Civil Rights Activist Farhad Meysami Barricades Himself in Evin Prison Clinic
Meysami Intensifies Hunger Strike and Calls For Release of Reza Khandan
Imprisoned civil rights activist Farhad Meysami has resisted medical treatment in Evin Prison in Iran to bring attention to his hunger strike, at one point barricading himself inside the prison’s clinic.
“On Wednesday, September 26, representatives from the prosecutor’s office and the prison administration… forcibly transferred our dear friend Farhad Meysami against his will to a room in the prison’s clinic,” wrote detained civil rights activist Reza Khandan in an open letter from Evin Prison on September 28.
A copy of the letter has been obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“By holding on to the metal bar on his bed, he tried to resist being forcibly transferred, but he’s so physically weak [from his hunger strike] that they eventually succeeded in taking him out of the cell to Evin’s clinic,” wrote Khandan.
“Before they took him to the clinic, he said he would refuse to take any medication from then on,” added Khandan. “He has been there for three days now, refusing water, medicine and injections.”
Khandan continued: “He was put in a private room inside the clinic and when they took in water for him, he pushed it away and then he shut the door and locked himself up by putting the bed and other objects behind the door.”
“So far, the authorities have not accepted my offer to go to the clinic and talk him into drinking water and taking his medicine,” he added.
It’s not clear whether Meysami is still barricaded in the room. But he has been refusing almost all food since August 1, 2018, a day after being arrested for supporting a campaign against Iran’s mandatory hijab law and for engaging in peaceful civil rights activism.
Meysami was detained in July 2018 for allegedly having badges in his home that said, “I am against compulsory hijab.”
He has been charged with “assembly and collusion against national security with the intention to incite women to appear in public with bare heads,” “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the hijab as an indispensable Islamic principle” and is awaiting trial.
During the last week of September 28, the 48-year-old physician intensified his hunger strike by also refusing to take anything but the bare minimum of liquids and by refusing his own medication.
Meysami is demanding the release of Khandan, who has been in detention since September 4, 2018, for publicly condemning the arrest of his wife, prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been detained since June 2018.
“I’m in a serious crisis of conscience that one of his demands for ending his hunger strike is that my arrest order is rescinded,” Khandan wrote in his open letter from prison.
“I could have paid the outrageous bail and gotten out temporarily but my dear Farhad has insisted that he would not break his hunger strike if I’m freed on bail,” he added. “He’s demanding the arrest order against me be dropped.”
In his letter, Khandan expressed support for all hunger strikers, including his wife, who has been refusing food since August 26 to protest her unjust detainment and the harassment of her family members and associates by security agents.
“I wish health for [Meysami], as well as for Nasrin who I heard was taken to Evin’s clinic a few days ago when her condition got worse, and for the 17 [detained] Gonabadi Dervishes who are on hunger strike right now, and I hope all human rights advocates will learn from their resistance and defiance towards injustice and bullying by the security and judicial agencies.”