Nasser Zarafchan, lawyer

Re: Nasser Zarafchan, lawyer

To: His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ¡®Ali Khamenei

From: Gail Davidson

Date: 2005-05-20

LRWC continues to monitor the conditions and status of Mr. Nasser Zarafchan with increasing alarm. Since his arrest, trial and sentencing, LRWC has respectfully sought information from representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has received no response.

Despite increasing international efforts and attention, Mr. Zarafchan continues to be denied critical medical treatment for a chronic and worsening kidney condition. He has also been transferred within Evin Prison to a section that he shares with violent criminals. Most troubling is the denial of family visits since early April 2005. The international community no longer has independent reports as to his condition and the obvious conclusion will become that his deteriorating health and the conditions of his incarceration are being hidden.

It is clear to LRWC that Mr. Zarafchan is suffering mistreatment because of his role as a lawyer and advocate for human rights. Requests by his own lawyer for his release for medical treatment are continually turned down despite support from the prison medical staff. As a signatory to various UN declarations, the Islamic Republic of Iran must also be an adherent. The treatment of Mr. Zarafchan offends Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Declaration of Human Rights¡¯ Defenders.

Continuing mistreatment of Mr. Zarafchan while he is incarcerated strengthens the public criticisms that have been made about the circumstances of his arrest, trial and sentencing.

Article 291 of the Code of Criminal Procedures allows for Mr. Zarafchan to receive medical treatment outside of prison. His worsening health conditions demand that he receives the medical treatment contemplated by your own laws. Principle 8 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules of Treatment of Prisoners states that the different categories of prisoners shall be kept in separate institutions or parts of institutions taking account of ¡­ the legal reason for the detention ¡­. It is clear that political prisoners, such as Mr. Zarafchan, should not be housed with people convicted of violent crimes.

Mistreatment of the ill offends traditions of public welfare. Denying visits from his family does nothing more than visit upon the sons the alleged sins of the father. In this type of practice, there is no social justice.

Lawyers¡¯ Rights Watch of Canada joins with Mr. Zarafchan¡¯s family and other international groups to demand that Mr. Zarafchan receive immediate and full medical treatment for his illness. Additionally, we also demand that he be appropriately housed and protected while serving the term of his sentence.

We would appreciate you writing to LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax to advise of your response and of the actions taken by your government to ensure that Mr. Zarafchan receives the appropriate medical treatment and care within Evin Prison. We will be writing to you again if we do not hear from you within two weeks of the date of this letter.