GVF — Twelve inmates at Tehran’s Evin prison have commenced an “indefinite” hunger strike to show their outrage and protest over the killing of two fellow political prisoners Hoda Saber and Haleh Sahabi, according to reports.
According to a letter published by opposition website Kaleme, the twelve prisoners claim to have begun an indefinite hunger strike on Saturday morning to protest the killing of two political prisoners and to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Green Movement.
The website said it had obtained the statement with the help of Green Movement sympathisers inside the prison. Signatories include prominent journalists, activists and politicians such as Feizollah Arabsorkhi, Abdollah Momeni, Bahman Ahmadi Amooei, Emad Bahavar and Emadoddin Baghi.
On the second anniversary of the rigged 2009 presidential election, Hoda Saber, who had been imprisoned for ten months, died of cardiac complications after being transferred from Evin prison to Tehran’s Modarres hospital. Following his death, 64 political prisoners held in ward 350 testified that Saber had been beaten violently by state agents prior to his death and had also been prevented from receiving adequate and timely medical attention.
Saber began his hunger strike after learning about the tragic killing of Haleh Sahabi, daughter of veteran dissident Ezzatollah Sahabi, at her father’s funeral. Haleh had been behind bars until a month before Ezzatollah Sahabi’s death and was given furlough after the deterioration of his death.
In their letter, the inmates say Iranians are seeking the “rights and freedoms elaborated in the constitution and mentioned in international treaties ratified by our country. They preach tolerance in dealing with everyone regardless of the different [political] tendencies they present, while also being committed to the law and national interests.”
“In memory of the martyrs of the Green Movement from Neda to Haleh and from Sohrab to Saber, we express our condolences and sympathies to the families of the martyrs…and begin a hunger strike in protest,” the inmates say in their announcement.
Neda Agha-Soltan and Sohrab Arabi were two protesters shot dead on the streets of Tehran in 2009 during mass-protests that followed the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for another term in office. The two have since become symbols in the struggle for democracy in Iran.
The prisoners also denounced the harsh and “unjust” prison sentences handed down to political prisoners as well as numerous violations during legal proceeding. They described the Green Movement as a “turning point” in the nation’s quest for “defending the homeland and freedom.”
They say the Iranian regime is faced with a new challenge to its legitimacy as a result of Saber’s murder while in prison, “first of all, due to his unsystematic and callous imprisonment for ten months without any indictment or legal ruling, something that was taking place before the eyes of responsible bodies and those who claim to represent judgeship and justice; also because of the indifference and ill intention demonstrated towards him after his hunger strike, the beatings that led to his unjust martyrdom and the detailed account of his death based on testimonies provided by political prisoners in ward 350.”
The political prisoners expressed hope that such “disasters” would not occur ever again.
The death of Hoda Saber and Haleh Sahabi has provoked widespread condemnation from various human rights organisations.
On 17 June, a former foreign minister of the Maldives, Ahmed Shaheed, was named United Nations human rights investigator on Iran, the first in nearly a decade. This came after the UN’s Human Rights Council established the independent post of special rapporteur on human rights in Iran on March 24.
The signatories’ names are as follows:
Bahman Ahmadi Amooei, Hasan Asadi Zeidabadi, Emadoddin Baghi, Emad Bahavar, Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad, Mohammad Davari, Amir-Khosro Dalir-Sani, Feizollah Arabsorkhi, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Mohammad Javad Mozaffar, Mohammad Reza Moghisseh, Abdollah Momeni.