Iranian MPs Call for Attention to Demands of Political Prisoners

A number of Iranian lawmakers and a member of Tehran’s City Council have called on the Iranian Judiciary to address the demands of a number of political prisoners, particularly Arash Sadeqi who has been reportedly on hunger strike for nearly 70 days.

According to a report by Vaghaye Ettefaghieh newspaper, Elias Hazrati, Ahmad Mazani, Ali Motahari, and Mahmoud Sadeqi are among the lawmakers who have called for attention to the demands of such political prisoners as Arash Sadeqi and Ali Shariati who have reportedly gone on hunger strike for several weeks.

Sadeqi has been on hunger strike for nearly 70 days in reaction to the arrest of his wife, Golrokh Iraei, and has stressed that he will not eat anything until her release.

hazratiHazrati, a reformist MP who is also the managing director of Etemad daily newspaper, wrote a letter to the Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, and asked him to immediately address the demands of political prisoners and save their lives which are in danger due to hunger strike.

He said these political prisoners have been deprived of their constitutional rights, and their sentences should be commuted as a move to compensate for the violation of their rights.

“Unfortunately, ignoring the legal demands of these prisoners have caused some of them to go on hunger strike so that their voice would be heard. They are actually protesting at the existing conditions by putting their lives in danger,” he went on to say.

“Since the Judiciary and prison officials are responsible for protecting the lives of prisoners, it is appropriate that the Judiciary Chief issues an order to pursue the demands of two political prisoners who have gone on hunger strike [Sadeqi and Shariati] so that their lives would be saved,” Hazrati went on to say.

“The Islamic Republic does not deserve to be globally accused of violating human rights and prisoners’ rights because of a small number of political prisoners,” he added.

Mazani, another reformist MP from Tehran, stressed in a post in his Twitter account that based on the Charter on Citizens’ Rights, which was recently unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani, “the trial of citizens on political and journalistic charges should be carried out in open courts with a jury in attendance.”

Mahmoud Sadeqi, the outspoken member of Iran’s parliament, also said in his Twitter account that he is pursuing the conditions of prisoners, particularly Arash Sadeqi and Ali Shariati, “as much as he can”.

Ali MotahariMotahari, the vice-speaker of Iran’s Parliament, said in a post in his Instagram page,
“Today I consulted with a number of MPs about the issue of Mr. Sadeqi, and measures were taken. I’m hopeful about the resolution of the issue.”

“The root cause of such events is the heavy sentences issued for political critics without regard to how much impact they have on the society. They finally have to go on hunger strike, and a trivial issue that could be resolved through prudence turns to a pretext for the enemies of Islamic Revolution to raise human rights deficits against Iran. Security and judiciary officials should stop using such procedures,” he added.

Rahmatollah Hafezi, a member of Tehran’s City Council who is also a doctor, announced that he has tried to obtain the Judiciary’s consent to meet Arash Sadeqi and check his health conditions.

“Even though I don’t have political immunity, I feel duty-bound as a doctor to be sensitive about Arash Sadeqi’s health,” he noted.

“The Judiciary says it will negotiate with him [Sadeqi] if he ends his hunger strike. As the representative of citizens, I want to talk to him and convince him to stop his strike, because he is sentenced to 15 years in prison, not death.”

He said as a doctor he is responsible for people’s lives, even if the person is such a hated man as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In addition to politicians, Arash Sadeqi’s hunger strike received widespread reactions by celebrities and social media users in Iran. The hashtag created for Sadeqi in Twitter became the first global trend for a while with a reported number of over 400,000 tweets, and this let the world know more about this political prisoner.

However, the conservative Fars News Agency says the hashtag became a trend in Twitter thanks to robots, and it was even labelled as a spam hashtag by Twitter because of the same reason.

Fars further referred to Sadeqi as a West-backed hireling who has links with Western intelligence and spy agencies.

“His friends and fans, and those who want to help the counter-revolutionary forces, insist on hiding the fact that he is a traitor who has betrayed his homeland, and just try to introduce him as a protester and a person convicted for insulting Iran’s Leader,” Fars added in its report.

It further pointed to the charges enlisted in his dossier, and said that he is linked with a member of MKO terrorist group in Iran, has organized contact with PJAK terrorists, supports the illegal cult Baha’ism, has sent false reports to anti-Iran media from inside Evin Prison, and has submitted reports to the UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur in a move to blackwash what’s going on in Iran.

He is also convicted of taking action against national security and accusing the Establishment of torturing the opposition leaders, Fars added.

It finally concluded that the Twitter campaigners and those who are supporting them inside Iran are being deceived by foreign networks that try to portray Sadeqi and similar political prisoners as advocates of human rights, while they are actually traitors and spies.

The latest reports show that the Judiciary has agreed to let both Sadeqi and his wife Iraei go on leave if they can afford the nearly $410,000 bail set for their temporary release.

Sadeqi’s lawyer has noted that he will end his hunger strike if the bail is posted. Sadeqi would go on medical leave, and his wife will also be temporarily released.

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