Five Iranian Ahwazi Arab men have launched a hunger strike in protest at the SupremeCourt’s decision to uphold their death sentences and their treatment in prison, includingtorture and other ill-treatment and the authorities’ refusal to allow them medical care.
The five men from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority – Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka, his brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, and teachers Hashem Sha’bani Amouri and Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) – whose death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court on 9 January 2013 began a “dry” hunger strike (refusing water as well as food) on 2 March 2013 in protest at the decision. Their hunger strike is also in protest against their torture and other ill-treatment in Karoun Prison and the prison authorities’ refusal to grant them medical treatment for various ailments including some which may have resulted from earlier torture or other ill-treatment. They have not been examined by a doctor despite their repeated requests.
In an apparent act of retaliation against the hunger strike, prison authorities initially barred all five men from making or receiving phone calls for five days. During a visit to the prison on 13 March, the men’s families persuaded them to end their dry hunger strike but all five now remain on a “wet” hunger strike (refusing food). On 20 March, when their families arrived at prison for their weekly visitation, they were turned away by the prison authorities.
The men were arrested in early 2011 and sentenced to death on 7 July 2012 after being convicted of vaguely worded national security “offences” including “enmity against God and corruption on earth”, "gathering and colluding against state security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system” following an unfair trial.