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Free Iranian Journalist Issa Saharkhiz
Petition Background (Preamble):
Ailing Incarcerated Journalist Isa Saharkhiz Launches Hunger Strike Following His Transfer Back to Rajai Shahr Prison
Following his transfer from the hospital back to Rajai Shahr prison on Saturday night, imprisoned journalist and political prisoner Isa Saharkhiz launched a hunger strike, including refusing his medication in protest to judicial non compliance with the terms of his case file.
The physicians at Rajai Shahr prison reportedly published a letter on Sunday declaring that as previously stated they are unable to provide the necessary medical care to Saharkhiz at Rajai Shahr, reiterating that given that his life is in danger they cannot accept any responsibility for his life.
Saharkhiz had been receiving medical treatment for the past six months under arrest conditions at a hospital. When the Summit of the Non Aligned Movement commenced in Tehran, Saharkhiz was transferred from the hospital at 10:00 pm on Tuesday, August 28th, to Ward 209 at Evin prison. Protesting this unlawful transfer, Saharkhiz launched a hunger strike on the night he was transferred and began refusing medication a few days later.
Saharkkhiz had previously warned that he would launch a hunger strike in the event that the authorities decide to act against the recommendations of his physicians and transfer him back to the hospital.
Saharkhiz has launched this hunger strike despite the fact that his physicians had banned him from fasting during the month of Ramadan because of his heart and kidney condition. Given the latest reports, his family's concerns for his physical condition and well being have intensified.
Source: Kaleme: http://www.kaleme.com/1391/06/20/klm-112218/
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 3, 2012: ON HIS SIXTH DAY OF A NEW HUNGER STRIKE, ISSA SAHARKHIZ HAS STOPPED TAKING HIS MEDICATION AS WELL. HIS LIFE IS IN DANGER.
On August 5, 2011 it was reported jailed Iranian journalist Issa Saharkhiz has received an additional two years on top of his three-year prison term.
Iran’s Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that the judiciary issued the sentence based on Saharkhiz's previous journalistic activities.
Shahrkhiz is a prominent government critic and founder of the Society for the Defence of Free Press. He was arrested in July 2009 amid widespread protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed victory in the presidential elections.
Last September, he was sentenced to three years in prison for "insulting the leader and propaganda activities against the regime.” He has also been banned from journalistic and political activities for five years and is forbidden to travel abroad for one year.
As a result of the new sentence, he is now serving a five-year prison term.
Recently, Saharkhiz wrote a letter to the new United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur for Iran, Ahmad Shaheed, urging him to visit Iranian prisons and adding that "what is now going on in Iranian prisons is a crime against humanity and is just as bad as Stalin’s inhumane forced labour camps in Siberia."
Saharkhiz warned that the objective of the Iranian authorities is "to kill the protesting prisoners silently and gradually." Saharkhiz adds that the prison situation is so dire that "other disastrous events" could come at any moment. He urged Special Rapporteur Shaheed to act immediately to inform the public of the prisoners' plight, stressing that any delay will only result in more deaths.
Amnesty International issued a statement in August 2011 calling for immediate action in the case of nine Iranian prisoners suffering from very poor health. The rights group called for their immediate release, including Issa Saharkhiz.
Shahrkhiz is currently in Karaj's Rejai-Shahr Prison, notorious for its deplorable conditions and mistreatment of prisoners, where authorities have denied him sick leave, despite the doctors’ recommendations.
WHEREAS the arrest, original three-year prison sentence and the most recent addition of two extra years to this sentence all violate Article 19 of the International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights--to which Iran is a signatory state--as well as Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution;
THEREFORE, we the undersigned demand that the international community bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Issa Saharkhiz from prison.
2. Repeal both prison sentences as well as all charges brought against Issa Saharkhiz.
3. Immediately provide all health care which Issa Saharkhiz urgently requires as a result of the deplorable conditions he has suffered in the terrible Rajai-Shahr Prison.
The Free Iranian Journalist Issa Saharkhiz petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: issa saharkhiz, journalist, iran, islamic republic of iran, rajai-shahr prison, freedom of press, freedom of expression, prisoners of conscience