Mostafa Abdi Denied Adequate Medical Treatment Despite Showing COVID-19 Related Respiratory Problems

Mostafa Abdi, an imprisoned member of a religious community known as Gonabadi Dervishes, tested positive for COVID-19 in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. Despite showing serious COVID symptoms such as respiratory problems, he has not been allowed to be hospitalized outside prison or go on medical furlough.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Abdi’s father, Hasan Abdi, confirmed the news on his personal social media. According to an informed source close to the family, prisoner officials have not approved of medical furlough or dispatch to a hospital despite frequent requests and respiratory problems.

Abdi is a Gonabadi Darvish, a prisoner of conscience, and the administrator of the Dervish news site Majzooban-e-Noor.

On February 20, 2018, he was arrested during the Golestan-e Haftom Protests. These protests took place on Golestan 7th Street in a district in Tehran, which led to bloody clashes between security forces and Dervishes.

Thereafter, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to 26 years and 3 months in prison, 148 lashings, a 2 year ban on both civic activities and travel, and a 2 year exile to Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

Applying Article 34 of the Islamic Penal Code, the severest punishment of seven years and six months is enforceable.

He had previously faced other arrests and convictions. In July of 2013, he was sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security”. In December of 2015, he was released from jail after serving his sentence.

Around midnight on February 3, 2018, several hundred Gonabadi Dervishes gathered before the home of their spiritual leader, Noor Ali Tabandeh, in a gesture of protection against heightened security monitoring of his activities (security forces had aggressively intervened in Dervish gatherings in the same spot less than two weeks earlier). Their February 3rd demonstration — on Golestan-e Haftom street in Tehran, hence the incident’s name — would fare no better and was soon violently disbanded by Iranian police and plainclothes forces of the Revolutionary Guard’s Basij faction.

Iranian-American Citizen Emad Sharghi and Political Prisoner Reza Ghalandari Contract COVID-19 in Evin Prison

Imprisoned Iranian-American citizen Emad Sharghi and political prisoner Reza Ghalandari tested positive for COVID-19 in Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Sharghi’s family has previously expressed concerns about his health in case he contracts COVID-19, as he suffers from high blood pressure and cholesterol. He has been deprived of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In April of 2018, Sharghi was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents on the charge of espionage. After nine months in detention, he was released on bail. IRGC confiscated his passport as well as the passport of his wife, Bahareh Amidi, in order to prevent them from leaving the country.

An informed source told HRANA regarding Shargi’s arrest that “about 20 security agents— later it turned out that they were IRGC agents— raided his house in Tehran at night to arrest him and his wife. Mr. Sharghi was detained for nine months in Evin Prison awaiting his legal proceedings. Finally, he was temporarily released on bail”.

On November 30, 2020,  Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Salavati, sentenced him to 10 years in prison in a trial in absentia. He was charged with “espionage and collecting gathering military intelligence.” He was not summoned to attend the trial and was denied the right to defend himself.

In January of 2021, HRANA reported his arrest at the border area of Sardasht by IRGC intelligence agents during an attempt to flee the country.

He is currently spending his sentence in Salon 9 of Ward 8 in Evin Prison.

Ghalandari, age 40, is serving his sentence in the same ward. He was sentenced five years in prison on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security” by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The verdict was upheld on appeal.

Political Prisoner Peyman Gholami Hospitalized Due to COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Distress

Political prisoner Peyman Gholami was dispatched from Evin Prison to a hospital in Tehran due to acute respiratory distress from COVID-19. Because of severe hypoxia, he has been transferred to the ICU.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Gholami has been hospitalized in the ICU of the hospital in Tehran.

According to an informed source, many inmates housed in Salon 10, Ward 8 of Evin Prison, including Saeed Samimi and Payam Shakiba, have shown COVID-19 related symptoms such as headache, dizziness and cough. Nonetheless, they have not been allowed to test. From them, Reza Mazaheri has tested positive, but has been denied of any medical treatment.

Amid the nationwide 2019–2020 Iranian protests, Gholami was arrested and sentenced by Branch 24 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court to five years in prison on the charge of “assembly and collusion against the national security.”

In November of 2019, an unprecedented increase in fuel prices sparked a wave of protests in dozens of cities across the country. The spokesperson of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Seyed Hossein Taghavi, announced that 7000 people were arrested during these protests. According to reports of human rights organizations, hundreds were killed by regime forces.

Political Prisoner Soheila Hijab Hospitalized for COVID-19

On February 24, imprisoned political prisoner Soheila Hijab was hospitalized outside of prison due to her critical health condition.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Hijab, who is imprisoned in the women’s ward of the Correctional Center of Kermanshah City was dispatched to a hospital due to her critical health condition.

An informed source told HRANA that she fainted in a cell and her fellow inmates carried her to prison healthcare. Later, her fellow inmates were told that she has been hospitalized in a hospital outside the prison. The lack of info about her latest condition has increased her family’s concerns.

Recently, she has contracted COVID-19 along with 13 other inmates in her ward. Despite the requirement for treatment, prison healthcare had been closed due to absence of physicians.

Hijab was arrested by security forces on June 1, 2019, and then released from Evin Prison in Tehran on a bail of 3 billion tomans on March 14, 2020.

Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced her to 18 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime”, “illegal assembly”, “incitement of public opinions to riot” and “organizing unlawful political groups”.

On May 23, 2020, the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards arrested and transferred her to Gharchak Prison in Varamin City to serve her sentence. She was then transferred to Sanandaj Prison and then, on January 7, to the Correctional Center of Kermanshah City.

