World Medical Association Takes Up Case of Jailed Iranian Doctor

(09.03.2017) The plight of an Iranian doctor, facing the threat of the death penalty in an Iranian prison, has been taken up by the World Medical Association.

Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who lives in Sweden, has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since April of last year following his arrest and has been on hunger strike since December in protest at his detention.

WMA President Dr. Ketan Desai has now written to the Iranian authorities expressing shock at the health and legal conditions of Dr. Djalali’s detention.

Following the WMA’s letter to the Iranian authorities in February expressing its deep worries about the inhumane conditions of detention in Iran’s prisons and the denial of medical care, Dr. Desai said that the conditions under which Dr. Djalali is being held contravene medical ethics and human rights law. He had been arrested without a warrant, had spent three months in solitary confinement and was subject to intense interrogation without being allowed to see a lawyer for several months.

Dr. Desai writes: ‘We are shocked by these repeated practices and urge you to take all the necessary actions to put an end to it as a matter of priority’.

The WMA is urging the Iranian authorities to release Dr. Djalali unless he is charged with a recognizable criminal offence and to be allowed regular access to a lawyer of his choice. It also wants Dr. Djalali to have access to proper health care from a qualified health professional and to be protected from any punishment as a result of his hunger strike.

Finally, Dr. Desai says that the option of the death sentence should be lifted from Dr. Djalali

‘Death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 5). As such, it constitutes the ultimate denial of human rights, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used to kill the prisoner. We urge you to consider establishing a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty and to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.

‘We appeal to your humanity and sense of justice and trust that you will take promptly all the necessary steps related to our demands’.