Mohammad Hasan Falahiezadeh
UPDATE (22 October 2008) Mohammad Hasan Falahiezadeh ended his hunger strike after 15 days on 19 October 2008 after the Court granted him access to a lawyer, Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani. A representative for Mr. Soltani signed the contract on his behalf.
Mohammad Hasan Falahiezadeh is an Iranian journalist who belongs to the Arab minority. He was the managing director of the now-banned Aghlam Al-Talaba newspaper and was a reporter for Al-Alem television news, the official Iranian Arabic news network. He also worked with international media such as Al-Mostaqbel in Lebanon. He was arrested in December 2007 for his reporting of street protests by members of the Iranian-Arab minority in the southern city of Ahvaz.
In September 2008, Falahiezadeh was sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of $20,000. He has had four defense lawyers until now: Saleh Nikbakht; Ahmad Shamosi; Mehdi Hujjati; and Mohammad Reza Faqihi. None of these lawyers were accepted by the court and his court hearing was held without a lawyer present. According to his wife, “He is being denied the most elementary rights in prison. He appealed his sentence, but contrary to regulations, they have not processed it. He is also denied the right to temporary parole, which he is entitled to under regulations. These are the main reasons for his protests.”
Falahiezadeh, while suffering from thalassaemia, a blood disease, wrote a letter to prison officials on 5 October 2008. In his letter, he asked for the resumption of his appeals process, permission to visit with his lawyer, and to be granted temporary parole. He wrote that he will continue his hunger strike until his legitimate demands are met.
Prison officials have asked Falahiezadeh to end his hunger strike without meeting any of his demands. But he has refused to comply and there are serious concerns for his deteriorating health.