Iranian Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike


Iranian political prisoners on hunger strike

By Jubin Katiraie

Four Iranian political prisoners remain on hunger strike in Urmia prison in northwest Iran protesting their vile treatment at the hands of the Iranian authorities.

Mostafa Sabzi, Ghader Salimi, Bashir Pirmavaneh and Rahmi Tourgout are all now suffering from deteriorating health, particularly severely low blood pressure and significant weight loss.

Pirmavaneh and Tourgout started their hunger strike on July 22, while Sabzi and Salimi started theirs on July 23.

In another case, political prisoner and supporter of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), Akbar Bagheri, who is currently being held in the Greater Tehran Prison, has also gone on hunger strike.

Bagheri went on hunger strike on August 7, in protest at his deteriorating health and legal conditions, as well as his exile to the Greater Tehran Prison.

On the fourth day of his strike, Sunday, August 11, the Iranian authorities moved Bagheri to the ward of dangerous criminals in order to intimidate him. This is a common tactic by the Iranian authorities to stop protests by political prisoners, which often results in the protesters being attacked or killed by the violent criminals at the behest of the authorities.

Bagheri previously went on a five-day hunger strike to protest his transfer to the Greater Tehran Prison, as well as the lack of medical services available despite his bleeding intestines. He was scheduled to be taken to the hospital for surgery, but was not transferred, so he went on hunger strike to bring attention to his cause.

Bagheri was arrested by security forces that attacked him at his home in 2017. He spent two months in solitary confinement in Diesel Abad prison of Kermanshah, western Iran, where he was subjected to severe interrogation, before being temporarily released on bail.

In December 2017, Bagheri was arrested again during protests in front of the Majlis (parliament) by clients of corrupt credit institutions, usually run by ‘regime’ members or their associates. He was then taken to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where he spent 48 days in the solitary confinement cells of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). He was transferred to Ward 4 in March, before being moved to the Greater Tehran Prison.

The Iranian authorities want to suppress political prisoners, so they move them about in order to put them in more dangerous places, cut them off from friends or family, and obscure their location from fellow activists, according to reports from Iranian prisons.