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Political Prisoner Atena Daemi Denied Major Surgery After Authorities Insist on Keeping Her Cuffed

CHRI - Imprisoned children's rights activist Atena Daemi has been denied a major operation after demanding that the authorities fulfill their promise to allow her to receive the surgery without handcuffs and with a family member in attendance.

"According to the doctors, she needs to be operated on immediately," her mother, Masoumeh Nemati, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "I can't understand why the authorities think that a prisoner of conscience might escape her hospital bed? Where is she going to escape to?"

Daemi was due for a scheduled gallbladder operation on September 25, 2017 at Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran. She has been held in Evin Prison since 2014 after being arrested for engaging in peaceful human rights activism.

"The prison authorities told us that we could schedule the operation only at Imam Khomeini Hospital, and that's what we did," said Nemati. "This morning [September 25], Atena was brought to the hospital, but during the admittance process we realized that the prison director [Ali] Chaharmahali had ordered that she be cuffed on her hands and legs while in the hospital."

"Atena said she was a prisoner of conscience and will not run away and was there just to get an operation," added Nemati. "But the authorities said they had to carry out their orders. Atena refused and so they took her back to the prison."

Nemati told CHRI that her daughter was particularly upset because the previous day a judicial official had pledged she would not be cuffed and could have family members with her in the hospital.

She said, "On Sunday [September 24], Atena's father went to see the Assistant Tehran Prosecutor Mr. Hajmoradi, who made a verbal promise that she would not be hospitalized with hand and leg cuffs and she could even have visitors and chaperones."

After the incident, Atena's father went back to the prosecutor's office to complain, but he was told the prison director's order could not be rescinded.

Since November 2016, Daemi, 30, has been serving a seven-year prison sentence for meeting the families of political prisoners, criticizing the Islamic Republic of Iran on Facebook, and condemning the mass executions of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

In August 2017, Evin Prison Director Chaharmahali filed a lawsuit against Daemi, accusing her of feigning sickness and insulting the prison clinic staff after she was told nothing was wrong with her.

Her waning health worsened after she went on hunger strike for nearly two months to protest a preliminary court's ruling against her and her two sisters, Onsieh and Hanieh, for allegedly "insulting" agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and resisting arrest.

Daemi ended her hunger strike on June 3, 2017 after they were all acquitted of the charges upon appeal.

On July 8, 2017, Daemi and fellow political prisoner Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee wrote a joint letter describing their experiences in Evin Prison after foreign ambassadors were given a staged tour of certain sections of the facility.

"Did they tell you about unsanitary conditions and women's health? Or about the conditions inside the clinic where they prescribe wrong medications? Or about using sanctions and budget cuts as an excuse for the lack of disinfectants and cleaning material?" wrote the activists.

"Have they told you that for religious reasons, male prison doctors do not check female prisoners or give them injections and blood pressure tests? Have they told you there is not even one female nurse to carry out these tasks? Do you know how many hundreds or thousands of inmates suffer from kidney problems because of the prison's unhealthy water?" asked the political prisoners.

Free Iranian Dual National Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

CHRI - Iranian-British dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to 5 YEARS in prison in Tehran in a secret trial without due process. This is her story.

Iran Columnist Serving 10 Years Protests Illegal Prison Sentence Extension

CHRI - Imprisoned newspaper columnist Afarin Chitsaz has gone on hunger strike to protest the illegal extension of her two-year prison sentence that was scheduled to end this month, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.

Elderly Political Prisoner in Critical Health Condition in Women’s Ward of Evin Prison

Nooshin Dokht Mir AbdulbaqiHRANA News Agency – Nooshin Dokht Mir Abdulbaqi, 64, prisoner in women’s ward of Evin prison, in addition to aging and suffering from several physical and mental diseases, has got developed Alzheimer’s and her intolerance of serving imprisonment has been certified by a doctor. She has been sentenced to 34 years and 9 months imprisonment. In addition to multiple charges of insulting the head and founder of Iranian regime, she has been accused of “demonizing women’s condition and life in Iran.”

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Noshin Dokht Mir Abdulbaqi, born in 1952, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. In the winter of 2014, she was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and after about a month of interrogations and solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin Prison, she was transferred to the women’s ward of this prison on March 19, 2015.

In May 2015, she was released on the bail of 2 billion IRR. Ms. Mir Abdulbaqi was tried by Judge Ahmedzadeh and was sentenced to 34 years and 9 months imprisonment in 2015.

The charges listed in the warrant for this prisoner, are as follow: 1. Insulting the Supreme Leader, 2. insulting the Islamic Republic’s founder, 3. Blasphemy, 4. Assembly and collusion against internal and external security, 5. Propaganda against the regime, 6. Insulting senior officials of the regime through cyberspace, 7. Demonizing the status of women and their life in Iran, 8. Publicizing materials which led to ethnic conflicts and 9. Supporting the anti-revolutionary Kurdish groups.

Ms. Mir Abdulbaqi’s appeal court was held in Branch 54 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, headed by judge Pourarab and the verdict was precisely upheld. She defended herself without a lawyer, and never received a summons for execution of the verdict.

