07/17/2019

Urgent Action Update: Jailed Journalists on Hunger Strike (Iran: UA 95.19)


Iranian journalists Sanaz Alahyari and Amirhossein Mohammadifar have been on hunger strike since 4 July. They are protesting their continued detention and the authorities’ ongoing crackdown on labor rights activists and journalists covering the protests at Haft Tappeh sugar cane company in Khuzestan province. Prison doctors have said that Sanaz Alahyari is in poor health and she could become at risk of respiratory arrest.

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Ali Alghasi Mehr
Prosecutor General of Tehran
Office of the Prosecutor
Corner (Nabsh-e) of 15 Khordad Square
Tehran, Iran
H.E. Majid Takht Ravanchi
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212 687-2020 I Fax: 212 867 7086
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Iran_UN
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Mr Alghasi Mehr,

Iranian journalists Sanaz Alahyari and Amirhossein Mohammadifar have been on hunger strike since 4 July 2019 in protest at their continued detention. They have been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since January 2019, along with journalist Amir Amirgholi, solely in connection with their reporting on the protests of workers at Haft Tappeh sugar cane company in Khuzestan province over grievances concerning unpaid wages. On 14 July, prison doctors said that, given her already poor health in prison, Sanaz Alahyari could become at risk of respiratory arrest, which can lead to brain injury and even death.

Sanaz Alahyari has been suffering from recurrent stomach pains, weight loss and severe shaking in her hands and legs for the past two months. Her family has repeatedly urged the prosecution and prison authorities to transfer her to a medical center outside of prison for diagnostic tests and wrote two letters in this regard, one to you and the other to the prosecutor general of Iran, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. However, their pleas went unanswered. On 8 July, she was transferred to the prison clinic after her health deteriorated. On 15 July, she lost consciousness for several minutes.

Amirhossein Mohammadifar was beaten by several prisoners convicted of violent crimes on 14 July. This reinforces long-standing concerns about the risks posed to the safety of prisoners of conscience when they are held next to those convicted of violent crimes. Under the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, authorities are obliged to keep prisoners who are violent or threatening, away from other prisoners and divide prisoners into different classes based on their criminal record and the legal reason for their detention. The Iranian authorities are clearly failing to abide by these rules and are thereby accountable for Amirhossein Mohammadifar’s ill-treatment.

I urge you to release Sanaz Alahyari, Amirhossein Mohammadifar and Amir Amirgholi immediately and unconditionally as they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression through reporting on the protests at Haft Tappeh sugar cane company in Khuzestan province. Pending their release, please ensure that Sanaz Alahyari and Amirhossein Mohammadifar receive the health care they require, in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy and informed consent.

Yours sincerely,

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