Imprisoned Civil Rights Activist Farhad Meysami Reaches 50th day on Hunger Strike
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Farhad Meysami has not had a single meal, or any food at all, for 50 days and counting, as his health condition continues to deteriorate.
A civil rights activist imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin Prison, Meysami announced his hunger strike August 1st, one day after his arrest by Iranian authorities, in protest of their refusal of the attorney of his choosing. Despite the decline of his health during the hunger strike, authorities have yet to send him to a hospital.
HRANA reported on Meysami’s weight loss and poor physical state on September 8th.
Mohammad Moghimi–lawyer of fellow Evin prisoner Reza Khandan, and incidentally, the attorney Meysami would have appointed if given the choice–said his client called him from Evin to report that Meysami’s strike had put him in mortal danger, and that he needed a transfer to the hospital right away.
Moghimi said that authorities’ denial of Meysami’s attorney of choice puts them in conflict with Iranian law. Once initial interrogations are over, each prisoner has a right to a lawyer of his or her choosing, according to Moghimi’s reading of Article 48 of Iranian penal code.
Meysami was arrested in his personal study on July 31st. He was originally charged with “gathering and collusion aimed at disrupting national security,”; “propaganda against the regime”; and “insulting hijab, a necessary and sacred element of Islam.”
On September 3rd, however, Branch 7 of the Evin prosecutor’s interrogation department claimed that charges have since changed, with the last one replaced with “spreading corruption and prostitution.”
Meysami, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, has said that during his hunger strike he will take only the medication that treats this condition, as he has taken for the past 18 years. Meysami has previously said that he would break his hunger strike only if his friend and fellow inmate Reza Khandan, who was arrested after Meysami’s hunger strike began, is released unconditionally.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both asked for Meysami’s release.