Detained Journalist Denied Hospitalization Despite Worsening Symptoms
- Sanaz Allahyari has Been Without Counsel for Five Months
- Family Barred from Sending Letter Appeal to Parliament
Imprisoned journalist Sanaz Allahyari has been denied hospitalization despite suffering from worsening health problems in Tehran’s Evin Prison, a source close to her family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on June 10, 2019.
“Sanaz’s condition is very worrying,” said the source who also told CHRI that her family was not allowed to submit a letter about her case to Parliament.
“She has been physically weak and experiencing chills for some time,” added the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their security. “She suffers from stomach pains and has lost about 10 kilos [22 lbs].”
The source continued: “The prison doctor prescribed nutrition medication for her physical weakness. The family purchased the medications and she has been taking them for the past two weeks but still hasn’t gotten better. In fact, her weakness and shivers have gotten worse. The prison authorities have not given her permission for a simple check-up.”
Allahyari’s family attempted to submit an official letter to members of Parliament about her case but was turned away.
“The judicial authorities say her illness is not anything important and she doesn’t need any treatment,” the source told CHRI. “Disappointed by the reaction they received from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, the family went to Parliament to deliver a letter to lawmakers and ask them to investigate her condition but they wouldn’t even take it.”
The source added that Allahyari does not have a lawyer because she refused to choose her lawyer from a court-approved list.
Since late 2017, detainees held on national security-related charges in Iran—including journalists, activists, and defense lawyers—have been told to choose their counsel from a list approved by Iran’s chief justice.
This violation of international standards of due process has been condemned by lawyers and rights groups based inside and outside the country.
A staff reporter for the independent Gam Telegram app news channel, Allahyari has been detained since January 9, 2019, when she was arrested along with her husband Amirhossein Mohammadifard, the news channel’s editor-in-chief.
The two, along with Gam staff reporters Ali (Amir) Amirgholi and Asal Mohammadi, will be tried on the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “forming groups with the intention to disturb national security” and “contacts with anti-state organizations.”
Allahyari, 33, who has an undergraduate degree in economics, was previously arrested in February 2009 and held for 17 days for being a member of a student organization that campaigned for greater freedoms and gender equality.
She was later sentenced to a five-year suspended prison sentence at an unknown date for the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security.”