CHRI – Imprisoned for more than 25 years, Kurdish-Iranian political prisoner Mohammad Nazari has been denied hospitalization to receive tests for a tumor in his stomach, his lawyer told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 19, 2019.
“Sometime ago, Mohammad started having really bad coughs,” said attorney Mohammad Hossein Aghasi. “A month and a half ago, at my request, he was taken to the hospital and got an MRI and some tests.”
“Ultimately, the doctor discovered a tumor in his stomach and said Mohammad should be admitted for treatment that day, but the agents who were accompanying him said they had to return him to prison unless a judge grants him permission,” he added.
“He was returned to prison and scheduled to go back to the hospital on July 18 to have the tumor tested to see if it’s benign or malignant, but so far this has not happened and we’re extremely concerned,” Aghasi said.
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.
Nazari, 48, has been incarcerated since being arrest by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on May 30, 1994. He was charged with being a member of the outlawed Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.
“Nazari told me he had been tortured during interrogation and forced to accept the charge but he later recanted,” Aghasi told CHRI.
Initially, Branch 1 of the revolutionary court in the city of Mahabad, and Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Orumiyeh, both in West Azerbaijan Province, sentenced Nazari to death. Although his appeal failed, in 1999 a pardon issued on the occasion of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha reduced his sentence to life imprisonment.
Aghasi has requested for his client to be paroled based on articles 10, 99, 120 and 728 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, but so far the authorities have not acknowledged Nazari’s eligibility.
For the past 25 years, Nazari has never been allowed to go on furlough (temporary leave), not even to attend the funerals of his father, mother and sister and brother.
He has spent time behind bars in Mahabad Central Prison, Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, and currently in Orumiyeh Central Prison.
“At this point, all I can do is inform the public,” Aghasi said. “My request for a judicial review of my client’s case was denied two years ago and my requests for medical attention have been left unanswered.”
In July 2019, human rights experts expressed serious concern over Iran’s ongoing denial of medical care to detainees.
“Over several months we have communicated to the Iranian government our deep concerns about the physical and mental integrity of detainees,” the experts said. “Despite Government assurances, we are frustrated to still receive reports of denial of medical treatment, including in life-threatening situations. These no longer appear to be isolated incidents, but a consistent pattern.”