Activist Saeed Shirzad on Hunger Strike Against Poor Prison Conditions Hospitalized
Imprisoned civil rights activist Saeed Shirzad, who was on hunger strike for more than a month at Rajaee Shahr Prison, was rushed to Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran on January 12, 2017 after his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels, an informed source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
On January 10 the source told the Campaign that Shirzad, who has been imprisoned since 2014, was taken to the prison’s clinic “suffering from kidney and chest pains.”
“The doctor said his condition was caused by acidic excretions in his stomach caused by hunger,” added the source.
Shirzad sewed his lips shut on December 7, 2016—the day he began his hunger strike—to protest what he described in a letter sent to judicial officials as “the quiet death of prisoners” (a reference to human rights violations suffered by prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Prison). Until his hospitalization, Shirzad was only drinking liquids with a straw.
Most of the inmates of Rajaee Shahr Prison (also known as Gohardasht), located in Karaj (12 miles west of Tehran), have been convicted of violent crimes. However, dozens of political prisoners are being held in Ward 12 without basic sanitation and proper nutrition.
Unlike the other inmates, the political prisoners have also been denied phone contact with their families.
A former political prisoner at Rajaee Shahr Prison described its inhumane conditions in depth to the Campaign in April 2016.
Shirzad, 28, was arrested in June 2014 at a refinery in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz where he worked. He was imprisoned for over a year under “temporary detention” before he was tried.
Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to five years in prison on September 12, 2015 for “assembly and collusion against national security” for helping the children of political prisoners pursue education.
Shirzad has been waiting for a decision on his appeal for more than a year.
Fourteen of his cellmates published a letter on January 4, 2017 calling on officials to pay attention to his critical condition.
“We are a group of political prisoners held in Rajaee Shahr Prison’s Ward 12 who are concerned about the impact and consequences of the long hunger strike on Saeed Shirzad’s health, and we demand immediate attention to his demands,” said the letter.