Despite Dire Need, Hengameh Shahidi’s Requests for Medical Leave Denied
A source close to the case of Hengameh Shahidi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that nearly six months after her request for a medical furlough, judicial authorities have not yet agreed to grant her a medical leave for treatment and care outside the prison. “Hengameh has not been in a good physical health and is suffering from heart and stomach problems, back disc, nervous rheumatism, and also severe drop in blood pressure. Even though about six months ago a medical furlough was requested, up to now her request has not been granted. Continuation of this situation would seriously jeopardize her health because her condition requires hospitalization and treatment,” the source said.
The seasoned journalist was sentenced to six years and three months and one day in prison by a lower court. An appeals court upheld her six-year prison sentence. She was charged with “participation in illegal gatherings,” “collusion to disrupt security,” “propagating against the regime,” “disruption in public order,” and “insulting the President,” none of which Ms. Shahidi accepted. Responding to the charges she said that she participated in two protests on 15 and 16 June 2009 because of her profession as a journalist and her assignment as an Advisor For Women’s Issues in the Mehdi Karroubi elections headquarters. She said that two presidential candidates also participated in the same gatherings which were not convened with the goal of acting against national security.
The judge disregarded Ms. Shahidi’s defense in court, even though no evidence was offered by the judicial and police authorities to support the charges in her case. Hengameh Shahidi now spends her time reading and writing in prison.