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Adel Abad prisoners of conscience taken to hospital

Adel Abad prisoners of conscience taken to hospital

Vahid Hakkani

Two prisoners of conscience being held in Shiraz’s Adel Abad prison have been hospitalised.

Vahid Hakkani, a Christian convert, has suffered gastrointestinal bleeding; Kasra Nouri, a Gonabadi dervish activist, has nerve damage in his back.

Vahid is serving a sentence of three years and eight months for his Christian beliefs. His health has been deteriorating for some months and prison doctors suggested he needed surgery as far back as February. However, the judge initially ruled that he could leave the prison until the final verdict in his case.

Eventually, it was agreed that he could be taken to hospital, on the condition that his bail was transferred to the hospital.

Vahid is serving his sentence alongside three other converts: Mojtaba Hosseini, Homayoun Shokouhi and Mohammad-Reza Partoei.

Meanwhile, Kasra Nouri has been taken to hospital for a scan, according to the dervish news agency Majzooban Noor, which reports that his condition has left him unable to walk.

His family have complained that part of the cause of his back problems and subsequent respiratory problems is overcrowding in the prison.

Kasra has been in prison for nearly two years now, and was sentenced in April to four years and four months’ detention.

Many hoped that with the arrival of the “moderate” Hassan Rouhani as president, the pressure on religious minorities and prisoners of conscience would be reduced. But experts and human rights activists have not yet seen a change of approach. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, has said that he has twice written to Rouhani to request permission to travel to Iran, but has not yet received an answer.

But Mohammad-Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights inIran, said Shaheed’s request was “not considered serious” and criticised him for alleged propaganda against the regime.