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Family Of Dead Iranian Prisoner Complains To Judiciary Head

Iranian political activist Hoda Saber, who died after 10 days hunger strike in Evin prison

Iranian political activist Hoda Saber, who died after 10 days hunger strike in Evin prison

The family of journalist Reza Hoda Saber, who died of a heart attack last month while on a hunger strike in Iran's Evin prison, has complained to judiciary head Mohammad Sadegh Larijani about the circumstances of his death, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The complaints were made in a letter to Larijani that was published on the Kalameh website on July 21.

Saber's sister, Firouzeh Saber, told Radio Farda that the letter raises three questions: "Firstly, why was there a six-hour delay in transferring Hoda from the prison clinic to a hospital, which ultimately caused his death? Secondly, why wasn't the family informed when he was transferred to Modarres Hospital and we, like everyone else, learned of his death from the Internet? Lastly, why was he assaulted after he was transferred to the Evin Branch 350 clinic due to his heart condition?"

Firouzeh Saber said the postmortem reports show clear indications that Saber, 52, was assaulted prior to his death.

"Besides the postmortem report, 64 of Hoda's fellow prisoners at [the Evin clinic] have confirmed the assault in writing," she said. "The medical report from the hospital complements the letter of complaint."

Saber had been transferred on June 12 to a hospital from Evin prison, where he had been held since being imprisoned along with hundreds of other activists and intellectuals in the wake of Iran's disputed June 2009 election. Saber had been on the tenth day of a hunger strike when he died.

Firouzeh Saber told Radio Farda that the comprehensive forensic report will not be available for another month. But she said the initial report clearly states that there was a scab on Hoda's forehead, suggesting he had been beaten.

Firouzeh Saber explained that the family tried to deliver the letter personally to the judiciary office but the secretariat refused to accept it. So they sent it by mail as advised by their lawyers.

"We did not file the complaint legally, but wrote it addressed to the head of the judiciary," she said. "However, the initial complaint about the delay and about not informing the family was filed with the interrogator present at the hospital on June 12, while this letter also raises the question of the assault."

Firouzeh Saber says the complaint is directed not against an individual, but against the management of the system and is therefore directed toward the judiciary's administration.

"We haven't yet received any response from the other side, except for two press conferences by the Tehran prosecutor and the chief prosecutor of Iran, who mentioned that there are actually some loopholes in the case; the delay in transfer to the hospital," she said.

Firouzeh Saber said that even though Chief Prosecutor Mohsin Ezhei said that he is waiting for the results of certain reports before he replies, the authorities in general have ignored the letter of complaint.