Human Rights House of Iran – Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is a blogger who has been behind bars since December 13, 2009 and has to date never been allowed to leave prison on furlough. Tomorrow, July 5th, this blogger will spend his second consecutive birthday in prison. Despite the fact that he has been dangerously suffering from illness behind bars, judiciary and security officials have barred him from sick leave.
During the past 18 months, in order to visit with their child for 20 minutes, the parents of this political prisoner have endured the long travel to Tehran from the city of Melkan, located close to Tabriz. Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the father of this blogger spoke to the Human Rights House of Iran of his great worry concerning his son’s deteriorating health. “The best gift that can possibly be granted us for our son’s birthday is his release from prison. Considering his dire condition, we would like Hossein to at least be allowed out on furlough so that we can take care of him.”
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested on December 13, 2009, along with his brother Hassan Ronaghi-Maleki at their father’s house in the city of Melkan, which is close to the city of Tabriz. He and his brother were transferred to solitary confinement in ward 2A of Evin prison one day after they were arrested. This area is under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Guards and is not supervised by prison officials. Hossein Ronaghi spent close to 10months in this ward of the prison in solitary or cells with two or three prisoners, while being subjected to severe pressures by the interrogating agents in order to extradite false confessions for broadcast during televised trials.
Finally after spending 10 months in “temporary detention,” Hossein was handed down his sentence by judge Pir Abassi. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison which was later ratified at the appeals court.
Hossein Maleki’s father spoke to me about Hossein’s physical deterioration in prison and we had a discussion about Hossein as he was about to spend his second consecutive birthday behind bars.
As they had done so many times in previous weeks and months, Hossein Ronaghi’s parents had made the long journey to visit with their son in Tehran. His father Ahmad Ronaghi spoke to our “House” of his son’s latest physical condition.
“Today we had a cabin visit with Hossein. They do not allow us personal visits. When we saw Hossein his physical condition was not good. I observe his health deteriorating every week when I see him. They will not grant him furlough and no matter how much we have tried, we have gotten nowhere.”
His father said regarding his sickness, “Even though the prison physicians themselves have stated that Hossein needs to be under the care of a specialist in an environment outside of the prison, officials oppose Hossein’s release on furlough. It is imperative that Hossein be granted sick leave considering his serious condition. To date he has had two surgeries. The first time the surgeons said that one of his kidneys had lost 80% of it’s function while the other one had lost 20%. Last month he ended up in the hospital again and returned to prison after 14 days. They should have allowed Hossein to come home for his recuperation after the surgery but instead they transferred him back to prison.”
Ahmad Ronaghi continued, “I wrote a letter after Hossein was transferred back to prison explaining that if Hossein’s kidneys get infected again, there will be no more treatment options and he will not be able to recuperate. This is a circumstance that has been confirmed by the physicians. The physicians have stated that it will take 3 months for the incisions in his kidneys to be effective, and during this time in order for these operations to be successful, it is imperative that Hossein be cared for in a well suited environment and be provided nutritious food. Hossein himself has also written letters explaining all these circumstances to judicial authorities.”
I asked Ahmad Ronaghi to share the names and positions of the contacted officials along with their reasons for preventing his son to attain sick leave from prison.
He responded, “The request for furlough has been denied by the interrogating official in charge of Hossein’s files, denied by Judge Pir Abassi, head of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, along with his office manager, Mr. Satari. When I pleaded with these individuals to grant my son sick leave they responded that if Hossein were to be let out of prison, he would escape. I asked, where would Hossein go? His life is here and he has nowhere to go. I told them Hossein is very sick right now and it is imperative that he is cared for. This is our country and Hossein has no reason to flee our country. I believe these are all excuses on the part of the officials. Last year they asked for a huge bail in order to grant Hossein furlough. But when we conceded to provide the money, they still prevented Hossein from leaving. Another time despite the fact that we posted a 330 million toman bail and met all their stipulations, again they did not give Hossein permission to leave.”
This blogger’s father continued, “We have also visited the offices of the prosecutor and of Mr. Jafari Dolat Abadi. We have delivered numerous letters asking for Hossein to be granted sick leave. In the past days we have visited the offices again to follow up but no response had been given to our letters and we are still waiting to see what happens. We will be travelling back to Tehran in the next few days to follow up again in the hopes of any response.”
“Mr. Ronaghi, tomorrow is Hossen’s birthday and this is the second consecutive birthday he is spending behind bars….”
“The best gift that can be granted to us for our son’s birthday is his release from prison. Considering his condition, we would like Hossein to at least be allowed out on furlough so that we can take care of him. We plead with the prison and judicial officials to sympathize with his dire situation and accept his right to furlough so that Hossein can be under supervised care. Judicial officials claim that if Hossein were to be let out, he would escape the country. But this is absolutely not true; Hossein loves his country and if he is granted his right to medical care he will return to prison when he is healed. The main issue here is that our son’s health is in great danger and we need to care for him at home. All human beings have an obligation to help those who are sick and in need. This is not only a basic right that is clearly stated in our laws, but it is also a humanitarian issue.”
By Madyar Samienejad
Translated by Lalehsr