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Iran: Female Political Prisoner Denied Necessary Medical Treatment for Liver Disease

Iranian political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared
Iranian political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared

With the appalling human rights situation in Iran, not only are ordinary Iranian citizens suffering at the hands of the Iranian regime, but political prisoners are being denied their basic rights while imprisoned, including being denied access to treatment and care for their medical conditions.

Political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared is currently serving her 13th year in prison. She was initially detained at Evin Prison before being transferred to Semnan Prison last year. She suffers from fatty liver disease, and as the prison itself has minimal facilities, she is unable to access and cook the food she needs in order to manage her condition, as directed by her doctor.

Speaking of Monfared’s situation, an informed source stated, “This political prisoner has been forced to eat bread and cheese for about a year. Because she cannot eat prison food and this food has endangered her health.”

She also suffers from rheumatism in her joints, and has a thyroid condition, and has not been granted any medical leave to acquire treatment for either of these issues since the day she was detained.

Monfared was arrested on December 31, 2009, following the major uprising that took place in Iran that month, before being forcibly disappeared for the next five months, spending time in solitary confinement for the first 43 days of being imprisoned.

The Revolutionary Court of Tehran finally sentenced her in June 2010 to 15 years in prison under the charges of being an ‘enmity against God’ and a member of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), a charge which she has vehemently denied.

Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) said, “Maryam Akbari’s sister and brother were executed during the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. Another two of her brothers were executed during the mass executions in the early 1980s.”

The human rights organization, Amnesty International have named Monfared as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, due to the fact that her conviction was found to have been a reprisal because of her attempts to seek the truth about what happened to her siblings, along with the open letters she wrote which condemned regime officials for their human rights violations.