Amir-Golestani

An Iranian activist imprisoned for his social media activity has gone on a wet hunger strike to protest the Judiciary’s rejection of his request for conditional release.

Amir Golestani, 35, was sentenced to seven years in prison with a group of other social media activists in April 2015 for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting the sacred.”

At the time of his arrest in 2013, Golestani was the administrator of a Facebook page called Zendegi-e Sagi (Living Like a Dog), where he had posted comments that were critical of social and political issues in Iran.

Golestani and a group of prisoners became eligible for a conditional release from supreme leader Ali Khamenei in May 2015, “but eight months later [the Judiciary] disregarded the process of commuting his sentence,” a source close to the Golestani family told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“The law says that those who have been charged with ‘insulting the sacred’ can ask for conditional release after serving a third of their sentence,” said the source. “Amir has been in prison for 31 months. He has been one of the good and calm prisoners.” 

But Golestani’s request for conditional release has been rejected for an “unknown reason,” the source told the Campaign, adding that Golestani’s “family has only been told that the prosecutor is opposed to his release but they have not said why.”

Golestani was arrested on August 20, 2013 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization at his workplace in Babolsar, located about 140 miles north of Tehran.

He and seven other Facebook activists were collectively put on trial at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court and sentenced by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh to sentences ranging from seven to twenty years, but their sentences were later reduced.

The initial sentencing by Moghiseh, which was harsher than what the law allows, was intended to spread fear among Internet users in Iran, and dissuade Iranians from stepping outside strict state controls on cyberspace.