News : Human rights

Iran: Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike Face Dangerous, Deteriorated Physical Conditions

By INU Staff

INU - In Iran’s Gohardasht Prison, sometimes called Raja’i Shahr prison, more than a dozen political prisoners have gone on a hunger strike.

Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, Magdalena Mughrabi, said that on July 30th some 53 political prisoners were violently transferred to Section 10 of Raja’i Shahr prison. These prisoners are human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists, students, peaceful political dissidents, and members of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i community.

It’s reported that at least 17 political prisoners went on hunger strike in protest at the transfer.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Amnesty International described their conditions as "cruel, inhuman and degrading”. Amnesty also said of the newly opened area where the prisoners were transferred, “They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), based in Paris, said that many other political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison are experiencing deteriorated physical conditions and are in dangerous condition. In their statement, the NCRI said, “On Monday, August 21, Mr. Hassan Sadeghi was transferred to Farabi Hospital in Qazvin Square of southern Tehran, he is suffering from glaucoma due to the severe blows suffered from prison authorities to his eye.” They add that physicians say he may lose his eyesight.

Previously, on August 11th, the Iranian resistance issued a statement addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran and the Special Rapporteur on Torture regarding their increased concern for the wellbeing of over 14 political prisoners inside Iran’s Gohardasht prison. They urged that action be taken to save the lives of these political prisoners.

“The Iranian Resistance expresses grave concern over the health and security of political prisoners on hunger strike in solitary confinement of ward 4 in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran,” the statement read, adding that the prisoners suffered beatings by prison guards as well as the ban of family visits, and that the prisoners have been “deprived of the minimum hygiene products and decent clothing.”

Additionally, the resistance alleged in their statement, “The religious fascism ruling Iran exerts its authority through executions, torture and detentions. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, with his “moderate” mask, are two sides of this medieval regime’s coin.”

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to allow international monitors, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, to conduct independent, unannounced inspections of Raja’i Shahr Prison and other prisons across the country.