Iran Human Rights (IHR) – Arash Sadeghi, a civil rights activist and political prisoner who is serving a 19-year sentence in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, has now spent four years in prison despite deteriorating health and lack of access to medical care.
According to Iran Human Rights, Arash Sadeghi who has been in prison for four years, is in a critical physical condition due to ill health and the negligence of prison officials who have continued to deny him medical treatment.
Arash Sadeghi was first arrested by security forces on July 9, 2009, while protesting the results of the 2009 presidential elections. At the time, he was reading Philosophy at Allameh University and taking part in a student protest outside the university. He was taken to Unit 2A of Evin Prison, where he spent 50 days before temporarily being released on bail. It was not long before he was arrested for a second time on December 23, 2009, and taken to Evin Prison. The civil rights activist was released on bail on March 6, 2010, and issued a four-year suspended sentence.
Having been banned from finishing his studies following his release, he continued to pursue his human rights activities in Iran. He was arrested for a third time along with his wife, Golrokh Irayee on September 6, 2014. Golrokh was released on bail after 20 days while Arash remained behind bars for six months, before being temporarily released on a bail of 600 million Tomans.
Arash Sadeghi was tried in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran and sentenced to a total of 15 years imprisonment on charges of “assembly and conspiracy against national security,” “blasphemy” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.” The sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal, ordering Arash to serve a 19-year sentence, including his previous four-year suspended sentence.
It should be noted that had Article 134 (consolidation of sentences) of the Islamic Penal Code been applied, his sentence would have been reduced to 11 years and 6 months, however, there has been no sign of such application. Golrokh Irayee was also sentenced to six years in prison on the same charges of “blasphemy” and “propaganda against the system.”
On June 7, 2016, after the Court of Appeal ruling and while pursuing his case and that of his wife at the Evin Prosecutor’s Office, Arash Sadeghi was detained and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.
Golrokh Irayee was also arrested on October 24, 2016, after security officers raided her house in Tehran, to serve her six-year prison sentence. In response, Arash Sadeghi penned a letter from prison, calling the arrest illegal and announcing he would be going on hunger strike in protest. The political prisoner then wrote another letter listing with document evidence, every violation in the process of arrest, interrogation, hearing, sentencing and the execution of the sentence in his wife’s case.
Arash Sadeghi’s long hunger strike caused a lot of controversies and provoked protests and condemnations from around the world, even trending globally on Twitter for a time. Arash finally ended his 72-day hunger strike on January 3, 2017, after the judiciary agreed to temporarily release Golrokh. He was transferred to hospital after ending his hunger strike but was returned back to Evin Prison on the orders of the Sarallah Corps Intelligence Officer before his treatment was completed. Golrokh Irayee’s leave was not extended and she was arrested again on January 23, 2016, by security forces and transferred to Evin Prison to serve her sentence.
Arash was transferred from Ward 350 of Evin Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on October 17, 2016. His health continued to deteriorate as the complications due to the hunger strike were left untreated and have yet to be treated.
More alarmingly, Arash Sadeghi was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer in prison, for which he underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his shoulder. According to reports, despite the doctor’s orders that he be allowed to heal and recuperate in hospital after the surgery, security officials transferred him back to prison, causing infection and ultimately losing all mobility and numbness in his arm
Arash Sadeghi is currently denied the right to visit or call his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Irayee, who is being held at Qarchak Prison in Varamin.