Iran’s authorities are callously toying with the lives of prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners by denying them adequate medical care, putting them at grave risk of death, permanent disability or other irreversible damage to their health, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
The report, Health taken hostage: Cruel denial of medical care in Iran’s prisons, provides a grim snapshot of health care in the country’s prisons. It presents strong evidence that the judiciary, in particular the Office of the Prosecutor, and prison administrations deliberately prevent access to adequate medical care, in many cases as an intentional act of cruelty intended to intimidate, punish or humiliate political prisoners, or to extract forced “confessions” or statements of “repentance” from them.
“In Iran a prisoner’s health is routinely taken hostage by the authorities, who recklessly ignore the medical needs of those in custody. Denying medical care to political prisoners is cruel and utterly indefensible,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
“Prisoners’ access to health care is a right enshrined in both international and Iranian law. When depriving a prisoner of medical care causes severe pain or suffering and it is intentionally done for purposes such as punishment, intimidation or to extract a forced ‘confession’, it constitutes torture.”
The report details 18 appalling cases of prisoners who have been denied medical care in some form and are at risk of suffering permanent damage to their health.
Prisoners subjected to a shocking range of abuses
The report provides a deeply disturbing image of the Office of the Prosecutor, which in Iran is responsible for decisions concerning medical leave and hospital transfers. The Office of the Prosecutor often refuses to authorize hospital transfers for sick prisoners even though the care they need is not available in prison, and denies requests for medical leave for critically ill prisoners against doctors’ advice.
(Source: Amnesty International)