TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The family of Professor Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian stem cell scientist who has been jailed by the US, condemned Washington’s hostile act and blatant human rights violation.
Speaking at a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Soleimani’s wife, Dr. Mahnaz Rabeie, denounced the US for keeping the scientist behind bars for a whole year without any fair trial.
What follow is the text of the statement, according to Press TV:
“In the Name of God
Statement by the family of Dr. Masoud Soleimani on the anniversary of the arrest of the world-renowned Iranian researcher imprisoned in the United States
One year has passed since Masoud Soleimani, a full professor and head of the Hematology Department at Tarbiat Modares University, has been arrested. (He is) a prominent scientist, who is not only the selected professor of Iran in 2015, but is recognized as the top 1% scientists and researchers on the basis of ISI (Thomson Scientific Institute) in 2015. He is also repudiated worldwide for his scientific standing.
In 2018, he was invited by the US Mayo Clinic to conduct research projects. After much insistence by Mayo Clinic, he accepted the invitation and departed for the United States in October 2018 after receiving an official visa. However, in a predetermined plan, the FBI canceled his visa after leaving Iran, and detained him at the Chicago airport for illegal entry into the United States. Then, he was sent to prison in Georgia on the second charge of violating US sanctions against Iran.
To make matters worse, even after his family was informed about Soleimani’s detention, there was no information about his whereabouts for up to a week. After insisting on the search for Dr. Soleimani’s whereabouts, Chicago airport police announced that the Iranian professor had returned to Iran by a Qatari flight,
It was a failed attempt that ultimately just revealed the deliberate US move to pretend that Dr. Soleimani is “disappeared” in order to distract the pursuit process. Now, Professor Masoud Soleimani has been held in prison for almost a year without charge and trial. This young scholar, who had no negative or unlawful acts records in his life, was not allowed to be released on bail till his trial. This as his scientific endeavors and research have always been transparent and helpful to humanity, and his conduct and actions are in a very humane and respected way at prison according to the prisoners and guards.
All of these are in a situation that he is suffering from chronic irritable bowel syndrome and needs certain medications to reduce the pain caused by the illness and stress. Despite numerous attempts by the family to deliver medicines to him, and even the efforts of Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the US to provide him with medications, it was opposed to give him the drugs, and prison officials prevented him from accessing the medicines. His mental and physical condition is now very poor and he has lost 15 kilograms of weight and suffers from severe vision loss.
I, Dr. Rabiei, as the wife of Professor Masoud Soleimani, along with other members of this international elite’s family, condemn this hostile act by the US government and believe the abuse of nationals to oppress their government is an inhumane act and a clear example of human rights violation. The conspiracy by the US government and Mayo Clinic to set up and arrest a scientist, who is expert in his field (stem cells) and has stepped in to help hard-to-cure patients around the world was a purposeful movement, especially when we see he has authored numerous articles in the field and recently advanced eye-catchingly. This move is meant to keep a non-American scientist away from science and advancement.
(Hereby) we object to the move by Mayo Clinic which has used the scientific arena to trap a scientist from a foreign country to be incarcerated in US prisons. We believe that making conditions insecure for scientists and the elite in every society disrupts the production of knowledge and diminishes the enthusiasm of leading world researchers. Obviously, no sensible person approves of this biased and inhumane behavior. Therefore, we explicitly demand that if the United States claims to respect human rights and justice, it must release Professor Masoud Soleimani as soon as possible because there is no adequate evidence to convict this innocent scientist. Perhaps, if there were (any evidence against him), his trial would not adjourn for a year.
We are extremely grateful to Tarbiat Modares University of Tehran and all Iranian institutions, especially the Foreign Ministry, as well as independent media outlets and journalists who are working on the release of Dr. Masoud Soleimani and investigating the reasons for his detention; especially the ones which condemn the US administration’s cowardly act.
We call on Iranian and non-Iranian scholars and scientists to protest against the US government and its anti-human rights policies to avoid recurrence of such cases. We also urge them to demand the US government and its legal system to immediately release Professor Masoud Soleimani. However, we also urge the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pursue this process more seriously than ever, given that the issue was not given much importance at first, and the case was investigated after six months. This as no immediate action has been taken to release this innocent scientist, while his prolonged incarceration and the unlawful damages and difficulties are increasingly ongoing. Meanwhile, the unfortunate death of his mother following the shock of her son’s arrest, made Dr. Masoud Soleimani’s wish to visit his mother unattainable forever. This irreparable grievance has greatly aggravated the suffering caused by his disastrous condition, while the mental and physical condition of this philanthropic scientist is currently unfavorable. The esteemed government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should take immediate action to free this enlightened scientist, regardless of the considerations that have sometimes been too time-consuming and problematic.
Above all, we do ask God the Almighty to return this praiseworthy son, faithful husband, kind father, exemplary university professor, kind-hearted scholar and friend to his family, his university, and scientific community of Iran and the world.”
Prosecutors have accused Soleimani, who works in stem cell research, hematology and regenerative medicine, and two of his former students of conspiring and attempting to export growth hormone vials from the US to Iran without authorization, in violation of American sanctions.
They had secretly obtained an indictment against Soleimani in June 2018, prior to his arrival on US soil.