Iran Human RightsIranian political prisoners on hunger strike

Iranian political prisoners on hunger strike

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Iran Focus

London, 9 May – A number of political prisoners are on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Jafar Azimzadeh, a worker’s rights activist, and Ismail Abdi the Secretary General of the Iran Teachers Trade Association (ITTA) have been on hunger strike since 29 April. In a statement the pair outlined the reasons for undergoing such hardship as being government crackdowns on civil liberties.

Specifically mentioned were the bans against independent and free gatherings on International Workers’ Day and Teachers Day. They were joined on Friday 6 May by Ali Moezzi, who has been imprisoned several times since the 1980s for his familial ties to the main Iranian opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK).

Moezzi said in a statement that “a regime which suppresses civil associations and activists would never provide for the trampled rights of teachers and labourers”. Moezzi announced that he would be joining the hunger strike for an unspecified period of time.

Moezzi is being denied medical treatment for several serious diseases including cancer and acute kidney dysfunction. Ttwo of his daughters are members of the PMOI.

Another prisoner, Mahmoud Behesti Langaroudi began a separate hunger strike on 20 April over his 14-year prison sentence. Langaroudi was arrested and detained on 6 September 2015 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the charge of “colluding against national security” and “propaganda against the state”.

This is the second time Langaroudi has gone on hunger strike in the last six months. In December, shortly after his arrest, Langaroudi went on a 20-day hunger strike which left him with dangerously low blood pressure.

Those inclined towards freedom of expression and speech like artists, journalists, teachers and political activists are favourite targets for the Iranian government. Political prisoners are often sent to Evin.

Iran’s government is reported to have executed over 120,000 political prisoners since it took power in 1979. The majority of these people have belonged to the PMOI (MEK). One of the bloodiest periods was the summer of 1988 when 30,000 prisoners with links to the PMOI were executed.

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