[JURIST] Experts from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] voiced concern [press release] on Thursday about the lack of medical treatment to two political prisoners in Iran who are at risk of dying in detention. The experts have urged the Iranian government to provide medical care to the two prisoners, blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari and religious leader Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi. The experts found that the prison physicians have recognized the prisoners’ need for specialized medical treatment, but that the government has not responded to the requests. They have stated that the deteriorating health of the prisoners is due to abuse, poor living conditions, long-term solitary confinement and torture occurring in the prison. Pourshajari (AI backgrounder] was arrested in 2010 for “propagating against the regime” and is currently suffering from a recent heart attack, prostate disease, kidney stones, high blood pressure and breathing problems. Boroujerdi [Gatestone backgrounder] was arrested in 2006 for criticizing political Islam, and is currently suffering from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, a heart condition and breathing problems.
Iran’s human rights record has been a constant source of international concern. In late February UN independent experts expressed [JURIST report] concern over the extent of Iran’s imposition of the death penalty and the recent uptick in the frequency of executions by hanging. According to Amnesty International, as of January 18 the Iranian government had executed [JURIST report] 40 individuals since the beginning of 2014, and carried out approximately 625 executions during 2013. Earlier in January several international human rights groups collectively urged [JURIST report] the Iranian government to end its state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT individuals. Iranian law criminalizes many forms of non-traditional sexual expression and imposes harsh penalties, such as 100 lashes for sex between women and the death penalty for sex between men. In November the UN Human Rights Council indicated [JURIST report] in its annual report that the human rights situation in Iran required “new focus.” In September, Nasrin Sotoudeh was permanently released [JURIST report] from prison after serving two years of her six-year sentence from her 2010 conviction.