In protest against solitary confinement, Mehdi Mahmoudian begins a hunger strike - ISHR calls for his immediate release
Mehdi Mahmoudian, imprisoned iranian journalist and human rights defender
Frankfurt am Main / Teheran (June 8, 2011) - Ten days of solitary confinement for complaining about inhumane prison conditions - this punishment was the Iranian judiciary's response to a protest letter from political prisoner Mehdi Mahmoudian. As a result, the journalist and opponent of the regime, whose health is severely ailing, began a "dry" hunger strike, in which he also refuses the consumption of water. In the opinion of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), the dissident hangs in "critical life danger."
Several months ago, Mahmoudian's letter to the "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Khameni, in which he described his appalling prison conditions, was made public. In it, Mahmoudian reported that "prisoners had to endure hours of exposure to the icy winter cold, while wearing only their undergarments, and were sexually abused with nightsticks." According to the ISHR's information, Mahmoudian spent 70 days in solitary confident and was psychologically and physically tortured. According to his relatives, his lungs have since become severely damaged and he now suffers from difficulty in breathing and epileptic seizures.
Mehdi Mahmoudian is a member of the "Association for the Defence of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Iran." Because he had made statements to foreign media about the forgery of the 2009 president election results, he was arrested on September 16, 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He is serving his term in the infamous Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, northwest of Teheran, which is known for its torture and inhumane conditions. Any contact with him is cut off.
Martin Lessenthin, Spokesman of the Board of the ISHR, deems the prison leadership's action against Mahmoudian contemptuous: "We must recognize that the prison authorities, with their actions, are aware that they are causing the death of regime opponents. This amounts to the offense of negligent homicide by the state." The Iranian government must release Mahmoudian immediately and supply him with urgently needed medical care, the IHSR Spokesman emphasizes.
Further information about the human rights situation in Iran:
ISHR Workshop on June 22, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. in Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn.
Subject: "Zero tolerance for the new censors: Internet, blogging, and the right of free speech"