Canadian doctors raise alarm as Iranian healthcare workers targeted by regime

Iranian hospitals and clinics have become the latest battleground in ongoing protests against the regime.

“There are informants. Are they your so-called patients? Are they your colleagues, managers?” said Montreal resident Dr. Homa Fathi.

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Fathi, a former dentist in Iran, is referring to undercover officers of the Islamic Republic who often visit public hospital emergency departments searching for people injured while fighting for their freedoms on the streets – and the doctors treating them.

Iranian healthcare professionals are putting their lives at risk and facing death to help treat them.

The regime’s security forces, she said, are demanding names and details of anyone seeking treatment for wounds that could have been received in demonstrations.

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Click to play video: 'Canadian doctors make plea to protect Iranian healthcare professionals'


Canadian doctors make plea to protect Iranian healthcare professionals


Fathi, in conjunction with her sources inside the country, have created a database to track Iranian healthcare workers arrested, kidnapped and killed by the regime.

“We are sure of the death of five healthcare professionals. Two doctors, one nurse and one medical student. Apart from these healthcare professionals, there are a lot who have been arrested,” Fathi said.

“So far, I have the list of 19 healthcare professions arrested. I have the list of 21 healthcare students who have also been arrested.”

Iranians wounded by the Islamic Republic’s forces avoid treatment at hospitals for fear of being detained, prosecuted or killed. Many medics are defying the Islamic Republic and treating them either at home or at undisclosed locations.

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Vancouver physician Dr. Katayoun Rahnavardi and a network of doctors throughout Canada are trying to help amplify the voices of medics in Iran whose lives are in danger for fulfilling an international oath.

Rahnavardi and her colleagues are writing letters and posting to social media to share the stories, names and photos of those workers, and taking part in local rallies to keep the issue in the spotlight.


Click to play video: 'Canadian creates database of Iranian healthcare professionals targeted'


Canadian creates database of Iranian healthcare professionals targeted


“Everything about what is happening looks and sounds so unbelievable,” Rahnavardi said.

“All of these healthcare workers were not protesting when they got arrested or kidnapped. It’s only because they were doing their job to provide medical care to the patients.”

She says she had started off with demands not to arrest Iranian healthcare professionals for doing their job but now it has escalated to “don’t kill them, don’t torture them, don’t kidnap them.”

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One well-known case is the killing of 36-year-old Tehran physician Dr. Aida Rostami. She treated demonstrators in secret.

Rostami disappeared on Dec. 12 after a Tehran hospital shift. When her family called the police, they claimed she had died in a car crash.

But according to sources in Iran, Rostami had injuries to her genitalia, and had one of her eyes pulled out. When her family reportedly tracked her body down at the morgue, her body was covered in bruises and showed signs of torture. She was reportedly killed by the regime.


Click to play video: 'Iranian protestors facing death penalty'


Iranian protestors facing death penalty


Rahnavardi says Iranian medics are treating injuries of demonstrators who were shot in the eyes, breasts and genitals.

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“Over 400 cases of eyes have been shot and removed after the injury. There are documents about that,” Rahnavardi said.

Even during the World Wars, an unspoken rule was that medics were not to be touched.

Doing so today is considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

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The dangers facing Iranian doctors have been recognized by medical associations across European and in North America, and the Canadian Medical Association released a statement calling on the Islamic Republic to let doctors do their jobs without interference.

The British Medical Association also released a statement calling on the regime to “cease persecution of health professionals” who treat those injured by the Islamic Republic’s forces, and the World Medical Association is demanding the immediate and unconditional end to violence against Iranian healthcare professionals.

“This is an issue of humanity. It’s my duty, my responsibility as a mother, as a woman, as a human being and as a doctor to be the voice of people who are trusting me, who don’t have help, who don’t have a voice,” Rahnavardi said.

“I want everybody to follow their stories and try to provide support.”

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Click to play video: 'Iran schoolchildren reportedly killed for protesting'


Iran schoolchildren reportedly killed for protesting


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