Student Activist Hospitalized for Heart Condition After Three Months in Prison
Mehdi Arabshahi, the Secretary of the Daftar Tahkim Vahdat Organization, was transferred to Shahid Lavasani Hospital this afternoon due to heart complications. A close relative of Arabshahi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he suffered a severe heart attack while under temporary detention at Evin Prison. The heart attack was due to pressure during interrogations and solitary confinement. Arabshahi, 30 years of age, did not have any history of heart disease before.
Arabshahi was arrested on the Shiite Holy Day of Ashura (27 December) last year, and for three months he was held in solitary confinement at Evin Prison’s Ward 240. He was first summoned to Branch 1053 of Tehran General Courts on 23 November 2009 on the charge of “disrupting public order through illegal congregation.” During his incarceration in Evin Prison Arabshahi suffered a severe heart attack due to physical and psychological pressures during interrogation. Prison officials transferred him to Qamar Bani Hashem Hospital. After his release he was put under the care of medical specialists who recommended he be hospitalized for treatment.
The deteriorating health of several inmates during the past few weeks has put the spotlight on this situation. Some time ago, the Campaign reported that prison authorities are torturing prisoners of conscience by keeping them in dangerous hygienic conditions and denying medical treatment to them. “Iran is targeting prisoners of conscience by subjecting them to overcrowding, disease, inadequate accommodations, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and lack of access to medical care,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
Daftar Tahkim Vahdat is a nationwide student organization whose members were widely arrested and imprisoned after last year’s elections. Last year the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology declared the student organization illegal. Security officials asked the imprisoned members of the organization to rescind their memberships in the organization and to condemn actions and political statements made by the organization as a condition for their freedom. The imprisoned members refrained. Bahareh Hedayat, Milad Asadi, Abbas Hakimzadeh, Morteza Samyari, and Mehdi Arabshahi are some of the members of the Central Council of Dafter Tahkim Vahdat Organization who have faced threats and imprisonment after last year’s presidential elections.