By Kevin Kim
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
TEHRAN, Iran – A prominent human rights activist jailed since October was rushed to a hospital after collapsing in a prison shower.
Emadeddin Baghi, 45, suffered a “double heart attack” in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where he has been held for the past 74 days. He was taken to a private hospital when a prison official found him unconscious in the shower. He had collapsed twice in his cell earlier in the morning due to high nervous pressure.
Baghi, a reformist journalist who is in jail for the second time, has reported been held in solitary confinement ever since he was first taken to Evin, and his health deteriorated steadily during the past two months. His lawyer believes his poor health was mainly due to appalling prison conditions and harassment he has been subjected to during interrogations.
Baghi was arrested in October on charges of violating national security. Iranian authorities said that due to his ongoing activities, he had to serve the remaining year of an earlier prison sentence he had received back in 2003. In 2003, he was sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges of threatening national security, but he only served two years of the term. Authorities have accused Baghi, who campaigns for the humane treatment of prisoners and against the death penalty, of using his activism as a guise to cover anti-regime efforts.
In 2005 Baghi was awarded a top human rights prize by the French government for his work campaigning against the death penalty. Since his jailing, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the US State Department have both called for his release.
In Iran, capital offences that results a death penalty include murder, rape, armed robbery, serious drug trafficking, and adultery. Iran is reportedly the second most prolific applier of the death penalty worldwide after China.
For more information, please see:
International Herald Tribune – Media advocacy group RSF worried about health of jailed Iranian activist – 28 December 2007
AFP – Jailed Iranian rights activist hospitalized – 27 December 2007
The New York Times – Human rights activist, jailed in Iran, is transferred to hospital – 27 December 2007
Associated Press – Jailed Iran rights activist in hospital – 27 December 2007