Political prisoner Mehdi Farahi Shandiz taken to solitary confinement

Iranian authorities have transferred Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, teacher and political prisoner in Karaj Central Prison, to solitary confinement. Farahi Shandiz has been kept in solitary confinement for an entire week for unknown reasons. There’s no news of his conditions.

A few weeks ago, Farahi Shandiz sent a message on the occasion of Iran’s National Student’s Day, in which he encouraged his compatriots to keep the flame of protests and uprisings alit.

“Presently, under the evil shadow of the religious dictatorship, it is the students who are uniting with the unprivileged workers of our country by chanting, ‘We are the children of workers, we will stand by their side,’” Farahi Shandiz wrote in his letter. “The religious dictatorship has no other solution than to arrest and torture workers who have taken to the streets to reclaim their most basic rights.”

Farahi Shandiz expressed his support for the students who have joined the protests of workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz Steel Company to help them in obtaining their overdue wages and restore their trampled rights. “This is a new chapter in creating a society that thrives in freedom and love,” Farahi Shandiz wrote.

“I am proud of these students. I encourage you to stay true to the principles of freedom and strive to establish a society based on freedom of thought and expression. Don’t let the university, the holy bulwark of freedom, be occupied by tyrants,” Farahi Shandiz said.

Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, 57, was sentenced to nine years in prison for three separate charges of “insulting the supreme leader,” six years of which were for charges brought against him while he was in prison.

He suffers from diabetes, but has been denied specialist treatment from outside the prison. Farahi Shandiz has not received any furlough in more than seven years of imprisonment.

The labor activist, who worked as a private high school tutor, was first arrested at a gathering on International Labor Day on May 1, 2009 at Laleh Park in Tehran. He was released nine months later after spending most of his detention in solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry’s Ward 209 at Evin Prison.

He was arrested again in June 2010 and charged with “insulting the supreme leader,” and released on bail two months later. In May 2011, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to three years in prison. Farahi Shandiz began his sentence in January 2012 and has been in prison ever since.

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