An Iranian civic and labor activist jailed since January has begun a hunger strike to protest her treatment and that of her family at the hands of security organs.
Sepideh Gholian, who was supporting last year’s labor strikes in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, was arrested twice, once in November 2018 and again in January, on vague security-related charges and has been transferred from prison to prison several times.
Her brother Mehdi Gholian announced on his Instagram page that she went on a hunger strike on Tuesday, July 23 to protest her own cruel treatment and “insults” to her parents.
Gholian was arrested both times together with Esmail Bakhsi, a labor leader in Khuzestan’s Haft Tapeh sugarcane factory. After their first arrest last year, Gholian testified that Bakhshi was beaten and tortured in prison.
The government initially launched investigations but soon the Intelligence Ministry assured parliament and the public that no torture had taken place.
Following the public uproar, they were rearrested in January and since then there has been little news about their condition.
There are dozens of activists, bloggers and journalists in prison in Iran, often charged with vague accusations and deprived of due process. According to a new regulation, they are only allowed to choose their lawyers from a list of attorneys pre-approved by the judiciary.