By Jubin Katiraie

Political prisoner Peiman Mirzazadeh has begun a hunger strike in protest against the very poor treatment he has been subjected to.

Peiman Mirzazadeh was arrested in 2017 by security agents. He was charged with “spreading propaganda against the state” because he was heard singing songs that voice support for a dissident group. Mirzazadeh was not allowed to consult a lawyer and was eventually sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

During his most recent arrest, he was charged with “cooperating with a dissident group”, “drinking alcohol” and “blasphemy” and was sentenced to two years in prison and 100 lashes.

On Sunday, Mirzazadeh was taken to the 4th Branch of the Sentence Implementation Department where he was subsequently flogged 100 times. He has been badly injured on his back and feet which have been swelling up. His health is in generally poor condition now.

Mirzazadeh who is currently in Urmia Prison in the north-western part of the country, in protest against his sentence, is now partaking in a hunger strike.

The treatment of prisoners, especially political prisoners, in Iran is horrific. Many are denied the most basic of rights and are subjected to torture – both physical and psychological.

In its most recent report on the state of human rights across the world, Amnesty International noted that the human rights situation in Iran is deteriorating. It noted that the authorities are continuing to jail “peaceful critics”, including activists for women’s and worker’s rights, trade unionists, environmental activists and lawyers.

Amnesty International also drew attention to the Iranian regime’s practice of executing individuals who were under 18 at the time their crime was committed. Iranian authorities that discriminate against the people in so many areas of life are ironically indiscriminate when it comes to dishing out harsh sentences and punishments. Children and adults are treated the same. The Iranian regime ignores international condemnations of this practice.

Security agents have also arrested anti-death penalty activists in Iran and sentences them to imprisonment for their “un-Islamic” ideas.

Trials of dissidents in Iran are systematically unfair and the employment of cruel punishments is very common. There have been numerous cases of amputations and floggings over the past few years.

Recent reports indicate that a group of women and men who were on holiday were sentenced to 74 lashes each because they did not observe the compulsory veil rule. They were on a boat in Lafour Lake in the northern Mazandaran Province.

A teacher activist that was participating in a sit-in outside a government building in response to the numerous arrests of teacher activists was sentenced to 74 lashes.

The Iranian authorities are losing their grip on power and are trying to regain control by cracking down on dissent inside the country. However, their tactics are not working because the tougher the crackdown, the greater the resolve of the people.

The people of Iran have made it very clear that they will not be silenced by the regime. They are risking arrest, torture, imprisonment and execution to voice their dissent. But they do it anyway.