Sunday, November 1, 2009

Families of Prisoners: We Will Go on Hunger Strike

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Rooz Online

Among yesterday’s most important news reports were the following: the gathering of family members of detained journalists and political prisoners in front of the justice ministry building in Tehran, Fariba Pazhouh’s hunger strike and Ahmad Zeidabadi’s telephone conversation with his wife after 45 days of complete news blackout about his fate. Mostafa Tajzadeh, the former senior official during president Khatami’s administration who has been behind bars for months, invited Hossein Shariatmadari, the appointed editor of Kayhan newspaper to a national debate. This political activist sent this message to the editor during his meeting with his family members: “If he finds enough confidence in himself to engage in a debate at a time and place of his choosing, I am willing to show up straight from prison, and prove who in the past thirty years has done the greatest service to America and Israel, without the need to gather any documentation and evidence.” Prominent Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi had a short telephone conversation with his family members after 45 days of a complete news blackout. This journalist told his family members that he was still kept in solitary confinement. Zeidabadi has been in solitary confinement for the past 4.5 months. His wife, Mahdieh Mohammadi, has said that the telephone conversation lasted fewer than two minutes. She said that she had been promised to meet her husband I person next week.

Detained journalist Fariba Pazhouh has been on hunger strike for the past forty-eight hours. Previously, Fariba Pazhou’s attorney had announced that her visitation rights had been revoked. Detained journalist Hengameh Shahidi, who was transferred to the Evin prison’s general ward three days ago, and Peyman Aref, a student barred from continuing his education, are two other political prisoners who have begun a hunger strike. Iman Sohrabpour’s attorney, Alireza Jafarian, announced that his client was sentenced to three years imprisonment. According to the attorney, Sohrabpour’s was charged with “acting against national security, propaganda against the regime, false accusations of fraud regarding election results, undermining public trust in government, disrupting public order and causing fear and terror in society.” Families of political prisoners held a preplanned rally in front of the justice ministry building yesterday while holding pictures of their loved ones. Some of the placards held by protesters read, “Stop incarcerating critics,” “Release political prisoners,” “Void sham trials,” and “Where is judiciary’s independence?” The families announced three days ago that if “authorities choice to ignore them” they would organize a sit-in protest as their next step.