More than 20 political prisoners have gone on hunger strike since July 30 in Gohardash Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran. Among them are human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists, students, political dissidents and members of Baha’i community – writes Hamid Bahrami.
According to Amnesty International, the prisoners are on hunger strike in protest to the cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. They were transferred to section 10 of the prison, where there is no basic condition such as windows, access to clean water, food and enough space to sleep. The prisoners are also barred from having in-prison family visits and denied access to telephones.
In recent months there have been growing calls from political prisoners regarding the deteriorating and dreadful conditions in prisons. Some of the prisoners had smuggled out letters describing the inhuman conditions at different prisons. Some had called for justice for their loved ones who have been executed by the Iranian regime, including a call for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. The Iranian regime has responded with a further crackdown by deploying highly intrusive 24/7 surveillance and monitoring equipment in prisoners’ cells, as well as in private areas such as showers and bathrooms.
Iranian activists have a campaign on Twitter with #HumanDignity asking the International community to take action on the issue. Human rights activists and the Iranian opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) express grave concerns over the health and security of these political prisoners on hunger strike in the prison.
They call on the International Community to break its silence on the issue and urge western governments to make any relation with ruling theocracy in Iran contingent on improving human rights situation in the country.
Hamid Bahrami is a former political prisoner from Iran. Living in Glasgow, Scotland, he is a human right and political activist and works as a freelance journalist. Bahrami has contributed to Al Arabiya English and American Thinker as his work cover’s Iran’s Middle East actions and domestic social crackdown. He tweets at @HaBahrami and blog at analyze.com.