Reporters Without Borders

Imprisoned journalist denied hospital treatment suffers second heart attack

Published on Thursday 18 December 2008. Updated on Monday 22 December 2008.
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Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the continuing detention of Kurdish journalist and human rights activist Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand, who on the evening of 17 December suffered a mild heart attack for the second time in seven months in his cell in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Both his wife and his lawyer have expressed their deep concern to Reporters Without Borders, especially as access to the prison has been restricted because of the 16 December religious festivities.

“Kaboudvand is paying dearly for using his right to free expression and his commitment to human rights,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He has been deprived of treatment against the advice of the prison’s doctors. We urge the authorities to provide immediate guarantees concerning his state of health.”

The press freedom organisation added: “His life must under no circumstances be put in danger, either medically or as result of mistreatment, which is common in Evin prison, as the death of Zahra Kazemi, a journalist with Iranian and Canadian dual citizenship, showed.”

Kaboudvand was taken to the prison infirmary after suffering the heart attack last night in his cell in No. 8 wing. The former editor of Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan, a weekly that was closed by the authorities, he had been held in Evin prison since July 2007.

He has several ailments but has still not been allowed out of the prison for treatment. Several requests have been refused on the grounds that “he had not yet served three years of his sentence.” This is illegal, says his lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Kaboudvand’s wife said she was very worried about his health. “The prison doctors told me his recurring attacks should be taken seriously and they requested his transfer to a hospital, but the authorities did not agree.”

On 23 October, a Tehran appeal court confirmed Kaboudvand’s 11-year prison sentence for creating a human rights organisation in Iran’s Kurdish northwestern region.

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