Jaras – Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Abolfazl Abedini, imprisoned human rights activists are on hunger strike. Their families have stated that the lives of their loved ones are in danger; they hold the ruling apparatus and the judiciary responsible for anything that happens.
Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is inflicted with kidney disease, prostate and gastronomical ailments and needs immediate medical attention per physicians’ orders. But after judicial authorities again refused to grant him furlough for his recovery, he went on hunger strike.
Zoleikha Mousavi, mother of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was very anxious and deeply concerned as she told Jaras, “I visited Hossein last week and he complained about intense pain in his kidneys; he had not been able to sleep for four nights. He said he spoke to Mr. Khodabakhsh, the Deputy Prosecutor and told him of his physical issues but Mr. Khodabakhsh paid no attention. Hossein told Mr. Khodabakhsh that if he were barred from furlough he would go on hunger strike and Mr. Khodabakhsh said it did not matter to him. He had told Hossein earlier that ‘Eventually you will die, and after a few days all will be quite and forgotten.’”
Mrs. Mousavi continued, “I begged with Hossein and told him these people pay no attention to me, to please wait and let me to go to the prosecutor’s office and submit another formal request for furlough. The following day I went and when I got there a gentleman told me Mr. Khodabakhsh is not at his office. But he was there. So I said everything I needed to say right there from behind his door so that Mr. Khodabakhsh could hear how my son cannot sleep at nights from his pain and is about to lose function in his right kidney too. But nobody cared or paid attention.”
Mrs. Mousavi said, “I followed up again. They said they would not grant furlough but would look into his medical needs. But the physicians specifically said Hossein needs to be under specialized aftercare and the prison does not have a medical facility that can tend to his needs. Hossein has undergone seven surgeries after which they have returned him to prison, each time resulting in the reoccurring of his ailment with additional pain. It is the prison condition that has caused all of Hossein’s sickness and yet they refuse to grant him medical furlough.”
She continued, “I don’t comprehend what kind of Muslims they are to be able to abuse our children in this manner. Are [our children] murderers that they are subjugated to so much mistreatment? They ask me why I grant interviews to news outlets. My son’s life is in danger and no matter where I visit, nobody pays any attention to me. So how do I make my voice be heard? There is not one place that I have not gone to; parliament offices, judiciary offices and the office of Mr. Larijani, but not one person has been willing to give me an answer. I talk to Mr. Khodabakhsh and his response is that he is not in the mood. And they profess to follow in the path of the prophet. They are an embarrassment to the prophet with their behavior. The prophet visited his enemies let alone innocent youth whose lives are in danger as they are held behind bars based on trumped up charges. I am a mother. I travel from Azerbaijan to Tehran to follow-up on my son’s situation and the answer I get [from Mr. Khodabakhsh] is that he is not in the mood. Are you not sitting behind that desk because you are an official with the responsibility of responding to us? Hossein is on his third day of hunger strike today. You can’t imagine how I feel. Hossein’s left kidney is not functioning and who will respond if his right kidney fails too? I plead that they grant medical furlough so that Hossein can receive the necessary medical care and doesn’t lose his right kidney too. Before another catastrophe occurs please hear our voices. Is that too much to ask for?”
Seyed Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, father of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki presented himself at Branch 8 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court on August 11 per a summons order.
Mrs. Mousavi spoke of her court visit with her husband. “This summons was in connection to the events that took place at Sarand Camp and the arrest of 30 volunteers in the earthquake stricken region of Azerbaijan. They gave us a case number and told us to come back in a few days.”
Hossein Ronagi Maleki was among many detained in 2009 following the disputed presidential elections. He was arrested by IRGC agents at his home and sentence to 15 years in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Pir Abassi.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s mother concluded with sadness about the situation at hand. “They say that they have granted some pardons but this freedom they talk about is granted to non-political prisoners such as thieves and murderers. Hossein and other political prisoners have been in prison for 4 years. Which one of them has been granted a pardon? Not one of these innocent political prisoners has been included. They lose their livelihood and they suffer from failing health while nobody is willing to answer, why?”
Abolfazl Abedini, political prisoner also on hunger strike is in poor health and not doing well. Abedini testified before the magistrate investigating the cause of death of blogger Sattar Beheshti who lost his life during interrogations in the custody of the police force. Even though he was assured of no repercussions for his testimony he was suddenly transferred from Evin to Karoon prison in Ahvaz. In protest of his illegal transfer, Abedini announced he was on hunger strike effective immediately and would not end his strike until his return to Evin prison.
Abedini suffers from a heart condition (mitral valve disease) and liver disease. His health has plunged dramatically as a result of his hunger strike and intense psychological duress.
Asareh Eyvazi, mother of Abolfaz Abedini who has been on hunger strike since Saturday July 27 tells Jaras, “More than 2 weeks have gone by since the start of Abolfaz’s hunger strike and he is getting weaker by the day. He called and no matter how much I pleaded with him to stop his hunger strike he would not comply. His brother and I begged him but he said he would continue his hunger strike. I am extremely worried but nobody in charge cares. I have written letters everywhere but have received no response. They claim some prisoners will be granted pardons but every day the court dossiers of our children get bigger. They have handed my son a 12-year prison sentence and he has spent the past 4 years behind bars without a day of furlough. The families of political prisoners are destined to spend their time with worry in anticipation. There is no sign of freedom for political prisoners. Our children served the people and the ones who are released are criminals who have violated people and their possessions!”
In April 2010 the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court handed Abolfaz Abedini an 11-year prison sentence on the charges of “association with hostile governments”, “human rights activism” and “propaganda against the regime through granting interviews to foreign media.” One year later he was put under another trial at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Moghiseh, and was handed an additional one year in prison on the duplicate charge of “propaganda against the regime.” This human rights activist who has been in prison for 4 years serving his 12-year sentence, endures intensified pressures and additional constraints with every passing day.