Fruitless Efforts to Reduce Shahidi’s $600,000 Bail

Oct 15, 20100 comments

A source close to journalist and prisoner of conscience Hengameh Shahidi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that despite her family’s efforts to reduce her $600,000 bail, authorities at the Prosecutor’s Office have not agreed to the family’s request. According to the source, Shahidi’s health is unfavorable and pursuing her medical needs requires treatment outside of the prison. Prosecuting authorities have said that Shahidi’s family’s appeal for bail reduction is being considered but no decision has been made yet. Hengameh Shahidi has not been allowed to contact her family by phone in more than two months, and the only contact she has with outside world is through weekly visits by her family members. According to this source, Shahidi’s psychological condition is unfavorable since the amount of bail is unreasonably high and the decision to reduce the bail is taking too long. Background: In a recent interview with the Campaign, Shahidi’s mother talked about the journalist’s problems and illnesses inside prison and her lack of access to medical attention at Evin, stating that Shahidi needs to receive medical attention from medical professionals outside. Shahidi is a journalist who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence. (Link) “Hengameh has developed rheumatic heart disease, kidney problems, stomach problems, and severe depression in prison. She has even been transferred outside the prison a few times for MRIs, and prison doctors have said that she needs outside medical attention in order to address her ailments. I don’t know why the American hiker, whose charge was espionage according to the authorities, would be released due to her illness, but my child cannot go on medical leave for treatment. After two months, eight days ago they asked for a $600,000 bail in order to release her on medical leave. They know that Hengameh’s parents who are retired teachers would not be able to post a $600,000 bail…I wrote a letter to the Prosecutor yesterday, telling him that I am incapable of posting this bail…The worst thing for a mother is to see her child sick and be unable to help her. If I were to sell whatever I own in this world I could not come up with $600,000. After I get her out, I will still have to spend thousands of dollars on her medical treatment. My house is tied up as collateral for the first time she was arrested and released on bail. I have nothing else. They know all this. If they don’t want to grant her medical leave, they should just say it and treat her inside the prison,” Shahidi’s mother, Nahid Kermanshahi told the Campaign.