Ageing Imprisoned Human Rights Lawyer Should Be Released on Medical Grounds, Wife Says
The wife of the prominent lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh, who has been imprisoned since April 2011 for his work defending human rights and political prisoners in Iran, is hoping the appeal for his release from Rajaee Shahr Prison on humanitarian grounds will be heeded by the authorities, given his extremely poor health.
“With the approval of the Medical Examiner [Legal Medicine Organization], Mohammad has been transferred for examination by several doctors, including heart, lung and orthopedic specialists. The tests have not been completed yet but we are hoping that the Medical Examiner and the Tehran prosecutor will approve his early release because of his physical condition and advanced age,” Fatemeh Golzar told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
In addition to heart, lung, and kidney ailments, Mohammad Seifzadeh, 67, is also suffering from severe neck, back, and limb pain, his wife said.
In October 2010, Mohammad Seifzadeh, a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, was sentenced to nine years in prison and a ten-year ban on practicing law on charges of “acting against national security through establishing the Defenders of Human Rights Center.” He was arrested in April 2011 in the city of Orumiyeh on charges of exiting the country illegally, resulting in a second case against him. An appeals court reduced the sentence from his first case to two years in prison, which he served until March 25, 2013. However, while in prison, Seifzadeh was charged with “collusion and assembly against national security” for writing critical letters and signing several group statements, which resulted in a third case against him.
Four court sessions were held to review these charges, but each time Seifzadeh refused to appear in court to present his defense, because he does not consider the Revolutionary Court qualified to judge the case. In March 2013, the court announced an additional six-year sentence for the charges in the third case, but an appeals court ruling on sentencing is pending.
According to Fatemeh Golzar, the case pertaining to Seifzadeh’s alleged “illegal exit from the country” has been dropped. He is serving his sentence inside Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj.