State of Mental Health Critical for Zahedan Political Prisoner Held Six Years Without Trial
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A hostage of judicial bureaucracy for six years and counting, political prisoner Meysam Chandani, 28, has recently experienced a serious psychological downturn, a close source told HRANA.
“He is suffering from severe psychological illness due to the pressures of incarceration, the living conditions inside, and his legal limbo,” the source said. “He makes noises throughout the day and night, behaves strangely, and has caused problems for his ward mates.”
Currently held in section 4 of Zahedan Prison in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, home to Iran’s Baloch minority, Chandani was arrested six years ago by the Ministry of Intelligence forces of Saravan county and charged with “acting against national security,” “Moharebeh (enmity against God) through armed activities,” and “membership in an opposition group.” Unable to post his 5 billion toman (approximately $1,250,000 USD) bail, he has been waiting on his sentencing–or any updates at all–ever since.
In the meantime, prison officials refuse to attend to his medical needs, which according to eyewitnesses reports are growing more serious by the day.
While prison management has no direct responsibility to nudge the judiciary about lagging case files, they have been slow to address the prison’s dearth of communication channels with the judiciary and its general lack of social aid workers, shortcomings which make the follow-up process too difficult for some prisoners to undertake themselves.
Overpopulation has become a prevailing issue at Zahedan prison, where officials routinely disregard or postpone consideration of prisoner requests for sentencing reduction via part-time sentence schedules, furlough, and conditional pardon.
HRANA has previously reported on general lack of medical treatment in Zahedan Central Prison, based on interviews with eyewitnesses. The prison also hosts many who suffer from legal limbo like Chandani. This is in direct contravention of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights–of which Iran is a signatory–which guarantees arrestees the right to a prompt trial and to be promptly informed of the extent and nature of any charges on which they are being detained.