Kurdish prisoners Mohmmad Kaboodvand and Hossein Maleki on hunger strike in Iran


Human rights activist Mohmmad Seddigh Kaboodvand was transferred to the Evin Prison infirmary on the tenth day of his hunger strike against his unfair detention by the Iranian government. Kaboodvand began his hunger strike on May 26th after he was denied a furlough in order to visit his sick son, and he announced that he would continue to strike until he was allowed to see his child.

Kaboodband was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to eleven years in prison for his documentation and reporting of Iranian human rights violations against the Kurds. He established the Kurdistan Defence of Human Rights Organization in 2005 and published the weekly Payam-e Mardom, which were enough for the Iranian government to charge him with “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.

Kurdish blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has also been on hunger strike for 17 days, since 19 May, in protest of his continued detainment despite his dire need for medical attention. Maleki suffers from acute kidney problems as a result of his torture throughout his detainment, and was transferred to a hospital today as a result of his hunger strike and his condition. Maleki was jailed in 2009, and sentenced to 15 years in prison as a result of his online activities.

The denial of medical care to its prisoners is a widespread practice in Iranian prisons. A spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a statement after Maleki’s hunger strike began. “Using medical attention as leverage to bring prisoners to their knees is a shameful and inhumane practice, which Iranian intelligence has been using repeatedly,” said Hadi Ghaemi. “Prisoners’ health conditions should not be compromised under any circumstances.”

Ghaemi’s statement against the Iranian authorities’ unfair treatment of prisoners does not even address the fact that often, these prisoners are there unfairly to begin with. Last month, five Kurdish citizens were collectively sentenced to over 46 years in prison simply for allegedly collaborating with opposition parties. They were imprisoned unfairly over a year ago, and one of the prisoners has allegedly died under torture, although official verification has not been obtained.