Please write to the warden at the Communications Management Unit, Terre Haute, Indiana, and ask him to look into the medical conditions in the unit because the health care is so poor it is a threat to the health and sometimes the life of the prisoners. Please be courteous in all communication.

Thank you, from the Dr. Dhafir Support Committee
and the Muslim Solidarity Committee.

Warden Jett
United States Penitentiary
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Examples of the Medical Neglect from correspondence with Dr. Rafil Dhafir and Yassin Aref:

Dr Dhafir wrote in August of 2007 to Katherine Hughes the following:

‘I am not in the habit of complaining, but you asked me to keep you informed of my situation.

‘I am having a great problem with the medical services here. They are ignorant, irresponsible and careless. Because of their neglect in not checking the results of my blood test from January and February ’07, I suffered 2 painful attacks of gout needlessly. They put me on a diuretic for my blood pressure. Diuretics tend to raise the uric acid responsible for gout. In spite of my repeated attempts to have them look into this, they intentionally ignore it. I had to file a complaint so that I will exhaust all the routing before I decide on filing a mal practice law suit.’


Abridged from Yassin Aref’s “Dead Life in a political Prison” and corroborated by letters from Dr. Rafil Dhafir:

‘Another night at about 2 am I heard someone banging on the door of his cell and yelling, “C.O.! C.O.!” Other inmates started shouting, “What’s going on?” He yelled back, “It’s not me but my neighbor — he’s diabetic and he collapsed… he is crying for help.” We all started shouting for the guards to check on him, and the doctor [Dr. Rafil Dhafir] yelled that they should give him some honey or juice. It still took two hours until the emergency team arrived with a nurse. If his cellmate had not heard him and started shouting he would have died. Why is this a locked down unit but there are no emergency buttons in the cells?’


Excerpted from a letter dated June 4, 2007 by Dr. Rafil Dhafir to a friend:

‘Earlier a young kid with acute appendicitis was diagnosed as “food poisoning” …ignored for 48 hours until I saw him, made the diagnosis and demanded that he be taken care of right away. The criminals here made him WALK from his room upstairs to see the nurse or PA (no doctor) instead of going to his room. Needless to say his appendix burst. He was lucky to be still alive. We fear for our lives here from the lack of decent medical care. Our talk to administration regarding this got us no where.’


A death: (A full account is available at “Yassin Aref Life at the Communication Management Unit at Terre Haute Prison”.)

“But I was here when an inmate died. I still don’t know why but they said it was a heart attack. All we knew was his friend did not see him at breakfast, and after eating went to check on him, he found his body. Even if it was a heart attack, imagine what he must have gone through all alone. Usually in prisons they have an emergency button you can press. Not here. He could have been struggling all night. Maybe if someone had known his life could have been saved.”

And from a November letter from Dr. Dhafir:

‘At the present time we are 41 prisoners here. One was freed upon completing his time. One died because, in spite of asking to see the doctor the whole week, was never seen by any medical staff and died at night with no one knowing until morning. Two were transferred out momentarily for court dates.

‘Since our rooms have no “life alarm button” and the guards stay far away that they will never know or even hear if help is needed, I asked the administration to look into it and make the appropriate changes. Their response was “no one in the institution had that.” Mind you, no one in this institution of 3,000 prisoners has a quarter like ours.

‘This is the way it has been from day one. Every time we complain that we are mistreated, they respond that general population has the policy. But when it comes to us demanding to be treated like everyone else the response is, “you are a different unit.”’

Post updated 04/22/09