Nine Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Iran

Posted on: August 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In the last few weeks, a number of prisoners across the country have declared hunger strike. HRANA has prepared a bulletin on their cases, previously reported in detail.

Nasrin Sotoudeh
Lawyer and human rights activist

Nasrin Sotoudeh started a hunger strike on August 25th in protest to her arrest and the judicial pressures being placed on her family, relatives, and friends.
She published an open letter outlining her reasons for the strike.

Ramin Hossein Panahi
Political prisoner

Sentenced to death, Ramin Hossein Panahi was recently transferred to Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison and declared hunger strike on August 27th by sewing his lips together. He is protesting his sentence and multiple violations of his legal rights. His lawyers published a statement sharing the reasons behind the strike. According to them, his whereabouts have been unknown since his August 26th transfer out of Rajai Shahr.

Farhad Meysami
Civil rights activist

Farhad Meysami was arrested July 31st by security forces. He started a hunger strike August 1st, protesting his arrest and the constraints being placed on his choice of attorney. He was transferred from Evin’s Quarantine Ward to the General Ward on August 26th, where he is reportedly suffering from low blood pressure and drastic weight loss.

Namegh Deldel
Prisoner of conscience

Sunni prisoner Namegh Deldel from hall 21, Ward 7 of Rajai Shahr Prison has been suffering from an injury to his right leg. In protest of his restricted access to medical care, including the prison’s refusal to transfer him to an outside hospital, he has been on hunger strike for more than a month.

Farhad Ariai (Sahrapeyma)
Political prisoner

Farhad Ariai (Sahrapeyma), a political prisoner in the Workers’ Ward of Urmia Prison, is in the sixth year of his seven-year sentence. Eligible for early release per Article 134 on the serving of concurrent sentences, he declared hunger strike on August 15th when the court refused to review his request thereof. According to a credible source, Ariai was transferred to the quarantine ward immediately after starting his hunger strike.
Ariai also declared hunger strike last year when prison officials denied his request for furlough. In response to that strike, prison staff forcibly handcuffed and transferred him to the Workers’ Ward of the prison, where he remains to this day.

Seyed Ghassem Abasteh
Prisoner of conscience

Seyed Ghassem Abasteh, a Sunni prisoner in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison, started a hunger strike on July 17th to protest his inadequate medical care and the prison’s denial of his access to a clinic. Despite developing asthenia and severe weight loss as of the fifteenth day of his strike, prison authorities continue to ignore his pleas.

His poor health condition has been repeatedly reported on, and in March, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. His condition has deteriorated to the point that he struggles to speak and breathe.

Abasteh is married with two children. He was arrested in early 2010 and sent to solitary confinement in Urmia Prison, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. He spent eight months there before being transferred to Evin Prison, where he spent six months in the solitary cells of wards 240 and 209. After 14 months, he spent another 20 days in Ward 350 of Evin before finally being transferred to Rajai Shahr on April 8, 2012.

He faces charges such as “militant activity”, accused of backing Salafi groups. He denied such involvement, saying the charges are baseless.

He has been awaiting trial since his 2016 prison sentence from Judge Moghiseh was nullified. He has thus far spent eight years in prison without due process.

Saman Rahmani

Saman Rahmani, a prisoner in the Health Ward of Saqez Prison, is on the verge of losing his arms after suffering an injury, yet continues to be denied the rights of furlough and access to a clinic. He started a hunger strike on July 20th in protest.
“Rahmani was to be sent to Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison for care, but prison authorities changed their minds,” a credible source told HRANA.

When authorities promised him medical care earlier this year, he stopped the hunger strike he had started in June for the same reasons.

Farshid Nasseri
Prisoner of conscience

Sunni prisoner Farshid Nasseri of Rajai Shahr started a hunger strike on June 16th to demand his right to furlough. Twenty-eight days later, his condition had severely deteriorated. He suffers from back and neck problems, in addition to psychological issues stemming from his years spent in prison.

Verya Saed Moochashmi

On August 19th, on orders from a Ward chief penalizing their refusal to end their hunger strike, five prisoners from Ward 3 of Rajai Shahr were beaten and sent to solitary confinement. They were reportedly striking to protest issues with their respective legal cases.

HRANA understands these prisoners to be Verya Saed Moochashmi, Hossein Esmaeili, Saeed Moradpour, Mojtaba Kounani, and Alireza Kounani. As of yesterday, August 27, 2018, Moochashmi is the sole among the group to continue the strike.

In 1998, Moochashmi, then 17, was sentenced to death and 80 lashings when he was convicted of aiding and abetting murder. He has so far served 21 years in prison.

