Imprisoned dissident Rezvaneh Khanbeigi

Nobel Laureate Warns of Ill Health of Pregnant Inmate

Friday, 06/14/2024

Nobel Peace Laureate Narges Mohammadi has issued a warning about the deteriorating health of fellow inmate Rezvaneh Khanbeigi, who is in her second trimester of pregnancy.

In a letter from Evin Prison on Friday, Mohammadi detailed the severe conditions faced by Khanbeigi and other prisoners, calling for urgent attention to their plight.

Khanbeigi, who is 21 weeks pregnant, is reportedly experiencing serious health issues, including blood pressure fluctuations and heart palpitations.

“Inadequate nutrition, lack of necessary medical facilities, and the overall closed, tense, and stressful prison environment have made us increasingly concerned for her and her unborn child’s health,” Mohammadi stated in her letter.

Evin Prison's women's ward is gripped by unprecedented overcrowding, according to Mohammadi. “All rooms and beds are full. The number of critically ill and incurable patients is so high that the ward can't provide adequate care,” she wrote. Despite the release of some inmates, the population remains above 65.

In recent months, two prisoners who were previously released on medical grounds have been returned to prison without explanation. Now, the ward also houses pregnant women, including Khanbeigi, whose husband, Behfar Lalehzari, is also imprisoned nearby. “This is the third time Rezvaneh has been imprisoned in recent years, and this time she is accompanied by a daughter,” Mohammadi noted.

Khanbeigi and her husband Lalehzari are currently serving a five year sentence each: 4 years for “assembly and collusion against national security” and an additional year for “propaganda against the regime” according to the activist HRANA news agency.

Mohammadi also condemned the harsh conditions and treatment of prisoners, stating, “The Islamic Republic embodies cruelty and crime in practice. The conditions in the women’s ward of Evin Prison clearly depict a harsh reality. The Islamic Republic, with cruelty, hatred, and callousness, tramples on the rights of prisoners, the sick, mothers, and pregnant women, showing no regard for humanity.”

Earlier in the week, the husband of imprisoned journalist Saba Azarpeik disclosed on X that his wife was hospitalized on Tuesday due to severe bleeding, resulting in the termination of her pregnancy. Ataollah Hafezi further revealed that in February, she lost another fetus at around two months old following a grueling nine-hour court session.

“It seems that whatever concerns the rulers have, they are not worried about humanity, and they fully and completely commit acts of crime,” Mohammadi added.

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