Kamal Foroughi

Kamal Foroughi is a 77-year-old British-Iranian man who was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Iran in 2011. He has now spent more than six years in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, several months of which in solitary confinement, and has not had any visitors for over 2,000 days. Kamal has been eligible for early release every day since January 2014.

Kamal's story 

Born in Iran in 1939, Kamal moved to Britain in the 1970s, and holds both British and Iranian citizenship. His wife, children and grandchildren all live in the UK.

In May 2011, Kamal was arrested in his Tehran apartment by plainclothes officers, who failed to produce a warrant for his arrest.

The arresting officers also failed to explain to Kamal the charges against him.

At the time of his arrest, he was living in Tehran and working as a consultant for Petronas, the Malaysian national oil and gas company.

Kamal was taken to Evin Prison in Iran’s capital. He was unable to consult a lawyer, and spent 18 months in in solitary confinement prior to his trial.

He was eventually given a court hearing in 2013, and was only given access to a lawyer the day before his trial.

Following an unfair trial, Kamal was later convicted of two charges, “espionage” and “possession of alcohol.” For these charges, he was given seven years and one year respectively, despite there being no known evidence relating to the charge of espionage. It was clarified in 2016 that the total sentence is seven years.

The authorities have severely limited communications between Kamal and the outside world, including his family, and they only allow him to communicate with them in Farsi, a language with which many family members are unfamiliar.

Iran does not acknowledge dual citizenship, and has therefore refused Kamal British consular access. Under the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations (VCCR), to which Iran is a signatory, the UK is entitled to intervene in matters concerning its nationals overseas.

REDRESS and his family are extremely concerned about his ailing health, which has been complicated as a result of his age and the lack of adequate medical care in detention. He may be suffering from prostate cancer and is at risk of blindness due to untreated cataracts.

Under Article 58 of the Islamic Penal Code, Kamal has been eligible for early release since January 2014, but has remained in prison until the present day.

Action for justice 

REDRESS filed a complaint to the United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 14 September 2016.

In the petition, we argued that Iran has subjected Kamal to arbitrary detention, an unfair trial and treatment in violation of his dignity as well as ill-treatment, in breach of articles 7, 9, 10, 14 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR).

In June 2017, REDRESS along with other NGOs sent a letter to the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran raising concerns over the detention of EU citizens and residents in Iran, including Kamal.

The letter urged the delegation to use their direct channel of communication with Iran to help bring an end to Iran’s arbitrary detention of EU citizens such as Kamal.

The outcomes

Quick facts 

Case name: Kamal Foroughi

Jurisdiction: UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Date filed: 14 September 2016

Current status: Decision reached | Implementation pending

Legal representation: REDRESS

Key words 


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