Persistent Hunger Strikers at Rajaee Sharhr Prison in Iran Denied Medical Care
Four political prisoners in Iran’s Rajaee Shahr Prison are being denied medical care after refusing food for more than one month to peacefully demand that the Iranian judiciary respect their rights.
“He’s not well at all; he has lost 13 kilos (28.7 pounds),” she told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on September 17. “One side of his body has gone numb.”
“The medical examiner said that he should be under observation by a physician so that he can receive immediate treatment if his condition worsens after 40 days on hunger strike,” she added.
A board member of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Shahabi has been refusing food since August 8 to protest being returned to the prison after being released on medical leave.
“Mohammad Nazari and Saeed Shirzad have not called off their hunger strike [ongoing since early August] and have made no phone calls to their families,” a source close to one of the prisoners told CHRI on September 18.
“Mohammad Nazari has been sent to solitary confinement despite his poor health,” added the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
“Mohammad thinks he has been forgotten,” a source close to Nazari told CHRI. “He feels he will unjustly stay behind bars forever. He has not had visitation for several years. His family in Kurdistan cannot come to see him and he cannot speak to them, or a lawyer, on the phone.”
The source added that “Saeed Pourheydar has also been sent to solitary because he spoke against the prison director and he hasn’t had any visitation so we don’t know if he’s still on hunger strike or not.”
The three were part of a mass hunger strike launched by at least 20 inmates in Rajaee Shahr Prison after more than 50 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience were suddenly transferred without prior notice or their personal belongings from Ward 12 to the security-enhanced Ward 10 on July 30, 2017.
Except for Shahabi, Shirzad, Nazari, and possibly Pourheidar, most of the hunger strikers shifted their protest to a “political fast” on September 30 in response to pleas by their families and supporters.
Shirzad is a civil rights activist serving a five-year prison sentence issued in 2015 for helping the children of political prisoners pursue education.
Nazari, a Kurdish political activist who has been incarcerated for more than 24 years, is demanding a review of his life sentence for his alleged membership in the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), an opposition group seeking autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish-populated region.
Sent to prison in 2014 after returning from the US, Pourheydar, who worked as a journalist, is serving a five-year sentence for peacefully engaging in his profession. He was formally charged with: “propagating against the state,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” “disrupting public order,” “insulting the president,” and “insulting the sacred.”