UN Human Rights Experts Concerned Over Iran’s Denial of Healthcare to Detainees

UN Human Rights Council

UN human rights experts expressed serious concern that Iran continues to deny appropriate healthcare to detainees, despite repeated calls.

“Over several months we have communicated to the Iranian Government our deep concerns about the physical and mental integrity of detainees. 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.”

Specifically, they raised the case of human rights defender Arash Sadeghi, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.

Sadeghi was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by a Revolutionary Court in August 2015 on charges of “assembly and collusion in the form of propaganda against the State”; “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran”; “publishing lies in cyberspace”; and “propaganda against the regime”. The experts said his peaceful human rights activism included social media posts and communications with journalists and human rights defenders abroad in relation to the human rights situation in Iran.

Prison authorities at Raja’i Shahr Prison have reportedly denied him access to medical treatment. Sadeghi’s health condition deteriorated after he was returned to prison against the advice of doctors and following an operation in September 2018.

The experts expressed grave concern for Ahmadreza Djalali and Kamran Ghaderi.
Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and researcher, held in Evin Prison and sentenced to death for “corruption on earth” for alleged espionage. Medical tests reveal that he might have cancer, but he is being denied access to appropriate healthcare.

Kamran Ghaderi, an Austrian-Iranian businessman, who was charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in Evin prison. He has a tumour in his leg.

The experts also were concerned about two women, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi, whose health concerns were detailed in a January 2019 public statement, have also continued to be denied appropriate healthcare.

The experts said: “We urge the Iranian Government to immediately and unconditionally provide all the concerned individuals access to the appropriate medical treatment and care, as well as to other detainees who are in need of appropriate healthcare.”

The experts also highlighted the unsafe and unsanitary prison conditions, with issues like overcrowding, contaminated food and water, rodent and insect infestations, unhygienic facilities, and inadequate temperature controls.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention previously found that the individuals named in the statement are being arbitrarily detained and has called for their immediate release.