London, 3 Sep – A prominent Iranian journalist, who was a member of the semi-opposition political alliance of “nationalist-religious”, has lost his right eye and part of the right side of his face; the result of being denied adequate medical care whilst imprisoned by the Regime.
Alireza Rajaei, who is recovering from a complicated surgery to treat his sinus cancer, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 2011 on bogus national security charges and for belonging to the Nationalist-Religious alliance.
The alliance is deemed to be “deviant” by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei for being too Western-inclined.
A Facebook post, which quoted Rajaei’s wife, Leila Liaqat, read: “The surgeons were forced to enucleate Rajaei’s right eye and remove some of his facial bones to control his cancer”.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said: “Rajaei’s maxilla and a part of his upper jaw, as well as his muster muscle were completely removed after his right eye enucleation”.
There are widespread reports of the surgery taking 14 hours and posts which show Rajaei on a hospital bed, with his right eye totally covered with a white bandage.
Rajaei, 54, developed sinus cancer whilst in prison but was never allowed access to proper medical treatment. His pain was described as a toothache by the prison infirmary and he was just given painkillers.
Those close to Rajaei believe that this denial of medical treatment caused the cancer to spread far enough that he has now lost the right-hand side of his face.
Reza Alijani, a Nationalist-Religious activist, has explicitly stated that the Regime is responsible.
In the late 90s, Rajaei was the political desk editor of popular reformist papers, including ‘Jame’e’, ‘Toos’, ‘Asr-i Azadegan’ and ‘Nishat’ that were all banned by the Regime.
He was also an Iranian parliament candidate in the 2000 elections, winning 771,677 votes (26.32%), but was ultimately disqualified by the Regime and replaced by someone close to Khamenei.
In 2001, he was arrested and spent more than six months in jail (including 91 days in solitary confinement) before being released on bail.
In 2010, he was arrested along with dozens of other members of the Nationalist-Religious alliance during the uprisings known as the Green Movement.
International human rights organizations, including Reporters without Borders (RSF), have repeatedly condemned the Iranian Regime for its inhumane actions against journalists and its blockade of press freedoms.
Recently, RSF stated that Iran is one of the largest jailers for journalists in the world.