Saturday, 17 July 2010

AFP: Iran denying medical treatment to prisoners: rights groups

NICOSIA — More than a year after a crackdown over a disputed presidential election Iran is still holding more than 100 political prisoners and denying them basic rights such as medical treatment, two international rights groups said on Friday.

"More than 100 political prisoners are still being held in Iranian jails in inhuman and degrading conditions. Their most basic rights are being violated, starting with the right to adequate medical treatment, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said in a joint statement.

"These conditions have had a considerable physical and psychological impact on their health and most of them are ill," the statement said.

The organisations said they believed medical treatment was being denied to prisoners to "put pressure on them and their families."

The June 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered widespread protests, with the opposition charging that the voting was massively rigged in favour of the hardliner.

Iranian authorities cracked down heavily on protesters. Dozens were killed in clashes, hundreds wounded and thousands arrested, including top reformists, political activists and journalists.

Of those arrested, dozens have been put on trials and sentenced to varying sentences. Ten protesters have even been sentenced to death in verdicts severely criticised by international human rights groups.

Last month an Iranian military court sentenced two men to death in connection with the deaths of at least three anti-government protesters in Tehran's notorious Kahrizak prison, according to Iranian media reports.

The rights groups said that according to information obtained from prisoners' families and published media reports in Iran "many prisoners of conscience have had heart attacks or other cardiac problems in different prisons, especially Evin and Raja?i Shahr."

Denying adequate medical treatment to prisoners contravenes Iran's own prison regulations, as well as several international treaties, they said.

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