CHRI – Iranian political prisoner Saeed Shirzad could lose a kidney if Iranian authorities continue to refuse to hospitalize him outside of Rajaee Shahr Prison where he has been held for the past three years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has been informed.
“After sonographic tests, doctors said one of his kidneys has shrunk and the other is suffering issues from a cyst and if this trend continues, he could lose one of them,” said a source with knowledge of Shirzad’s case who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity on December 9, 2018.
The source added that Shirzad’s requests for hospitalization were being denied by the prosecutor’s office in the city of Karaj, where the prison is located.
Political prisoners in Iran, including elderly inmates, are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care. The threat of withheld medical care has also been used as an intimidation tool against prisoners who have challenged the authorities or filed complaints.
Arrested by the Intelligence Ministry in June 2015 for helping the children of political prisoners pursue education, Shirzad, 29, is serving a five-year prison sentence that was issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court for the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security.”
Shirzad had been admitted to the prison’s clinic for severe kidney pains on several occasions and had received emergency treatment at a hospital in Karaj on October 8, 2018. He has also been experiencing pain in his back, according to the source.
On December 8, 2017, Shirzad sewed his lips shut the day he began a hunger strike to demand improved living conditions at the prison, which is known for its harsh treatment of political prisoners.
For about 40 days, he only drank water with a straw through a crack in the stitches until the authorities agreed to consider his request and he was hospitalized.
The case of former political prisoner Alireza Rajaee, who lost part of his face in August 2017 due to sinus cancer that was left untreated in Evin Prison, put the spotlight on the ongoing denial of medical care to political prisoners in Iran.
Three months later, in October 2017, labor activist Mohammad Jarrahi died from thyroid cancer that was left untreated while he was held as a political prisoner in Tabriz Prison. Fellow labor activist Shahrokh Zamani had also died of a heart attack in September 2015 after being denied medical care in Rajaee Shahr Prison.
Political prisoner Omid Kokabee was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in 2016 after years of repeatedly being denied treatment for his symptoms in Evin Prison.