Amnesty International has called for the immediate release from prison of human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, who has been denied timely access to adequate healthcare by the authorities.
Prosecution and prison officials are subjecting the arbitrarily detained 51-year-old activist to “torture and other ill-treatment by deliberately denying or severely delaying her access to adequate healthcare to coerce her into adhering to Iran’s abusive and degrading compulsory veiling laws,” the London-based human rights watchdog said on November 22.
“This places Narges Mohammadi’s health at great risk, particularly as she has serious heart and lung conditions,” it added.
Mohammadi went on hunger strike on November 6 in protest at the authorities’ refusal to transfer her for urgent medical tests at a hospital outside prison for more than two months.
Two days later, amid a global outcry, she was transferred to a hospital without a headscarf but was returned to Tehran’s Evin prison the same day and before the test results were reviewed by doctors.
The activist later learned that fluid was found around her heart, up to 80 percent blockage of two arteries requiring an immediate angioplasty and swelling in her esophagus.
Despite this, officials again blocked her transfer to hospital on November 15, conditioning it on her complying with compulsory veiling.
She was taken to hospital the next day for an angioplasty without head covering and returned to prison the same day against medical advice.
On November 21, Mohammadi was taken for a third time in two weeks to a hospital without a headscarf.
“Serious concerns remain over her access to adequate healthcare she needs, including follow-up treatment and monitoring of her heart condition, as prison and prosecution officials have the authority to decide on transfers to hospital and ignore medical advice, per Iran’s Prison Regulations,” Amnesty International said.
Mohammadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month for keeping up her fight against the “oppression of women” in her country despite numerous arrests.
Since May 2021, Iranian authorities have unjustly convicted and sentenced Mohammadi to a total of 12 years and 11 months in prison, 154 lashes, and other sanctions in four separate cases stemming from her human rights activism.
Earlier this month, she was summoned by prosecutors in relation to a new case, but prison officials refused her transfer unless she complied with the Islamic Republic’s veiling laws, which she refused.