Imprisoned Cleric’s Life in Danger
Ayatollah Boroujerdi in need of urgent medical care
(1 June 2008) The Iranian Judiciary should immediately release Ayatollah Boroujerdi, an imprisoned cleric, so he may receive urgently needed specialist medical care, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. Boroujerdi has been in prison since 2006, yet judicial authorities have released no information concerning his prosecution.
According to Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s associates, his health has deteriorated precipitously in prison. The Campaign said the Iranian officials are fully responsible for health and safety of Ayatollah Boroujerdi under Iranian and international law.“Boroujerdi’s death for lack of medical care would amount to an extra-judicial execution,” the Campaign said.
Associates of Ayatollah Boroujerdi told the Campaign that his heart and kidney conditions are grave but he has had no access to specialist care. “He only receives painkillers for his diseases inside prison. In addition to his physical health, his psychological well-being has also deteriorated due to ill-treatment and lengthy solitary confinement episodes. He has lost 30 kilograms in prison,” his associates said.
The Campaign expressed its grave concern for the health and safety of all prisoners of conscience in Iran. During the past few weeks, two human rights defenders, Emad Baghi and Sadiq Kaboudvand, suffered heart attacks inside Evin prison.
A political prisoner, Kaveh Azizpour, 25, died in a coma on 16 May, 20 days after he suffered a brain stroke in prison in Orumieh. His family alleged that he was severely tortured. A student detainee, Ebrahim Lotfollahi, detained on 6 January 2008 by security agents in Sanandaj, died in detention under suspicious circumstances. The authorities buried him without allowing his family access to his body.
Security forces raided Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s house in Tehran on 8 October 2006. In addition to arresting Boroujerdi, the authorities also detained several hundred of his followers, including 172 women and 225 men, who had gathered to prevent his arrest.
All of the detainees have been released on bail, except for Ayatollah Boroujerdi. In June 2007, the Special Court for the Clergy prosecuted him behind closed doors. The authorities have not provided any official accounting regarding his prosecution and sentencing. According to his associates, he was initially sentenced to death, but upon appeals his sentence was reduced to 11 years in prison, ten of which must be served in exile in city of Yazd. He has been deprived of access to an independent attorney throughout his prosecution and imprisonment.