Hossein Ronaghi is an Iranian blogger who has been jailed since 2009. He was arrested following demonstrations that erupted to protest the seemingly rigged presidential election and charged with spreading propaganda against the regime, insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and membership in the Internet group Iran Proxy, which helped Iranian Internet users avoid online censorship and access blocked sites.
Amnesty International says it believes Ronaghi is a prisoner of conscience “held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his right to free speech and freedom of expression.”
Since his incarceration, Ronaghi has developed severe kidney and bladder problems that have required seven operations. He remains very ill.
Maclean’s reached Ronaghi’s father, Ahmad, through an intermediary earlier this week. This is what he said:
The last time Hossein was in the hospital [in November] the physicians recommended that Hossein be taken home to rest and heal. They said that if he is taken to prison instead his health will deteriorate and thus his body will not heal. Prison authorities defied doctors’ orders and transferred Hossein back to Evin Prison.
Hossein’s kidney ailments began after his initial arrest in 2009. The blood in his body has thickened. Its thickness is apparent when he bleeds while urinating. He experiences digestive problems including digestive bleeding. He experiences problems with his kidneys, including bleeding. He experiences severe burning sensation when he urinates. He is unable to hold himself and must constantly use the washroom. His body has infections. His kidney is infected. His physical state is very weak.
Physicians have said that if Hossein is not taken home to rest after the hospital and taken to prison instead, his body will become infected. Now he is in very bad shape.
Previously, after Hossein underwent surgery, he rested at home and healed. But then they rearrested and jailed him. That’s why he is ailing again.
Hossein cared about human rights and engaged in some peaceful and innocent activities. The charges they have issued against him are completely baseless. Hossein has zero to do with what they have accused him of.
I want from the world to recognize, respect, and ensure the practice of universal human rights laws. They should respect justice and the law. All governments should respect human rights. So many people have died in Syria but no government stops the killings or takes responsibility. Any decision governments make should be doable and realistic. They should not allow human rights to be violated so easily. They should not allow governments to kill their own people, to violate the human rights of people.
I want from the Iranian government to release my son. If Hossein remains in prison he will die.
Ahmad was asked if he feared what might happen to him as a result of speaking to a Western news magazine.
I have no fear. I will leave this world eventually, whether it is today or another day.