Imprisoned Journalist Denied Medical Treatment for Serious War Wounds
Denial of Medical Care is Routine for Political Prisoners in Iran
Imprisoned journalist and political activist Serajeddin Mirdamadi is in need of urgent medical attention at Evin Prison’s infamous Ward 8, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Authorities are refusing to transfer him to the hospital to be treated for war-related injuries, including shrapnel lodged in his body, and he remains in the Ward known as one of the worst in Evin, which lacks minimal facilities such as beds.
“Serajeddin is 30 percent disabled due to injuries he received during the Iran-Iraq war. Before he entered prison, his doctor discovered shrapnel near his neck which had not been previously treated and recommended immediate surgery if he felt any pain or discomfort,” the source added.
“During his solitary confinement and after being transferred to Section 8, Serajeddin’s condition became worse day by day. The prison medical staff ordered his transfer to hospital for treatment but it took months before he was finally taken to Shohada Hospital in Karaj on March 1, in handcuffs and footcuffs. But the soldier who was sent along with him failed to take Serajeddin’s medical file, and the hospital had not been previously informed [about his visit], and therefore no specialist was available to see him at that time. As a result he was returned to prison a few hours later without receiving any medical attention.”
Evin’s Ward 8 is currently holding many more prisoners than it can handle. There is a shortage of beds and it is extremely cold because the heating system does not work properly, according to the source.
The denial of critically needed medical care, even in cases of grave injuries or illness, is routine in the Iranian prison system, especially in the case of political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.
“Despite numerous requests, Serajeddin still does not have a bed and sleeps on the floor, which he should not be doing, because of the injury on his right side. The shrapnel is lodged in a very sensitive spot between his neck and shoulder. He was on a list of prisoners in need of a bed but it is unclear why he has not been given one despite his war injury,” the source told the Campaign.
Mirdamadi was arrested on May 10, 2014, a few months after his return from France where he received a Master degree in communications. He was held in solitary confinement for more than five months in IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison. In August 2014, Judge Salavati sentenced him to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security.”
His appeal is under review.