Critically ill human rights defender Arash Sadeghi held at Raja’i Shahr prison, is under increasing pressure by Iranian regime officials.
Despite suffering from cancer and deteriorating health conditions, Sadeghi has been deprived of access to the minimum needed medical facilities.
His health condition has extremely deteriorated over the past weeks as he has been suffering from a serious infection in his surgical wound due to unsanitary conditions and medical malpractice.
Arash Sadeghi was re-imprisoned only two days after a major surgery, despite advice from its own doctors to extend his temporary leave because of potentially life-threatening cancer.
This was against strict explicit medical advice that required him to spend at least 25 days hospitalized following the operation so that he could be monitored by specialist doctors. Doctors said that they needed this post-operative recovery period to assess whether Arash Sadeghi required chemotherapy, radiation therapy or additional surgery.
After the surgery, Sadeghi has been taking antibiotics, and without proper food, his body is weakening every day. Sadeghi is being kept in a ward that lacks warm water and heating appliances, and because the windows have been sealed, there’s no proper air circulation in the ward.
In additions to bone marrow cancer, Arash Sadeghi suffers from severe digestive problems. But due to the conditions imposed by prison officials, he is not able to carry out regular treatment and he can’t eat the prison food. The increasing pressure has caused his body to become weak and frail.
Arash Sadeghi, was diagnosed with a cancerous bone tumour in August. 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.
After months of untreated pain a doctor in a hospital outside the prison discovered the tumor in June 2018 but prison authorities have consistently prevented him from receiving specialized medical treatment. After Sadeghi underwent a surgery and was returned to Raja’i Shahr Prison, he developed a serious infection.
“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.
Political prisoner Golrokh Iraee reached out in an open letter to protest continued denial of medical treatment to her husband Arash Sadeghi, a political prisoner detained in Gohardasht Prison who suffers from cancer, and called for help to save his life.
Political prisoner Golrokh Iraee, incarcerated in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, in an open letter released on November 12, 2018, wrote, “From December 2017 until now, without any clear explanations, me and my husband, Arash Sadeghi, have been deprived of visits and telephone call rights. And during this whole period of time, except for a 2-hour visit that happened more than five months ago, we have had no contact with each other and we are completely unaware of each other’s conditions.”
Referring to her husband’s deteriorating condition, she added, “In recent months, I have been hearing a lot of news of Arash’s deteriorating situation due to cancer. Ultimately, all that was done was him being dispatched to the hospital for surgery. But he was quickly returned to prison only a couple of days after the surgery upon insistence of the (IRGC) Sarallah Corps and despite the medical staffs’ opposition.
“The dispensary of Raja’i Shahrhas asserted that the progress of the disease and the lack of facilities in the prison are at such degree that health officials would not take responsibility for the consequences of Arash’s presence in prison after surgery. With the onset of post-surgical infection, Arash is still kept in prison and officials have opposed dispatching him to the hospital.”
Golrokh Iraee expressed concern over the failure to start post-surgical chemotherapy for her husband, Arash Sadeghi and the inability of the medical staff at Raja’i Shahr Prison to provide him the necessary treatment.
Stressing that every prisoner is entitled to have access to treatment, Golrokh Iraee concluded, “Certainly, in the face of the increasing indifference toward my husband’s health, Arash’s ability and strength to confront what is ahead of him rises, getting through this just like other pressures, damages and injustices.”
Since June 2016, Sadeghi, 32 has been serving a 15-year prison sentence for engaging in peaceful human civil rights activism. He was imprisoned under the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “spreading lies in cyberspace,” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.”
His wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, has also been serving a five-year sentence in Evin Prison since 2016 for writing an unpublished story about the practice of stoning in Iran and for the content of some of her personal Facebook posts.