UN Official ‘Alarmed’ by Condition of Iranian Prison Protesters

A United Nations human rights investigator has urged Iran to find a “prompt solution” to a prolonged hunger strike by prisoners protesting their conditions and their unexplained transfer to a high-security section of a prison outside Tehran, Radio Free Europe reports.

United Nations special rapporteur Asma Jahangir on August 31 stated that she was “deeply alarmed” by the reports of the deteriorating conditions of around 53 prisoners, including 15 followers of the Baha’i faith.

“At least 18 of the 53 were known to be on a hunger strike,” the UN officials said.

The prisoners were transferred to a high-security section of the Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in recent weeks. Iran’s regime considers that the followers of the Baha’i faith, founded in Iran in the 19th century, are a heretical product of Islam. An estimated number of 300,000 Baha’I followers are known to reside in the country.

“I am deeply alarmed by reports about the deteriorating medical conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike, and that their torture and ill-treatment have continued since their transfer,” Jahangir said.

“I urge the government of Iran to look for a prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike through good-faith dialogue about the grievances and underlying human rights violations, ensuring full respect for their dignity and autonomy,” Jahangir said.

Amnesty International on August 22 also harshly condemned the conditions for what it called “political prisoners.” Iranian officials declined to comment on the issue.