Prisoners Of Conscience On Hunger Strike Since 28 October (Iran: UA 41/16)
NOVEMBER 8, 2016
Iranian artists Mehdi Rajabian and Hossein Rajabian have started a second hunger strike on 28 October in protest at their continued detention. They have said that they will continue their hunger strike until they are released from prison.
Musician Mehdi Rajabian and his brother Hossein Rajabian, a filmmaker, have been on hunger strike since 28 October in protest at their continued detention. This follows an earlier hunger strike by the prisoners of conscience in September in protest at the authorities’ refusal to allow them adequate medical care or medical leave, as well as their decision to separate the brothers into different sections of Tehran’s Evin Prison. In an open letter written on 26 October, the brothers said they had ended their previous hunger strike after receiving promises from the authorities that that they would be placed in the same section again and given adequate medical care. Despite these promises, however, the brothers said their conditions had become worse and that Mehdi Rajabian was now being denied access to his lawyer. They also made a plea in the letter, saying: “We call on all artists from around the world to condemn these abuses with a response worthy of an artist. Do not forget us in these suffocating times”.
Since the start of his hunger strike, Mehdi Rajabian has twice coughed up blood. On the first occasion on 2 November, his cell mate carried him to the Evin Prison clinic where Mehdi Rajabian has said the prison doctor became increasingly rude, especially after Mehdi Rajabian was unable to answer his questions and refused intravenous fluids. This resulted in an altercation, during which Mehdi Rajabian says the doctor punched him in the stomach. Both brothers have pre-existing medical conditions and need adequate medical care, which they have been denied in prison. They have said they will continue their hunger strike, also refusing to be administered intravenous drips, until they are released from prison. The authorities are now refusing to allow the brothers any contact with each other in prison, including through telephone calls which they had previously been allowed.
Following a grossly unfair trial before a Revolutionary Court in April 2015, Mehdi Rajabian and Hossein Rajabian were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on charges related to their artistic work, including “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “illegal audio-visual activities”. A court of appeal later ruled that they must serve three years of their six-year prison sentences. The court suspended the rest of the sentence for a period of five years, conditional on their “good behaviour”. They began serving their prison sentences on 4 June 2016.
۱) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
- Calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mehdi Rajabian and Hossein Rajabian, as they are prisoners of conscience, held solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression;
- Urging them to ensure that they have access to a qualified health professional who can provide health care in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy and informed consent;
- Urging them to order a prompt, independent, impartial investigation into their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, bringing to justice anyone suspected of responsibility in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty.
Contact below official by 20 December, 2016:
Office of the Supreme Leader
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
۶۲۲ Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086 I Phone: (212) 687-2020 I Email: email@example.com
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Salutation: Your Excellency
۲) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION
Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the number of actions taken on each case and use that information in our advocacy. Either email firstname.lastname@example.org with “UA 41/16” in the subject line or click this link.