PEN Int: imprisoned Kurdish filmmaker in Iran in need of urgent medical attention

Kerim Keywani on set.

PEN International and Amnesty International have both declared concerns about jailed Iranian Kurdish filmmaker Keywan Karimi who is in need of specialised medical care urgently.

After multiple episodes of coughing up blood, doctors at Tehran’s Evin prison have diagnosed Karimi with bronchitis and a lung infection saying he needs immediate medical treatment outside prison. Despite this, however, prison authorities have refused to transfer him to a specialised facility.

Keywan Karimi, who has been in jail since 23 November 2016, has been taken to the clinic in Tehran’s Evin prison several times in the past month after coughing up blood. The clinic doctors diagnosed him with bronchitis and an acute lung infection and have advised that he be urgently transferred to a hospital outside prison to receive specialised medical care. However, Evin prison authorities have so far refused to authorise the transfer.

Keywan Karimi is currently only receiving sedatives. He also suffers from a pre-existing bone condition called aneurysmal bone cyst (blood-filled fibrous cysts that expand the bone and can cause pain, swelling and fractures), for which he needs specialised medical care. Around 10 years ago, he had surgery to remove a cyst in his shin bone, and his doctors have said that he requires ongoing monitoring in case further surgery is needed.

Pen International, Amnesty and other several human rights organisations have called Iranian authorities to provide Karimi with full health care and cancel his flogging sentence.

Who is Keywan Karimi?

Keywan Karimi, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, is a prominent documentary and fiction filmmaker. His documentary Marz-e Shekasteh (The Broken Border) was awarded with the best short documentary in Beirut International Film Festival in 2013.

He was charged with “insulting sanctities” for his documentary “Writing on the City” and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and 223 lashes. Karimi is known among international film critics for his 2013 black-and-white minimalist film “The Adventure of the Married Couple.”

The film played in some 40 festivals, winning prizes in Spain and Colombia.