'Grave concern' for jailed Iranian filmmaker

UN special rapporteurs call for immediate release of Mohammad Nourizad

Peter Kenny   | 04.05.2021
'Grave concern' for jailed Iranian filmmaker


UN human rights experts on Tuesday expressed "serious concern" over the condition of imprisoned Iranian filmmaker and political activist Mohammad Nourizad, calling for his immediate release.

"We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion," a joint statement read. "His continued detention despite medical professionals finding he cannot stay in prison given his serious health condition, and the resulting denial of adequate medical care, may amount to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment."

In February 2020, Nourizad received multiple sentences, including a 7.5-year prison term, after conviction on charges relating to an open letter he and others signed calling for the Iranian supreme leader's resignation and constitutional changes.

The UN experts are Javaid Rehman, a special rapporteur on human rights in Iran; Nils Melzer, a special rapporteur on torture and other cruel punishment; Irene Khan, a special rapporteur on freedom of expression, and Tlaleng Mofokeng, special rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health.

"His case is emblematic of the situation many Iranian political activists face in detention. He must be immediately released," the press release said.

Hunger strikes

While in detention, Nourizad has had hunger strikes and refused to take medications, most recently starting March 10, to protest against his imprisonment and his family's mistreatment by the authorities.

The experts said Nourizad has been diagnosed with a heart condition and has frequently lost consciousness while in detention.

On April 14, he was transferred to Loghman Hakim Educational Hospital in Tehran after fainting.

When he regained consciousness, he found someone injecting him with eight ampules of a substance without his consent.

Nourizad has requested that officials inform him of the substances which were injected into him.

He has also called for an investigation into why he received the injections and has not been provided with a response.

"It is clear that Mohammad Nourizad is not in a medical state to remain in prison," the experts said. "The Iranian authorities must release him immediately in line with these medical opinions and give him free access to the required medical care and treatment."

The statement said that many individuals in Iran are detained for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression.

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