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Jailed Iranian director could die if not released immediately, UN warns

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Ephrem Kossaify
Wed, 2021-05-05 01:32

NEW YORK: UN human rights experts on Tuesday called on Iranian authorities to immediately release filmmaker and political activist Mohammed Nourizad.
They warned his health and life were in danger if he did not have access to proper medical treatment, and said his case was emblematic of the situation many political activists face in detention in Iran.
“It is clear that Mohammad Nourizad is not in a medical condition to remain in prison,” UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, and other experts said in a statement. joint press release.
They cited findings from Iran’s own legal medical organization and other medical professionals that Nourizad’s health has deteriorated to the point that denial of adequate medical care may amount to “torture and death. ‘other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’.
“We are gravely concerned about the ill-treatment inflicted on Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion,” they added.
The 68-year-old filmmaker was sentenced in February 2020 on charges relating to an open letter he and 14 other activists signed in June of the previous year calling for a constitutional change and the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. All the signatories were arrested.
Nourizad was sentenced to several terms, including seven and a half years in prison for “belonging to an illegal group with the intention of disrupting national security” and a year and a half for engaging with opposition groups in a campaign. “Propaganda campaign” against the state.
While in detention, Nourizad went on hunger strikes and also refused to take medicine, most recently from March 10 this year, to protest his incarceration and the mistreatment of his family by the authorities. He also reportedly attempted suicide while in detention and in February began to self-harm in protest.
UN experts said Nourizad had been diagnosed with heart disease and lost consciousness several times in prison. Last month, after one of these incidents, he regained consciousness and found out that he was being injected with an unidentified substance without his consent. The authorities did not respond to his request for an investigation into these injections and information on the substance.
UN experts have said that many people are detained in Iran simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression. They reminded the Iranian government that such detentions are clear violations of several of its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“We remain extremely disturbed by the continuing reports of detainees, including those imprisoned for exercising their human rights, deprived or unnecessarily prevented from receiving appropriate medical treatment or care,” the experts said.
“In extreme cases, denial of adequate treatment has resulted in death. The Iranian government and judiciary have an obligation to ensure that all detainees receive appropriate treatment, in accordance not only with domestic law, but also in accordance with its international human rights and human rights obligations. Mandela’s rules on minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners.

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Mohammad Nourizad
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