The chief physician of Evin Prison has refused to hospitalize imprisoned children’s rights activist Atena Daemi—currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for her peaceful activism—to receive urgent medical treatment for her more than 40-day hunger strike, her mother told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“On Monday (May 15, 2017) Atena was taken to a doctor outside prison to complete her tests,” Masoumeh Nemati told CHRI. “When the doctor examined her, he said she should be hospitalized immediately because her damaged gallbladder was causing severe vomiting. But the prison agents refused because they said their orders were to only take her for tests and bring her back to prison.”
“My husband and I went to the prosecutor’s office on Wednesday (May 17) and we were told no permission would be given to hospitalize her because the clinic’s doctor does not think it’s necessary,” she said.
Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.
The 29-year-old children’s rights defender has refused food since April 8, 2017 to protest an additional 91-day prison sentence issued to her and her two sisters, Onsieh and Hanieh, for allegedly “insulting” Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) agents and resisting arrest. Her sisters’ sentences have been suspended.
The three were sentenced after Daemi complained about the IRGC agents’ use of “excessive force” when they violently arrested her at her home while transporting her to Evin Prison on November 26, 2016.
Eighteen political and civil rights activists held in Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward signed a letter on May 16 calling on Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi to urgently attend to Daemi’s needs.
“We are concerned that despite Ms. Daemi’s continuing hunger strike, and her deteriorating physical condition…unfortunately, nothing has been done for her,” said the letter. “We therefore request that you exert your judicial authority and issue necessary orders for a speedy investigation.”
Daemi was arrested on October 21, 2014 by the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization along with fellow activists Omid Alishenas, Aso Rostami, and Ali Nouri for their peaceful protest activities, including meeting families of political prisoners, criticizing the Islamic Republic on Facebook, and condemning the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988.
In March 2015, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Mohammad sentenced Moghisseh and Daemi to 14 years in prison, Alishenas to 10 years, and Rostami and Nouri to seven years each for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting the supreme leader.”
In October 2016, the Appeals Court reduced the sentences against Daemi and Alishenas to seven years in prison each while Aso Rostami and Ali Nouri were each given two-year prison sentences.