Sick Prisoner of Conscience Begins Hunger Strike
Zoleikha Mousavi told the Campaign that according to doctors, her son needs to be put on medical furlough. “I met with Hossein last Monday. He wasn’t feeling well. He said he had not slept for four nights because of pain in his right kidney. He said that if he doesn’t get a response he will go on a hunger strike. I begged him to please not do it, because it pains me so much. He said they don’t want to give him furlough. Today I learned that he has started a hunger strike. His father went to Tehran today to see what he can do,” she said.
“I went to the Prosecutor’s Office; families of other prisoners were there, too. I yelled and screamed and cried until I was allowed to see Mr. Khodabakhsh, the Deputy Prosecutor. I asked him to give my son furlough. He said, ‘We will treat him ourselves, but we won’t give him furlough.’ I said he has had several operations, but has gone back to prison each time and his health has become worse. But Mr. Khodabakhsh said that they would not give him furlough,” Zoleikha Mousavi added.
“I asked Mr. Khodabakhsh, ‘Do you want to kill my son?’ I told him what that official had told Hossein a few days ago, that if he went on a hunger strike, nothing would happen, he would die and a few days later, everything would be finished, and I asked him, ‘Is this what you want to do?’ and he said, ‘Maybe,'” said Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s mother.
“Hossein has kidney and heart problems. The last time he had kidney surgery was in late April, and he had to return to prison in mid-May. He was sent to the hospital before Ramadan [in July] and the doctors said that he has to have good nutrition and that the prison climate is not good for him. I told them he doesn’t live with me, what can I do? I can only suffer,” said Zoleikha Mousavi.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s mother told the Campaign that she has been told not to talk with foreign media. “I went everywhere, to Mr. Larijani’s office, to the High Council for Human Rights, there was no office I didn’t visit. I asked them, ‘You want Hossein to die?’ I have been coming and going and crying for four years. Hossein has had several operations but his health has deteriorated when he returned to prison. What should I do? He says I mustn’t talk to foreigners. When I can’t meet with any officials, what should I do? Don’t ask me why I talk to foreigners anymore. I knock on your door, but you won’t answer me,” she said.
“All I want is for Mr. Larijani, Head of the Judiciary, and the Tehran Prosecutor to give my son medical furlough. God knows Hossein is sick. I even asked [UN Special Rapporteur] Mr. Shaheed for help. If they want to kill Hossein, well, they should kill him and stop paining us like this. Every week we go from Tabriz to Tehran. We have spent so much money over the past four years, we stopped counting. We don’t know what else to do,” said Zoleikha Mousavi.
In a letter published by Kaleme Website on August 11, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki addressed his former cellmate, Abolfazl Abedini, who has been on a hunger strike since July 28, following his abrupt transfer from Evin Prison to Karoon Prison in Ahvaz. “In protest to the officials’ lack of concern for the life and health of human beings, lack of action regarding the conditions of sick political prisoners, increased pressure on my family, arbitrary and illegal exiles of innocent political prisoners and putting them in inhumane conditions by force, lack of information about some prisoners, as well as in objection to the continuing illegal and unwarranted treatment, I will start a hunger strike, even though I consider this method wrong and faulty and I know that it will have heavy consequences for me,” Ronaghi Maleki wrote.
Ronaghi was arrested on December 13, 2009, and was later sentenced to 15 years in prison for “membership in the Iran Proxy Internet group,” “propagating against the regime,” “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and “insulting the President.” His kidneys were damaged during his interrogations and began failing in prison.