Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh starts new course of Hunger Strike for Fellow Prisoner

Nasrin Sotoudeh
Undated photo shows rights activist and physician Farhad Meysami attends a protest alongside his friend and human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Imprisoned Lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh started a second hunger strike on Monday, November 26, 2018, protesting the Iranian authorities’ refusing to allow ill political prisoner Farhad Meysami to receive hospital treatment.

In a message from Evin prison, Sotoudeh announced her hunger strike saying, “I had broken my strike for the life of Farhad, hoping that Farhad would also break his hunger strike so that his health would not be harmed anymore. But by continuing his hunger strike, Farhad continues to stand up for his rightful demands, and I will go on a wet hunger strike in support of Farhad starting today, Monday, November 26.”

This is the second time in three months Sotoudeh has gone on hunger strike to support Farhad Meysami.

Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike in Evin Prison on August 25, 2018, to protest the authorities’ failure to respond to her demands.

In August and at the start of her hunger strike in Evin Prison, Sotoudeh wrote, “Since my correspondences with the authorities have proven to be fruitless, I have been compelled to go on a hunger strike beginning on August 25, 2018, in protest to my own arrest and numerous judicial pressures on my family, relatives and friends.”

A 48-year-old physician, Meysami was arrested by agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry on July 31, 2018, for peacefully advocating against Iran’s compulsory hijab law. Upon raiding his home before arresting him, agents found badges that said, “I am against compulsory hijab,”which are now being used as evidence to convict him.

Meysami went on hunger strike the next day to protest his arrest on trumped-up national security charges and to demand that the authorities stop harassing his family members. 

After the arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, and the pressures on their family, he turned his strike into a dry one on September 8, 2018, and in a message from prison demanded the unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan.

On September 25, 2018, after deterioration of Farhad Meysami’s health, the authorities of Ward 4 of Evin Prison, transferred him against his will to a room near the prison’s health center, where he is being kept under watch and injected with IV fluids.

Meysami’s imprisonment and the authorities’ refusal to allow him to receive proper medical care has resulted in the UN calling on Iran to guarantee the rights of Meysami, Sotoudeh and her husband Reza Khandan (also imprisoned).

UN human rights experts have called on Iran to guarantee the rights of human rights defenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protests against the mandatory wearing of the hijab in Iran.

“We urge the Government to immediately release all those who have been imprisoned for promoting and protecting the rights of women,” the experts said.