News : Human rights
- Published: Tuesday, 24 March 2020
Iranian political prisoner Soheil Arabi suffered a serious heart problem on Saturday and was moved to the dispensary at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
He was supposed to be transferred to the hospital so that the issue could be treated, but prison authorities have blocked the move. Arabi was told that the GTP had no soldiers or ambulances, so he would have had to be transferred to the hospital under severe security measures.
Arabi has been on hunger strike to protest the inhumane and unsanitary conditions in the GTP, as well as his continued detention, since March 16. His blood pressure is currently five over six and his blood sugar has dropped so much that he was warned about going into a sugar coma if he continues.
He was almost transferred to hospital on March 18, but Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Hospital refused to admit or examine him, sending him straight back to the prison.
Why? Because the Prisons Organization and the Greater Tehran Penitentiary have not paid their debts to the hospital, so the hospital will not admit prisoners for treatment.
He has been denied medical treatment, which includes surgery, for a long time, even though he has a bad cough and is suffering pain due to “blunt trauma” and internal infection.
An informed source said: “Soheil Arabi is detained in a ward which does not have suitable ventilation and no access to fresh air. He is prevented from going to the prison’s library and from teaching in prison. Some time ago, it was declared that political prisoners are not qualified to teach. Published books and newspapers which had been sent to him with permission, were not handed over to him.”
This is nothing new in Iranian prisons. A report from inside the GTP in August 2018 found that prisoners were routinely denied:
- clean drinking water
- safe-to-eat food
Instead, prisoners were crammed into overcrowded cells that are dirty, smelly, and dark, due to a lack of windows and infrequent changing of light bulbs. Most of the prisoners are addicts and many are violent, so non-violent political prisoners are a frequent target.
The prisoners are also practically left to fend for themselves in terms of cleaning, cooking, and other tasks.
The report read: “The physical and psychological pressures on the prisoners are so severe that it deprives the individual of the power of thought and basically does not give him the opportunity to contemplate and repent.”
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