IRAN: A mother’s plea to save the life of her imprisoned son – Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

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Iranian mother Zoleik Hamousavi with photo of imprisoned son
A poor quality photo-image of Iranian mother Zoleik Hamousavi shows her holding up a photo of her imprisoned son Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. Image: ICHRI



(WNN) Tehran, IRAN, SOUTHERN ASIA: An Iranian mother and her imprisoned son are on their ninth day of their hunger strike together as Iranian officials continue to ignore their pleas to stop conditions contributing to the deteriorating health of Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki who is “gravely ill,” says Reporters Without Borders, an organization also known as Reporters Sans Frontières based in Paris as it works for global ‘freedom of information’.

“Mal[e]ki, who began his hunger strike on 9 August, now weighs only 52 kilos and is reportedly unconscious for much of the time. Arrested on 13 December 2010, he continues to serve a 17-year jail sentence although he has undergone several kidney operations and is in very poor health,” said Reporters Without Borders in a news release made to the public today.

Working in behalf of her son, Maleki’s mother Zoleykha Mousavi has been a strong advocate asking for the immediate release of her son for the past 4 years of his incarceration, especially as she has watched his health fail.

“I have begun this hunger strike to make my plea heard…,” she said most recently to the Persian publication for BBC News in Persian.

Arrested in December as a blogger supporting Iran’s pro-democracy movement during the June 2009 protests and crackdown in Iran, Maleki has reportedly faced numerous beatings and torture from his captors while in Evin prison in Iran’s capital city of Tehran.

Before his imprisonment Maleki was known for his ‘genius skills’ as a blogger and extensive computer technology and web knowledge. Arrested and placed in solitary confinement for what human rights agencies have reported to be 10 months without formal charges before his court date. His treatment while in prison has resulted in harsh and dubious circumstances. At present Maleki is now facing increasing critical health issues that most recently include bleeding from his kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

In 2012 Amnesty International confirmed that Maleki is considered to be a ‘prisoner of conscience” who has been incarcerated for acts of self-expression. He is also considered to be a rights defender for those who wish to have greater democracy inside the region.

“On the basis of the evidence available to Amnesty International, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki appears to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and the organization is calling for his immediate and unconditional release,” said Amnesty International in a May 2012 update on prison conditions for Maleki.

Charged officially in a December 2010 courtroom in Iran for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the Supreme Leader” as well as “insulting the President” of Iran and having a membership in the internet group ‘Iran Proxy’, Maleki has continued to express his desire for what he has outlined as ‘human rights and freedom’ in Iran.

“My son wrote a letter to the Prosecutor after months of torture, 11 months in solitary confinement and a ban on his in-person visitation and furlough. Just for this letter, he was [beaten until he was] hospitalized. He had kidney bleeding, and he was beaten up, too. We are his mother and father. How can we tolerate so much abuse and mistreatment of our son? They have gone too far now. I feel horrible, I don’t know what to do, what to say. They want to kill my son. They told us several times themselves ‘we will kill Hossein.’ I ask human rights organizations to help my son,” said Maleki’s mother to the ICHRI – International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Asking for an extended furlough from prison in order to change the tide in what could result in the death of prisoner of conscience Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, Tehran Prosecutor Jafari Dowlatabadi has to date refused to allow Maleki to receive any extended medical care. This, according to reports, has been done in spite of advice given by medical examiners inside Iran to the contrary.

“Reporters Without Borders condemns the deadly indifference of Iran’s most senior judicial authorities for refusing to release Hossein Ronaghi Malki, a jailed blogger who is gravely ill and who today began his 20th day on hunger strike in protest against his detention and his prison conditions,” said Reporters Without Borders in a detailed statement.

“We hold judicial authority chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani, Tehran prosecutor Abas Jafari Dolatabadi and justice minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi responsible for the lives of Malki and his mother,” continued Reporters Without Borders.

With the release of a medical document showing the dire condition for Maleki, the Paris based agency dedicated to ‘freedom of information’ is hoping that Zoleykha Mousavi can see her son receive medical furlough away from his stay in prison in order to save his life. Forty-one prisoners in Evin prison have now also written a formal public letter “condemning irresponsibility of the judicial and prison authorities” inside Iran.

The hope is that humanitarian action within the leadership of Iran can happen quickly to save Maleki’s life.


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