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Iranian Christian denied medical treatment in Evin Prison

Iranian Christian denied medical treatment in Evin Prison

Saheb Fadaei (Middle East Concern)

An Iranian Christian serving a ten-year sentence for charges related to the peaceful practice of his faith has been denied medical treatment in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Zaman Fadaee, who prefers to be known as Saheb, has had a constant fever for over a week and has been hallucinating.

After three days, he went to the prison doctor’s, where he was prescribed two tablets and one injection, then sent back to his cell.

Three days later, when his symptoms remained, Saheb returned to the doctor’s, only to be asked why he had returned and sent back to his cell.

Other prisoners have sought to obtain further medication for him, but without success.

Article18’s Advocacy Director, Mansour Borji, said: “Together with many Christians around the world, we are closely following Saheb’s situation and are concerned about his deteriorating health. The Iranian authorities must stop this repeating patten of neglect and denial of medical treatment for prisoners of conscience. Saheb has a wife and a daughter who are looking forward to him returning home in full health.”

Last year, fellow Christian convert detainee Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, who is also serving a ten-year sentence in Evin Prison, was denied emergency dental treatment despite reportedly being in danger of losing all his teeth.

Amnesty International released a report in 2016 about the “cruel denial of medical care in Iran’s prisons”.

Amnesty cited the example of Maryam Naghash Zargaran, another Christian convert who spent years in Evin Prison because of her peaceful religious activities.

Maryam twice went on hunger strike when she was denied the medical treatment she needed. She left Evin Prison in August 2017 at the completion of her sentence.

Saheb has been in prison since July 2018, after he was convicted in July 2017 of “forming a house-church” and “promoting Zionist Christianity”.

Saheb was sentenced alongside his pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, and two other members of their Rasht church – Mohammad Ali Mossabayeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi. All four men are converts to Christianity.

Yousef recently went on hunger strike to protest against the denial of education to his two sons – because they refused to sit classes in Islamic Studies and the Quran. Ordinarily, Christian children do not have to attend such classes, but as religious conversions away from Islam are unrecognised in Iran, Yousef’s children, and other children of converts, continue to be treated as Muslims.

Earlier this year, Saheb was told he had failed in his appeal against an additional 18-month sentence for “spreading propaganda against the regime”. He was sentenced alongside another Christian convert, Fatemeh (Ilar) Bakhteri, who began her 12-month sentence in August. 

Saheb was also sentenced to two years’ exile in Hamedan province at the completion of his jail sentence.

Last month, fellow Christian convert Ebrahim Firouzi became the first Christian to be sent into exile, just two weeks after returning home from six years in prison. He was sent to the remote city of Sarbaz, 1,000 miles from his home in Robat Karim, near Tehran.