Imprisoned “Teacher of Civil Disobedience” Enters 26th Day of Hunger Strike

Posted on: August 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – The health condition of Farhad Meysami — who declared hunger strike the day after his arrest on July 31st in protest of his detention and the denial of his right to a lawyer of his choice — is in decline.

As of the 26th day of his hunger strike, Meysami was suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and severe weight loss. He was transferred from prison quarantine to the general ward (Ward 4, Hall 3) yesterday.

A source close to Meysami confirmed his health condition to HRANA, adding, “He has lost 11 kilograms since the start of his hunger strike, and intends to continue striking despite his frail condition and insistence from his family and friends to put an end to it.”

The source went on to elucidate the events surrounding Meysami’s arrest: ”He was in his personal library with Zia Nabavi when an individual buzzed in, saying that they wished to submit a book to the publication house located one floor below Mr. Meysami’s flat. When Meysami opened the door for him, four Ministry of Intelligence agents came in and presented an arrest warrant for both Meysami and Nabavi. After a search of his library in which they confiscated pin-back buttons reading “I protest mandatory veiling” along with 30 copies of the book titled “Small Acts of Resistance” and 40 copies of “Human Rights: Questions & Answers,” they arrested both Meysami and Nabavi and transferred them to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Mr Nabavi was released the next day as he was not implicated in the case.”

The source added that Meysami was called a “teacher of civil disobedience” during his interrogation. He faces charges of “Collusion and conspiracy to threaten national security”, “Disseminating propaganda against the regime”, and “Insulting the hijab, an essential sacrament of Islam” from Branch 7 of the Evin Court. Based on the content of his interrogation sheets, these charges stem from “provoking women to appear without hijab in the street,” as well as a speech he gave on the topic of “social nonviolence” at the University of Isfahan.

Meysami’s hunger strike is motivated in part by his wish to appoint Arash Keikhosravi as his lawyer. Keikhosravi, who has been detained in the Great Tehran Penitentiary for the past 11 days, previously explained to HRANA, “On Sunday, August 12th, Mr. Meysami’s mother and I went to Branch 7 of Evin court to follow up on his case and to see how he was doing. I planned to register as his lawyer, but the officials at the branch told me that section 48 of the Criminal Procedure Code bars me from doing so.”
Section 48 of the recently-amended Criminal Procedure Code states that those accused of national security crimes must choose their lawyer from a list approved by the Iranian judiciary.

Imprisoned Civil Rights Activist Farhad Meysami on Hunger Strike

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA)- Farhad Meysami, who was arrested and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison on July 31, 2018, has been on hunger strike since August 1st. He faces charges of “Collusion and conspiracy to threaten national security”, “Disseminating propaganda against the regime,” and “Insulting the hijab, an essential sacrament of Islam” from Branch 7 of Evin Court.

Reza Khandan, husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the human rights lawyer who was previously imprisoned on similar charges, related Mr Mesyami’s case updates to HRANA.

“Farhad Meysami [declared his strike] when he contacted his mother, which was 20 days into his detention,” Mr Khandan said, explaining that news hadn’t spread earlier because Mr Meysami was being held in solitary confinement. In the same phone conversation, according to Mr Khandan, Mr Meysami said he was anticipating a transfer to the prison’s general ward in three days.

Reading from the interrogation sheet intended to elucidate his charges, Mr Meysami cited accusations of “provoking women to appear without hijab in the street”. Mr Khandan conjectures that Mr Meysami’s charges actually stem from his possession of pin-back buttons reading “I protest mandatory Hijab”.

“Farhad Meysami’s mother was extremely worried following the news of his hunger strike and intimated that she wanted to start a hunger strike as well,” Mr Khandan added. “But some friends and I dissuaded her, given her age and her need to take medications on a daily basis.”

Earlier, Arash Keikhosravi — who has been detained in the Great Tehran Penitentiary for the past four days — told HRANA that “on Sunday, August 12th, Mr Meysami’s mother and I went to Branch 7 of Evin court to follow up on his case and to see how he was doing. I planned to register as his lawyer, but the officials at the branch told me that section 48 of the Criminal Procedure Code bars me from doing so.”

Section 48 of the recently-amended Criminal Procedure Code states that those accused of national-security crimes must choose their lawyer from a list approved by the Iranian judiciary. Human Rights Organizations have argued that this new policy gives further license to infringe on the rights of defendants.

Mr Keikhosravi also said that “Mr Meysami’s mother went to see the case investigator after receiving a phone call in which she could hear the sounds of her son’s interrogation and torture.”

The investigator reportedly denied that the call had come from Evin authorities, promising her a phone call from her son to alleviate some of her worries and assure her of his wellbeing.