Iran Releases Emaciated Dissident After Hunger Strike

dubai, united arab emirates — 

Iran on Friday released dissident Farhad Meysami — jailed for protesting Iran’s requirement that women wear hijabs — a week after supporters warned he risked dying during a hunger strike, the Iranian judiciary said.

Images on social media of an emaciated Meysami, who had been in jail since 2018 for supporting women activists protesting Iran’s headscarf policy, had gone viral and caused outrage among social media users and international rights groups.

“Following the approval by the leader of the revolution (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) of the recent … amnesty, Farhad_Meysami was included in this amnesty and was released from prison hours ago,” the judiciary said on Twitter.


Images of Emaciated Iranian Prisoner Prompt Outrage

On Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei issued an amnesty covering several prisoners — including some arrested in recent anti-government protests — after a deadly state crackdown helped quell the nationwide unrest. The order coincided with events marking the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Protests across the country

Iran has been rocked by nationwide unrest following the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, on September 16, 2022, in police custody, one of the strongest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Morality police arrested Amini for flouting the hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear headscarves. Women have played a prominent role in the protests, with many waving or burning their headscarves.

Rights groups say more than 500 protesters have been killed and nearly 20,000 arrested. At least four people have been hanged, according to the judiciary.

‘Contempt for human rights’

Images shared via social media showed Meysami curled up on what looks like a hospital bed, and another standing, his ribs protruding.

“Shocking images of Dr. Farhad Meysami, a brave advocate for women’s rights who has been on hunger strike in prison,” tweeted Robert Malley, Washington’s special envoy for Iran.

“These images (of Meysami) are a shocking reminder of the Iranian authorities’ contempt for human rights,” said Amnesty International.

In a letter, Meysami had made three demands: an end to executions, the release of political-civil prisoners, and an end to “forced-hijab harassment.”




Published on 2023-02-10

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Originally posted as: Iran Releases Emaciated Dissident After Hunger Strike, made available by Voice of America under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal license.

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