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Iran political prisoners support the hunger striking prisoner Jafar Azimzadeh

NCRI – According to the reports received from Iran, a number of political prisoners have expressed support for the political prisoner Jafar Azimzadeh, a labor activist who is on hunger strike in Evin Prison.

On Monday June 13, political prisoner Mohammad Jarrahi staged his own hunger in solidarity with his fellow prisoner and in protest at the lack of attention to Azimzadeh’s demands. Jarrahi is incarcerated in Tabriz Prison, north-west Iran, as a result of his activism on behalf of workers’ rights. After he learned that Azimzadeh’s demands had been ignored for for 44 days and that his physical condition had become critical, Jarrahi announced that he would stage a hunger strike for three days starting on Monday.

A political prisoner and labor activist, Jarrahi has spent five years in prison without furlough despite suffering from thyroid cancer and requiring treatment outside the prison.

On Sunday, June 12, Alireza Golypour, a political prisoner incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, expressed his sympathy and support for Jafar Azimzadeh and other political prisoners who are on hunger strike.

His message was addressed to all political prisoners and read in part: “I am with you and feel my hand in your hands. Be aware that illness and pain has made me so weak that I cannot accompany you without using my medication. But I am on your side with all my heart and I clench my fist in anger because of your pain and suffering. But I have not remained silent and as a servant I support all of you the political prisoners and stand with you to achieve your demands and to remove oppression. I call on our dear people to stand with you and support you.”

The physical condition of political prisoner Jafar Azimzadeh on the 46th day of his hunger strike has deteriorated to the point that he often loses consciousness and falls on the floor due to physical weakness.

Despite the seriousness of his condition, he continues to protest against the inhumane conditions in prison and the cruel and unjust verdict issued by the regime’s judiciary.

That protest has also received support from outside of the Iranian prison system. But a protest outside of Evin Prison by workers and teachers along with Azimzadeh’s family was forcibly dispersed on June 11 by the Iranian regime’s security forces.

Mr. Azimzadeh, who was arrested on November 8, 2015, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in Ward 8 of Evin Prison for engaging in peaceful and legitimate trade union activities.

On May 27, Mr. Azimzadeh sent an open letter to the International Labor Organization (ILO) from prison in which he lambasted the Iranian regime’s mistreatment of workers.

The Tehran bus drivers’ union, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), in a statement on May 24 warned about the deterioration of Mr. Azimzadeh’s health and called for his release from prison.

A key demand of Mr. Azimzadeh and other workers’ union activists is for the authorities to drop the charge of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and other national security charges in cases of union activities.

Mr. Azimzadeh sent a statement out of Evin Prison following the release on bail of fellow political prisoner Ismail Abdi, Secretary General of Iran’s Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA), vowing to continue his hunger strike until the “demands of millions of teachers and workers” are met.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a May 24 statement once again called on all defenders of human rights, particularly the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel and inhumane punishments, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to take urgent and effective action to secure the release of political prisoners on hunger strike in Iran, including Mr. Azimzadeh.