Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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Amnesty International

Jailed Syrian Kurd in Iran Needs Surgery

Amnesty International
‍Amnesty International
January 26, 2016
Appeal/Urgent Action

Ramazan Ahmad Kamal, a Syrian Kurd serving a 10-year prison sentence in Iran, needs urgent medical care, including surgical treatment. On his way to hospital on 30 December with a postoperative infection, he was beaten by prison officials. He was returned to prison after two weeks without receiving adequate medical care.

Ramazan Ahmad Kamal, a 33-year-old Syrian Kurd, is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj near Tehran, for “membership of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”. He is in need of surgical treatment for an infection in his shoulder, which has resulted in partial paralysis of his arm. The infection appears to be the outcome of poor post-operative care following earlier surgical treatment inside prison. Ramazan Ahmad Kamal has said that he lost consciousness and fell into a coma after prison officials beat him while transferring him to hospital on 30 December. The first hospital he was taken to refused to admit him, despite his critical condition and previous arrangements made for his admission. He was then transferred to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini hospital, where he was apparently kept in the emergency department for around 48 hours before being admitted to a ward. Ramazan Ahmad Kamal was taken back to prison two weeks later, on 14 January, without receiving the treatment he needed. The transfer back to prison took place even though prison doctors and the Legal Medical Organization had apparently advised hospital treatment and Tehran’s Prosecutor had issued permission for his transfer to a hospital. He was cuffed to his bed during his entire stay in the hospital.

Ramazan Ahmad Kamal was arrested on 7 July 2008 by Iran’s border control guards after he, along with three other member of PKK, crossed the border from Iraq, allegedly by mistake. He was shot several times during arrest and sustained multiple gunshot wounds in his shoulder, abdomen, and thigh. He was initially sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in Khoy, Western Azerbaijan province but this was later commuted to 10 years in prison.

Please write immediately in Persian, English, Spanish, French, Arabic or your own language: 

n            Urging the Iranian authorities to ensure that Ramazan Ahmad Kamal is immediately granted access to specialized medical care outside the prison; 

n            Calling on them to investigate allegations that Ramazan Ahmad Kamal was subjected to beatings and other ill-treatment by prison officials and bring those responsible to justice; 

n            Reminding them that Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to which Iran is a state party, protects the right of everyone, including prisoners, to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and that denial of adequate medical treatment may amount to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. 



The Office of the Supreme Leader 

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei         

Islamic Republic Street- End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street 

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran         

Email: via website         


Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English)

Salutation: Your Excellency 


Head of the Judiciary         

Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani         

c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi 

Above Pasteur Intersection 

Vali Asr Street         

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 

Email: [email protected] 

Salutation: Your Excellency 



And copies to: 

Prosecutor General of Tehran
Abbas Ja’fari Dolat Abadi         

Tehran General and Revolutionary Prosecution Office 

Corner (Nabsh-e) of 15 Khordad Square Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency 


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Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation         

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Additional Information

Two other men belonging to the PPK, who were with Ramazan Ahmad Kamal at the time of arrest in 2008, were apparently shot dead by Iran’s border control guards. A third man managed to cross the border back into Iraq. Since his arrest, Ramazan Ahmad Kamal has been held in various prisons across the country including in Qazvin, Oroumieh, and Tehran.  He was not permitted access to a lawyer during the entire investigative phase and during his trial.

Following his return to prison from hospital in January 2016, Ramazan Ahmad Kamal wrote an open letter addressed to Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. In his letter, he alleged that while he was being transferred to hospital, prison officials assaulted him including by kicking him on the head and beating him with a baton - resulting in him falling into a coma. He said that he endured severe bleeding from his nose and ears and sustained bruises. Ramazan Ahmad Kamal has lodged a complaint to Tehran’s Office of the Prosecutor with regards to the incident.

Amnesty International understands that Ramazan Ahmad Kamal has so far undergone two surgeries inside Raja’i Shahr Prison, which were apparently substandard and followed by inadequate post-surgical care. He has since developed an infection which appears to have resulted in partial paralysis of his arm.

The Iranian authorities frequently transfer prisoners in need of medical care to hospital, but Amnesty International understands that prisoners are not always provided with adequate medical care there and instead are simply returned to prison. Whether done intentionally or by neglect, failing to provide adequate medical care to prisoners is a breach of Iran’s international human rights obligations. The denial of medical treatment may amount to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party. Article 12 of the ICESCR specifically recognizes the right of every person to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules) also state that prisons must provide adequate medical care to prisoners without discrimination (Rules 24-35). Rule 27(1) of the Mandela Rules provides that “Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.” See this public statement https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/2508/2015/en/ for more information.

Iran’s own prison regulations are also routinely flouted by prison and judicial officials. The regulations governing the administration of Iranian prisons stipulate that a prisoner suffering from a serious medical condition that cannot be treated inside prison, or whose condition will worsen if they stay in prison, should be granted medical leave so they can receive treatment. 


International law requires States to conduct prompt, impartial, independent and thorough investigations into all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, bring those responsible to justice, and ensure that victims have access to an effective remedy and receive reparation, including rehabilitation.