Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ailing imprisoned blogger refusing medical treatment in protest

Persian2English According to Human Rights House of Iran, imprisoned blogger and human rights activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is refusing to receive any medicines or treatment from the prison’s clinic. The protest is against the prison authorities’ prevention of Ronaghi Maleki’s transfer to a qualified hospital for proper care; even though, two weeks ago, the Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi officially ordered the transfer.

Ronaghi Maleki is held in Evin prison and suffers from a dangerous kidney ailment. He is in dire need of immediate medical attention.

In the past six months, Ronaghi Maleki has undergone two kidney-related surgeries. To date, he has spent more than 670 days behind bars, and the judicial and security officials have banned him from furlough.

In a recent letter to the Tehran Prosecutor, Ronaghi Maleki asked to not be shackled again while being transferred to the hospital. He also asked to be granted [his legal right to] prison furlough, so he may recover from his recent surgeries at home, as per the doctor’s recommendations. The Tehran Prosecutor had rejected his requests.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested along with his brother on December 13, 2009 at their parents’ home in the Eastern Azerbaijan province during an operation to “dismantle a counterrevolutionary network.”  Reports indicate that Ronaghi Maleki had “written and used software to combat filtering and to host and support websites and blogs that defend human rights.” His brother was later released on an $80 thousand (USD) bail.

He is charged with “Membership in the Iran Proxy internet group”, “Propaganda against the regime”, and “Insulting the Supreme Leader and the President”. In December 2010, one year after his arrest, a 15-year prison sentence issued earlier for the blogger was finalized by the Islamic Republic Appeals Court. According to reports, Ronaghi Maleki’s lawyer and family were not present at the court when the sentence was issued. He was originally sentenced on October 3, 2010 by branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, but he was not permitted to read the verdict. However, after he was beaten by [regime] officials, he was forced to sign the unread verdict.

Reporters Without Borders has said that this is the heaviest sentence for a blogger to date after the 19 and a half year sentence given to another blogger, Hossein Derakhshan.

According to various human rights reports, Ronaghi Maleki was severely physically and psychologically tortured for ten months while he was held in solitary confinement.

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