Iranian scientist’s health condition, eyesight getting worse in US prison: Brother

The brother of a top Iranian stem cell scientist who has been behind bars in the United States without trial says his health condition has aggravated and his eyesight has gotten worse in detention.  

“The illness of my brother has been aggravated in Dayton prison in Atlanta and his eyesight has gotten worse,” Rasoul, Dr. Masoud Soleimani’s brother, told IRNA on Wednesday.

He said that his brother was unaware of his mother’s recent death and was waiting for his release while their father did not know about his brother’s detention.  

He said that Iranian officials were following up on the issue, adding that the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were updating his family on the measures taken so far.

He appealed to executive bodies, scientific and members of the media to help secure the release of the Iranian scientist.

Back in October last year, Soleimani, a professor and biomedical researcher at Tarbiat Modares University (TMU) in Tehran, was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon his arrival in the US.

When he left Tehran last fall, the scientist planned to complete the final stage of his research on treating stroke patients as a visiting scholar at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

According to his Atlanta attorney, Leonard Franco, the renowned scientist has since been held behind bars in a jail in Atlanta without bond.

Prosecutors in Atlanta have accused him and two of his former students of conspiring and attempting to export vials of human growth hormone from the US to Iran without authorization, in violation of US sanctions. 

The human growth hormone is not banned in the US or Iran and was being used “exclusively for medical research,” which is still considered largely exempt from US sanctions, Franco said.

The two students were charged in a court and released after posting bail because they held US citizenship.

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