Jailed journalist Isa Saharkhiz has started a hunger strike, his fourth since he has been in prison. 

“My father is charged with insulting the supreme leader but this is a baseless charge,” his son, Mehdi Saharkhiz, told the Saham News website. “He has not insulted anybody. In these nine months he has gone on hunger strike multiple times and the responsibility of any damage to his health rests with Ayatollah Khamenei.”

In an open letter to Tehran’s prosecutor, Saharkhiz had announced that unless his demands were met immediately, he would go on hunger strike and would refuse to take medication. Saharkhiz suffers from severe kidney problems and heart disease.

In early November 2015, Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Agents arrested Isa Saharkhiz and three other journalists — Ehsan Mazandarani, Afrin Chitsaz and Saman Safarzaei. — They were accused of being members of an “infiltration network” guilty of colluding with hostile Western governments.

Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Appeals Court sentenced Isa Saharkhiz to 21 months in prison. The lower court had sentenced him to three years in prison for “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the regime.”  He previously spent four years in prison in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election.

 

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