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Urgent Action: Manuchehr Mohammadi 37 gone into a coma

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Urgent Action: Manuchehr Mohammadi 37 gone into a coma Reply with quote


Iran: Further information Torture/Ill-treatment/Fear for safety/Medical concern
PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/040/2005
27 July 2005


Further Information on UA 181/03 (MDE 13/015/2003, 20 June 2003) and follow-ups
(MDE 13/021/2003, 15 July 2003; MDE 13/020/2004, 26 March 2004) – Torture and
ill-treatment/Fear for safety/Medical concern

IRAN Manuchehr Mohammadi (m), aged 37, student activist and political
Akbar Mohammadi (m), aged 35, student activist (his brother)

Manuchehr Mohammadi has reportedly gone into a coma. He had been on hunger
strike since 6 July, in protest at the authorities' refusal to grant him leave
from prison to receive medical treatment. His life is in grave danger.

His family visited him on or around 20 July, and reported that his health was
deteriorating rapidly: he was unable to walk, could barely talk or see, his
skin had turned yellow, and his eyes were sunken. On 24 July it was reported
that he had fallen into a coma.

Manuchehr has suffered serious health problems in prison, some reportedly
caused by torture and ill-treatment, and the conditions in which he has been
held. At one point he was reportedly chained in a crouching position with his
mouth gagged, in a vermin-infested cell, and was frequently beaten. He suffers
from gingivitis, which causes chronic, severe bleeding from the gums, and
causes him pain when he speaks or eats. He has allegedly been denied adequate
medical treatment, although prison doctors have recommended it. In about April
2005, a prison doctor reportedly told him that his gingivitis had advanced to
the point that, in order to cure it, he would need to have all his teeth
removed and dentures fitted. He is not known to have received any treatment.

He was permitted two periods of leave from prison in 2004, most recently in
September to seek medical treatment for his gingivitis. While out on leave he
gave interviews to foreign journalists. Upon his return to prison he was kept
in solitary confinement before being returned to a shared cell. This contact
with journalists may be the reason he is not being allowed to leave prison for
further treatment.

Following the news of the deterioration in Manuchehr’s health, members of his
family went to Tehran to protest, and held a demonstration outside Tehran
University with his supporters. The demonstrators were reportedly attacked, and
some of them badly beaten, either by the police, or possibly by members of the
semi-official organization Ansar-e Hezbollah, which opposes political dissent
against the state. Up to 40 people were reportedly arrested, including
Manuchehr’s mother, aunt, uncle and cousin.

Manuchehr Mohammadi was accused of having a leading role in the July 1999
student-led protests known as the 18 Tir demonstrations after the Iranian date.
He was shown on television "confessing" to involvement with
"counter-revolutionary agents". He was charged with offences reportedly
relating to national security, and following a manifestly unfair trial was
reportedly sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, which was later reduced on
appeal to seven years. (See UA 160/99, MDE 13/14/99, 4 November 1999.) At the
end of November 2003, Manuchehr Mohammadi’s seven year prison sentence was
extended by two years: one year for having had interviews with foreign media
while on leave from prison and another for issuing ‘political statements’ while
in prison.

His brother Akbar, initially sentenced to death, had his sentence reduced on
appeal to 15 years' imprisonment, and is now known to be on extended medical
leave. He was released in July 2004 and hospitalised immediately: he has
reportedly undergone at least three major operations, and is still receiving
medical treatment, in his home town of Amol.

Manuchehr and Akbar Mohammadi have been the subject of several campaign
actions, including Urgent Actions, an appeal case, and AIUK’s "UA of the month"
in March 2004. During a 12-day period of leave from prison in June 2004 the
brothers asked their sister to pass on their good wishes to UA network members.
She said that the network's campaigning action had "very much supported them.
It strengthened their spirits."
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