For the past two weeks, 17 political prisoners in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison have been on hunger strike to protest constant abuse; solitary confinement; lack of phone call rights and family visits; and lack of access to medical care, books and newspapers. One hunger striker, photojournalist Babak Bordbar, has been released. The remaining strikers include student activist Majid Tavakoli and human rights activist Koohyar Goodarzi. In addition to protests by the families of these prisoners, a group of political prisoners including Mansour Ossanloo of the Tehran Bus Workers Union and journalist Issa Saharkhiz have issued an open letter to urge an end their hunger strike. The letter states that “the democracy-seeking Green Movement needs capable forces and prolific youth like you to build a free Iran.”
The Green Convergence of the Women’s Movement of Iran also urged the strikers to end their strike in order to “achieve their ideals in full health.” Reformist leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have also expressed their support for the demands of the hunger strikers and have urged them to end their strike. (Rahana News Agency via Iranian Progressives in Translation, Aug. 9)
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Iranian political prisoners petition Lula
Five Iranian political prisoners including Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Tehran Bus Workers Union, and Isa Saharkhiz, a reformist journalist, have written a letter calling on Brail’s President Lula da Silva to exert pressure on the Iranian government to release all political prisoners. (Iranian Progressives in Translation, Aug. 25)
Iran: labor leader dies in prison
Afshin Osanloo, brother of Mansour Osanloo, a leading organizer with the intercity bus drivers’ union, was declared dead by the notorious Rejai Shahr prsion authorities on June 22. The cause of his death was announced as heart failure; a claim vehemently denied by his family and comrades. He had had no prior history of heart problems and his mother who had met him a week before his tragic death said he was in perfect health at the time of her visit. Osanloo was serving a five year sentence at Rejai Shahr for various national security charges. He was scheduled to be released by next January. (Iran Labor Report, June 25)
Iran: demand probe in death of imprisoned labor leader
The family of deceased prisoner of conscience Afshin Osanloo has requested that the Medical Examiner investigate his cause of death, his sister told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Osanloo’s official cause of death on June 20 has been listed as a heart attack, but his sister Fereshteh Osanloo said he did not have any prior heart conditions and looked healthy at his last visit. She also told the Campaign that the family was not allowed to hold a mosque ceremony and must instead hold the memorial services at home.