Free Iranian Social Media Activist Ali Shariati, On Hunger Strike Against Harsh Sentence
- UN, Dr Ahmad Shaheed, UNHCR, Navi Pillay, EU, European Parliament, State Department, Ban ki-Moon
URGENT UPDATE DECEMBER 145, 2016--After 43 days on hunger strike, political prisoner Ali Shariati, a long-time supporter of President Hassan Rouhani, has been hospitalized and is “critically ill,” his mother told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Ali’s blood pressure suddenly dropped on Friday (December 9, 2016) and he was transferred to Taleghani Hospital, but no one told us,” said Shayesteh-ol-Sadat Shahidi. “On Saturday morning we got a call that he’s in the hospital, but then he was returned to the clinic in Evin Prison. He has become extremely thin.”
Ali Shariati, 30, went on hunger strike on October 31, 2016 after being taken to Evin Prison to begin a five-year prison sentence for “acting against national security by participating in a protest against acid attacks in front of [Parliament] on October 22, 2014.” He is protesting “against his forced return to prison to serve a sentence that has no legal basis,” Shahidi told the Campaign in November 2016.
“Ali has not committed any crime,” Shahidi told the Campaign in a recent interview. “He was one of the supporters of the government [of Hassan Rouhani]. I don’t understand how the supporter of a sitting president can be arrested for ‘acting against national security.’ If that’s the case, the 20 million people who voted for Mr. Rouhani should also be arrested.”
“Many people have demonstrated in front of Parliament,” she added. “Ali just protested once against acid attacks on women at a peaceful rally in front of Parliament, and they are calling it ‘acting against national security.’ It’s wrong to sentence him to five years in prison for this.”
Shariati was initially sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison by Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, but the sentence was reduced to five years upon appeal.
Shariati was previously arrested on February 14, 2010 during a street protest against the widely disputed result of the 2009 presidential election and held for a month in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. Judge Yahya Pirabbasi of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to two years in prison and 74 lashes, but the Appeals Court later reduced the sentence to one year in prison, which Shariati served.
He was arrested again on June 13, 2014 and detained for a week before being released. Subsequently he was frequently summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning until his final arrest on February 18, 2015.
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
URGENT UPDATE NOVEMBER 15, 2016--ALI SHARIATI AGAIN ON DRY HUNGER STRIKE, HEALTH IN GRAVE DANGER: Shariati, a civil rights activist, began his hunger strike on October 31, 2016 when he began serving a five-year prison sentence for protesting against acid attacks on women. As of November 9 he stopped drinking liquids, making him very weak, a source told the Campaign. Shariati is protesting against his “forced return to prison to serve a sentence that has no legal basis,” according to his mother, Shayesteh-ol-Sadat Shahidi.
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
November 17, 2015-- Fourteen days after prisoner of conscience Ali Shariati embarked on a hunger strike to protest the judicial process of his case, he remains on strike inside Evin Prison. His condition was defined as “very worrying” after he lost partial consciousness on the third day of his wet (refusing food and water) hunger strike, a source close to him told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Shariati, who was a campaign worker during Hassan Rouhani’s presidential campaign, was transferred to Evin Prison’s clinic half-conscious and suffering from partial paralysis, the source said. Shariati began his hunger strike on November 4, 2015.
“They hooked him up to an IV, and he became a bit better but he said he will not stop his hunger strike until the authorities look into his demands,” added the source.
“His first demand is to be allowed to go free on bail until the final sentence is issued by the Appeals Court. Secondly he wants a professional review of his case because he believes he has received an unjust sentence based on irrational evidence,” the source told the Campaign.
Shariati, 29, was arrested for a third time on February 18, 2015, by Ministry of Intelligence agents at his home in connection with his postings on social media, including Telegram, that were critical of the government. He was held in solitary confinement for five months in Evin Prison before being moved to the facility’s public ward.
On September 11, 2015, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Shariati to 12 years and 9 months in prison for “propaganda against the state,” “acting against national security,” “insulting the president,” and “having a satellite dish at home.” Salavati is often hand-picked by the Judiciary to preside over politically motivated cases because of the harsh sentences he hands down.
Authorities in Iran have cracked down particularly hard on any dissenting opinion expressed on social media, a platform they have come to fear due to its near ubiquitous use among Iranian youth, as hardliners seek to maintain a repressive grip over the domestic sphere.
“Ali is [a] prisoner of conscience of the Rouhani Administration, even though he supports his government. He was very active in Mr. Rouhani’s campaign office,” the source close to Shariati said.
Ali Shariati, who has a bachelor’s degree in architecture, was first arrested on February 14, 2010, and held for a month in solitary confinement at Evin Prison. He was released on bail until his trial, presided by Judge Pir-Abbasi of the Revolutionary Court, when he was sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashes. The Appeals Court reduced the sentence to one year in prison, which Shariati completed, but the lashing sentence was never carried out.
The second arrest took place on June 13, 2014. Shariati was held for a week and then released but he was frequently summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning until his last arrest on February 18, 2015.
In a joint letter with fellow prisoner of conscience Majid Azarpey, who is also on hunger strike, Ali Shariati addressed President Rouhani and said: “You are the enforcer of the Constitution. We want you to end your inaction and take a stand against these witch hunts. Do not let these extremist forces help the enemies of our land with their injustices.”
WHEREAS: Ali Shariati is an Iranian prisoner of conscience, sentenced to 12 years, nine months in prison by the infamous Judge Salavati based solely on his peaceful social media activism;
AND WHEREAS: His prison sentence is therefore ILLEGAL under Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights--to which Iran is a signatory--as well as Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution;
AND WHEREAS: He has been on hunger strike since November 4, 2015 and his health is in grave danger; UPDATE--He has started a SECOND, DRY hunger strike in late October 2016 and is at grave risk, making his case one of UTMOST importance;
THEREFORE: We, the undersigned, demand that the international community URGENTLY take up the case of Ali Shariati and demand his IMMEDIATE and UNCONDITIONAL release
The Free Iranian Social Media Activist Ali Shariati, On Hunger Strike Against Harsh Sentence petition to UN, Dr Ahmad Shaheed, UNHCR, Navi Pillay, EU, European Parliament, State Department, Ban ki-Moon was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.