After his arrest in Tabriz in 2011 and subsequent imprisonment without a fair trial, Zamani was subjected to continuous torture, including solitary confinement. He was denied basic human rights, such as access to medical care and visitors. “He was also not given permission to go to his only daughter’s wedding or to his mother’s funeral,” the letter stated.
Left with no other means to protest his condition, Zamani was forced to engage in a hunger strike. The letter reported that “during his second hunger strike, which lasted 50 days, he lost 20kg in weight.”
The letter praised Zamani’s life efforts which he continued to carry out even faced with the shocking conditions in prison. He was said to have been “one of the founders of the committee to pursue the establishment of workers’ organisations. His activities included trying to relaunch the painters’ union, organising and taking part in illegal May Day celebrations, publishing a journal.” These and other acts were deemed as threats to Iran’s national security, which further highlights further their significance.
He is said to have carried on with these activities while undergoing his prison sentence. According to the letter, he wrote articles, issued statements and inspired people to take action and engaged in other inspiring activities, despite the dreadful conditions which he had to face in prison.
Zamani had allegedly died of a stroke while in the Karaj prison in Tehran, aged 51 while serving an 11-year term. The letter urged that the “international labour movement must demand an investigation of the circumstances of Shahrokh’s death and the bringing to trial of those responsible.”
Following Zamani’s death, Amnesty International also released a statement which welcomed an investigation into the cause of his death. However, it reminded that the investigation “must be carried out impartially and independently.”
The issue of denying medical care to prisoners in Iran is one that affects many and often leads to those prisoners who are not under a death sentence, to suffer the same fate. In the same statement, Amnesty International stressed the importance of tackling this broader issue of prisons in Iran, arguing that the investigation “should also trigger action by the Iranian authorities to tackle the deplorable prison conditions in Iran, as well as the practice of denying prisoners access to medical care, a pattern which Amnesty International has documented.”