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Jailed Iranian Women's Rights Defender In Poor Health, Amnesty Says

Farhad Meysami
Farhad Meysami

Amnesty International is warning that a defender of Iranian women's rights who has been jailed in Tehran is in poor health due to a hunger strike and should be released immediately.

In a statement on October 24, Amnesty said that Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor who was detained in July for protesting against laws forcing Iranian women to wear the hijab, has been on a hunger strike since August 1 and is now in "very frail" health and has lost 18 kilograms while being held in a medical clinic at Tehran's Evin prison, where he is being force-fed intravenously.

“Farhad Meysami’s only ‘crime’ is speaking out against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory practice of forced hijab and defending women's rights to choose their own clothing. He is a prisoner of conscience and it is utterly outrageous that he is being detained at all,” said Amnesty's Philip Luther.

“Instead of holding him in isolation in a medical clinic as punishment and to coerce him to end his hunger strike, the authorities should stop playing sinister games with his health and release him immediately and unconditionally,” he said.

Meysami was arrested on July 31 at his Tehran home, where security forces found badges reading “I Am Against Forced Hijab.”

He was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security.”

He was also charged with “insulting Islamic sanctities” because, according to the authorities, he “insulted” the hijab.

Amnesty said Meysami has vowed not to end his hunger strike until he and two other prominent activists arrested for protesting the hijab are released.

Dozens of Iranian women and men have been beaten, arrested, detained, and prosecuted for their peaceful protests against the forced wearing of the hijab this year.