UN condemns Iran's refusal to treat political prisoners

A group of human rights experts warned on Wednesday that a large number of political prisoners in Iran are denied the right to receive medical treatment.

GENEVA, Switzerland (Kurdistan24) – A group of human rights experts warned on Wednesday that a large number of political prisoners in Iran are denied the right to receive medical treatment.

Some of these political prisoners are at risk of death.

Ahmad Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and other experts announced that several “prominent human rights defenders, lawyers and political activists are suffering from deteriorating health conditions as the Iranian officials continue to refuse adequate medical treatments to them.”

“The denial of medical care, physical abuse, either in overcrowded prisons or in solitary confinement, and other forms of torture and ill-treatment exposes prisoners to risk of serious injuries and death,” experts said.

They added, “Unfortunately, Iranian prisons are no strangers to such tragedies, many of which could have been avoided if authorities exercised proper care.”

Kurdish political prisoners Afshin Sohrabzade, Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand and Zeinab Jallalian are among those who continue to suffer in Iranian prisons despite their health issues.

The UN report did not mention any of the Kurdish prisoners but highlighted the cases of Mohammad Hossein Rafiee Fanood, Kamal Foroughi, Nargis Mohammadi, Abdulfattah Soltani, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and experimental laser physicist Omid Kokabee.

The Managing Director of Iran Rights Transparency, Jalaml Ekhtiar, told Kurdistan24, “Although I respect Dr. Shaheed, these kinds of statements are not as effective as they should be. First, we need to take a close look at the overall picture of the UN rights and protection policy in Iran.” 

“I am openly accusing the West of hypocrisy. I believe that human rights rhetoric on Iran is for instrumental use. It is ineffective and dysfunctional,” Ekhtiar said.

The Kurdish activist added that we don't have a clear human centered policy on Iran. “Human rights for whom? Where? Which prisoners? Why don't they voice forgotten voices of Kurds, Ahwaz, Baloch? Our human rights society is unhealthy and selective,” Ekhtiar stated. 

He concluded that “these kinds of seasonal gestures will further discredit UN on Iran matters and it is closing to discredit personalities too, if they don't take solid steps to effectively pressure lran.”

Dainius Pûras, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and Seong-Phil Hong, Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote a formal letter to Iran addressing this issue.


Reporting by Ava Homa

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany


The following photos belong to Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand and Afshin Sohrabzadeh