Iran: Prisoners’ Hunger Strikes Part of President’s Human Rights Failures
In response to the ongoing hunger strikes by eight prominent political prisoners in Iran, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Political prisoners are risking their lives with hunger strikes to protest their inhumane conditions and inaction on human rights by President Hassan Rouhani as he campaigns for re-election,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa programs. “Rouhani has released a largely meaningless ‘Citizens’ Rights Charter’ but should instead make concrete proposals to improve Iran’s appalling human rights record and uphold the government’s obligations under international and domestic law.”
Rouhani, who was elected president in 2013 after pledging to improve protection of citizens’ human rights, has failed to end the bringing of patently false charges and the imposition of lengthy terms of imprisonment. The president’s Citizens’ Rights Charter describe the right to freedom of speech and access to information but has no legal force and includes no protections of those rights.
Human rights activist Ali Shariati is nearing the 70th day of a hunger strike to protest imprisonment in 2015 for demonstrating against acid attacks on women in Isfahan. At least seven other political prisoners, including Saieed Shirzad, Ayatollah Nekoonam and Mohammad Saberi, are on hunger strike to demand the right to a fair trial.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.