Imprisoned Iranian activist hospitalized as hunger strike reaches 13th day, lawyer says

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(LONDON) — Iranian human rights activist Bahareh Hedayat is experiencing dire health issues 13 days into her hunger strike in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, making her family and friends worry about her life.

She has been “grappling with severe weakness and heart palpitations” after losing about 8 kilograms, or 17 lbs, in the strike’s first 10 days, her lawyer Zahra Minoui said on social media.

Hedayat’s lawyer wrote on Tuesday that following the “deterioration” of Hedayat’s condition she was transferred from Evin to the hospital on the 13th day of her strike.

As Hedayat started her hunger strike on Sept. 1, she sent a statement out of the prison elaborating the intentions of her decision including protesting the death of Javad Rouhi under suspicious circumstances in prisons of the Islamic Republic on Aug. 31.

Rouhi had been detained after participating in the nationwide “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests, also known as the Mahsa Amini uprising, which began after a 22-year-old woman died under suspicious circumstances in hijab police custody last September.

“I, in obedience to, and in defense of my conscience, protest against the tragic death of Javad Rouhi in prison,” Hedayat’s statement reads, describing her hunger strike as a “humble contribution.” She also hoped the act would serve “the cause of freedom” for Iran and support the “unyielding resistance of women.” Hedayat also asked for freedom for two Iranian journalists who were arrested for covering Mahsa Amini’s death, Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi.

A group of Iranian cinematographers, journalists, civil activists and families of protesters who were allegedly killed by the Islamic Republic over the past years have signed a petition published by Shargh Daily to ask Hedayat to end her hunger strike.

“Iranian society and justice-seeking families need to have your body, so your free and strong spirit can keep up the fight on the path of justice,” the petition reads. “You have given years of your life and youth to fight against oppression for a free Iran. We are worried about your dear life as we are worried about Iran, but we also have hope for the future of Iran.”

The “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement was spread across Iran last September and engulfed the country in a series of bloody protests in which at least 537 people were killed by the regime as Iran Human Rights reported in April.

Since the start of the protests, at least 22,000 people have been arrested, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

“She may die any given hour. We know how determined she is,” one of Hedayat’s friends told ABC News about her latest situation. The friend asked for her name to not be disclosed for security concerns.

“It is extremely dangerous for her if she continues her strike,” she said, adding that she hopes the regime’s officials are “wide enough not to let another person dies in their custody during the anniversary days of Mahsa Amini movement.”

So far there is no reaction from the officials to Hedayat’s hunger strike.

Hedayat has been arrested and imprisoned several times in the past for her activism on different occasions. Currently, she is serving a four-year and eight-month sentence that she received for participating in protests after the Islamic Republic Guard Corps shot down a Ukrainian airliner in January 2020 that killed all 176 people on board.


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