“A jailed Iranian activist on hunger strike in protest at the detention of his writer wife has taken social media by storm. The hashtag #SaveArash topped Twitter trending on Friday as fellow Iranians and others showed solidarity with Arash Sadeghi,” .
has issued an Urgent Action call, and criticized Tehran.
“The Iranian authorities are putting the life of imprisoned human-rights defender Arash Sadeghi at grave risk and should release him and his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee without further delay,” they demanded.
On December 31 Iranian authorities set $450,000 bail for the temporary release of Sadeghi and his wife. According to the couple’s lawyer, the bond for Iraee was delivered the next day. However, authorities delayed her release, citing bureaucratic procedures.
After Sadeghi’s long hunger strike, with authorities to medical aid, various he is “vomiting blood and experiencing severe respiratory, heart, kidney and gastrointestinal problems.”
Iranians have rallied outside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for the past several days, marching and demanding Sadeghi’s release.
Reports also indicate that , Arash’s father, joined his son’s struggle. “[T]o support my son, I have started my hunger strike since Friday, December 3rd to protest against the authorities,” he announced.
A on bail was arranged for Iraee, following international pressure, which prompted Sadeghi to end his hunger strike, who is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges of conspiracy and propaganda against the state. He completely denies these allegations. Sadeghi was arrested by Iranian authorities for his political activities previously, twice in 2009 — on July 9 and December 23 — and again on May 5, 2014. His family was always able to provide the bail for his release. His last arrest was on October 2016, and he remains behind bars since then.
Already criticized for its , Iran is alleged to also have terrible prison conditions, with a large population of political prisoners. Many such detainees feel as if they have no other recourse but to launch hunger strikes, to legally challenge their unjust detentions. Unfortunately, the West’s approach and silence about human rights abuses allows so many dissidents to be unfairly imprisoned under appalling conditions.
Another political prisoner serving a 15-year sentence, , has also raised serious concerns, as authorities continue to deny her access to medical care. In a call made from inside the prison, Monfared demanded that senior Iranian officials be for the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the opposition .
“She is facing reprisals after filing a formal complaint that seeks an official investigation into the mass killings of political prisoners, including her siblings, in the summer of 1988,” .
Condemnation of Iran by the international community is necessary, so the regime understands that it must comply with international standards relative to dissent. Otherwise, Iran will continue pressuring political prisoners, believing that the international community’s silence and inaction gives them the freedom to do so.