Radiofarda – Reacting to two imprisoned women who held a three-day hunger strike, Tehran’s prosecutor-general has said that inmates “convicted of security charges” have access to the “best” medical facilities.
Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and physicist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi were on hunger strike this wee to protest being denied visits to medical specialists outside Tehran’s infamous prison, Evin.
Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi dismissed comments by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband accusing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ intelligence authorities of trying to coerce his wife into becoming a spy in exchange for her release.
“She was told it would be safer for her and safer for her family afterward if she agreed to do this,” Richard Ratcliffe said. “She was told to think about it and that they would return. She has been terrified ever since.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mohammadi, the deputy chairwoman of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Center (IDHRC), were on hunger strike from Monday, January 14-17.
Mohammadi and Zaghari-Ratcliffe have argued, “In a written assessment, Evin’s officially recognized physician has notified that we urgently need to be medically treated at a facility outside the prison, but, for an unknown reason, the authorities have ignored the doctor’s order.”
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt reacted to the news of the hunger strike by summoning Tehran’s ambassador in London, demanding proper medical help for the dual national.
“Today I summoned the Iranian Ambassador to demand Nazanin has immediate access to the healthcare she requires. Her ongoing detention is TOTALLY unacceptable and her treatment at the hands of Iranian authorities is a fundamental breach of human rights,” Hunt asserted in a tweet on January 14.
UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also wrote on Twitter, “As Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe starts her second day of a hunger strike, she is in our thoughts and we reiterate our call on the Iranian authorities to @FreeNazanin.”
Previously, London Mayor Sadiq Khan had also thrown his weight behind calls for Zaghari-Ratcliffe to be released ahead of her 40th birthday on December 26.
Iranian Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad rejected the pleas to free her.
The foreign secretary summoned Baeidinejad over the case for the first time January 14 to complain about a lack of medical treatment for Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The ambassador said little to Hunt at the time but later denounced the United Kingdom for “meddling in Iran’s internal affairs.”
“I told Mr. Hunt that Zaghari is an Iranian citizen, as opposed to a dual national, and has access to health care,” Baeidinejad was cited as saying by the state-run monopolized Radio&TV.
Dolatabadi also said on January 16, “The convicts being held in Iranian prisons for security offenses are provided with the best conditions regarding using phone calls, meetings with family, and medical care.”
Addressing reporters, he cautioned Western governments to refrain from interfering in the judicial affairs of Iran, saying, “Nazanin Zaghari and several other security convicts are kept in prison for very serious offenses,” the state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at Imam Khomeini international airport in Tehran, when she was leaving the country after a visit with her family. She was charged with ambiguous claims of spying and plotting against Iran and sentenced to five years in prison.
Hunt had previously accused Iran of keeping the British-Iranian dual national in prison as a tool for diplomatic leverage, calling it “monstrous.”
Taking dual nationals hostage is costly, Hunt said, warning, “Costs will be paid.”