Dear Mr Asiabi,
Hossein Sepanta, a prisoner held in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, is critically ill and requires constant specialized medical care and daily caregiving for a rare progressive disorder in his spinal cord (syringomyelia), which he cannot receive in prison. Due to this disorder, which has been exacerbated by lack of proper treatment since his imprisonment in June 2014, he is experiencing severe chronic pain, numbness, loss of coordination, impaired movement, swallowing difficulties, and bowl and bladder control issues. He frequently wakes up at night screaming from pain. This situation has taken a toll on his and his cellmates’ mental health. His inability to control bowl movements has also been a source of mental distress.
In June 2017, the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran, a state institute tasked with producing medical evidence for use in the legal system, stated that Hossein Sepanta “can only withstand prison if he is held in sanitary conditions; provided with walking aids, assistance and caregiving with daily activities involving standing on one’s feet; and regularly monitored by a specialist.” Despite this, he is being held in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions, while his cellmates, rather than professional caregivers, have been left with the responsibility of moving him around and assisting him with washing and other personal care routines. This has led to falls resulting in injuries. In 2019, he was reportedly visited in prison by a number of medical specialists who warned that his spinal mobility had been reduced by 60 percent, and his continued imprisonment was placing him at risk of total paralysis.
Hossein Sepanta is serving a 10-year prison sentence imposed in connection with his alleged association with Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran, a banned group which advocates the restoration of an Iranian monarchy. He alleges that his syringomyelia first occurred as a result of torture during an earlier period of detention in 2000, when he was held by the intelligence unit of Revolutionary Guards for 17 days.
I urge you to give immediate effect to medical advice that his health will be irreparably affected by continued imprisonment and ensure that he receives the specialist care he needs outside prison. I also urge you to investigate his allegations of torture, and protect him from torture and other ill-treatment, including denial of medical care.