Iran: Critically ill prisoner of conscience coerced to end hunger strike
ill prisoner of conscience coerced to end hunger strike
The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Farhad Meysami, a human rights defender campaigning for women’s rights, who is being held in the medical clinic at Evin prison in Tehran against his will to pressure him into ending his hunger strike, said Amnesty International.
Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor, was detained in July for supporting a campaign against Iran’s laws imposing forced hijab (veiling) on women and girls. He has been on hunger strike since 1 August and his health has deteriorated drastically. On 26 September, he was forcibly transferred from section 4 of Evin prison to the medical clinic, where he is being held in isolation, and has been administered intravenous fluids against his will. Sources told Amnesty International he is being held there until he agrees to end his hunger strike.
“Farhad Meysami’s only ‘crime’ is speaking out against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory practice of forced hijab and defending women’s rights to choose their own clothing. He is a prisoner of conscience and it is utterly outrageous that he is being detained at all,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Instead of holding him in isolation in a medical clinic as punishment and to coerce him to end his hunger strike, the authorities should stop playing sinister games with his health and release him immediately and unconditionally.”
Since Farhad Meysami began his hunger strike, he has lost approximately 18kg in weight and is reported to be very frail. By pressuring him to end his hunger strike, the Iranian authorities are violating his right to freedom of expression. All prisoners have a right to adequate medical care that complies with medical ethics, including the right to give their informed consent for any treatment.
Farhad Meysami began his hunger strike in protest at his unlawful detention. He was arrested at his home in Tehran on 31 July. Security forces found badges that read “I am against forced hijab” in his possession. He was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”. He was also charged with “insulting Islamic sanctities” because, according to the authorities, he “insulted” the hijab.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights