Imprisoned university student starts hunger strike for lack of medical care

Imprisoned university student Mojtaba Dadashi

Imprisoned university student Mojtaba Dadashi has started a hunger strike since April 23, in protest against the denial of urgently needed medical care, including for respiratory tract infection he has been suffering since last week.

Mojtaba Dadashi was in the last semester of his undergraduate studies in political science at Hakim Sabzevari University in Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province, when he was arrested on February 13, 2019, nine days after he posted the video on Twitter (later removed) and then on the Telegram messaging app.

He was released on bail four days later.

Dadashi’s trial was held behind closed doors in Sabzevar on March 16, 2019, presided by Judge Mohammad Gholami.

Mojtaba Dadashi began serving a three-year sentence on April 13, 2019, on the charges of “insulting the leader,” “spreading propaganda against the state” and “insulting the heads of the three branches of state.”

These charges stemmed from the video in which Dadashi had criticized the Iranian government.

“This regime is neither Islamic, nor a republic, nor revolutionary,” Dadashi said in the video addressing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite branch of the Iranian military, and members of the Basij paramilitary force. “This regime is ruled by a minority that has sucked the blood out of this country for 40 years.”

He is imprisoned at Sabzevar Prison, where he is held alongside individuals convicted of common crimes. Dadashi had previously discussed the prison’s unsanitary conditions when he was released after his pre-trial detention.

On April 3, he was informed of the verdict, and posted a video condemning his sentence as a move against “freedom and justice.”

“I am being treated in the worst way even though in [the supreme leader’s] speech in Mashhad on March 21 [2019], Mr. Khamenei said opponents of the state are free to speak and no one will bother them,” Dadashi said.

He added: “I invite Mr. Khamenei and all the other top officials of the country to an open debate… I’m certain that the people will run out of patience. My back is ready for your whip.”