Soheil Arabi, a political prisoner held in Evin Prison, has gone on hunger strike to demand treatment for Arash Sadeghi who has been denied medical access and hospital transfer by the authorities.
He announced the hunger strike from Tehran’s Evin prison in a letter on November 7, saying that he had started a dry hunger strike since November 14 and would continue until Arash Sadeghi, a cancer-stricken political prisoner in Rajai Shahr Prison received medical treatment.
In his letter, jailed Iranian blogger Soheil Arabi said: “Arash has spent close to a decade of his life behind prison walls for defending the rights of the oppressed. Now he needs urgent medical treatment. He has to be transferred to the hospital, but authorities have prevented even this.”
“This is while the very few criminals and plunderers who are in prison for embezzlement (from among the dozens of embezzlers who have fled the country or have never been punished), get long furloughs for a simple cold,” Arabi wrote, adding that they are taken to hospital without shackles and prison uniforms.
“But writers, philosophers, journalists or workers, who are in prison for criticizing or protesting, and all political prisoners and civil rights activists are taken to the hospital with prison uniforms, and bound hands and feet. They are shackled to their hospital beds,” Soheil Arabi wrote in his letter.
“A human being can stay alive without food and water and I will not drink or eat until the day Arash is transferred for medical treatment,” Arabi wrote.
Arash Sadeghi, after undergoing surgery in September 2018, was immediately returned to prison on orders of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the prosecutor’s office. Sadeghi needs to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. However, regime authorities continue to hinder the process of his urgently needed medical care.
Sadeghi, a political prisoner, and human rights activist, is serving a 15-year prison sentence on charges of insulting the leaders of the Iranian regime and “propaganda and conspiracy against the establishment,” a common allegation used against anyone who speaks against the regime. In August, Amnesty International issued a warning on the health conditions of Sadeghi.
In September 2018, doctors diagnosed him with ulcers and inflammation of intestines. But despite his critical conditions, he has been deprived of access to physicians in the past year.
Soheil Arabi, photographer, blogger and civil activist, was arrested in December 2013 by the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet and other sanctities.
Soheil Arabi was kept two months isolated in solitary confinement and subjected to relentless interrogations in Ward 2A, where is under the control of the IRGC.
In July 2015, his death sentence was commuted to 7.5 years in prison. But then again, in October 2018, he was sentenced to another 3 years in prison and exile to Borazjan, in southern Iran.