Protesters went on hunger strike for three days less than a week after 20 prisoners were executed in Iran. This protest coincides with the anniversary of the 1988 massacre in the country.
Those doing the hunger strike were joined by dozens of demonstrators as they stood outside Parliament, according to the International Business Times. The protesters called on the UK government to speak out against the mistreatment of political prisoners. They were also demanding that the government recognises the victims and those responsible for the 1988 massacre in Iran which left thousands upon thousands of political prisoners dead over several months in state sanctioned killings.
The Association of Iranian Political Prisoners, UK, in a statement said: “The participants urge the UK government to categorically condemn incessant cruel hangings and act with its western allies for an immediate halt to the executions and torture in Iran. They also call on the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to form an international court to prosecute the officials of the regime responsible for these crimes.”
During the three-day demonstration the protesters set up an exhibition that showed some of the human rights abuses that the Iranian regime commits as well as a mock execution. Many of those participating have relatives that were killed or imprisoned in Iran.
Omid Ebrahimi, an 18 year-old who participated in the hunger strike, said his dad who was very active in Iran spent 10 years in prison. He said: “He was there at the time of the 1988 massacre and whenever he talks about the memories he had and the friends he had that were taken from him and executed during this massacre I am astounded.”
Ebrahimi added that four of his mum’s relatives were killed by the Iranian regime (two of them during the 1988 massacre). He said that this is his motivation to follow in the footsteps of his parents and raise awareness about the regime. He said that many high ranking members of the regime “took a leading role in the massacre still hold key positions in the hierarchy of the regime”.
He said that although he had not eaten in three days, it was difficult, but much easier than what the political prisoners in Iran are going through. “We are on hunger strike with political prisoners who are also on hungers strike, but they are in worse conditions, they are tortured they are awaiting executions and we are doing it in a country where we are out of harm’s way and we are not under threat.”
Naghmeh Rajabi, a 29 year old hunger striker and demonstrator, told the International Business Times that the protest is personal to her because she is also a victim of the regime. She said that her aunts were executed by the regime before she ever got to meet them. She said: “Living in a free society as an Iranian woman in exile, it is my responsibility to speak for the women who don’t have a voice and don’t have the basic minimum human rights.”
Last week on 2nd August in Iran 20 Kurdish Sunni political prisoners in Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison were executed. The families were told they could come and say their final goodbyes before 3pm, but when they arrived they were told that their loved ones were already dead.
A UK spokesperson for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Hossein Abedini, said: “The situation inside the prison where the recent executions took place is very worrying and many people, many prisoners are on hunger strike there and there is very tight security.”
He added that the situation will become even more worrying if it is accompanied by silence. He said that “robust measures” need to be introduced immediately.