Ailing Music Distributor Refuses Hospital Treatment, Vows to Hunger Strike Until Demands Met
Imprisoned music distributor Mehdi Rajabian, who is currently on hunger strike with his brother Hossein Rajabian, has refused hospital treatment for his deteriorating health. The Rajabians were previously tricked into ending their hunger strike before there demands were met.
On November 2, 2016, five days after starting the hunger strike, “Mehdi got sick and went to [Evin Prison’s] clinic and the doctor told him he has to go to the hospital, but Mehdi refused because he wants to continue his hunger strike,” an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Mehdi’s condition is critical. We’re worried that if he’s not transferred to the hospital, he will be in serious danger. Mehdi and Hossein are on a hunger strike to demand medical furlough (temporary leave) to receive treatment outside prison. Sending Mehdi to the hospital for a few hours to break his hunger strike and get hooked up to an IV (intravenous medication) will not solve anything,” added the source.
The brothers and Yousef Emadi were managing partners of the now banned Barg Music, a popular, online music distribution service. In June 2016 they began serving a three-year prison sentence for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” for allegedly distributing music without a permit and working with female singers (who are prohibited from singing solo in Iran) and “anti-revolutionary” musicians abroad.
In an open letter sent from the prison on October 26, a copy of which was sent to the Campaign, the Rajabian brothers wrote: “After an intervention by the prosecutor’s special envoy, we ended our last hunger strike [after receiving] promises [that they would] put us back together in the same ward and take care of our medical needs. But nearly two months have passed and conditions have actually gotten worse.”
“It seems that the high-ranking official tricked us so that the hunger strike would end and he would get the result he wanted. What is even more astonishing is that we have been denied our right to meet with our lawyer.”
“We call on all musicians around the world to condemn these abuses with a worthy response,” wrote the Rajabians. “Do not forget us in these suffocating times… There’s no greater suffering than to be forgotten.”
Hossein Rajabian is suffering from a lung infection and Mehdi has been diagnosed with symptoms of multiple sclerosis. In September 2016 Mehdi Rajabian was separated from his brother in Ward 7 and moved to Ward 8 as punishment for protesting the conditions inside the prison.