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Society & Culture

Ehsan Mazandarani to Begin Hunger Strike

September 22, 2016
Mansoureh Farahani
2 min read
Ehsan Mazandarani to Begin Hunger Strike


Jailed journalist Ehsan Mazandarani will begin a hunger strike today, September 22, to protest against his “illegal and arbitrary” detention. In an open letter, Mazandarani insisted authorities meet four demands or else his protest would continue. He said he was willing to starve to death for his cause.

The hunger strike coincides with President Rouhani and Mohammad Javad Zarif's attendance at the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, and press freedom group Reporters Without Border's condemnation of Iran's treatment of journalists. 

Mazandarani’s Demands:


  1. Authorities must investigate his case and the cases of four journalists arrested in November 2015. All were arrested on charges of serving so-called “infiltration networks” that colluded with hostile Western governments.
  2. The judiciary must take legal action against those who have deceived Ayatollah Khamenei and the public about these so-called networks, and who spread false information about Mazandarani and the other journalists.
  3. In accordance with Iranian law, officials must release Mazandarani since he has already served one-third of his sentence.
  4. Authorities must broadcast a live press conference on television, giving the journalists the opportunity to defend themselves against charges against them.

The open letter was circulated on social media. Mazandarani emphasized the political nature of the arrests and stated that the actions taken under the guise of stopping “infiltration networks” were meant to deceive the Supreme Leader and weaken the government of President Rouhani.

Revolutionary Guards arrested Ehsan Mazandarani in early November 2015, along with Afarin Chitsaz, a reporter and columnist for the official newspaper Iran; Ehsan Safarzaei (Saman), former reporter for the reformist paper Etemad and a part-time reporter for the monthly Andisheh Pouya; Davoud Asadi, the brother of Hooshang Asadi, a journalist now based in France; and Isa Saharkhiz, an independent journalist. A Revolutionary Court originally sentenced Mazandarani to seven years in prison, but the appeals court reduced the sentence to two years.

After the arrests, the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Unit announced that the four individuals were members of “an infiltration network working for the British and American governments.”

The letter also makes a brief reference to surveillance cameras, which according to him were installed in “private spaces” during interrogations. Mazandarani wrote a detailed “confidential” letter to Ayatollah Khamenei earlier this year, detailing his treatment. “Ehsan has written to the supreme leader and explained what happened to him during his interrogations and requested that [the supreme leader] conduct an investigation,” reported his brother-in-law Sam Hosseini in June. Hosseini said on May 17, three days after Ehsan sent the letter, authorities transferred him from Ward 8 to Ward 2-A, which is under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards. He was pressured to deny what he had written in his letter. “Ehsan refused to do so and said he had written nothing but the truth,” Hosseini said. In his latest letter, Mazandarani also threatens to make public his letter to Ayatollah Khamenei.

On May 17, Mazandarani began a hunger strike. In June, he was hospitalized after he suffered a heart attack.


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