Baqeri-Kani on Friday expressed concern over the health condition of Iranian scientist Sirous Asgari, who has remained behind bars in the US despite his acquittal in a sanctions trial, IRNA reported.
“We are worried about the health conditions of all Iranians jailed in American prisons; however, the news of the infection of the Iranian thinker … has added to our concerns,” he said.
The Iranian official said that the Islamic Republic is following up his release through relevant authorities, stressing that the immediate release of Asgari can end the concerns about his health.
On Tuesday, his family and attorneys told the Guardian that he has recently contracted the novel coronavirus and are calling for his release to a medical facility where he can receive proper care.
“It makes sense to send me to the hospital as soon as possible. I don’t trust them at all,” the 59-year-old said on Tuesday amid repeated coughing fits. “If something happens, they are not fast responders … I prefer to leave this dirty place.”
Asgari’s story sparked international outrage after he spoke about his fears of COVID-19 spreading inside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) jail in Louisiana with substandard cleaning practices and a lack of supplies. The professor, who has a history of respiratory problems, was exonerated in a US sanctions trial last year, but ICE has refused to release him or allow him to return to Iran. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently called for his release, as have some US lawmakers and human rights groups.