jeopardize health of jailed activist with cancer
Arash Sadeghi, whom Amnesty International considers a prisoner of conscience, having been sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2016 solely for his peaceful human rights work, was diagnosed with a cancerous bone tumour last month. However, authorities at Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, a city north-west of Tehran, have since repeatedly impeded his access to potentially life-saving medical care.
“The Iranian authorities’ treatment of Arash Sadeghi’s is not only unspeakably cruel; in legal terms it is an act of torture. Every step of the way, the prison authorities, the prosecutor’s office and the Revolutionary Guards have done everything they can to hinder and limit access to the essential treatment that Arash requires in order to address his life-threatening cancer,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The authorities are intentionally denying this brave human rights defender medical care, exacerbating his severe pain and deliberately ignoring advice from medical professionals. They are increasing his suffering for the purpose of adding to his already grossly unjust punishment.”
The Iranian authorities have continuously denied the 31-year-old vital medical care since he went on hunger strike in late 2016 in protest at the imprisonment of Golrokh Ebhraimi Iraee, a fellow human rights defender and his wife.
On 8 September, prison authorities were contacted by Tehran’s Imam Khomeini hospital several times to arrange Arash Sadeghi’s transfer there to undergo surgery scheduled for the following week. However, the hospital staff were told that the prosecutor’s office had not issued the required permission for Arash Sadeghi to be taken to hospital.
Doctors at the hospital had wanted Arash Sadeghi transferred there at least three days prior to the date of his operation to monitor him and prepare him for major surgery. However, prison authorities chose to transfer him late on 11 September, causing him to miss the original date scheduled for his operation, and thus disregarding medical warnings that any delay would endanger his life.
The surgery took place on 12 September and lasted over seven hours.
“After major surgery, Arash Sadeghi needed to spend at least one hour in the recovery room. Unbelievably, security forces removed him prematurely and shackled his left hand and left leg while he was still unconscious. Security forces then blocked the area around his hospital bed, which resulted in the medical team being unable to conduct routine post-op checks, despite protests from hospital staff,” said Philip Luther.
Read More at: Amnesty
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