Prisoners

Activist on Hunger Strike at Death's Door, Friends in Iran Warn

May 5, 2022
IranWire
1 min read
Behnam Mousivand is now in hospital and too weak to speak after going on hunger strike in response to being beaten by Evin Prison guards
Behnam Mousivand is now in hospital and too weak to speak after going on hunger strike in response to being beaten by Evin Prison guards

Behnam Mousivand, a jailed Iranian human rights advocate who went on hunger strike two weeks ago, has now been sent to hospital in a dire physical condition, fellow activists report.

Atena Daemi, a children's rights campaigner and recently-released prisoner of conscience, has been to hospital to visit Mousivand. She tweeted that he was running a fever, unable to speak and in her opinion, his life was "in serious danger".

She added: “I told the security agents I knew who were there for inspection that the situation was critical. We are not going to leave him by himself."

Arash Sadeghi, another former political prisoner who went on several hunger strikes while he was serving his own sentence, also visited the hospital. He tweeted: “We can expect some bad news in the coming days.” Mousivand, he said, "looks like a skeleton with a skin casing”.

Behnam Mousivand went on hunger strike on April 19 after being beaten by prison officials because he refused to be handcuffed and shackled in order to go to hospital, where he already urgently required medical care.

On May 4, despite pleas by those who knew him to end his hunger strike andsave his life, Mousivand announced that he was switching to a dry hunger strike to protest “the offensive treatment of his family” by security agents.

Quoting a source close to the family, Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) wrote: “Behnam has lost a lot of weight, has difficulty speaking, suffers from pain in his abdomen and nausea. He is being injected with morphine to ease the pain.”

Family members are understood to have not been allowed to go to Mousivand's bedside for so much as a few minutes. No prison official or representative from the prosecutor's office has yet come to speak to him either. They also refuse to answer enquiries from the family.

Mousivand had been detained several times in the past before he surrendered himself to Evin Prison on June 14, 2021 to begin serving a six-year sentence.

The Revolutionary Court had convicted him of "assembly and collusion against national security" and "propaganda against the regime”, later upheld by the court of appeal. According to the Islamic Penal Code, he has to serce at least five years.

Iranian judiciary and prison officials have a long record of medical negligence particularly targeted toward political prisoners, some of whom have lost their lives as a result. Recently these have included Behnam Mahjoubi (2021), Vahid Sayadi Nasiri (2018), and Baktash Abtin (2022).

 

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Activist on Hunger Strike at Death's Door, Friends in Iran Warn