Iranian political prisoner Sepideh Gholain. FILE PHOTO

Iranian political prisoner Sepideh Gholain

Ill With COVID, Iran Political Prisoner Denied Sick Leave, Say Activists


Iranian prison authorities have reportedly refused to allow activist Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) sick leave on grounds of severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Political activists have said Gholian has also been denied medical treatment despite severe gastrointestinal problems due to a hunger strike coupled with Covid complications. Gholian, who has spent much of the past five years in detention after involvement as a ‘citizen journalist’ in protests of Haft Tappeh sugar factory workers in Khuzestan province, has gone on hunger strike several times.

Activist and ex-prisoner Arash Sadeghi tweeted Tuesday that Gholian’s mistreatment was a prelude to another murder, referring to Baktash Abtin, who died of Covid complications January after reportedly denied timely treatment inTehran’s Evin prison. Another twitteratus wrote that the refusal to grant Gholian sick leave was a form of revenge.

While on medical leave in September, Gholian published tweets and did interviews with Prague-based Radio Farda of USAGM alleging around 20 cases of brutal treatment and abuse of female prisoners in Bushehr prison, which she called a “forgotten hell.” Her memoir, published by London-based ‘Iranwire’ in July 2020, was described by Farda as “19 vignettes that describe discrimination against Arab inmates, forced shavings, rape, and other abuses.”

In October, while still on furlough, Gholian was arrested at her home and placed in Evin prison. She had been sentenced in 2018 to five years jail for “disrupting public order” and “assembly and collusion against national security” after her role in labor unrest in Khuzestan.

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