Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Iranian Authorities Must Investigate Death of Detention Centre Doctor

Amnesty International
November 18, 2009

The Iranian authorities must carry out a full and independent investigation into the death of a young doctor who had worked at the Kahrizak detention centre south of Tehran, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

Dr Ramin Pourandarjani's body was discovered in his room at a health centre in Tehran's Police headquarters on 10 November.

Iran's Chief of Police said on Wednesday that Dr Pourandarjani had committed suicide as a result of depression, as he had been summoned to court and was facing a possible five-year prison term.

His father, Reza-Qoli Pourandarjani has questioned suicide as a cause of death. He told the Associated Press that he was initially told that his son had broken his leg in a car accident and needed his  consent for surgery, only for his family to be confronted with his dead body when they travelled to Tehran. 

He said his son had been in good spirits when he spoke to him the previous night.

On Monday, the Tehran Prosecutor's office had said that Dr Pourandarjani's death was being investigated.

During the unrest in the summer following the disputed presidential election, Dr Pourandarjani, 26, was serving his required military service at Kahrizak as its resident physician.

Before his death he had allegedly received threats to deter him from revealing the extent of the abuse that had taken place at Kahrizak. He was said to have told friends he feared for his life. 

Kahrizak detention centre had been used to hold post-election protestors. Iranian officials have confirmed that torture took place there and that at least three men died as a result.

As the detention centre doctor, Ramin Pourandarjani would have treated inmates that had been tortured on his weekly visits.

One of these victims was Mohsen Rouholamini, the son of a conservative Iranian politician whose death drew widespread attention to the torture and killings in Kahrizak.

Kahrizak was closed in July on orders of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after allegations of abuses against detainees said to have been held in inhumane conditions.

According to media reports, Iran is to continue its review of abuses in the wake of the disputed June presidential election.

The head of a special parliamentary committee charged with investigating allegations of abuses during the unrest - which had interviewed Dr Pourandarjani about conditions in Kahrizak - is reported to have met with the head of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces in order to discuss Dr Pourandarjani's death.

Amnesty International said the investigation should comply fully with the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.