Young Kurdish Activist’s Mother: “My son is dying in prison”
Prisoner of conscience Afshin Sohrabzadeh, 27, is suffering from cancer in Minab Prison in southern Iran and could die from internal bleeding if he does not receive outside medical treatment immediately.
“Afshin has developed intestinal cancer and is suffering from internal bleeding,” an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “The official doctor at Minab Prison as well as a doctor who is trusted by the Judiciary have both determined that he should be transferred to a more well-equipped medical center outside Minab.”
“His death in prison is a real possibility,” said the source.
Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.
The source added that the prosecutor had initially demanded one billion rials (approximately $300,000 USD) bail for Sohrabzadeh to be released on medical furlough. But after the family collected the money following much difficulty, the prosecutor doubled the bail amount.
“He said if you can’t come up with the money, you can come pick up the corpse when he’s dead,” said the source.
“My son is dying in prison,” Sohrabzadeh’s mother told the Campaign. “His cancer has advanced and he has intestinal bleeding. He can’t eat. His cellmates help him move around because he can hardly take two steps by himself.”
“I haven’t seen him for a year,” she said. “I have only heard his voice, which has been getting weaker and weaker every day.”
She added that in the 13 years her son has spent in prison, he has only been transferred to a hospital in Tehran once for treatment and was quickly returned to prison when the family was unable to pay the medical expenses.
Sohrabzadeh was a member of the banned Communist Party of Iran when he turned himself in to the authorities in western Iran in 2000. He was held for 67 days by the Intelligence Ministry Office in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj and put under intense interrogation, with beatings and electric shocks that resulted in a broken hand and a torn hernia, according to the source.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2000 by Judge Mostafa Tayyari of Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj for “enmity with God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” for his alleged membership in militant Kurdish groups. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court and in March 2002 he was transferred to Minab Prison in Hormozgan Province where he has been held ever since.
Sohrabzadeh has asked to be transferred to a prison in Sanandaj so he can be closer to his family, but the authorities have refused his request.
Sohrabzadeh’s father told the Campaign that he and his wife have been summoned by security agents and warned about the consequences of making public statements about their son.