Political Prisoner on Hunger Strike


Due to denial of medical care, Farzaneh Gharehassanlou, a political prisoner in Iran, started a hunger strike.

Farzaneh Gharehassanlou, imprisoned for her involvement in Iran’s 2022 protests, has gone on hunger strike to protest the denial of urgent medical care after experiencing complete sensory loss on the left side of her body.

A source close to her case informed Iran International, a London based TV station, of the distressing conditions at Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad, where she is imprisoned. Despite her requests to consult a physician, she is receiving inadequate medical care.

The source said that the facility’s medical personnel have administered only pain-relieving medication without conducting any examinations, and she hasn’t been granted leave to get medical consultation outside of prison.

Political prisoner

The source also expressed concern over the well-being of other political detainees in the facility, including Fatemeh Sepehri, asserting that they are being deprived of adequate sustenance, leading to noticeable weakness and malnourishment. Fatemeh Sepehri, who has also been in prison since the nationwide protests, has undergone several operations, including an open-heart surgery, but still remains imprisoned.

In March, Mohsen Bayat, Farzaneh Gharehassanlou’s lawyer, told Shargh News that his client had received a two-week ban on phone calls and a three-month ban on visitation for sending a voice message wishing Iranians a happy new year.

In a voice message published on social media, Gharehassanlou extended her wishes to all, mainly to “parents separated from their children” and “those who support prisoners inside and outside Iran,” also expressing her love for her children who have been “unjustly kept away from their parents” for the past eighteen months.

Unjustly arrested

In November 2022, Gharehassanlou, a lab technician, and her husband, Dr. Hamid Gharehassanlou, a radiologist, were arrested during protests in Karaj, near Tehran, where a Basij militia member, Ruhollah Ajamian, was beaten to death by angry protesters. Both have denied any involvement in the incident.

Hadis Najafi

Security forces attacked protesters during a large protest rally held to commemorate Hadis Najafi, a young girl killed by security forces forty days earlier during protests across the country, dubbed as Woman Life Freedom movement, during which more than 550 protesters were killed.

Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini

The detainees also included Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini, both young protesters, who were executed over Ajamian’s death in January 2023 following a rush trial dubbed a travesty by human rights activists.

During the arrest and subsequent detention, the couple was severely beaten. Several broken ribs and a damaged lung necessitated three surgeries for Hamid, and the family said the assault had partly impaired his vision.

On November 6, 2022, state media broadcast forced confessions by the Gharehassanlous. It was reported that both Farzaneh and Hamid had visible signs of torture on their bodies.

Hamid was initially condemned to death, while his wife Farzaneh faced a twenty-five-year prison sentence. However, these penalties were mitigated due to substantial social media outcry, international pressure, and a lack of evidence presented during a retrial.

Reputation saved life

A letter signed by over 1,100 doctors, including those from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and across Iran, requested the release of Hamid and Farzaneh in December 2022. The letter highlighted their reputation as well-respected and charitable professionals.

The backlash was so intense that the Director of Public Relations for the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran personally announced the appeal court proceedings in a Twitter message in January 2023.

Subsequently, it was announced that a court in Karaj, near Tehran, sentenced Hamid to fifteen years in prison, while his wife, Farzaneh, received a five-year sentence.

The family released a statement on social media shortly after the announcement of the new sentences, stating that even the footage of the incident obtained by security agents proves that the couple was not involved in the killing and was only present on the scene after leaving a protest in Karaj, near Tehran, on November 3.

“We may ask for what crime, Farzaneh and Hamid have been placed in detention?” reads the statement, which described the very violent arrest of the couple and how it has greatly affected their daughter.

As members of the persecuted Sufi Gonabadi Order, the couple was well known for their involvement in charitable endeavors, including building schools for underprivileged children.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reports that the couple is imprisoned on religiously oriented charges related to their Sufi beliefs, while “authorities falsely accused the Gharehassanlous of involvement in the killing of a member of a state-backed paramilitary force”.

Article based on a report by Iran International.


mehriran per E-Mail

Kritisch zum Regime. Hintergründe, Fotos, Berichte zu Iran. Positiv zu Land und Leuten.