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Saeed Shirzad sentenced

Status: 
Imprisoned
About the situation

Saeed Shirzad's life remains in grave danger due to lack of appropriate medical care. Saeed Shirzad's health has been severely affected by adverse prison conditions and several hunger strikes.

On 18 September 2017, Saeed Shirzad was physically attacked and taken into solitary confinement.  The human rights defender has been on hunger strike since 30 July 2017 in protest of inhumane prison conditions.

About Saeed Shirzad

saeed_shirzadSaeed Shirzad is a children's rights defender in Iran. He has worked with a number of children’s rights NGOs including the Association in Support of Children’s Rights, Children’s Home of Shoosh and Society in Defence of Street Children. Saeed Shirzad has travelled throughout Iran and internationally to provide humanitarian assistance to children and advocate for their rights. He is known in particular for his work in defence of the rights of street children, which includes organising training, education, and health services for homeless, disadvantaged, and refugee children in collaboration with UNICEF. He has helped recruit lawyers to support refugee and asylum seeking families in order to obtain legal documentation, and has identified and provided direct support to more than 100 families working in sweatshops.

31 January 2019
Saeed Shirzad continues to be denied urgent medical care

Saeed Shirzad's life remains in grave danger due to lack of appropriate medical care. Saeed Shirzad's health has been severely affected by adverse prison conditions and several hunger strikes. Following weeks of kidney pain, a sonogram showed that one of Saeed Shirzad's kidneys had developed a cyst and that the other had shrunk by approximately 25%.

Three weeks ago, a prison doctor's report suggested that the human rights defender's kidneys would fail completely if he did not receive proper treatment. The report recommended that Saeed Shirzad be immediately admitted to hospital. His family has also repeatedly requested that the human rights defender be transferred, but the prosecutor is refusing to allow him access to the hospital.

21 September 2017
Saeed Shirzad beaten while on hunger strike

UPDATE: Saeed Shirzad has been refused urgent medical care, despite requests from prison doctors for his transfer from Gohardasht Prison to an external medical centre. The human rights defender has been recently diagnosed with lumbar disc disease, and can walk only with the aid of a walking frame. While the prosecutor’s office assured that Saeed Shirzad would be granted permission to receive treatment in June 2018, prison authorities have prevented this.

On 18 September 2017, Saeed Shirzad was physically attacked and taken into solitary confinement.  The human rights defender has been on hunger strike since 30 July 2017 in protest of inhumane prison conditions.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

On 18 September 2017, Saeed Shirzad was physically attacked and transferred into solitary confinement. The human rights defender has been on hunger strike for over 53 days in protest of cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions. On 30 July 2017, the authorities of Rajai-Shahr prison raided Ward 12 where Saeed Shirzad was being held and transferred the human rights defender as well as 52 other prisoners to Ward 10. 24 prisoners, including Saeed Shirzad embarked on hunger strike in protest of the transfer to the high-security section, as well as their treatment in detention. Saeed Shirzad was arrested on 2 June 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison in Gohar Dasht Prison (Rajai Shahr) after being charged with ‘gathering and colluding with intent to act against national security’.

The prisoners were transferred without prior notice, and none of them were allowed to take their personal belongings, including medicines with them. Furthermore, Ward 10 has limited air circulation, lack of access to clean drinking water and is surveilled continuously by over 40 CCTV cameras, including in the bathroom facilities. The prisoners have also reportedly been deprived of hygiene products, adequate clothing, adequate medical care and food they purchased with their own money. The prisoners have not been informed of the reasons for their transfer.

In August 2017, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran expressed her concern for the prisoners, noting that “depriving prisoners of having family contact, lawyers and adequate medical care is contrary to international law.”

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the health of Saeed Shirzad in light of his prolonged hunger strike and ill treatment in detention. Front Line Defenders calls on prison authorities to immediately transfer the human rights defender from solitary confinement and ensure that he receives adequate medical treatment.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Iran to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release, and quash the conviction of Saeed Shirzad, as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Ensure that the treatment of Saeed Shirzad, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Saeed Shirzad;

4. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the physical attack against Saeed Shirzad, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

5. Provide the necessary medical treatment for Saeed Shirzad;

6. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

19 January 2017
Saeed Shirzad ends hunger strike

On 19 January 2017, human rights defender Saeed Shirzad ended his hunger strike after Gohar Dasht Prison authorities promised to look into his demands to improve conditions for political prisoners at Rajai Shahr in Iranthat, Iran.

18 January 2017
Health of Saeed Shirzad deteriorates after 42 days on hunger strike

On 18 January 2017, Iranian human rights defender Mr Saeed Shirzad entered his 42nd day of hunger strike at Gohar Dasht Prison (Rajai Shahr) in protest against poor conditions for political prisoners at Rajai Shahr in Iran. The human rights defender was admitted to hospital on 12 January 2017 after his health severely deteriorated.

Saeed Shirzad is a children's rights defender in Iran. He has worked with a number of children’s rights NGOs including the Association in Support of Children’s Rights, Children’s Home of Shoosh and Society in Defence of Street Children. Saeed Shirzad has travelled throughout Iran and internationally to provide humanitarian assistance to children and advocate for their rights. He is known in particular for his work in defence of the rights of street children, which includes organising training, education, and health services for homeless, disadvantaged, and refugee children in collaboration with UNICEF. He has helped recruit lawyers to support refugee and asylum seeking families in order to obtain legal documentation, and has identified and provided direct support to more than 100 families working in sweatshops.

Saeed Shirzad has been on hunger strike since 7 December 2016 when he sewed his lips together. On 12 January 2017, the human rights defender was admitted to hospital after his health severely deteriorated as he continued his peaceful protest to demand improved conditions for political prisoners at Rajai Shahr in Iran. According to his colleagues, Saeed Shirzad’s health is extremely poor, he has lost a lot of weight and his kidneys and alimentary canal are damaged. The human rights defender is determined to continue his hunger strike until his demands for better conditions, including access to medical care and proper ventilation, in Rajai Shahr are met. Saeed Shirzad was arrested on 2 June 2014  and sentenced to five years in prison in Gohar Dasht Prison (Rajai Shahr) after being charged with ‘gathering and colluding with intent to act against national security’. He was also accused of collaborating with Dr Ahmad Shahid, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. Saeed Shirzad has been waiting to appeal his unjust sentence for over one year.

Front Line Defenders condemns the prison sentence against Saeed Shirzad the denial of proper medical care for the defender, and the poor prison conditions in Iran. Front Line Defenders reiterates calls on the Iranian government to immediately release and drop all charges against Saeed Shirzad, as it believes them to be solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work to promote and protect human rights in Iran.