The Office of the Prosecutor was singled out as the key decision-maker on behalf of the state, but, the report said, not only were penal authorities complicit in the abuse but so too were prison doctors.
The report reviewed a number of documented cases of abuse, illustrating not only the immediate cruelty of these human rights abuses but their irreversible impact on the long-term health of political prisoners.
Zeynab Jalalian, serving a life sentence in connection with her alleged membership of a Kurdish opposition group, is going blind because her skull was fractured when interrogators repeatedly hit her head against a wall. Intelligence officers have told her that she is denied an operation unless and until she makes a confession.
Omid Kokabee, a 33-year-old physicist serving a 10-year sentence for refusing to work on military projects in Iran, went unexamined for five years while his kidney cancer progressed. A photograph of him chained to his hospital bed in 2015 caused outrage on social media.
Afshin Sohrabzadeh, an Iranian Kurdish political prisoner serving a 25-year sentence, was also repeatedly denied the treatment needed for intestinal cancer, resulting in severe and frequent gastrointestinal bleeding.
Afif Naimi, one of seven imprisoned leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community serving a 10-year prison term, suffers from a severe and potentially fatal blood clotting disorder which causes recurrent bleeding and loss of consciousness. Despite being deemed unfit for imprisonment by medical professionals several times, the Office of the Prosecutor has refused to release him.
Alireza Rasouli, who, like other political prisoners has gone on hunger strike in protest at the abuse, was, like others, sentenced to additional years after he was convicted of national security charges including “spreading propaganda against the system.” He suffers from a bone disease, which, untreated, is deteriorating, causing him severe pain and restricting his ability to move.
Scores of political prisoners affiliated to the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), have gone on hunger strike on many occasions in the past year in protest at inhumane conditions and abuse in the regime’s prisons. There have also been continuous reports of the mistreatment of other political prisoners from ethnic and religious minorities, in particular of Kurdish and Sunni prisoners.
Amnesty International is “calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately stop denying prisoners access to adequate medical care, in line with their international obligations. The authorities must investigate the prosecution authorities and all other officials – including medical staff – who may be involved in deliberately denying medical care to prisoners.”