Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace laureate, has joined with three major international human rights organizations to call for the release of political prisoners in Tehran who are “seriously ill.”

Ebadi, together with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), its Iranian affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights, and Reporters Without Borders issued a statement on the RWB website, firmly condemning the denial of human rights in Iranian prisons.

The announcement asserts that: “Suspicious deaths and mistreatment continue to be reported in the country’s jails, especially Evin and Raja’i Shahr.” The report adds that “the lives of many prisoners of conscience are in danger. They include Narges Mohammadi, Mohammad Seddigh Kabodvand and Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who are all seriously ill.”

They go on to call for the “unconditional and definitive” release of these prisoners and an end to endangering their lives.
In recent days, several reports have been published regarding the critical health of several Iranian political prisoners.

Nargess Mohammadi, a jailed journalist and spokesperson for the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights(CDHR) of Iran, was arrested in May to serve out an 11-year sentence for “assembly and collusion against national security, membership in the CDHR and propaganda activities against the regime.” She has reportedly suffered from paralytic seizures and is in need of medical care.

Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand, a Kurdish political prisoner, journalist and human rights activist, has been on a hunger strike to protest the authorities’ refusal to grant him leave to visit his sick son.

Kaboodvand has also been sentenced to 11 years in prison for his journalistic and human rights activities.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is another political prisoner on hunger strike who has been refused adequate medical care by the prison authorities. The jailed blogger, who is sentenced to 15 years in prison, has lost function in one kidney and has been refusing food until he is transferred to a hospital outside the prison.

The rights groups say: “The Islamic Republic is taking advantage of the tension in the region and its talks with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States about its nuclear programme to divert attention from the gravity of its human rights violations.”

They add: “It continues to refuse a visit by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran. Contrary to national and international law, there is no independent monitoring of Iran’s prisons and respect for detainees’ basic rights. The international community must make the Iranian authorities cooperate unconditionally with the UN and allow a visit by the special rapporteur.”