Imprisoned Children’s Rights Activist Denied Major Surgery, Authorities Insist on Keeping Her Cuffed

Imprisoned children’s rights activist Atena Daemi has been denied a major operation after demanding that the authorities fulfill their promise to allow her to receive the surgery without handcuffs and with a family member in attendance, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reports.

“According to the doctors, she needs to be operated on immediately. I can’t understand why the authorities think that a prisoner of conscience might escape her hospital bed? Where is she going to escape to?,” her mother, Masoumeh Nemati, told CHRI.

Daemi was due for a scheduled gallbladder operation at Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran. She has been held in Evin Prison since 2014 after being arrested for engaging in peaceful human rights activism.

“The prison authorities told us that we could schedule the operation only at Imam Khomeini Hospital, and that’s what we did. On Sunday, Atena’s father went to see the Assistant Tehran Prosecutor, who made a verbal promise that she would not be hospitalized with hand and leg cuffs and she could even have visitors. This morning we realized that the prison director had ordered that she be cuffed on her hands and legs while in the hospital,” said Nemati.

After the incident, Atena’s father went back to the prosecutor’s office to complain, but he was told the prison director’s order could not be rescinded. Since November 2016, Daemi, 30, has been serving a seven-year prison sentence for meeting the families of political prisoners, criticizing the Islamic Republic of Iran on Facebook, and condemning the mass executions of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

In August 2017, Evin Prison Director Chaharmahali filed a lawsuit against Daemi, accusing her of feigning sickness and insulting the prison clinic staff after she was told nothing was wrong with her.

Her waning health worsened after she went on hunger strike for nearly two months to protest a preliminary court’s ruling against her and her two sisters, Onsieh and Hanieh, for allegedly “insulting” agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and resisting arrest.

Daemi ended her hunger strike on June 3, 2017 after they were all acquitted of the charges upon appeal.