UK-Iranian Grandfather Marks 78th Birthday in Tehran’s Evin Prison
Iranian-British grandfather Kamal Foroughi saw his 78th birthday pass on September 3, 2017, in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where he has been serving a seven-year prison sentence for alleged espionage charges since 2011.
“We’re very worried about Dad’s health,” Foroughi’s son, Kamran, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “How many birthdays does he have left? Will Dad survive Evin Prison? Will we ever see him again?”
Kamran Foroughi added that improving relations between the British and Iranian governments after the two countries restored diplomatic relations in 2016 have had no positive impact on his father’s case.
“Tuesday [September 5] happens to be the one-year anniversary since the UK and Iran restored diplomatic relations to full ambassador level,” he wrote. “We’re sure Ambassadors Hamid Baeidinejad and Nicholas Hopton have had a busy year encouraging trade, but what about Dad?”
Dozens of foreign diplomats based in Iran were criticized by human rights activists after they visited Evin Prison without seeing dual and foreign nationals and other political prisoners currently held in the prison.
Diagnosed with cataracts in 2016, Kamal Foroughi has been eligible for parole for more than 1,300 days under Article 58 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which allows for conditional release after prisoners have served a third of their prison sentence.
Kamal Foroughi, who holds both Iranian and British citizenship, was working as a consultant for the oil and gas Petronas company when he was arrested on May 5, 2011, by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and sentenced to seven years in prison for “espionage” and one year for “possession of alcoholic drinks at home.” The latter sentence was eventually dropped, according to Kamran Foroughi.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality.
“How is Dad’s health? We still don’t know,” Kamran Foroughi told CHRI, adding that Foroughi has no family members in Iran. “For the last five weeks, his medical results have been awaiting collection from Evin Prison reception.”
“Dad has not seen them [the records] and no one seems to be able to access them,” added Kamran Foroughi. “So, effectively, we’re all being deprived of seeing any results of the many medical tests conducted on Dad, contrary to international medical norms.”
The judiciary’s ongoing imprisonment of dual nationals contradicts President Hassan Rouhani’s repeated calls for expatriates to return to Iran. The growing number of arrests also reflects hardliners’ efforts to prevent the engagement with the West that the Rouhani administration has sought to encourage.