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Iran Must Provide Care To Detainees On Hunger Strike: UN Experts

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian dual citizen who has been detained in Iran since April 2016 (left). Narges Mohammadi is a distinguished Iranian human rights defender, a campaigner against the death penalty.
Geneva, Jan 16, 2019 (AFP) -

UN human rights experts urged Iran on Wednesday to grant urgently needed medical attention to two detainees, including British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who launched a hunger strike over a lack of care.

The six UN experts also appealed on behalf of Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who was arrested in 2015 and jailed for 10 years for "forming and managing an illegal group" and who has joined Zaghari-Ratcliffe's hunger strike.

"We urge the Government to immediately and unconditionally provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi with access to the appropriate treatment and care they have repeatedly requested in light of their serious health concerns," the experts said in a statement.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has said his wife has detected a lump in her breast and is complaining of numbness in her arms and legs.

Mohammadi has been denied proper health care for more than a year, despite suffering from a pulmonary embolism, blood clots and seizures, the experts said said, citing people familiar with her situation.

"The authorities must urgently address the violations that are the basis of their hunger strike protest," the group said.

The statement was signed by Dainius Puras, special rapporteur on the right to health, Diego Garcia-Sayan, the rapporteur for independent judges and lawyers as well as Nils Melzer, the UN expert on torture.

It was also signed by a specialist on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong, the rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, and Javaid Rehman, the expert on human rights in Iran.

UN rights experts are independent, unpaid and do not speak for the office of the High Commission for Human Rights.