Imprisoned Kurdish activist’s health worsens amid denial of medical care

The health of 64-year-old Kurdish activist Osman Esmaeili imprisoned in Iran is deteriorating and he is denied access to specialised medical care and leave.

Osman Esmaeili, a 64-year-old Kurdish labour activist, is being denied access to specialised medical care and leave due to opposition from the Ministry of Intelligence, raising concerns over his deteriorating health, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported.

Esmaeili, who has been imprisoned since November 2023, suffers from a number of health problems, including a hernia and spinal stenosis.

According to KHRN, a doctor accredited by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organisation in Kurdistan Province has warned that the activist is at risk of becoming disabled in his legs if he continues to be detained and denied medical care.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that Esmaeili was transferred to Sanandaj Central Prison on 12 February to begin treatment, but no progress has been made in his treatment, apart from a few simple tests.

On 9 April, Sanandaj Central Prison sent a letter to Branch Four of the Enforcement of Judgements Office in Saqqez, Kurdistan Province, stating that Esmaeili was suffering from various health problems and requested his release due to his physical inability to continue his detention, but this request was rejected by the Ministry of Intelligence.

In recent days, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has expressed concern over Esmaeili’s physical condition and called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to urge the Iranian government to provide him with immediate medical care and release him from prison.

On 2 January, Branch Two of the Saqqez Criminal Court ordered Esmaeili’s temporary transfer from Saqqez Prison to Evin Prison in Tehran for medical follow-up. However, Evin prison officials refused to admit him, citing shortcomings in his case file, and he was returned to Saqqez prison.