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Urgent Interventions

Iran: Restrictions on health care to Mr. Zarafchan in detention


New Information
IRN 004 / 0012 / OBS 125.6
Arbitrary detention / Restrictions on health care

7 December 2004

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the FIDH and the OMCT, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed that the situation of Mr. Nasser Zarafchan, a human rights lawyer, has seriously deteriorated, following a nephritic crisis while in detention. He was hospitalised on December 2, 2004, in the Evin prison.

According to the information received, his family and his lawyer, Ms. Shirin Ebadi, who visited him on December 6, 2004, asked for Mr. Zarafchan to be hospitalised outside the prison, but they have not received any answer up to now. While in detention, Mr. Zarafchan could rarely meet with his family. He has been imprisoned since August 7, 2002, following his condemnation for “weapons and alcohol possession” (See background information below).

The Observatory is deeply concerned at this sudden deterioration of Mr. Zarafchan's health and reiterates its call for him to be immediately and unconditionally released.

The Observatory considers Mr. Zarafchan's condemnation and detention as arbitrary, as it aims at depriving him of his right to practice his legal profession as a human rights lawyer. This has been confirmed by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in a report issued following a visit to Iran in February 2003 (See Observatory Annual Report 2003). Moreover, the Observatory recalls that Mr. Zarafchan did not benefit from a fair trial.

Background information:

On March 18th 2002, Mr. Zarafchan was sentenced to three years in jail by the Military Tribunal of Tehran for " weapons and alcohol possession ". He was also sentenced to two years of imprisonment for his statements to the press regarding the lawsuit of the alleged murderers of Iranian intellectuals, which ended in January 2002. This decision was confirmed in appeal by the Military Court of Tehran on July 15, 2002.

Mr. Zarafchan's appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed on November 25, 2003. With this decision, the Court confirmed M. Zarafchan's five years' imprisonment sentence, which aimed at sanctioning his activity as a lawyer of the families of the Iranian intellectuals murdered by intelligence services agents in 1998.

Action requested:
Please write to the authorities of Iran, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zarafchan;

ii. Proceed to Mr. Zarafchan’s immediate release, his detention being arbitrary; in any case, respond favourably to his family’s request that he be hospitalised outside the prison;

iii. Conform with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations' General Assembly on 9 December 1998, in particular its article 1, which states that " everyone has the right,
individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels ";

iv. Conform with the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and with the international instruments ratified by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  • Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228 (ask fax to be forwarded to Ayatollah Khamenei), Email:; (on the subject line write: For the attention of the office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom

  • President, His Excellency Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami, The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 588, E-mail:

  • Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671, Email:

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Kamal Kharrazi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 390 1999 (number may be unreliable; please mark "care of the Human Rights Department, Foreign Ministry), Email:

  • Ambassador Mohammad Reza Alborzi, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, E-mail:

Paris, Geneva, 7 December 2004

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders, and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line:
Tel and Fax:
FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80
OMCT: +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
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