More than 2,200 physicians and civil rights activists have sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the chairmen of Iran's Parliament Health and Cultural Commissions, raising alarm over the deteriorating health condition of a prominent publisher, physician and cultural activist, Farhad Maysami, held behind bars.
“The way Mr. Maysami is treated is not only inappropriate for a teacher, publisher and physician, it’s unbecoming for any of the dissidents in the Shi’ite country [Iran],” the letter insists.
The signatories of the letter have also called for the “release of Farhad Maysami on bail” and judicial investigation into the charges filed against him, in a “peaceful environment devoid of any stress.”
Physician, publisher and civil rights activist, Farhad Maysami, 48, was arrested on July 31 and according to his mother, has been on hunger strike since his first interrogation to protest facing “unfair charges”.
In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda, Mr. Maysami’s mother, Seddiqeh Pishnamaz, said that the only reason her son was arrested is owning lapel pins which read “I protest compulsory hijab”.
Meanwhile, Mysami’s attorney, Mohammad Moqimi says his client’s health is in “horrifying” condition, with high blood pressure and his weight has dropped to 57 kg (roughly 125 pounds).
Farhad Maysami, a former publisher of exam preparation books from Ayandehsazan Publishing house has been held in ward 209 of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison and started a hunger strike after his first interrogation on august 1.
“The reason for the arrest and what they actually told him and the documents they had taken from his house were a few books they consider illegal and dozens of lapel pins which read, “I oppose the compulsory hijab”, says a civil rights activist, Reza Khandan, in a letter from prison.
Khandan, whose wife, award winning lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is also behind bars in Evin, has added, “Mr. Maysami was ‘forcefully’ taken to a room located in Evin’s clinic on Wednesday, September 26, but, he still refrains from drinking water and resists taking medicines or serums.”
Furthermore, Iran Human Rights Monitor website reported on August 15 that “Evin Prison wardens called the elderly and ill mother of the detained civil activist Farhad Maysami and had her listen to the voice of her son while screaming under torture.”
Earlier, according to a Facebook post by Khandan, “They called the old, sick and lonely mother of Farhad Maysami at least twice on Wednesday, August 8, once at 11 p.m. and next around 4 a.m., and had her listen on the phone to the sounds of beatings to extract confessions from her son. The first time, if it were not for the presence of friends, we might have been faced with another catastrophe and nobody could have understood the cause. Mr. Maysami’s mother suffered from muscular cramps due to the anxiety and horror caused by the calls, and her friends spent hours to help her get back to normal conditions.”
The mother of Mr. Meysami has written a letter to the 7th Branch of the Prosecutor’s Office, demanding the authorities investigate the suspicious nightly phone calls containing the voice of her son under torture.
Later, on September 4, Khandan, charged with “propaganda against the state”, “assembly and collusion against national security” and “encouraging anti-hijab movements” was also arrested and taken to Evin.