Civil Activist Raheleh Ahmadi Granted Furlough After Contracting COVID-19

On February 16, civil activist Raheleh Ahmadi, currently imprisoned in Evin Prison, was dispatched for five days of medical furlough after contracting COVID-19.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ahmadi showed worrying COVID-19 symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, sore throat, acute body aches and fever for several days, yet was deprived of adequate medical treatment, along with other inmates. According to an informed source, she fell twice due to acute dizziness. Ahmadi suffers from a low functioning thyroid, which worsens her health condition.

On July 9, 2019, Ahmadi was arrested by security forces. In December of 2019, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to three years and six months in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security through collaboration with anti-regime media” and eight months on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”. She was acquitted from the charge of “promoting indecency through removing the veil from her head in public and publishing its picture on the internet”.

Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the sentence of three years and six months is enforceable for the count of “assembly and collusion”. Instead of objecting and appealing the sentence, she asked for commutation and consequently, the verdict was reduced to two years and seven months in prison.

On February 15, 2020, she was sent to Evin Prison to serve her sentence.

On July 18, 2021, she was granted furlough to attend her mother’s funeral. During her incarceration, a new legal case was opened against her in Branch 1 of Evin Courthouse. However, she refused to appear in court after being unable to access a selected lawyer.

Ahmadi is the mother of Saba Kurd Afshari. She is a political prisoner and civil activist.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Reza Khandan Mahabadi Contracts COVID-19, Is Dispatched to Hospital

On December 21, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was dispatched from Evin Prison to a hospital outside the prison after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. Earlier, he and another prisoner of conscience, Baktash Abtin, tested positive. This has raised alarms about the spread of the virus amongst prisoners in Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mahabadi was hospitalized due to a high fever and other severe symptoms. Abtin was hospitalized earlier in Tehran due to poor health and COVID-19 symptoms.

Mahabadi  was sentenced on May 15, 2019 by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Mohmmad Mohammad Moghayeseh. His sentence included one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on the charge of “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against national security”. On September 26, 2020, he was arrested and sent to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

Mahabadi’s career as a writer kicked off in 1978 with the publication of his book “Local Children”. Some of his works include “Nothing Comes Out of the Sack, But What Was In It”, a seven-volume story collection called “My Favorite Stories”, a collection of research titled “Razi War”, and the 19-volume tale collection “Encyclopedia of Iranian Legends and Fairy Tales” (co-author Ali Ashraf Darvishian).

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.

Rahim Afravi Denied Leave after 22 Years Imprisonment

Political prisoner Rahim Afravi has not been allowed a single day of leave in his 22 years of imprisonment in Sheyban Prison in Ahvaz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, he has faced serious medical neglect in this time, and suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and pulmonary problems. Afravi recently contracted COVID-19, but was not dispatched to any medical center outside prison upon receiving a positive test.

53-year-old Rahim Afravi is married and the father of two children. In June 1999, security forces arrested Afravi when he was returning home from his workplace in the outskirts of Ahvaz City. Initially, the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on a charge of “enmity against God” (Moharebeh) and “acting against national security”. On appeal, the verdict was reduced to 25 years imprisonment and exile to Jiroft Prison.

According to an informed source, while he was in exile jail in Jiroft, his mother passed away. Family visitations were few and far between because of the great distance between the jail and the residence place of his family. After 13 years imprisonment in exile, he was relocated to Karun and then to Sheyban prison in Ahvaz City.

In August of this year, his request for release on parole and leave on furlough was dismissed by Branch 12 of the Revolutionary Court of Ahvaz.

Inmates in Women’s Ward of Kachooie Prison Face Poor Conditions

Inmates in the Women’s Ward of Kachooie Prison in Karaj are being held in poor conditions, a new report reflects.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Women’s Ward is composed of one quarantine section, four salons, one corridor and one kitchen, and houses between 50 and 60 inmates.

Due to an inadequate heating system to warm the wards on increasingly-cold days, many inmates of this ward have gotten sick. Moreover, these inmates have to cope with many additional issues such as a shut-down kindergarten, shortages of bathroom and sanitary services, and a poorly-equipped food store.

This ward has only three toilets and one bathroom for the over 50 inmates. The shared kitchen is small and unsuitable. The food store fails to supply any foods and other requirements.

Some of the inmates are living with their little kids. For unknown reasons, the kindergarten of this ward has been closed.

Despite the inmates’ repeated complaints and demands that the heating system be fixed, the most urgent of these issues as the temperature drops, prison officials have not yet addressed the issue.

Aliyeh Motallebzadeh’s Request for Release on Probation Rejected

Aliyeh Motallebzadeh’s request for release on probation was recently rejected in a written notification by the Tehran prosecutor’s office.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the photographer and women’s rights activist is currently enduring a two-year sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran.

On November 26, 2016, Motallebzadeh was summoned to the office of the ministry of intelligence and subsequently was detained in Ward 209 of Evin Prison. On December 19, 2016, she was released on bail of 300 million tomans.

In 2017, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Motallebzadeh to three years in prison on charges of  “assembly and collusion to act against national security” and “propaganda against the regime”.

This verdict was upheld by Branch 36 of the court of Appeals in Tehran. In the issued lawsuit, “launching and participating in women empowerment workshop in abroad” had been invoked as an example of these charges. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a severest punishment of two years was enforceable for her.

On October 11, 2020, Motallebzadeh arrived at Evin prison to begin her sentence, where she has been held since.

On April 26, 2021, she was punitively deprived of making phone calls after her complaints about the practice of holding detainees in solitary confinements in the prosecutor’s office of this prison.

On July 19, 2021, after contracting COVID, she was granted furlough and went on leave until August 30.

Aliyeh Motallebzadeh is a photographer, women rights activist and a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Gender Equality as well as a campaign to protect acid attack victims.