Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Hossein Ronaghi’s mother Zokheila Mousavi started a hunger strike on Tuesday August 20th, in support of her son and in protest of her son’s situation being ignored by the ruling apparatus. Hossein Ronaghi, who in the past days was inflicted with bleeding in his kidneys and gallbladder while held behind bars, is now on his 14th day of hunger strike.
In an earlier interview Mrs. Mousavi had stated, “Hossein started a hunger strike on Friday August 9, but no matter how much we follow-up, the judicial authorities give us no answers. If they continue to ignore us, and keep my son behind bars in the next few days I will also launch a hunger strike in front of the prosecutors office and maybe this way somebody will hear our voice.”
Seyed Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the father of this human rights activist said in an earlier interview with CHRR shared his son’s dire physical situation. He said that despite the fact that specialist physicians had ordered Hossein Ronaghi to receive proper post-op care in a suitable environment for recovery, the ruling apparatus refused to comply and sent his son back to prison. He also said that Hossein now suffers from gastrointestinal bleeding and has been vomiting, yet medical furlough has been denied.
Hossein Ronaghi, blogger and Internet activist who is one of the founding members of Iran Proxy – a group that bypassed Internet censorship with proxy servers – was violently arrested on December 13, 2009 at his parental home in the city of Melikan located near Tabriz and was transferred to Ward 2A in Evin Prison [under control of IRGC]. Hasan Ronaghi Maleki, Hossein’s brother was also detained at that time despite the fact that he had not engaged in any political activities. Hasan was tortured and used as a tool in an attempt to intimidate his brother. For over10 months Hossein Ronaghi was held in solitary confinement in Evin’s Ward 2A which is under the jurisdiction of the IRGC. He was subjected to intense psychological abuse and physical torture in efforts to coerce him into making a false televised confession, which he refused.
On December 1, 2010 Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court presided by judge Pir Abassi handed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki a 15-year prison sentence. Among his charges were “membership in Iran Proxy”, “insulting the leadership”, and “insulting the Islamic Republic.” In 2010 Hossein Ronaghi went on 2 hunger strikes in protest of prison conditions and the mistreatment of prisoners. His mother also went on a 2-week hunger strike to voice her support for her son.
On August 22, 2012 Hossein Ronaghi who had been on medical leave from prison was detained along with his father and brother, Ahmad and Hasan Ronaghi Maleki, and 33 other volunteers and social activists who had gone to the aid of earthquake victims in the province of Azerbaijan.
Ronaghi received a 2-year prison sentence handed on the charge of “gathering and collusion against national security” in the Azerbaijan earthquake zone. Per a ruling handed down by Branch 112 of the Tabriz Public Court, he was also sentenced to 6 months in prison on the charges of “endangering public health through distribution of moldy bread,” and “disobeying an officer.” With the additional rulings, the total sentence for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki increased to 17.6 years in prison.
This is the second time that Hossein Ronaghi’s mother Zokheila Mousavi has launched a hunger strike in support of her ailing son in prison. There is great worry for Hossein Ronaghi’s condition in consideration to the fact that other political prisoners have lost their lives while on hunger strike. Hoda Saber was a Meli-Mazhabi political prisoner who suffered a heart attack while on hunger strike and lost his life due to the lack of medical care in the prison facility.
Despite the very grave health of Hossein Ronaghi and his insistence on continuing his hunger strike, the Tehran Prosecutor, the IRGC Intelligence unit, and security apparatus insist on keeping him behind bars. They have insisted that Ronaghi Maleki be denied medical furlough stemming from his human rights activities while he was previously out of prison on medical release.