitrarily detained in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary for advocating for mother tongue rights, posting online about imprisoned activists and other peaceful activities. The Iranian authorities are denying him access to the health care he needs, including for his eye condition and high blood sugar. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
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Head of judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei
c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No. 15,
1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Dear Mr. Mohseni Ejei,
Azerbaijani Turkic human rights defender Alireza Farshi DizajYekan, is unjustly jailed in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary solely for his peaceful human rights activities, including advocating for mother tongue rights and posting on Instagram about imprisoned activists. He is being denied access to adequate health care, including specialized eye treatment. While on brief prison leave in May 2021, his eye doctor examined him and advised an urgent cornea procedure to prevent complete loss of sight in his left eye. He had first reported to prison authorities not being able to see clearly out of his left eye in July 2020 after ministry of intelligence agents punched him repeatedly in the face during his arrest. However, he was only transferred to an outside eye hospital on July 4, 2021, where he was told that he would next be examined in five months as his condition did not merit an urgent intervention. He was transferred to an outside hospital on one prior occasion, on June 29, 2021, after several months of frequent urination and numbness in his fingers, hands and feet. Doctors said he needed specific medication for diabetes and to follow a strict diet to manage his blood sugar not available in prison. According to an informed source, from his arbitrary arrest in July 2020 until these hospital visits, prison, security, and judicial bodies denied him access to specialized health care and his diabetes remained undiagnosed until the May 2021 examination by his own doctors while on prison leave.
Alireza Farshi DizajYekan was convicted and sentenced in two separate cases, both stemming solely from his human rights work. Following a grossly unfair trial, a Revolutionary Court convicted Alireza Farshi DizajYekan on March 31, 2021 of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system” and sentenced him to four years and two months in jail, a two-year ban on “membership in collectives, [political] parties and groups” and two months forced labour for four hours a day in a Tehran waste management facility, which is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Alireza Farshi DizajYekan was denied access to a lawyer during trial and barred from defending himself. The verdict was upheld on appeal in May 2021. These proceedings took place while Alireza Farshi DizajYekan was serving another unjust two-year prison sentence.
I ask you to release Alireza Farshi DizajYekan immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for his human rights work. Pending his release, ensure that he is provided with immediate and continued access to the health care he needs outside prison as well as his medication. A prompt, independent, effective, and impartial investigation must be conducted into his allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, bringing to justice anyone found responsible in fair trials.