Ailing Iranian-Austrian Prisoner Massud Mossaheb Issues Plea from Evin Jail

By Kayhan Life Staff

In a leaked audio file, Massud Mossaheb, a 74-year-old Iranian-Austrian who has been in Tehran’s Evin Prison since January 2019, has appealed to the public to campaign for his release.

Mr. Mossaheb, who spoke in German in the audio clip, said he was suffering from a wide range of health issues and needed urgent medical care. Mossaheb said his biggest wish was to return to Vienna and spend the rest of his life with his children and grandchildren.

Mossaheb, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, was arrested in January 2019 while visiting Tehran as part of a delegation from the Austrian MedAustron company.

Iranian authorities charged Mossaheb in July with “working with Israel and German intelligence Services.” Subsequently, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Massud Mossaheb. I am a 74-year-old Iranian-Austrian dual national,” Mossaheb said in the audio, published on the Free Massud Twitter page on Dec. 30. “I am making this plea on Dec. 28, 2020, from the notorious Evin Prison where I have been incarcerated for the past 23 months.”

“I ask for your help and support,” Mossaheb pleaded. “I suffer from several health issues including diabetes, neuropathy [a type of nerve damage], a faulty heart valve, prostate, thyroids, cystic lung disease, and a cyst in my left kidney-some of which have been removed surgically.”

“I also suffered a stroke and underwent dialysis nine times. I miraculously recovered from COVID-19 and [a] few other illnesses recently,” Mossaheb explained.

In an August press conference, Iran’s Judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said Mossaheb had passed on information in the fields of “missile, nuclear, Nano and medical treatment” while working as the secretary of Iran-Austrian Friendship Society. However, Iran has not responded to repeated requests from the Austrian government to provide documented evidence against Mossaheb. Later that month, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) TV aired Mossaheb’s forced confession made under duress.

According to several human rights groups, there are some 30 foreign and dual nationals in Iranian prisons. Detaining and convicting dual nationals on bogus charges, they say, is a way for Iran to extort money from other countries or to secure its own agents’ release from foreign prisons. Western governments have warned dual nationals with Iranian citizenship against traveling to Iran.

Mossaheb said in his audio message that for Evin prisoners, major medical exams were

“conducted at outside facilities, and we [prisoners] must shoulder the cost. Prescription medicines also brought in from outside.”

“One general practitioner comes to the prison infirmary three times a week for three hours. The GP misdiagnosed my coronavirus as a common cold,” Mossaheb noted. “One neurologist and an internist see inmates at the infirmary, respectively, one and two hours a week. I heard two prisoners died from COVID-19 this morning.”

“They stopped distributing masks and disinfecting hand gels to us three weeks ago. We have to buy them ourselves from the prison shop at exorbitant prices,” Mossaheb said. “Prison food is terrible. They do not give us fruits and vegetables. We have to buy them and cook our meals.”

“On average, there are 15 inmates to a cell. I sleep on the floor,” Mossaheb, who could be heard coughing in the audio clip, said. “I have bought three thin blankets, which I use as a mattress. Mouses, cockroaches, and bedbugs are our constant companions.”

“I am appealing to all those who hear or read my plea to help me and rescue me from this hell, so I can return to my home in Vienna and spend my remaining days with my children and grandchildren,” Mossaheb added. “I would like to thank everyone in advance and wish you all a happy 2021.”

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.