Filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad was sentenced to multiple sentences in February last year, including seven and a half years in prison, after being convicted on charges related to an open letter he and others signed calling for the resignation of the supreme leader and constitutional changes, according to a Press release by the experts.
The Iranian authorities must immediately release him in accordance with medical advice and give him free access to the necessary medical care and treatment.
– Human rights experts
“We are gravely concerned about the ill-treatment inflicted on Mohammad Nourizad and his continued incarceration for expressing his opinion,” rights experts said, noting that “his case is emblematic of the situation of many Iranian political activists in detention.”
They added that the continued detention of Mr. Nourizad despite the conclusion that health professionals could not stay in prison because of his serious health condition and denial of adequate medical care resulting therefrom, could be torture.
“He must be immediately released,” the experts said.
While in detention, Mr. Nourizad went on hunger strikes and refused to take medicine, most recently from March 10, to protest his imprisonment and the mistreatment of his family by the authorities. He also reportedly attempted suicide in prison and began to self-harm in protest on February 19.
The experts previously raised concerns with the Iranian government over Mr. Nourizad’s detention as well as access to medical care, according to the press release. The government sent comments in response to the concerns raised.
In no state of health to stay in prison
According to the press release, Mr. Nourizad was diagnosed with heart disease while in detention and frequently lost consciousness.
Last month he was transferred to a hospital in the capital Tehran after fainting. When he regained consciousness, he found someone injecting him with an unknown substance to which he had not consented or of which he had been informed. He also did not receive any information, although he did ask officials what he was injected with and why.
“It is clear that Mr. Nourizad is not in condition to stay in prison,” experts said, noting also that the legal Medical Organization of the Iranian judiciary and other health care professionals have estimated that ‘he should be released for medical reasons.
“The Iranian authorities must immediately release him in accordance with these medical opinions and give him free access to the necessary medical care and treatment.”
Many are imprisoned for exercising their rights
Experts also said that many individuals in Iran are detained for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. They reminded the government that detention on such a basis is a clear violation of several of the country’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
“We remain extremely troubled by the continuous reports of detainees, including those imprisoned for exercising their human rights, deprived or unnecessarily prevented from receiving adequate treatment or medical care,” added the experts.
“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 under Nelson Mandela Rules on minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners. “
Among the human rights experts who made the appeal are the special rapporteurs on the human rights situation in Iran; at torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression; at rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; on the right to physical and mental health; and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Special rapporteurs are part of what is called the Special procedures of Human rights council. Experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not United Nations staff and do not receive a salary. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in an individual capacity.