Growing Concerns About Baktash Abtin’s Health Condition After Hospitalization

On December 8, Baktash Abtin, a prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was hospitalized in Tehran due to poor health conditions and COVID-19 symptoms.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Abtin is currently serving a six-years sentence in Evin Prison. After a few days of hospitalization in prison healthcare he was dispatched from Evin Prison to the Telghani hospital in Tehran.

“A few days ago, he went to [the prison’s] healthcare due to acute fever, severe body aches and feelings of weakness”, commented the Iranian Writers Association (IWA). “After one day, when he did not go back to the ward, his fellow inmates asked prison officials about his condition, but did not receive a proper response. Ultimately, his family found out that he had been hospitalized during prison visitation”.

The IWA expressed grave concerns about Abtin’s health due to his pre-existing lung disease and his risk of contracting COVID-19.

Abtin had previously contracted COVID-19 in March of this year. After four days, he was forcibly sent back to the public ward of Evin Prison despite having a contagious disease.

On June 29, Abtin faced a new legal case while he was in prison. This move was reportedly due to his decision to publicize the news of his illness.

The IWA is an independent group of authors, poets, editors and translators based in Iran which was formed in May 1968 to fight against state censorship. The government has continuously persecuted members of the IWA after the 1979 revolution. In 1998, several IWA members, including opposition politicians Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, were murdered.