Detained Civil Activist Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi Hospitalized

On February 26, educator and civil activist Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi was hospitalized in critical condition in Mashhad City. However, on Monday, while he was in needed treatment, he was forcefully sent back to a detention centre by security forces. He has been held in a solitary confinement cell for six months in a detention centre in Mashhad.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights, a source close to his family reported that he was dispatched to a hospital following symptoms such as poisoning, shortness of breath and low heart rate leading to partial consciousness. Security forces did not allow visitation or let him inform his family. Monday, he was sent back to his cell despite uncompleted treatment.

Earlier, HRANA reported his poor health condition in a solitary confinement cell in a detention center at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence.

On September 1 of this year, intelligence agents arrested Vahedian in Rezvanshahr County. Two days later, in a phone call to his family, he informed them that a news case had been opened against him on a charge of “acting against national security”. Meanwhile, his daughter’s home in Mashhad was searched by security forces and some personal belongings were confiscated.

Vahedian has previously been arrested and convicted for his writings and civil activities. In one case, he was arrested in Mashhad in October 2018 and later charged by Branch 903 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad with “acting against national security”, and “attempting to overthrow the regime”. He was released on bail of 350 million tomans from Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in December 2018.

Shortly after his interrogation, in August 2019, Vahedian was again arrested and transferred to Vakilabad Prison. He was one of the 14 signatories of a letter of request for the resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. He was released on bail from Vakilabad Prison in July 2020.

Vahedian is an author of several books including “The Return of Genghis Khan”, published by Khatam Publishing in Mashhad.

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.