Imprisoned labour activist Reza Shahabi has once again gone on hunger strike to protest his maltreatment in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, opposition reports suggest.
According to Kaleme, a site close to imprisoned opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, Reza Shahabi, a labour activist and board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Company, has begun a “wet” hunger strike and is refusing to accept medication despite the poor state of his health.
Shahabi was reportedly taken to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini hospital for a medical examination on 15 December when he was confronted with the abusive behaviour of prison authorities. Following the incident, Shahabi returned to prison and embarked on yet another strike.
The activist was arrested on 12 June 2010 and has since gone on several hunger strikes to protest the vague circumstances surrounding his continued detention.
After many months of uncertainty, Shahabi was finally tried in February 2012 and was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison under charges of “propaganda against the regime” (one-year) and “conspiracy against the national security” (five-year). He also received a ban on union activities for five years. In addition, he was condemned to a fine of 70 million Rials.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, his six-year sentence was later commuted down to four years.
Shahabi suffers from neck and back problems and has been taken to hospital for treatment several times since his imprisonment.
The activist has also been denied furlough repeatedly. Even after the death of his mother in March 2012, authorities refused to allow him to participate in the funeral proceedings.