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Hunger strikers entitled to medical care

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A group of six independent United Nations rights experts called on Iran Wednesday to urgently provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi access to appropriate health care, and reiterated calls for their immediate release, as they continue a hunger strike in protest.

“We urge the government to immediately and unconditionally provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi with access to the appropriate treatment and care they have repeatedly requested in light of their serious health concerns,” the experts said in a statement.

According to the human rights experts, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual UK-Iranian national, has been denied appropriate health care by the Iranian authorities, after finding lumps in her breasts, enduring severe neck pain, and numbness in her arms and legs. She has also been denied an appropriate mental health evaluation from a doctor outside Evin Prison where she is being held.

The statement explains that Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights defender, has been also denied appropriate health care for over a year despite suffering from a pulmonary embolism, related blood clots, bleeding and repeated seizures. She also requires follow-up treatment for a gall-bladder operation.

The experts expressed alarm that the denial of appropriate health care has compelled Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mohammadi to start a hunger strike in protest.

“The authorities must urgently address the violations that are the basis of their hunger strike protest, including denial of appropriate treatment and care, which may well amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or even torture,” the experts said.

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