The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) condemns the Iranian authorities’ inhumane treatment of the elderly human rights defender, former president of the University of Tehran, Dr Mohammad Maleki, preventing him from travelling abroad to seek life-saving medical treatment and visit his children.

Dr Maleki, 84, has a history of heart disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer and has been subjected to a travel ban since 2011, according to Amnesty International. His health is now critical as he recently went through another heart surgery.

The restrictions imposed on Dr Maleki is state-sanctioned reprisals for his dedicated human rights activities and anti-death penalty work including a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran in September 2011, where he detailed the torture he had to endure during his various periods of imprisonment between 1981 and 2009.

An urgent action by Amnesty International this summer to lift the travel ban against him refers to another open letter by him to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran in April 2015, where Dr Maleki wrote: “I have not committed theft, fraud or any other criminal offence. I have been deprived of my civil rights solely for my [political] beliefs ... and human rights activities... I wish to visit my son after seven years... This is the obvious right and the deep wish of every father.

The inhumane restrictions against Dr Maleki are part of renewed crackdown by the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders, women’s rights activists and dual citizens.

Combined with the alarming increase in the number of executions, these are concerted efforts by the regime’s authorities to intimidate and silence those who dare challenge the domestic repression to demand concrete improvements of the human rights situation and an immediate end to executions in Iran.

The British government should no longer stay silent in face of the intensified crackdown in Iran that is targeting political prisoners, human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, dissidents, dual citizens and their families.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) calls on the British government and the FCO to strongly condemn the alarming renewed crackdown in Iran and the cruel treatment of Iranian activists, like Dr Maleki, who seek the inalienable rights of the Iranian people.

We also urge the FCO to call for an immediate end to the inhumane treatment of Dr Maleki and other Iranian human rights defenders, including lifting the travel ban against them.

The UK must now join allies at the UN to increase pressure on the Iranian regime for the immediate release of all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and dual citizens who are detained on bogus and unjust charges as well as an immediate stop to torture and executions in the country, including public hangings.

Professor the Lord Alton of Liverpool

Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords

British Committee for Iran Freedom

12 October 2017