Death, Cancer and Injustice Threaten Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s Life

May 19, 20160 comments

Seven years ago, Afshin Sohrabzadeh was sentenced to 25 years in prison, after being convicted of working with Kurdish political parties. Since then, he has been held in a number of prisons in Iran. Throughout these years, this political prisoner has suffered from several diseases, including colon cancer. He was exiled to Minab Prison, where he underwent colon surgery in 2015. The operation was a failure and resulted in infection and internal bleeding.

In protest against his situation and the lack of proper medical care, he began a hunger strike by sewing his lips closed on Monday, April 11, 2016. Amnesty International published an Urgent Action Statement for Sohrabzadeh, titled Prisoner In Need of Urgent Medical Care. Based on published documents, the head of Minab Prison announced that he was saved at least once from certain death.

Sohrabzadeh was deprived of health insurance while incarcerated and his insurance card was confiscated at the time of his arrest. The high cost of treatment and medication and the inability of his family to provide it made his situation more difficult.

The right to life is one the most basic rights of every human being. Iran’s Judiciary is causing serious physical harm and even death of prisoners during their imprisonment by ignoring their right of life. Akbar Mohammadi, Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi, Abdolreza Jabari, Amir Hossein Heshmat Saran, Omidreza Mirsayafi, Mohsen Dogmechi, Hoda Saber, Naser Khani Zadeh, Mansour Radpour, Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Zaliyeh Naghshbandian, Alireza Karami Kheir Abadi, Afshin Osanlou, Saeed Kamali, Ali Naroui, Mostafa Nosrati and Shahrokh Zamani are only a few of the prisoners who have died in prison due to the lack of medical care by Iran’s Judiciary system.

What is happening inside Iran’s prisons is in violation of the Islamic Republic’s own laws. Article 113 of Iran’s Prisons Organization Law, adopted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005, states: “Soon after the prisoner feels ill, he or she should inform the prison authorities and should receive referral to use the prison’s infirmary or a related healthcare facility to receive medical care and the necessary medication.” Also, Article 120 of the same law indicates that “the head of prison’s clinic is required to visit and inquire about the patients‘ health on a daily basis and make certain that proper care is provided by doctors and nurses, monitoring their treatment and the quality of food continuously.”

Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s health is a cause for great concern and there is fear he will perish in prison like the other prisoners mentioned above. This political prisoner is in urgent need of medical care outside of prison, and without any limitations.

We, the undersigned organizations, demand that the Iranian Government acts within the framework of the UN’s international human rights treaties, the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and human values, and, provide full and urgent medical care for Afshin Sohrabzadeh. We are also demanding that Mr. Sohrabzadeh be granted immediate medical furlough, before he is provided with a fair trial based on the rule of law. We urge the Iranian Judiciary to begin an investigation into the mistreatment and torture taking place in the Kamyaran Intelligence Office, based on the violations in the case of Afshin Sohrabzadeh and the many cases before him.

Names of Organizations:

Shirin Ebadi, President
Centre for Defenders of Human Rights

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director
Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

Shadi Sadr, Co-Director
Justice for Iran

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Director
United for Iran

Keyvan Rafiee, Executive Director
Human Rights Activists in Iran

Mani Mostofi, Director
Impact Iran

Mahmood AmiryMoghaddam, Executive Director
Iran Human Rights

Mehrangiz Kar, Chairperson
Siamak Pourzand Foundation

Habibullah Sarbazi
Baloch Activists Campaign

Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council in Geneva
All Human Rights for All in Iran

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative
Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’IranGenève (KMMKG)

Raphaël ChenuilHazan, Executive Director
Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)

Rebin Rahmani, Director of European Branch
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network