Iran political prisoners hold hunger strike in solidarity with others

According to a report by the National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on July 29, a group of political prisoners went on hunger strike on Thursday and Friday in solidarity with other political prisoners on hunger strike in Iran.

In an open letter, the prisoners, held in Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran, announced that their two-day hunger strike was an act of protest, saying, “Some political prisoners have been on hunger strikes in the past three months seeking the fulfillment of their demands. Nasim Naghash-Zargaran (Maryam Naghash-Zargaran), Rasoul Hardani and Arzhang Davoudi are among those who have gone on hunger strike and their conditions are critical since they each began their hunger strike quite a while ago.”

The prisoners in Gohardasht hope to bring the condition of these prisoners to the attention of the global community, and stand in solidarity with them.  “We want people to support these hunger-strikers. Their condition is definitely critical.”

Newly-converted Christian, Maryam Naghash Zargaran, began her hunger strike on July 5, 2016, to protest conditions in the prison, and to demand an unconditional release. She continued her strike to support fellow prisoner, Narges Mohammadi, who was protesting the regime’s denial of contact with her children. 

Additionally, political prisoner Rasoul Hardani, suffering from MS, is in critical condition after a hunger strike that’s lasted since the beginning of July. Hardani is on hunger strike protesting the authorities preventing his release. 

Arzhang Davoodi went on hunger strike on July 17, and stopped taking his medications in Gohardasht Prison in protest of the deplorable situation of fellow inmates.  He said, ”After years of imprisonment and illegal charges made by the mullahs, with this action I just want to raise the consciences of all human beings to the inhuman conditions of the prisoners. The brutal prison guards in different prisons such as Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) have made the prisons as a cemetery and slaughterhouse for our youths by importing goods and contrabands, including drugs. These drugs are the main sources of income for them in the prison system and I am ashamed to express the consequences of such crimes and the circumstances that now prevail on the prisoners.”  At the end of his statement, he added, “from Sunday July 17, 2016 I will go on medication strike and hunger strike so that the world devotes attention to the current situation. I anticipate that I will be threatened and transferred to solitary confinement by the head of the prison, Mohammad Mardani.”  

Mr. Davoodi was arrested in 2003 and held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods during which he was tortured and denied access to a lawyer and his family. He’s been sentenced to death for his political opinions and peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

He is believed to have been accused of having ties with the main Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) merely because in prison he insisted on calling the PMOI by its official name, Mojahedin, rather than by the term used by the Iranian authorities, Monafeghin (hypocrites), according to a 2014 urgent action appeal by Amnesty International.