Freedom News

Iran: Sohail Arabi thirst strike briefly suspended after seizure

Long-term anarchist political prisoner Sohail Arabi briefly started drinking water again on Thursday having experienced a seizure, one week into his total hunger and thirst strike.

Sohail, who has been imprisoned for writing “sacrilegious” essays on Facebook and for “insulting the supreme leader” of Iran, had already been on a lengthy hunger strike over torture in the notorious Evin prison where he is being held.

The incarcerated Iranian blogger refused to be hospitalised, despite attempts by officials and the director of the penitentiary to transfer him to the prison clinic. In addition, Soheil was barred from receiving visits from his relatives because of his refusal to wear the prison uniform.

The 34-year-old wrote in a letter:

Because of my mother’s concerns on the occasion of the World Water Day, I drank water after the last night’s seizure. Today I met with the Revolutionary Guards Corps a week ago to give them the opportunity to address my demands. If they do not do so, the strike will again be hunger and thirst. I will not back down.

Today, the political prisoners of Ward Seven of Evin provided me with a ceremony dedicated to commemorating World Teacher’s Day. I was proud to be with my teacher, Mahmoud Beheshti, because of my mother’s concern and also because I had vowed to attend the ceremony. I read, I drank water and the dreams of the prisoners jumped to Ismail Abdi and Mahmoud Beheshti Langrood. We remember the great Farzad Kamangar and hope to release all political prisoners

Sohail Arabi
Evin Prison Section 7

Sohail, who has been imprisoned since November 2013, was originally sentenced to death for blogging against the Iranian regime before having his sentence reduced to seven and a half years after an international outcry.  He is still facing other charges related to his writing.

The following is the open letter from when he started his thirst strike:

Here, speaking the truth is forbidden. However, I am an anarchist and therefore I do not obey prohibitions. I can not remain silent when I see innocent people being tormented here in Evin’s prison. Here, free thinkers are being punished for telling the truth.

Do not ask me to be silent. At that moment, being silent is the greatest of betrayals.

I do not cry for help in my situation. I’m on hunger strike to be the voice of all innocent prisoners. I want our voice to be heard. I want to be the voice of all confined free thinkers: Manoucher Mohammad Ali, Mahmoud Langroudi, Ali Shariate, Yousef Emadi, Arash Sadeghi, Sovada Aghasar and other humans whose only crime was telling the truth.

Today, September 23, 2017, is the third year that my daughter started going to school and is the third time I am deprived of being alone with her. I went from a hunger strike to a hunger strike and thirst because I do not want her to see me in this prison anymore.

Evin prison, which houses most of Iran’s political prisoners, has been described as a “hell” infested with bugs, heavily overcrowded and lacking adequate sanitation or healthcare facilities.

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