After receiving the warrant of confiscating the prisoner’s collateral property, she attended the Law-enforcement office of Shahid Moghadas Court in Evin, in October 2016. On the same day, she was informed by Nasirpour, Judge of Law-enforcement Office at Evin prison that the appeals court had confirmed her sentence and she was immediately arrested and transferred to Evin prison.

A source close to Ms. Abdulbaqi’s family told HRANA’s reporter: “She usually forgets her medication. She has told other prisoners that she saw faces on the wall moving their lips, wanted to talk to her but she did not know what they said. Sometimes she forgets where she is and when she realizes that she is in jail, she does not remember the reason. The sentence of 34 years and 9 months imprisonment has been stated in her prison paper. Confirmation of her Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia are in her file.”

This informed source added: “Her medical record since 2003 is in her file. According to available medical records and examinations conducted by infirmary and forensic doctors of Evin prison, she is entitled of “intolerance to enduring imprisonment sentence”. Despite the medical commission and confirmation of intolerance to endure imprisonment sentence, still nothing has happened regarding this prisoner’s freedom”.

The source close to Mir Abdulbaqi family, at the end said: “She suffers from confusion, tremor particularly in maxillofacial and takes antidepressants, anti-illusion, comforting and heart palpitations medication. Ms. Mir Abdulbaqi had to double her medications after the execution of imprisonment sentence and because of the prison conditions and lack of medical care.”


IRAN: FURTHER INFORMATION: SEVERELY ILL IRANIAN KURDISH WOMAN DENIED CARE: ZEYNAB JALALIANAmnesty - Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, serving a life sentence, is severely ill and requires specialized medical care outside prison. However, the authorities have persistently refused to transfer her to a hospital, apparently to punish her and extract forced "confessions". In protest, she has been refusing all medications since March 2017. The denial of access to medical care in these circumstances amounts to torture.

Lawyer Accuses Intelligence Ministry in Kermanshah of Harassing Kurdish Civil Rights Activist

CHRI - In the six months since she was released from a three-week detention, Iranian Kurdish children and women's rights activist Farzaneh Jalali has been repeatedly called in for questioning by the Intelligence Ministry.

Richard Ratcliffe Turns to UN and UK to Secure Wife’s Release From Iran

CHRI - After exhausting all legal avenues in Iran to overturn the five-year prison sentence issued in a secret trial against his Iranian-British wife, Richard Ratcliffe is taking her case to the United Nations and may sue Iran through the UK court system.

Political Prisoners’ Letter to Foreign Ambassadors Who Went on Staged Tour of Evin Prison

CHRI - Editor's Note: On July 5, 2017, dozens of foreign diplomats based in Iran went on a staged tour of Evin Prison designed to prevent any contact between the diplomats and political prisoners and inmates with legitimate grievances about the prison's conditions. The following letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), was written by two current political prisoners in Evin who were hidden from the diplomats.

Atena Damei is serving a seven-year prison sentence for peacefully advocating children and women's rights and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is serving six years for writing an unpublished story on stoning.

"We are in prison because we wanted an improvement in prison conditions and in the situation of prisoners," wrote Daemi and Iraee to the diplomats. "But with your participation in this staged game, you, esteemed ambassadors, have delayed our aspirations."

July 8, 2017

We have been informed that on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, a delegation consisting of 45 ambassadors based in Tehran were invited by Iran's Prisons Organization and the [Judiciary's] Islamic Human Rights division to visit Evin Prison.

When we invite guests to our home, we obviously try to make a beautiful presentation, even if the same place where political prisoners were hanged and shot by firing squads in the 1980s has now turned into a stage for entertaining 45 ambassadors.

We address you, the respectable ambassadors who were invited to visit sections of Evin Prison chosen by the authorities. You know and we know that for a long time Iran, especially the Prisons Organization, has been hit with sanctions for serious human rights violations.

For years Iran has refused to allow UN special rapporteurs on human rights, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed and Ms. Asma Jahangir, to inspect the country and now, knowingly or otherwise, you ambassadors have turned into a loudspeaker for Iran to present an opposite version of the truth about its human rights situation.

Do you really know how many wards and sections there are in Evin Prison? Did they give you a tour of Ward 209 belonging to the Intelligence Ministry, or the IRGC Intelligence Organization's Ward 2-A or the judiciary's intelligence unit's Ward 241? Did they show you the solitary cells without windows, ventilation or toilets? What about the cells known as the "graves?" What about the indoor courtyards? Did you see the blindfolds and handcuffs?

According to newspaper reports in Iran your excellencies were "amazed" by the good conditions of the prisoners and the conditions inside the prison. How many prisoners did you speak to? Did they tell you about the number of detainees, solitary confinements, interrogation methods and various kinds of physical and psychological tortures?

Why didn't they bring you to our ward where the female political prisoners are held? They probably told you Evin does not have a women's ward. Indeed that is a lie bigger than the lie they told you about having no political prisoners. We know that you could not and cannot find out about the situation of political prisoners because the authorities did not and do not want you to discover the depths of the tragedy.

