Iran: Imprisoned musician’s health deteriorating

5 December 2016

Imprisoned Iranian musician and music distributor Mehdi Rajabian communicated via social media on 3 December 2016 that his health condition continues to worsen, despite him being granted a four-day furlough for medical treatment.

In his Instagram post from 3 December, Mehdi said:

They want me to go back to Prison tomorrow, while I haven’t been able to complete my treatments. I spent these few days at the hospital, and not only my stomach has been continuously bleeding internally, but I have also lost 40% of my eyesight due to the hunger strike which made me lose 15 kg.; nervous diseases at their peak have left me walking with a cane. Hossein too is not feeling well at all, but being alongside him and all those with sewed lips is it self a trench that its soldiers are all wounded and tired yet proud. We will not forget…Goodbye.

Mehdi, after being on hunger strike for 30 days demanding he and his filmmaker brother Hossein Rajabian receive much needed medical attention, was given a four-day medical furlough on 27 November 2016 and was set to be sent back to Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison on 4 December. It is unclear whether he remains on medical leave or has been re-transferred to prison (see update below).

Hunger strike
The brothers began their second hunger strike on 28 October 2016 in protest of their treatment after their first hunger strike, which lasted nine days in September 2016.

According to the brothers, in a letter they wrote from prison obtained by Freemuse in October, the brothers were “tricked” into stopping their first strike when medical help was promised. They were also promised to be re-united in the same ward after they were split up for repeatedly asking for medical help for Mehdi.

The medical help never came. Mehdi and Hossein remain separated.

After that first strike, Mehdi’s condition grew worse and Hossein also developed medical problems that needed attention.

On 1 December, Mehdi communicated that he was finally receiving medical treatment via a cartoon published on his Instagram account:

** UPDATE: According to an Amnesty International report published on 6 December 2016, Mehdi was forced to return to Tehran’s Evin Prison on 4 December 2016 though he remains in poor physical and mental health.

Photo: Mehdi Rajabian/Instagram


» Amnesty International – 6 December 2016
Iran: Further information: Gravely ill Iranian musician returned to prison

» Instagram – 3 December 2016
Mehdi Rajabian post

» The Washington Post – 2 December 2016
A jailed Iranian musician texts from his hospital bed: Don’t forget me

» The Guardian – 1 December 2016
Iranian musician hospitalised after one-month hunger strike

» Instagram – 1 December 2016
Mehdi Rajabian post

More from Freemuse

» 28 November 2016: Iran: Imprisoned musician granted four-day medical leave

» 21 November 2016: United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

» 16 November 2016: Iran: Artists’ medical condition on hunger strike growing worse

» 1 November 2016: Iran: Artists call for support in letter from prison

» 12 September 2016: Iran: Jailed artists go on hunger strike

» 24 June 2016: UN: “Artistic expression is not a crime” – Special Rapporteurs urge the Iranian government to free jailed artists

» 7 June 2016: Iran: Musician and filmmaker imprisoned

» 30 May 2016: Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker summoned to prison

» 29 February 2016: Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced

» 27 January 2016: Iran: 165 Iranian artists and activists protest charges against two musicians and a filmmaker

» 15 January 2016: Call on Iranian authorities to drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker

» 14 December 2015: Iran: Music distributors await appeal decision for six years in prison

» 17 December 2013: Iran: Musician and music distributors arrested

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