Monday, January 9, 2017 2:27:30 PM
By: Kaveh Taheri
Arash Sadeghi and his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, photo credit by Google.
Arash Sadeghi, a peaceful civil rights defender and prisoner of conscience in critical condition, is reportedly being denied medical care by Iranian authorities. Arash ended a 72-day hunger strike on January 3, 2017, after Iranian authorities released his wife, Golrokh Iraee, from prison on a temporary leave. A recent report by the human rights news agency HRANA, quoting a close source, says Arash is currently unable to breathe without a pulmotor system and continues to suffer from low blood pressure, a lung infection, a severe cough, gastrointestinal bleeding and pneumonia. His life is reportedly at risk.
On Saturday January 7, Iranian authorities transferred Arash to Tehran's Taleghani hospital, but after only a few hours, armed forces reportedly sent him back to Evin Prison without allowing him to receive the medical care he urgently needs. According to close sources, the senior specialist at the hospital emphasized that Arash needs to be hospitalized for at least five days to receive medical treatment for his critical condition. Despite the doctor's recommendation, Arash was taken back to prison on the orders of Tehran's Prosecutor's office and Sarallah Base (IRGC's main security group in Tehran).
According to HRANA, Arash was transferred to the prison's clinic on Sunday January 8 after vomiting blood. He was returned to his cell on the same day, but taken back to the prison's clinic on Monday morning.
Last week, prison doctors had reported that the damage in Arash's right kidney is so severe that it will likely never return to normal functionality. The report said that 70% of his right kidney and 20% of his left kidney are already damaged. "Arash Sadeghi has not received adequate medical care. Iranian regime authorities are torturing Arash through medical neglect, "says Maryam Nayeb Yazdi, an Iranian activist, on her Twitter account.
On December 30, 2016, Iranian citizens and activists around the world came together on Twitter to spread global awareness about his critical situation. Their efforts led to #SaveArash to become the top trending hashtag in the world and celebrities and Iranian parliament members to pay attention and speak up about Arash. However, international attention to Arash's case also led to the Iranian regime's media to launch a misinformation campaign against him and Golrokh. For example, the TV show 20:30, which is a propaganda arm of the Sarallah Base, shamelessly aired an episode attempting to smear the couple.
Arash Sadeghi had started an indefinite hunger strike from Evin Prison on October 24, 2016, after Golrokh Iraee was arrested and jailed by Iranian authorities. He vowed to continue his hunger strike until his wife was released from prison. Although his protesting action led to Golrokh's temporary release, her four-day furlough has now ended and she is in danger of being arrested and jailed once again.
Arash Sadeghi's last arrest was on June 7, 2016 and he has been held in Evin Prison since then. He is being held in Evin's Ward 8 amongst prisoners who are charged with serious offences such as robbery, embezzlement, fraud and forgery.
Arash Sadeghi was sentenced to a 15-year prison term by branch 15 of Tehran's revolutionary court, presided by the corrupt Judge Salavati. In the same court hearing, Golrokh was sentenced to six years in prison. Arash had a previous four-year suspended imprisonment sentence in which Salavati activated in the court hearing, thus condemning Arash to a total of 19 years in prison. Both Arash and Golrokh were deprived of their right to a lawyer during the hearing.
Prior to his 15-year prison sentence, Arash was sentenced to six years in prison, which was eventually reduced to one year in prison and four years of suspended imprisonment. The charges against him include: "Gathering and colluding against national security ", "Propaganda against the regime ", "Insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran ", and "Spreading false news in cyberspace ".
Arash Sadeghi, a Masters of philosophy student who is barred from his education by the regime, was first arrested in July 2009. The nonviolent civil rights defender has been in and out of prison since then and has been severely tortured by his interrogators. Throughout these seven years of repeated imprisonment, Arash has launched several hunger strikes to protest against his unjust sentence and the unlawful behaviour and actions of the Iranian regime's authorities.
Despite the decline in his health, authorities have frequently prolonged Arash's imprisonment, kept him in solitary confinement for long durations, physically and psychologically abused him, and tortured him through depriving him of his right to adequate medical care. As a result of the physical tortures inflicted on Arash during interrogations, he has suffered a broken shoulder and broken ribs and still continues to suffer from these injuries today. Arash is in need of medical treatment for his injuries caused by the hunger strikes and tortures he endured.
Arash has had an extremely painful experience in these seven years. Among the worst was arguably when his mother died during a violent house raid by Iranian regime authorities on October 30, 2010. According to close sources, Arash's mom died as a result of the shock of the raid.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was nabbed at her house by IRGC forces early morning on October 24, 2016. The agents kicked down the door to her home and entered without an arrest warrant, according to her relatives. She was reportedly taken to Evin Prison and held in the women's ward. Golrokh is charged with "Insulting Islamic sanctities " (blasphemy) for an unpublished fictional story she had written in her journal about "stoning ", according to various confirmed sources.