By Jubin Katiraie
Two Iranian political prisoners, currently held in Evin prison, have gone on hunger strike to protest continued detention and mistreatment of Farangis Mazloum.
Her son Soheil Arabi and fellow political prisoner Haj Jaffar Kashani began their hunger strike on Friday, September 20, explaining their protest in an open letter.
They wrote: “Hear the sound of our protest. We heard your protests from inside this prison. We don’t want a tyrannical regime. By going on hunger strike, we political prisoners incarcerated in Evin prison will join the opponents of the dictators and we demand the overthrow of this tyrannical regime. Wherever we look, we see poverty, economic divide, and tyranny. Silence is complicity with the tyrants.”
They continued with a reference to Sahar Khodayari, a young female football fan, who died from burns after setting herself on fire outside a court in Tehran after finding out that she could face imprisonment for trying to enter a stadium, and vowed to make the authorities see them.
Arabi and Kashani wrote: “The agents of the fundamentalist regime have destroyed our homeland. Our people have been bearing the pain for 40 years. It’s time for freedom. Indeed, we learned from Sahar, Sattar, Gholamreza, Mohammad, Vahid and Mostafa, Saneh, and Alireza that to die standing is better than to live under tyranny.”
The names included here are political prisoners and activists who were executed and murdered by the Iranian government in the past few years.
Mazloum was arrested by security forces on July 22, merely for speaking up for her son, and is being held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention center. She went on hunger strike on August 16 to protest her unlawful detention.
Arabi, 33, a blogger and photojournalist, was arrested on November 2013 at his home in Tehran by a security body linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He spent two months in Section 350 and was sentenced to death for sacrilege and “insulting the Prophet of Islam” on Facebook on August 30, 2014.
Then, on September 4, 2014, he was sentenced to three years on charges of “insulting the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and “propaganda against the state” in his postings on Facebook.
His sentence was commuted in 2016 to seven and a half-year imprisonment, hand-copying thirteen Shi’a textbooks and studying Shi’ism.
Kashani, a civil rights activist, and football referee have been in prison since 2018, suffering under difficult conditions.