Nahid Taghavi, a 66-year-old German Iranian national, has been arbitrarily detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since 16 October 2020. She has serious medical conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, placing her at heightened risk of severe illness or death if she contracts COVID-19. She is a prisoner of conscience that requires lower lumbar surgery according to prison physician. Her family have agreed to pay for her surgical procedure outside prison.
In recent years, the Iranians authorities have arrested and detained dozens of dual nationals, including human rights activist Nahid Taghavi.
In July 2019 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Prof. Rahman expressed deep concern about the continued “arbitrary arrest, detention, ill-treatment and denial of appropriate medical treatment of dual and foreign nationals.” He stated that the Iranian authorities have “subjected these individuals to sham trials, which have failed to meet basic fair trial standards, and convicted them of offences on the basis of fabricated evidence or, in some cases, no evidence at all, and [have] attempted to use them as diplomatic leverage.”
Prof. Rahman also noted that the families of several dual nationals detained in Iran consider the detention of their loved ones to be “hostage-taking”.
Amnesty International has documented a pattern of systematic fair trial rights violations in Iran, beginning from the time of arrest right up until when defendants stand trial. Detainees are often arrested without warrants and held in prolonged solitary confinement in undisclosed locations without access to their families. Individuals detained, investigated and prosecuted, especially those who are dual nationals or who are arrested on politically motivated charges, including human rights activists, are subjected to grossly unfair judicial proceedings.
Prosecution authorities and interrogators belonging to security and intelligence bodies, including the Revolutionary Guards, systematically deny detainees their right to access a lawyer from the time of arrest, even lawyers vetted and approved by the judiciary, during the investigation phase of their case. Prosecution authorities also deny prisoners of conscience access to adequate health care, including surgical procedures
I ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Nahid Taghavi as she is a prisoner of conscience detained solely in connection with her peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association. Pending her release, give her regular access to a lawyer of her choosing and family, as well as to any health care she needs, including medication and transfer to outside facilities for surgical treatment, and ensure that she is granted access to consular assistance from the German authorities.
Prof. Azam Niroomand-Rad
Coordinator, Amnesty International Local Group 139,
Madison, WI, USA