Unable to Move His Arm, Arash Sadeghi Denied Hospitalization for Infected Biopsy Wound
“What’s certain is that he needs to be urgently hospitalized”
Arash Sadeghi, a political prisoner in Iran, has lost the ability to move his right arm due to an infection on his shoulder that has been left untreated in Rajaee Shahr Prison, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
“After the biopsy, the assigned doctor prescribed monthly hospital visits to check his tumor and stop its growth,” said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons. “But the head of Rajaee Shahr Prison always comes up with some excuse to prevent Sadeghi’s transfer to the hospital.
“He can’t control the movement of his arm and the infection on the spot of his surgery is getting worse every day,” added the source. “The doctor in the prison’s clinic says that he should be dispatched to a hospital to get the tumor examined and if it doesn’t stop growing, he would need chemotherapy, which would require long-term hospitalization.”
The civil rights activist’s father, Hossein Sadeghi, is scheduled to visit his son in prison on February 13.
“Arash’s condition is getting worse every day,” he told CHRI on February 10. “What’s certain is that he needs to be urgently hospitalized.”
Sadeghi, who has been serving a 15-year prison sentence for his peaceful political activities since 2016, underwent a biopsy in June 2018 and was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that causes bone tumors, according to a source with detailed knowledge of his case.
Sadeghi’s last visit to a hospital outside the prison with specialized medical practitioners was in September 2018 despite repeatedly requesting to go back for further treatment.
Political prisoners in Iran, including elderly inmates, are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care. The threat of withheld medical care has also been used as an intimidation tool against prisoners who have challenged the authorities or filed complaints.
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.
The source told CHRI that after Sadeghi refused to be transported to the hospital in a prison uniform, which he is not normally required to wear, he was told by prison authorities that he wouldn’t be allowed to go to the hospital at all.
The authorities also told him he was being punished for allegedly disrespecting guards who had accompanied him during the last hospital visit.
Iran’s State Prisons Organization and the judiciary are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of all detainees held in state custody. The State Prison Procedures state in Article 120 that “The head of the prison’s infirmary is required to … [ensure] that they receive adequate care from doctors and nurses, [and] he must supervise the patients’ proper diet and recovery completely and continually.”
According to the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which all UN Member States are expected to abide by, “…Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”
Yet no Iranian official has been held accountable for the multiple documented cases of death or irreparable harm suffered by political prisoners due to the lack of proper medical care in prison and the authorities denying them adequate recovery time or outside medical treatment and care.