Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian physicist, engineer and human rights advocate who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for her non-violent human rights activities; and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a journalist and a dual citizen (Iranian/British) was sentenced to 5 years in prison for her human rights work and opinions expressed peacefully as a journalist and blogger are both on a joint hunger strike to bring attention to their failing health and inability to receive adequate medical care. CCS has written the Acting Minister of Health and Medical Education in Iran requesting they receive the care they need quickly and effectively.
Dr. Saeed Namaki
Acting Minister of Health and Medical Education
Sima-ye Iran Street
Between Falamak and Zarafshan
Islamic Republic of Iran
Dear Dr. Namaki:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Narges Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who are both engaged in a hunger strike to protest inadequate medical care for ailments they have while confined in Evin Prison.
Narges Mohammadi, a 46-year old Iranian physicist, engineer and human rights advocate, is an accomplished scientist, and also an advocate of women’s rights, in favor of the abolition of the death penalty, and other human rights causes. On May 17, 2016, her lawyer learned that she had been sentenced to a 16-year prison term on charges that are based exclusively on her peaceful human rights work. On September 28, that sentence was confirmed by an Appeals Court. In October 2015 we wrote to President Rouhani expressing our concern at her arrest and incarceration,
and in June 2016 we wrote to convey our profound disappointment at the verdict and our fear for our colleague’s dramatically declining physical health. In August 2018, we wrote President Rouhani again, urging that she be released to recover from her medical ailments, including gall bladder surgery.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a journalist and a dual British-Iranian national who was sentenced in September 2016 to five years imprisonment for “plotting to topple the Iranian government.” This sentence appears to have been related to her work training Iranian journalists and bloggers, a peaceful exercise of free expression and association that should not be criminalized.
We understand that both women are suffering from health problems that require medical attention that is not being provided, and have as a result begun a hunger strike. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reportedly needs treatment for lumps in her breasts, neurological care for neck pains and numbness in her arms and legs, and psychiatric therapy. Narges Mohammadi suffers from seizures and convulsions and is still recovering from her August 2018 gall bladder surgery.
Both women should be released from prison on humanitarian grounds, but definitely need medical care immediately. We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
H.E. Gholamali Khoshroo
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)