Baquer Namazi, an Iranian-American citizen who has been held in an Iranian prison since February 2016, has been rushed to the hospital, according to his family and his lawyer.
Namazi, who is 81, was taken to the hospital on Monday, January 15 after his blood pressure dropped and his heart beat became irregular. After being taken to a facility without a cardiac unit, he was later returned to Evin Prison without a diagnosis. It was only late on Tuesday night only that he was taken to a hospital that could treat cardiac patients.
“My father’s health is deteriorating rapidly and he and my family are running out of time,” said Babak Namazi in a statement issued by the family’s international lawyer Jared Genser and Freedom Now, which defends the rights of prisoners of conscience and those held in arbitrary detention.
“The conditions under which he has been held are exacerbating his frail health and he will not survive much longer. Over his detention since February 2016, he has undergone relentless interrogations and has been held in terrible conditions, including having spent extended periods in solitary confinement. Like my brother Siamak Namazi, they have both been unjustly convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison each by an Iranian court. For my father, it is becoming more clear by the day that this will be a death sentence for him.”
Revolutionary Guards arrested Baquer Namazi on February 22, 2016 after he flew into the country from Dubai to visit his son, Siamak, who had been arrested on October 13, 2015 while he was in Iran on business. Agents did not provide arrest warrants in either case.
According to Freedom Now and the Namazi family, the recent hospital trip was Baquer Namazi’s fourth in the space of 12 months. In September 2017, he underwent emergency heart surgery to install a pacemaker to save his life. Despite his doctor recommending he be hospitalized with immediate effect, it took prison authorities five days to permit the transfer out of prison.
Babak Namazi, whose campaigns for his brother and father’s release have included appealing to the United Nations to take immediate action on their cases, appealed to the Iranian authorities to “show mercy on humanitarian grounds” and release his father. He also urged President Trump to do everything he could to bring about the release of his father and brother. Prior to his election in November 2016, Trump tweeted that hostage situations like the one the Namazis have endured would not continue under his presidency.
Despite conducting a number of tests, Namazi’s cardiologist is not sure why his patient’s condition worsened so dramatically earlier this week.