Iran Focus, 2 Jan. - Reza Shahabi, a member of the Board of Directors Tehran’s Bus Drivers Syndicate, has staged a hunger strike in prison for the past 15 days because officials have refused to give him temporary leave to get treatment for his ailments, including urgently-needed surgery. He has refrained from eating or taking medicine in protest against his mistreatment in prison. Shahabi was arrested in June 2011, and after a two-year detention, was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court for acting against state national security. He is suffering from high blood pressure as well as arthritis, which have caused severe neck and back pain.
The refusal of the authorities to provide proper treatment to dissidents in prison is designed to force their gradual death. In a letter to Sadeq Larijani, the Head of Judiciary, Mr. Shahabi described the horrific conditions of dissidents in prison, which has led to the death of a number of them, including Mohsen Dokmechi, an activist of the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, as well as journalist Hoda Saber and blogger Sattar Beheshti.