12 December 2018.
By Staff Writer
Iranian political prisoner Arzhang Davoodi had both of his legs and his shoulder broken after being beaten and thrown off a staircase at Zahedan Central Prison in Baluchistan province, according to sources, and medical diagnoses say that he will not be able to walk without aid for the rest of his life.
Davoodi, 65, was summoned to the prison’s chief office on April 3, where his hands and feet were enchained. As he left the room, the deputy chief of the president shoved him off the staircase from the second floor and, as Davoodi’s feet and hands were still in shackles, he was unable to maintain his balance. This assault resulted in the breakage of Davoodi’s right thighbone and left tibia, the dislocation of his shoulder and bruises on his spinal cord.
Currently, Davoodi, a teacher, can barely walk even with a walker and is being kept in a dirty, dark room in the prison’s quarantine section, which is only worsening his already poor health.
Davoodi has been on hunger strike since March 3 in protest at being kept in a small solitary confinement unit since August 2017, with denial of access to family visits, phone calls, communications with prisoners, free airtime, reading, television, and access to medication and suitable food.
In an open letter, dated March 2018, Davoodi explained the reasons for his hunger strike.
He wrote: “I merely want some air and some sunlight, of which I’ve been inhumanly deprived since August. This shameless and lengthy suppression of my rights has worsened my heart condition and diabetes. It has caused my eyesight to become dim… When I was returned to Zahedan prison, my physical conditions further deteriorated, because I’m being held in a very small cell, known as ‘solitary no.2’ of the prison’s quarantine section… The very harsh measures seen in the prisons of this province is not only imposed against political prisoners. This nature is literally seen in all forms of this regime’s authorities who always resort to force.”
He also called on Zeid Ra’ad al-Hossein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other human rights organizations to investigate Iran’s prisons.
Davoodi, who was taken to Zahedan prison in January, was arrested in 2003 for criticizing Iran’s human rights record in a documentary that investigated the suspicious death of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist. During his time in prison, Davoodi has been repeatedly tortured, beaten, kept in solitary confinement and kept in unsanitary conditions.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for Davoodi to be released immediately as he is a “prisoner of conscience”.