Mohammad Nourizad Sent on Medical Leave from Evin Prison after 102 Day Hunger Strike

Yesterday, July 8, civil activist Mohammad Nourizad was sent on medical leave from Evin Prison on a bail of 800 million tomans following a 102 day hunger strike.

Nourizad’s lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, confirmed the news on his social media, stating, “It is interesting [strange] that they did not consider one person’s sponsorship sufficient, so I and the client’s brother took care of the bail. Mr. Nourizad has to start treatment on Saturday.”

Previously Aghasi had told HRANA, “My client has lost 55 pounds following a 102-day hunger strike and a 105-day medicine strike and is experiencing severe hearing loss; he has been wounding himself every day as a sign of objection; he has fainted 37 times.”

Mohammad Nourizad suffers from myriad underlying diseases such as asthma, heart problems, and high blood pressure.

Lawyer Says Mohammad Nourizad is in Critical Condition in Evin Prison

Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, Mohammad Nourizad‘s lawyer, told HRANA that his client is in critical condition in Evin Prison and that the duration of his hunger and drug strike has put him in serious danger.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Aghasi emphasized that his client has lost 55 pounds and is experiencing severe hearing loss.

Aghasi stated that although the prison prosecutor recently agreed to send him on leave, Nourizad has refused the offer, stating that he will continue his strike until his request for his and his son’s unconditional release is fulfilled.

Ali Nourizad, Mohammed’s son, was arrested by security forces in Tehran in January 2020 for protesting a rally against the downing of a Ukrainian plane by the IRGC, and for expressing sympathy with the victims’ families.  He was released on bail a month later. The Tehran Revolutionary Court eventually sentenced him to 3 and a half years in prison. This sentence was upheld by the Tehran Court of Appeals. He has been serving out his sentence in Greater Tehran since October of last year.

Mr. Nourizad wants to be acquitted of all charges that were unjustly issued against him.

Mr. Aghasi added: “I really demand that the case of Mr. Nourizad and other people, who are known as the signatories of the leadership resignation statement from whom 11 are my clients, to be processed and judged by a fully independent judiciary so they can see how arguments about the convictions and issued sentences are completely incorrect.”

Earlier this year, UN experts expressed concern over the health condition of Mohammad Nourizad in Evin Prison and called for his immediate release.

66-year-old Nourizad is an Iranian director, screenwriter, journalist, and activist. Nourizad became an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic a decade ago and has since been arrested and imprisoned several times for his civic work and visits to families of political prisoners.

As Mr. Aghasi stated, Nourizad has been wounding himself every day as a sign of objection; he has fainted 37 times. According to Aghasi, his conversations with his client and even the insistence of Nourizad’s wife and child did not work, and it seems that he has made his decision.

“I do not want my name to be on the list of those who are indifferent to current affairs,” Nourizad has said in a meeting with his lawyer. “And I am willing to give my life for it.”

UN Experts Express Concern Over the Health Condition of Mohammad Nourizad in Evin Prison

On Tuesday, May 4th, UN experts issued a statement expressing concern over the health condition of civil activist Mohammad Nourizad and calling for his immediate release from Evin Prison. Javid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Niels Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and several other UN experts stated that Mr. Nourizad has been in critical condition for some time, and continued deprivation of treatment could prove fatal.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, UN experts have stated that Mr. Nourizad’s case is “emblematic of the situation many Iranian political activists face in detention” , citing the transfer of Mr. Nourizad to Loghman Hospital in Tehran, on April 14, 2021, after fainting. The statement reveals that once revived, Mr. Nourizad “found someone injecting him with an unknown substance, that he did not consent to or was informed of”. Nourizad was denied information about the substance or its purpose from officials, despite his explicit requests.

66-year-old Nourizad is an Iranian director, screenwriter, journalist, and activist. Nourizad became an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic a decade ago, and has since been arrested and imprisoned several times for his civic work and visits to families of political prisoners.

In mid-August 2019, 14 activists, including Nourizad, signed a letter calling for the resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei. Several signatories were arrested, and others were pressured after the letter went public. Mr. Nourizad was arrested by security forces on August 11, 2019, along with several union and civil activists and sent to Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad (he was later transferred to Evin Prison, where he currently resides).

In the first part of his case, Mr. Nourizad was charged by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, presided by Judge Mansouri, on charges such as “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, insulting sacred values, insulting the leadership, disturbing public opinion, cooperating with foreign media, and participating in illegal gatherings”, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, 3 years of exile to Izeh, and a 3-year ban from leaving the country. Branch 35 of the Appeals Court in Razavi Khorasan Province revised the verdict to 15 years in prison, 2 years of exile to Izeh, and a 2-year ban on leaving the country.

In August 2020, in the second part of his case, he was sentenced by Branch 2 of the Mashhad Criminal Court to 8 months imprisonment, 74 lashes, and exile to Tabas on the charge of “disturbing public order” for appearing in front of the building where Kamal Jafari Yazdi was appearing; and sentenced to another 74 lashes on a charge of “spreading lies”. This verdict was confirmed by the Court of Appeal of Khorasan Razavi Province.

In May of this year, Mr. Nourizad announced that he has been sentenced to another year in prison on a charge of defending the rights of Baha’i citizens living in Ivanki, prompting this public concern. Mohammad Nourizad suffers from myriad underlying conditions, including asthma, heart problems, and high blood pressure. The forensic medicine organization previously ordered his release for medical reasons. According to these UN experts, considering Nourizad’s critical health condition and overwhelming consensus from professionals,  he cannot stay in prison.