We will describe for you the same prison that "amazed" you. Did they tell you who remodeled and re-equipped Ward 4 before your visit? You should know that on the day of your visit, the prisoners in that ward, which was redecorated at the cost of thousands of dollars, were taken out of their cells with the excuse that they were being taken to court and the hospital. Instead they were moved into solitary confinement in Ward 2-A and were forced to stay there so that they could not see you and you could not see them. Did they tell you that in that ward there are financial convicts, political prisoners and street thugs?

A day before your visit to Evin Prison, all newspapers were banned in the wards. They did not want us to be aware of each other because their theatrical curtain would have fallen and the truth would have been exposed. Did they tell you about unsanitary conditions and women's health? Or about the conditions inside the clinic where they prescribe wrong medications? Or about using sanctions and budget cuts as an excuse for the lack of disinfectants and cleaning material?

Do you know how many prisoners are incarcerated alongside inmates suffering from AIDS and hepatitis? Have they told you that for religious reasons male prison doctors do not check female prisoners or give them injections and blood pressure tests? Have they told you there is not even one female nurse to carry out these tasks? Do you know how many hundreds or thousands of inmates suffer from kidney problems because of the prison's unhealthy water?

Did they introduce you to a physician with the alias Shahriari? He's the one who finds out what's wrong with sick prisoners just by looking at them. He's the one who never dares to sign his name because he's afraid one day he will be exposed for his malpractice.

We wish during your visit you had taken a ride inside the prison clinic ambulance and seen how ill equipped it is. We wish you had asked your hosts to show you films from prison cameras showing the unsanitary conditions inside the prison two days before your visit and you could have seen that inmates inside the prison wear yellow-colored uniforms and blue-striped uniforms outside of prison. You would have seen how many doors and gates are opened and locked one after the other at the end of each guard shift and how they block the way when prisoners need to be urgently taken to the hospital.

We will give you examples of what goes on in the Women's Ward, where three locked doors and gates block emergency exits. Imagine how long it would take to open and close them in an emergency. We wish you could see how many prisoners sleep in close proximity on the floor and on the carpet in the prayer room because of lack of beds. We wish you could taste the food distributed to the inmates. Do you know we prisoners have to buy dairy products, vegetables, fruits and protein from the prison's store ourselves at many times above their prices? That is because the small monthly prison food rations are rotten and expired long ago. We wish they had told you about the enormous profits they pocket from this clever trade.

Did they inform you that a day before your visit, there were no vehicles inside the country's biggest prison? It was because taxi drivers who transport prisoners to medical centers and courthouses had refused to show up for work in order to demand several months of unpaid salaries.

Did they inform you of the existence of Ward 350, where male political prisoners are held? Or the ward that is exclusively for convicted clerics? Did they tell you about prisoners such as Mohammad Ali Taheri, who has been in solitary confinement for more than five years in IRGC's Ward 2-A?

You should know that despite claims by the head of the Prisons Organization, Mostafa Mohebbi, we the inmates of this prison are allowed family visitation not once a week but once a month.

Your excellencies could have easily checked satellite images of Evin's exact geographical area. You could have accessed credible reports about Evin and other Iranian prisons. You could have even found the names of the political prisoners and sought to know how they are doing and requested to meet with them so that you could have learned something about the prison you were visiting.

Now that that did not happen, we plead with your excellencies to avoid dancing to the authorities' tune about conditions inside the prison and its  prisoners and insist on surprise visits to Evin, Gharchak, Fashafouyeh, Rajaee Shahr and other prisons in Tehran and the provinces in order to gain a true picture.

We are numerous political prisoners. We are in prison because we wanted to present the true picture of the deplorable human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We have paid a heavy price for this and our families have also been intimated in various ways. We have even been kept hidden from you.

We are in prison because we wanted an improvement in prison conditions and in the situation of prisoners. But with your participation in this staged game, you, esteemed ambassadors, have delayed our aspirations. Your presence in Iran's largest prison became fodder for the regime's newspapers that carried such headlines as "Some countries and media show false and incorrect images of Iran's prisons."

They invited you in order to use you and to discredit reports by human rights groups and international organizations about Iran's prisons. You could and you can present a real picture, not a staged one, of prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran and thereby improve conditions inside them.

We the undersigned call upon you to ask the Prisons Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the [judiciary's] Islamic Human Rights division to give permission to UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir to travel to Iran and inspect the prisons and meet political prisoners and civil rights activists.

Atena Daemi, Golrokh Iraee
Evin Prison Women's Ward
July 8, 2017

Ailing Political Activist Detained Without Charge Subjected to Three-Month Solitary Confinement and Renewed Interrogations

CHRI - Hengameh Shahidi's Family Under Media Ban

More than three months after her arrest and detainment, ailing political activist Hengameh Shahidi has not been charged and is in poor health while being subjected to interrogations and solitary confinement in Evin Prison, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

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