Pressure and Torture of Political Prisoner Result in Lung Collapse and Epilepsy
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Fatemeh Alvandi, mother of prisoner of conscience Mehdi Mahmoudian, said that her son has developed epilepsy in prison and is in dire physical and psychological shape. “As you know, Mehdi’s lungs were damaged seriously as a result of the psychological and physical torture he received in solitary confinement. One of his lungs has almost entirely collapsed. The Medical Examiner said six months ago that as a result of that pressure and torture, Mehdi should be transferred to a hospital and treated immediately. But authorities did not accept this at all and didn’t give him leave. With our continued pursuit of the matter and after going to many government authorities, a neurologist and an internist came to see him in prison. They determined that he must receive a brain scan and should receive serious cardiac examinations,” said Alvandi.
Mehdi Mahmoudian, a member of the Participation Front Party and the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, was arrested by Intelligence Ministry forces in September 2009 in his home. He spent three months of his detention in solitary confinement. His charges included “interviewing with media” about post-election events. According to his family, he developed bronchitis when he was held naked in freezing winter temperatures outside.
“The doctors gave him a special medical regiment and said that he must follow it in order for them do anything for him. They said he has to be treated over a long time and must be hospitalized to be treated,” she added.
“When he was at Evin Prison and under torture, he developed influenza. The prison doctor prescribed two strong penicillin shots for him and he received both injections at the same time, leading to a seizure after which he lost consciousness,” Alvandi mother told the Campaign.
Alvandi described for the Campaign that after her son’s arrest, he spent some time in Evin Prison but was transferred to Kachouei Prison, and then in March to Rajaee Shahr Prison. “They don’t have phone access, and 6 cell phone detector units have been installed inside the prison. This is why all prisoners inside Hall 12 of Rajaee Shahr Prison either suffer from nausea, or develop severe dizziness,” she added. “Since his arrest about two years ago, despite my continued follow-up, my son has not been able to have furlough. Despite what the gentlemen state, saying that no one has been denied furlough, none of our children have been able to have prison leave.”
“I wrote letters to the Judiciary, but nobody responded. I was even ridiculed, disrespected, and threatened. They said ‘you talk too much,’ and ‘if you talk too much, we will tell the soldier to imprison you, too.’ I said take me, too. I’m not afraid. They wouldn’t even let my son’s lawyer meet with him. Mehdi has repeatedly asked to meet with his lawyer, but they would not approve the request,” said Fatemeh Alvandi.
“They insisted that prisoners write letters repenting and asking for clemency in order to receive leave, but they wouldn’t do it. They say ‘we didn’t make any mistakes to ask for clemency,” she continued. Judges Moghisseh and Haj Mohammadi presided over the lower court proceedings, and Judge Zargar was the Appeals Court Judge in Mahmoudian’s case, according to Fatemeh Alvandi. “I went to him [Judge Zargar], and told him that ‘our children are truly innocent. Treat him as a father would; my son needs medical treatment.’ He responded: ‘No, your child’s brain is sick. Go and treat his brain.’ My efforts had the reverse effect. Instead of encouraging us, they disappointed us, telling me that my son is sick, that he is crazy,” concluded Alvandi.