Imprisoned environmental activist Sam Rajabi's sister says her brother contracted the novel coronavirus at Tehran's notorious prison, Evin.
Speaking to Radio Farda on Wednesday, April 22, Katayoun Rajabi disclosed that the result of a CT scan of her brother showed that he became ill with the deadly COVID-19 in recent weeks.
In early March, there were reports about Sam Rajabi's possible infection and his transfer to Taleghani Hospital in Tehran. At the same time, it was announced that doctors had not found any trace of the coronavirus in his CT scan test.
Nevertheless, Katayoun Rajabi insists that symptoms of coronavirus, including coughs, fevers, and headaches in her brother has persisted, and he recently lost his sense of smell and taste.
Suffering from intestinal complications, Katayoun told Radio Farda, Sam Rajabi was taken to hospital today where another CT scan showed that he was indeed suffering from the deadly virus.
Expressing concern over her brother's health, Ms. Rajabi complained that authorities have once again transferred her brother to jail, and as far as she knows Sam was now kept in the prison's clinic.
"Since his childhood, my brother has been suffering from asthma, which makes the coronavirus more dangerous for him," Katayoun Rajabi lamented.
The agents of the fearsome Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organization arrested Sam Rajabi and seven other ecologists on January 24 and 25, 2018.
All eight were members of the renowned Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF). The Judiciary, hardliner politicians and the IRGC accused them of espionage without presenting any evidence despite the public announcement of the Deputy President of the Islamic Republic and the head of the Department of Environment and even the Intelligence Ministry that there was no evidence to support such charges.
The environmentalists accused of espionage and acting against national security were held in detention for months without indictment. Some were in solitary confinement for months. They were tried a year later by a Tehran Revolutionary Court behind closed doors.
The founder of PWHF, Iranian-Canadian Professor Seyed-Emami, died under suspicious circumstances in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran two days after his arrest.
Earlier, Sam Rajabi's attorney, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi had asserted, "If my client is indeed infected by novel coronavirus, they should isolate him. It is a crime to keep a suspected coronavirus patient in prison."
"My brother has served half of his sentence behind bars, and the authorities could have granted him a furlough or temporary release like tens of thousands of other inmates serving their sentences amidst the coronavirus outbreak," Ms. Rajabi told Radio Farda.
Weeks after the outbreak, the judiciary of the clergy-dominated Iran maintained that it had released or pardoned up to 70,000 prisoners since the beginning of the pandemic.
Nonetheless, numerous prominent political and civil rights activists are still in prison, in Iran.