Retired Professor, 71, Held in Disease-Ridden Ward, Daughter Says

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The daughter of prisoner of conscience Mohammad Hossein Rafiee fears her elderly father is in danger of attracting serious diseases, including HIV, because of a health epidemic in Ward 8 of Evin Prison.

“According to Article 100 of the Prison Regulations, the authorities have a duty to prevent contagious diseases. But unfortunately some inmates are HIV positive and some are suffering from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C but they are not receiving any treatment and no effort is being made to prevent the spread of these diseases,” Ana Maryam Rafiee told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, is a retired chemistry professor and political activist in the Nationalist-Religious Alliance, a peaceful political opposition group that is banned in Iran. He was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on June 16, 2015, and held at Evin’s Ward 8 ever since.

His daughter noted that prison authorities had failed to comply with Article 69 of the Prison Regulations which requires that prisoners be separated according to their background, type of crime committed, gender, age, nationality and physical condition. Mohammad Hossein Rafiee has been locked up with financial criminals and drug traffickers.

“Also, contrary to Article 95 of the Prison Regulations…inmates should be served dairy products, vegetables and fruits as well as meat three times a week. But my father said that soya has replaced meat and it’s rare to see vegetables and fruit in the meals,” Ms. Rafiee said.

“The regulations say that prisons should be disinfected once a month but…there are a lot of bed bugs and other insects and the authorities have done nothing to disinfect the ward, despite many requests by the prisoners.”

Mohammad Hossein Rafiee was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from political and media activities for two years by Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on May 25, 2015. The charges against him included “propaganda against the state through interviews with opposition media,” “membership and activity in a banned group,” and “use of satellite equipment.”

Three days after his lawyer lodged an appeal against the sentence, Rafiee was taken to Evin to serve an earlier prison sentence handed down in 2003, even though the statute of limitations on that case had since expired.

“One of the accusations against my father is that he was a member of the ‘illegal’ Nationalist-Religious group. But this group has never been declared illegal by a jury in an open court, as required by Article 168 of the Constitution and therefore the validity of this particular charge is questionable,” Ana Maryam Rafiee told the Campaign.

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