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Ailing Political Prisoner Imprisoned for Facebook Posts Denied Medical Care

arabi_soheil2014-1Iranhumanrights.org - Soheil Arabi, who is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence for the content of his social media posts, is being denied urgent medical care, his lawyer told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

"My client has been having serious seizures and is in poor condition," said Arabi's lawyer, Amir Salar Davoudi. "My plea to the judicial authorities is to allow him to be transferred to a hospital or his condition could get worse and impossible to treat."

"I hope the authorities will show more concern regarding this case," he added. "They are responsible for his health."

Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.

Arrested by the Sarallah Headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on November 7, 2013, Arabi, 34, was originally sentenced to death for "insulting the Prophet," but Branch 24 of the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the sentence.

His family and lawyer have been hoping that his three sentences, issued by three separate courts, could be combined so he could become eligible for conditional release under Article 134 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code, which allows for only the longest sentence to be served in cases involving multiple convictions.

"Those who are sentenced to security crimes are not qualified for leniency," Davoudi told the Campaign. "But Soheil has not even committed a security crime. He was just a Facebook activist and for that he's being denied temporary release."

"Those who have been sentenced to less than 10 years in prison are legally eligible for temporary release, but Soheil's frequent requests have all been rejected," he added.

Arabi has also been ordered to undergo two years of religious studies (to prove his repentance), and banned from travelling abroad for two years after his release.

"Mr. Arabi must read 13 books on theology and religious awareness for two years and prepare summaries for each one to clear his doubts," a source told the Campaign in October 2015.