Evin Prison Medical Chief Denies Ali Shariati Specialist Care Despite Severe Symptoms
Political prisoner Ali Shariati is being denied specialist medical treatment by Evin Prison’s medical chief Abbas Khani despite exhibiting symptoms of severe dental issues.
“Ali has a lot of pain in his teeth and he has severely inflamed gums,” a source close to the Shariati family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 20, 2017.
Continued the source: “He’s taking painkillers every couple of hours to ease the pain but it hasn’t helped. Two weeks ago his personal doctor determined that he needs to be operated on but unfortunately the prison’s medical chief is opposed to his transfer outside the prison for treatment,” added the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care. In August 2017, journalist Alireza Rajaee lost his right eye and part of his jaw due to sinus cancer he said was left untreated while he was held in Evin Prison for four years as a political prisoner.
A civil rights activist who worked for President Hassan Rouhani’s first election campaign in 2013, Shariati was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on February 18, 2015.
On September 11, 2015, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Shariati to 12 years and 9 months in prison for “propaganda against the state,” “acting against national security,” “insulting the president,” and “having a satellite dish at home.”
An Appeals Court upheld the sentence for “acting against national security” by participating in a protest against acid attacks in front of Iran’s Parliament and reduced his sentence to five years in prison, which he has been serving since October 2016.
In a November 2015 joint letter with prisoner of conscience Majid Azarpey, Shariati addressed President Rouhani and said: “You are the enforcer of the Constitution. We want you to end your inaction and take a stand against these witch-hunts. Do not let these extremist forces help the enemies of our land with their injustices.”
Shariati’s wife, Motahare Parsi tweeted on December 17, 2017: “During the entire time when I was visiting Ali today, he had a tooth ache and couldn’t eat anything. His face was swollen. We followed up on his case and got permission for an operation on his gums at a dental center but we are being obstructed by Evin Prison’s medical chief Mr. Khani, who opposes the operation.”
Shariati was first arrested on February 14, 2010, for taking part in the widespread protests against the disputed result of the 2009 presidential election and sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashes. His sentence was reduced upon appeal to one year in prison, which he served.
On June 13, 2014, Shariati was arrested again and detained for a week before being released but he continued to be frequently summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning until February 18, 2015, the day of the arrest that led to his most recent imprisonment.
Shariati’s mother, Shayesteh-ol-Sadat Shahidi, wrote on Instagram on December 7 that her son’s pain is spreading to other parts of his face.
“The pain from my dear son’s teeth is now spreading to his eyes,” she said. “Who’s going to answer for this? Hasn’t a doctor prescribed that he should undergo surgery outside Evin? How much tyranny and oppression should he endure?”