“This Is Not Gaza,” Says Student Activist’s Father, Confirming His Prison Hunger Strike
Salman Sima, a student activist and member of the Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student organization, has gone on hunger strike inside Evin prison. Sima was arrested on 12 June 2010, his third post-election arrest, and is being detained at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) Ward 2-A at Evin prison. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Sima’s father confirmed his son’s dry hunger strike.
“He is on a dry hunger strike to protest his baseless arrest. He was going somewhere with his sister when he was arrested. His arrest was pre-planned. Security agents called him on the phone, telling him to go pick up his personal items, held from the previous arrest, at the Ministry of Intelligence Followup Office. They contacted him on 12 June when we were going somewhere as a family. Salman and his sister were on their way to the Ministry of Intelligence when he was stopped by a plainclothes agent on Vessal Street. The plainclothes agent told Salman that he knew Salman had filed a complaint against one of the man’s colleagues. Salman denied this but the agent pulled Salman’s hand by force and took him to his motorcycle and put handcuffs on him. Salman and his sister, Saedeh objected to this to no avail. The man threatened Saedeh with arrest too,” Sima’s father told the Campaign.
Mr. Sima emphasized that Salman Sima’s new arrest was not related to his first arrest, which led to a six year prison sentence. “This incident was related to his October 2009 arrest for which there is a cease order. He was arrested last October and released in late February. This is the third time he has been arrested,” he said.
The student activist’s father emphasized that his search for his son had been fruitless. He said he only found out about his son’s location after he made a phone call to him and informed him that he was on a hunger strike. Expressing concern over his son’s physical condition, he told the Campaign, “Salman couldn’t tell us anything about his condition, so he went on a hunger strike to at least be able to let us know about his situation. They were forced to hand a phone to him. After the phone call, apparently he announced that he has ended his hunger strike, but that’s not true. He continues to remain on a hunger strike. I insisted to him that we fear his health, etc., but he didn’t agree to break his hunger strike.”
Referring to his inability to meet with the Tehran Prosecutor upon his visit to his office, Salman Sima’s father said, “Unfortunately, the Prosecutor has isolated himself and refuses to meet [with visitors]. Nobody can enter the Revolutionary Court Branch at Evin prison. I am not the only one without access to my son, none of the families and lawyers have access to the judge. I was told that Salman’s file was at Branch 5 of Evin prison…This arrest was without cause. Someone’s presence on the street cannot be a legitimate cause for arrest without a warrant from the Prosecutor. If people need permits to leave or enter their homes, they should announce that all of Iran is a prison. The judicial authorities and those in charge should know that this is not a prison. This is not Gaza, under Israel’s siege, requiring permits for entrance and exit.”
“In order to follow up on my son’s condition, I have written about 30 letters so far. Even the Prosecutor himself and Mr. Beigi, the judge of Branch 3 of the Security Courts, have written letters. But, unfortunately, the gentlemen who consider themselves specialists and put themselves above and beyond the law do not pay any attention to this correspondence. I reported all these points to the Prosecutor, who is the higher judicial authority, in writing, but even so, they do not pay any attention and do as they please. My son’s arrest was pre-planned. We had returned from Karbala [religious pilgrimage to Iraq] and we were going to visit some of our relatives. They called Salman and he said he was going to pick up his things and join us later. He had gone with his sister. If he wanted to participate in any gatherings, he would have gone by himself. Unfortunately, these are the problems they have caused for all people, and our family has also suffered from this.”
Salman Sima is a student activist and a member of the Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student organization. Last year he spent over 100 days inside Wards 209 and 350 of Evin prison and was beaten and abused by security officers. Branch 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, presided by Judge Salavati, sentenced him to six years in prison. Last Saturday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the 2009 presidential election, he was arrested by plainclothes forces and transferred to prison. Sima had been arrested last October as he was leaving his house. In July 2008, also, he had been arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence, serving more than 40 days in Ward 209 of Evin prison.