Iranian Political Prisoner With Multiple Sclerosis Refused Medical Furlough
Imprisoned music producers Mehdi Rajabian and his brother Hossein Rajabian refused to return to Evin Prison after the judiciary denied Mehdi Rajabian’s request to extend the brief medical furlough they were granted, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
An informed source told CHRI that the Rajabians —both serving three year prison sentences—were granted a four-day furlough on May 23, 2017, “but Mehdi has not reported back to prison because he needs to be hospitalized for medical treatment.”
CHRI has also learned that the prosecutor in the Rajabians’ cases continues to deny the findings of the judiciary’s own medical commission, which found in February 2017 that Mehdi Rajabian should not be imprisoned because he is suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
CHRI, the Free Muse non-profit organization, and a group of artists and activists urged newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani to free the Rajabians in a joint letter sent on June 5.
“Rouhani must fulfill the demands of Iran’s artistic community, which strongly supported his re-election,” said CHRI’s Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.
On October 5, 2013, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested the Rajabian brothers who at the time, along with their partner Yousef Emadi, were managing partners of Barg Music, which produced and distributed popular digital music allegedly without a license from the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry.
In a trial that lasted only 15 minutes, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh of Branch 21 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced the three to six years in prison each in May 2015 for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state.” Their sentence was reduced to three years in prison each upon appeal.
The charges against the Rajabians included working with female singers (who are prohibited from singing solo under Iran’s religious-based laws) as well as “anti-revolutionary” musicians abroad.
The brothers, who began serving their sentences in June 2016, have been illegally assigned to Evin Prison’s ward for common and violent convicts. Their requests for being transferred to the ward for political inmates have been ignored.
Mehdi Rajabian has been beaten by inmates convicted of serious crimes, an informed source told CHRI in March 2017.
Article 8 of Iran’s State Prisons Organization’s Regulations states, “All convicts, upon being admitted to walled prisons or rehabilitation centers, will be separated based on the type and duration of their sentence, prior record, character, morals and behavior in accordance with decisions made by the Prisoners Classification Council.”