Iranian political prisoners go on Hunger Strike to demand basic rights

Sheiban Prison

Political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, in Sheiban Prison have gone on a hunger strike protesting the cruel prison conditions, being tortured and locked up with ordinary criminals.

The political prisoners have argued that being locked up with ordinary criminals is in violation of the principle of separation of prisoner categories.

Political prisoners in Sheiban Prison who have been on hunger strike include:
Ali Saedi,
Mohammad Ali Amouri,
Seyyed Jaber Alboshoke,
Abdulzahra Helichi,
Yahya Naseri,
Nazem Barihi,
Abdulemam Zayeri.

Political prisoners have been deprived of telephone calls and family visits, since Wednesday, February 6.

According to a family member of a political prisoner, “Many of the prisoners suffer from kidney and urinary tract infection due to lack of access to appropriate medical services, and the hunger strike has worsened their condition.”

Families of detained political prisoners in Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province, have asked the prison authorities to comply with the principle of separation of crimes.

These families said their children’s lives are in danger as most of them are held by prisoners convicted of dangerous crimes who are incited by prison authorities to pressure the political prisoners.

Iran hides political prisoners

Iranian officials have repeatedly denied the existance of thousands of political prisoners in Iran.

Iranians hit back on social media and explained that the Regime actually uses the term “security prisoners” for “political prisoners”, which shouldn’t be surprising because the Regime often charges them with national security crimes. (Interestingly, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that the pardon does not cover “security prisoners”.)

International human rights groups observed that most political prisoners in Iran are charged with security crimes to avoid international criticism over political prisoners.

This prompted Larijani to try and pretend that the Regime actually makes a distinction between those who pose a risk to the security of Iran and those simply organising a protest for women’s rights.

He said: “Unfortunately some people who have positions in executive bodies have said that the amnesty incorporates critics (of the regime). It seems that they are indicating that there are people in prison only for criticizing (the regime). What a big lie this is. Is there anyone in prison today for criticizing (the state)? …If someone acted against national security, this is an independent criminal offence that has to be addressed. Political crimes have been defined in the law and seeing to these crimes has its own legal procedures.”

Larijani is far from the only Iranian official to claims that they don’t have political prisoners. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once said that “no one is imprisoned in Iran for his or her beliefs.”