Being imprisoned within Iran comes with its own challenges, but prisoners who have been charged based on their activities as human rights and political activists. These individuals are trying to create change in the fabric of Iran’s society, but that change is being actively fought against by the Iranian regime. They want to maintain their power and control, so any opposition must be oppressed. One of the ways to oppress these individuals is to not provide basic care and even provide ill-treatment through officials and guards.
This is the case with civic activist, Arash Sadeghi, who suffers from a chronic inflammatory disease (asthma) and is still suffering from continuous stomach bleeding. Yet, despite these conditions, he has been deprived of medical attention by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), even though an agreement was reached with the prosecutor to allow him a medical leave to seek treatment and be admitted to a hospital, as of early April 2017
A source familiar with the situation told an HRANA reporter, “Arash is in critical condition, suffering from asthma and stomach bleeding. Although the prosecutor has agreed with the bail order, the IRGC still deprive him of going on medical leave and being admitted in hospitals. Regardless of his medical leave, while prison forensic has requested his admission in a hospital, the IRGC opposes that as well.”
In February 2017, he was transferred to Imam Khomeini hospital in Tehran, but was returned to the prison after some medical tests. He had just ended his second hunger strike due to promises by the prosecutor’s office to help. His first hunger strike was in protest of accusations against his wife and to demand a fair trial for her. After receiving promises that his demands would be considered, he ended his hunger strike in early January 2017. However, those promises were reneged upon, and Sadeghi began his second hunger strike, despite his weakened physical condition.
He is currently in need of medical attention, which is being denied him. Instead, he has been transferred to ward 350 in Evin prison. In this ward, he has limited access to communication with those outside of the prison. Personal belongings have also disappeared during his transfer to this ward.
His story is just one example of how the IRGC uses medical attention to attempt to break prisoners who may be attempting to stand up to the regime. The goal is to set an example and consolidate power through intimidation, bullying and abuse. This is the “democracy” that Iran claims to have, but it is clear that whoever is elected to the presidency in May, they are unlikely to create meaningful change in human rights or allow true freedom of speech, religion and protest.