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Demand Medical Release for All Political Prisoners In Need of Urgent Attention and Care

Given the unusual historic times with war in Ukraine, and our receipt of an urgent cry from family members of Sepideh Gholian, our campaign felt the need to just issue this simple and real time alert on the dire situation facing Iran’s political prisoners. We are publishing her family’s letter at the top of this alert, followed by selected excerpts from various news/human rights sources.  

Numerous family members of political prisoners and organizations in defense of human rights and writers and journalists have been raising an urgent outcry about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s practice of deliberately killing off and taking vengeance on political prisoners by denying them medical treatment.

We call on you to join with us – raise your voices and actions, in demanding the release of prisoners in need of medical care, as well as our ongoing fight to free them all!

No more murder by medical neglect as happened to poet Baktash Aptin!

Below are a few prominent examples from recent news.

*An urgent letter from the family of Iran’s political prisoner Sepideh Gholian, (whose case is highlighted in the IEC’s Emergency Appeal).

"We want to explain the situation briefly and clearly: It is enough to say in one sentence that Sepideh Gholian's life is in imminent danger.
Sepideh had contracted the virus after the Omicron variant when it spread in the women's ward of Evin Prison, but it has become more severe.. Sepideh's body has become  so weak and unstable due to the prison transfer, her hunger strikes, the constant pressures of the past few years, plus untreated underlying chronic diseases -- such that even a cold can overwhelm her.
The effects of Omicron have caused Sepideh's body to reject most water and food due to indigestion, and secondarily to excrete it all (resulting in dehydration). Her body temperature has not yet returned to normal, and her weakness, lethargy, and jaundice are evident even from a distance. Due to this situation, with the help of the lawyer of the case, Mr. Raisian, we applied for medical furlough, which must be the right of a prisoner with a dangerous health condition. After much effort and insistence, the trial judge, while claiming  she had crossed a red line with her previous furlough, and was not entitled to another furlough, -- finally did agree to sign the form for her  medical release.

BUT the marathon continues -- from finding money for her bail to finding an expert and going through the paper work for her medical release.   Everything possible was done but at the last minute they said they would not give her medical leave. Simply put, Sepideh and the family's hopes were taken hostage by the judiciary so that they could show that they were firmly in charge and in power.
Powerful people who consider her revelations of torture and harassment of women in Bushehr prison as Sepideh having crossed a red line, they are using their power to destroy Sepideh's life in their prison.  
On the eve of International Women's Day, our Sepideh's life is still in danger."

* Denial of Medical Treatment for Ailing Political Prisoners in Iran Aimed at Crushing Dissent - excerpted from Center for Human Rights in Iran, March 3, 2022

“The continued denial of proper medical treatment to ailing political and civil rights activists in Iran is setting the stage for deliberate crimes against the many political prisoners in the country, including Sepideh Qoliyan, Soheila Hejab, Zeinab Jalalian, Arsham (Mahmoud) Rezaee, and Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi.

Fears for the lives of the activists are heightened by the fact that at least two political prisoners have already perished in Iranian state custody in the first few months of 2022 after being denied urgently required medical treatment: Baktash Abtin and Adel Kianpour.”

* Prominent Blogger Seved Hossein Ronaghi Maleki's Life In Danger -  excerpted from Committee to Protect Journalists, February, 2022

Freelance blogger and freedom of expression activist, Seved Hossein Ronaghi Malekim was arrested in Iran after critical tweets February 24, 2022. . . The blogger was reportedly taken to Evin prison where he immediately went on a dry hunger strike (no food or liquid).  “Hossein’s life is at risk because he suffers from several health conditions including kidney, lungs, blood, and digestive issues and we don’t know if the kidnappers will give him his medicine. ” His current status is unknown.  

* Two Elderly Dual Nationals Among Five Sentenced to Prison in Iran, excerpted from Center for Human Right in Iran, August 4, 2021

Elderly dual national prisoners Mehran Raoof, 66, and Nahid Taghavi, 64, were among five prisoners held on trumped-up charges who were sentenced to jail…as Iran’s overcrowded prisons remain rife with risk, with new COVID-19 infections continuing to shatter records throughout the country. “To condemn two peaceful, elderly people to prison under sham charges at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging throughout the country reveals the cruelty of the Iranian judicial system,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“These sentences indicate that the Iranian security establishment isn’t content with unlawfully harassing, jailing, and muzzling people, it also wants to endanger their lives,” he added. Covid continues to rage and kill in Iran’s prisons.  

* On March 1, 2022 #freeNahid organizer Mariam Claren launched a social media campaign to mark her mother’s 500th day of imprisonment.

These two cases were also highlighted in the Emergency Appeal that says

“Nahid Taghavi, rights activist, retired architect, and Iranian-German citizen, suffers from diabetes and hypertension. Her daughter Mariam Claren reports that her mother was kept in solitary confinement for 151 days, and was interrogated 80 different times for a total of 1,000 hours during her first 147 days of imprisonment.  Mehran Raoof, a British-Iranian citizen and labor rights activist, is “being held in prolonged solitary confinement,” according to AI.  Raoof was released from solitary confinement on June 12 but his health and safety has not been verified.”

International Outcry for Medical Furlough

All the international outcry had likely played a significant role in winning the recent medical furlough for Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi and others, as well as the permanent release of Atena Daemi.  

We call on all people of conscience who finds this situation intolerable to not only sign, circulate but donate and help us publish the Emergency Appeal in campus, community, social, cultural and political publications. The Emergency Appeal is now available in six different languages available on our website. Do write us with your questions and efforts