Imprisoned Blogger Severely Beaten By IRGC Forces after Writing a Letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a blogger arrested after the 2009 presidential election, was beaten by IRGC security forces after writing a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor detailing his condition in Evin Prison.Ronaghi is currently suffering from severely damaged kidneys and is in need of serious medical attention.In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Zoleikha Mousavi and Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, Ronaghi’s mother and father, talked about their most recent prison visit with their son and said that the reason for the beating was his letter.
On 14 August, Ronaghi wrote a letter to Tehran Prosecutor Jafari Dowlatabadi detailing the problems inside Ward 350 of Evin Prison and his urgent need for treatment outside prison. Ronaghi’s family heard from his cellmates that yesterday, after his weekly prison visit, a prison guard brutally beat him. Ronaghi’s letter indicates that the Tehran Prosecutor was directly involved in the refusal to grant medical furlough for his treatment, as the Medical Examiner had authorized his leave several months earlier.
Ronaghi’s letter was published recently on JARAS website:
“Mr. Dowlatabadi, as you recall, I told you about my dire physical condition, caused by two kidney surgeries, gallbladder stones, heart angina, and broken teeth, gifts from my interrogators. As you recall, I said that I did not have access to proper nutrition and medicine, specialist clinics, and a peaceful environment for resting. What did you say in response? You only said that due to the IRGC’s disapproval, you cannot send me on furlough. As you recall, during our previous visits, you had said that ‘if the Medical Examiner agrees with your furlough, we’ll send you on [medical] leave.’ Later, I researched about what you had said and found out that the Medical Examiner had agreed to my furlough and had sent you his agreement three months before the day you made those statements [to me.]”
Describing her son’s condition, Zoleikha Mousavi said, “They called us from prison today and told us that after our visit with my son yesterday, an IRGC Intelligence Unit official him up, to the point where he passed out and remained unconscious like that for several hours, until they transferred him to Taleghani Hospital. When he regained consciousness, he was immediately transferred back to prison. My son wrote a letter to the Prosecutor after months of torture, 11 months in solitary confinement and a ban on his in-person visitation and furlough. Just for this letter, he was [beaten until he was] hospitalized. He had kidney bleeding, and he was beaten up, too. We are his mother and father. How can we tolerate so much abuse and mistreatment of our son? They have gone too far now. I feel horrible, I don’t know what to do, what to say. They want to kill my son. They told us several times themselves ‘we will kill Hossein.’ I ask human rights organizations to help my son,”
Expressing his frustration with his son’s continued prison torture, Ahmad Ronaghi asked human rights activists “to stop this behavior if they can, or to kill us and our son and set us free. What is all this torture for?”
“Today, I contacted the prison and Prosecutor’s Office authorities several times, but no one answered. I don’t know what Hossein’s conditions are right now. I don’t know why they mistreat my son so much. I ask the authorities to review this situation and to allow my son to contact us tonight. We travel from Tabriz to Tehran every week for a 15-minute visit through a booth. We travel for 12 hours [each week] and then we learn that my son has been beaten. This isn’t right.”
“There are no laws in our country and there is no one we can go to in order to report this lawlessness. How is it that in a prison that is operated under the oversight of Prisons Organization, any member of the IRGC who wishes can come and beat up my son? I am truly sorry for a country that only claims to be carrying out justice. There are no laws, there are no authorities who would review the complaints, and human rights organizations just talk. None of this helps the political prisoners,” continued Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki.
“Hossein told us yesterday that the Tehran Prosecutor had gone to see him, informing him that a $1 or $2 million bail has been set for him, but that it appears that the IRGC wishes for Hossein to ask for clemency. What has Hossein done to request clemency?” said Mousavi.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested on 13 December 2009. An appeals court upheld a lower court’s 15-year prison sentence for him, and he is currently inside Evin Prison. He wrote a separate letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor on 11 July, asking that he be granted medical furlough due to his dire physical condition.