Iran Human RightsPolitical Prisoners Denied Medical Care in Iran

Political Prisoners Denied Medical Care in Iran

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One of the longest detained political prisoners in Iran is suffering from severe and painful burns on his neck and back after being suddenly covered in boiling water whilst taking a shower, but the prison authorities refused to take him to the hospital, which has led to the infection of the blisters. 

Gholam-Hossein Kalbi, 61, who has now spent 21 years in prison, was arrested in January 2000 in Dezful. He was held in solitary confinement for 14 months in Ahvaz’s Ministry of Intelligence building and subject to brutal torture before being sentenced to life in prison in 2002 and moved to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. 

His only crime is support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) and a refusal to publicly demonise them as part of the government’s propaganda. 

Kalbi, who is currently held in Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz, is also suffering from a variety of health complaints, including severe infections in his gums and both ears, alongside hearing loss in one ear. 

The Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) urged the United Nations and all human rights defenders to take immediate action to ensure that Kalbi receives medical treatment for his burns and illnesses outside or prison, stating that the denial of necessary medical care indicates the intentional nature of the incident designed to torture him. 

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In a related story, political prisoner Mohammad Ashtiani is being denied medical treatment for low blood oxygen levels that, in addition to his asthma, almost suffocated him on January 26 and 27 following construction in the Central Prison of Karaj that increased dust levels. 

On January 28, he asked for treatment at the prison dispensary, where his oxygen levels were recorded as 80, but he was not taken to hospital or given treatment, which resulted in severe chest pain, heavy coughs, and a sense of suffocation. Without treatment, his life is in grave danger. 

Ashtiani, 57, also suffers from high blood lipid and GI problems. 

The father-of-two, who was a political prisoner in the 1980s, was arrested in March 2019 and interrogated under torture at the Department of Intelligence. He was then moved to the Central Prison of Karaj after being sentenced to three years and a heavy fine for “propaganda against the state”, “insulting [Supreme leader Ali] Khamenei”, and supporting the MEK. He is detained amongst violent criminals in violation of the principle for separating prisoners based on their crimes. 

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