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Report From Inside Iran: Prisoner of Conscience on Hunger Strike

NCRI - An Iranian Sunni prisoner in Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran, has been on hunger strike for more than 14 days due to the authorities’ refusal to provide him medical care.

Seyyed Qassem Abesteh has lost 7 kilograms in weight since going on hunger strike on May 7. Reports indicate a tumor has been found near this prisoners’ tonsils, making even breathing difficult for him.

Physicians have said this is a very dangerous illness and there needs to be a sample taken from the tumor, leading to probable surgery. However, the prison clinic says judicial orders are needed for this prisoner to be sent to a hospital. On the other hand, the regime’s judiciary refuses to accept any responsibility in this regard, practically leaving this prisoner in a limbo.

Abesteh has a history of being deprived of medical care. Back in 2014 he was denied any such service while suffering from kidney illnesses. Abesteh, who is married and has two children, was arrested in February 2010 and transferred to the solitary confinement of Urmia Intelligence Department in northwest Iran.

He spent eight months held incommunicado and was then transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison where he was held in ward 240 and 209 for another six months. He endured immense physical and psychological pressures during these 14 months, and was then transferred to ward 350 of Evin Prison where he spent 20 days behind bars. On April 13, 2012 he was transferred to Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison. He is facing vague charges such as “moharebeh (enmity against God) through supporting Salafi groups”. He denies the charges as baseless.

Abesteh was sentenced to death in June 2016 by hangman-Judge Moghise. Despite all this the judiciary apparatus has reported the ruling has been violated and resent to a parallel branch. Mr. Abesteh has remained in Rajai Shahr Prison in limbo for seven years.

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