By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– An Iranian Christian inmate is suffering of serious health problems due to mistreatment in prison, Christians said Saturday, November 16.
Vahid Hakkani, who is serving three years and eight months in Adel-Abad prison of Shiraz city on charges such as “attending a house church” and “spreading Christianity”, was reportedly transferred to hospital for digestive problems and underwent surgery.
“Hakkani’s health has been worsening every day in prison since last February,” explained Mohabat News, an agency of Iranian Christians and activists. “At times he loses 300cc of blood in a single day. Also, he has lost a significant amount of weight,” the agency told BosNewsLife.
“Recently, although he could hardly walk, they chained his hands and feet, while four guards took him to hospital. On another occasion, his medications were delivered to him a month late.”
A prison physician recently diagnosed him with severe hemorrhoids and noted that internal bleeding expanded into his intestine, requiring urgent surgery, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Iranian Christians say that a judge has refused to reduce the time spent in hospital from his prison sentence, a move they claim violate Iranian law. He was allowed to receive hospital treatment only after he was reportedly forced to pay a heavy bail of 200 Million Tomans (about $70,000).
Hakkani s currently treated by friends outside hospital, Christians said.
Though the young man had been struggling with minor internal bleeding in his abdomen, his situation got worse “due to improper nutrition, poor hygiene, and lack of activities during his lengthy periods in isolation,” Iranian Christians told BosNewsLife.
Last month an appeals court upheld the sentences of Hakkani and five other Christian converts totalling 20 years of imprisonment for alleged illegal Christian activities, trial observers said.
Besides Hakkani, Christian men Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (Koroush), and Homayoun Shokouhi were sentenced each to three years and eight months imprisonment on charges that included attending “a house-church, spreading Christianity and having contact with foreign ministries.”
They were also reportedly accused of involvement in “propaganda against the regime and disrupting national security,” a charge often used against Christians, many of whom are former Muslims.
Fariba Nazemian and her son, Nima Shokouhi, each received two years of suspended sentences on similar charges, BosNewsLife learned.
The recently elected president of the strict Islamic state, Hassan Rouhani, has come under domestic and international pressure to release Christian prisoners and make good on campaign pledges to be more tolerant towards religious minorities.