Rights Activist Sentenced to 15 Years Imprisonment in Critical Condition After 45-Day Hunger Strike

Rights Activist Sentenced to 15 Years Imprisonment in Critical Condition After 45-Day Hunger Strike

Published by on December 20, 2016

Civil rights defender Arash Sadeghi, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism, is in “critical and worrying” condition after 45 days on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“Arash has lost a lot of weight and he’s suffering from stomach and intestinal problems,” said the source on December 7, 2016. “His blood pressure has dropped severely and he has been constantly in and out of the prison clinic during the past week. He spat out blood and he can barely stand or speak. His health is in critical condition and worrying.”

Sadeghi began serving his 15-year prison sentence in June 2016. The charges against him included “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “spreading lies in cyberspace,” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.”

Four months after Sadeghi began serving his sentence, his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, began serving a six-year sentence in Evin Prison for the content of some of her Facebook posts and an unpublished work of literary fiction about stoning in Iran.

Sadeghi began his hunger strike on October 24 to protest the wrongful prosecution of himself and his wife, and to demand a judicial review of their cases.

“My stories and poems were confiscated the night agents searched our home,” Iraee told the Campaign in October. “After the third day of questioning, the interrogators put me under pressure and accused me of insulting the sacred. I was interrogated dozens of times about the burning of the Quran in my story.

“Each time I explained: it’s only a story,” she added. “I told them and I wrote [in my defence statement] that if what I did was a crime, then many scriptwriters and novelists should be arrested for committing the same crime. But they didn’t care, and in the end they gave me the maximum punishment.”

Sadeghi and Iraee were arrested with their friends Navid Kamran and Behnam Mousivand on September 6, 2014 at the couple’s stationary store in Tehran by agents of the Revolutionary Guards’ Sarallah Headquarters. Kamran and Mousivand are currently serving a one-year prison sentence in Evin Prison.

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

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