Rissmaan – Friday April 30, 2021; Amnesty International has issued a press release calling for the unconditional release of Mohammad Nourizad, a political prisoner held at Evin Prison.
The press release is as follows:
Authorities must stop cruelly toying with the life of tortured prisoner Mohammad Nourizad
The Iranian authorities are cruelly toying with the life of Mohammad Nourizad, a 68-year-old dissident and filmmaker, by denying him adequate specialized health care for his heart condition, described as “dangerous” by several doctors.
Amnesty International is also horrified that he has been subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including sexual violence and forced administration of chemical substances.
Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately release Mohammad Nourizad. His detention is arbitrary as it is related solely to his peaceful criticism of the Islamic Republic. As an older person with pre-existing conditions, he is also at heightened risk of severe illness or death if he contracts COVID-19 while in prison. Pending his release, the authorities must ensure that he is provided with any adequate specialised medical care he needs outside prison, protect him from further torture and other ill-treatment, and ensure that he has regular access to his family
through telephone calls and visits.
Mohammad Nourizad’s health has been deteriorating in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest on 11 August 2019 as a result of the torture to which he has been subjected through the prolonged denial of access to adequate specialised medical care for his heart disease and diabetes. He has been transferred to hospital several times, but the authorities have each time returned him to prison without allowing medical staff to provide him with the full treatment he needs.
According to informed sources with knowledge of his health, medical staff from two separate hospitals in Tehran have stated that he needs to be admitted to a hospital with a specialist heart unit for surgery and that a lack of specialised medical care for his heart condition and his continued detention could lead to his death. In addition, the informed sources have told Amnesty International that doctors from the Legal Medicine Organization, an official forensic institute, issued an opinion on his case in early 2021, stating that he is unable to tolerate imprisonment but the authorities still refuse to release him.
In a letter written from inside Evin prison on 19 April 2021, he described being subjected to sexual torture several days earlier in Loghman Hospital in Tehran:
“On Tuesday, I lost consciousness for the 36th time. When I regained consciousness in the middle of the night with the feeling of suffocation, I saw a giant man, who was neither wearing a white coat nor a hospital uniform, had pinned me to the ground and had his knee on my throat and neck. I was suffocating. He pulled my trousers down, took out a syringe from his bag that he had already prepared and injected it eight times into my penis. I don’t know what he injected. Then he threw me on the bed and tied my hands and feet to the bars of the bed in the worst possible way with four tight straps,
so that for two days both my hands were swollen. They returned me to prison the next day. I immediately wrote a letter to the head of the prison requesting that I urgently be sent to the Legal Medicine Organization for examination in order to reveal what substance I was injected with eight times. I have not heard from him since. During the 21 months that I have been imprisoned, I always have to move around with an aluminium cane, because sometimes I lose my balance. I fell backwards four times from the top of a high staircase. I declare to the people of Iran and the human rights groups of the world…do not allow our cries to be silenced.”
Mohammad Nourizad’s continued torture through the denial of adequate specialised medical care has left him taking drastic action including through self-harm to compel the authorities to give him the health care he needs. He has undertaken several hunger strikes and has sometimes also refrained from taking his medication.
In a tearful voice recording published online, Mohammad Nourizad’s daughter, Faezeh Nourizad, said that, at the end of their prison visit on 8 March 2021, her father made cuts to his face, head and neck with a razor, resulting in heavy bleeding. According to his daughter, the authorities have said that, regardless of his worsening health, Mohammad Nourizad must stay in prison until at least after the presidential election, which is scheduled for June 2021, is over.
Mohammad Nourizad was among 14 dissidents who signed an open letter on 11 June 2019 calling for the resignation of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and a fundamental change to the country’s constitution.
Mohammad Nourizad has been convicted, following unfair trials in three separate cases, of charges including “insulting the Supreme Leader” and sentenced to a total of 17 years and six months in prison, 220 lashes, prolonged internal “exile” in the remote city of Izeh, Khuzestan province, hundreds of miles from his family, and a three-year ban on traveling abroad.
In an attempt to place further pressure on Mohammad Nourizad, the Iranian authorities arrested his son, Ali Nourizad, and sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for the peaceful exercise of his rights.