Jailed Iranian writer Baktash Abtin has been put in a medically induced coma as his health condition is deteriorating due to complications caused by Covid-19 that he contracted in prison.
Abtin was denied timely treatment by the authorities of Evin prison for about 10 days after he caught Covid for the second time and was allowed to leave the prison for hospitalization on December 13.
The banned association said in their Sunday statement that Abtin’s condition is the direct result of the authorities’ “deliberate delay” to start his treatment.
The writer was sentenced to six years in prison in May 2019 for publishing documents about the history of the association and some comments against censorship.
Along with writers Reza Khandan Mahabadi and Kayvan Bajan, Abtin was charged with “propaganda against the state”and “assembly and collusion against national security”. These are vague charges used against political prisoners for criticism against the government.
Both courts and prosecutors are controlled by Iran’s hardline Judiciary which is accountable to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Judges and prosecutors work in tandem with orders they receive from the Judiciary.
In October 2021, PEN America bestowed its 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award to the three imprisoned writers.