Imprisoned Teacher Denied Hospitalization Amid Two-Month Hunger Strike
After refusing food for nearly two months, imprisoned teacher Rouhollah Mardani’s health is deteriorating in Evin Prison in Tehran, a relative told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 1, 2018.
“During the first month, he had problems like dizziness, low blood pressure and physical weakness. Now he also has kidney and neurological pains and needs to be hospitalized, but despite much effort and pleas from his family, it hasn’t happened,” said the source who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation against Mardani.
On August 1, a group of teachers in Iran sent an open letter to Mardani urging him to end his hunger strike.
“It’s a very painful fact that the only way to hear cries for justice… is to go on hunger strike… But it is our hope that soon after you receive this letter, you will break your hunger strike and end the danger to your life and health that has caused your family to worry,” said the letter.
Mardani, 35, was arrested in Tehran at a protest on January 18, 2018.
He has been on hunger strike since June 9 in protest against his six-year prison sentence and a two-year ban on his social activities issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.
The charges brought against Mardani were “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” He is behind bars waiting for a decision on his appeal.
“This is the second time Mr. Mardani has been hunger striking to protest his prosecution,” added the source. “This time he has been on a hunger strike for more than 50 days and still, neither the prison director nor the Tehran prosecutor’s office has agreed to listen to why he’s on hunger strike and see why he may be right.”
Added the source: “Mr. Mardani has been accused of being present at the January rallies along with his friends, but taking part in unarmed gatherings is legal. He didn’t even chant any slogans. He was interrogated without a lawyer present and got convicted.”
Mardani is studying literature at the University of Tehran in addition to working as a teacher and educational adviser at high schools in Karaj, west of Tehran.
He has been denied his monthly salary because of what his employer has described as an “unjustified absence” from work since his arrest.