Saeed Shirzad, Take an Action
Saeed Shirzad has been on hunger strike by sewing his lips together, in protest of the silent deaths of prison inmates, and the prison conditions. Saeed wrote a letter in regards to his hunger strike which can be found at the end of this press release. In his letter, Saeed describes the prison conditions, and the demands of his hunger strike in detail. As Saeed has been on hunger strike for more than a month, his body is deteriorating and he is now suffering from low blood pressure, severe dehydration, and severe weight loss. Prison officials have ignored Saeed’s demands and situation. Please join us in his support.
Saeed Shirzad, age 28, a children rights activist, was arrested at his workplace, Tabriz refinery, on June 2nd 2014 in Iran. After more than 14 months in prison, he was given a date for his trial but his lawyer was not allowed to attend or even to access his file. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He is now serving his sentence in GoharDasht Prison (Rajai Shahr) in Iran.
Saeed Shirzad has been charged with ‘gathering and colluding with intent to act against national security’ which really means being a human rights activist, including being a children’s rights activist. He was also accused of supporting families of prisoners and communicating with Ahmad Shahid, the UN Special Reporter on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.
Whilst in prison, Saeed was initially transferred to solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison where he was interrogated and constantly threatened with execution. In order to exert more pressure on Saeed, prison authorities transferred him to Rajai Shahr prison, where he was subjected to more physical and psychological torture and he was not allowed to have any visitors.
Campaign to Free political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) call on all human rights and children’s rights organizations, and all concerned individuals to join us in supporting Saeed Shirzad. We ask you to send a letter to the authorities in Iran, urging them to comply with Saeed’s demands and provide prisoners with medical attention and basic human rights while in prison.
Saeed Shirzad has been outspoken about the inhuman condition of prisons in Iran. Hundreds of political prisoners in Iran have been held in the same appalling conditions as mentioned in Saeed’s letter. Join us in supporting Saeed and his demands.
Please see Saeed’s letter, a sample protest letter and email addresses below.
Campaign to Free political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI)
For more information please contact:
Shiva Mahbobi, Spokesperson for CFPPI
firstname.lastname@example.org , +44 (0)7572356661
Sample Letter and the addresses:
(It takes only a few minutes to copy & paste & emails this letter.)
I/We express my concern for the situation of children rights activist Saeed Shirzad who has been on hunger strike since 7/12/2016 by sewing his lips together in protest of the prison condition. We urge you to comply with Saeed’s demands and provide prisoners with medical attention and basic human rights while in prison.
.Name. . . . . . . .
City/country . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Send your letters to:
Tehran’s public and general prosecutor
To: Mohammed Javad Larijani
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri
Email: email@example.com (Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
Please tweet the following:
@khamenei_ir @HassanRouhani @Europarl_EN I support #SaeedShirzad #Iran on hunger strike since 7Dec comply with Saeed’s demands
Translation of Saeed’s Letter:
Letter from Saeid Shirzad on 7th December 2016
“ To: Tehran’s public and general prosecutor, Civil Servants Prosecutor of Tehran’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Director General of Prisons.
Copy to: Director of Prison Maintenance, Director of Prison Inspection
Hunger strikes and sewing my lips in protest to the silent deaths of prison inmates at the hands of the Mohammad Mardani,
Based on the inhumane behaviour of the Director of Gohar-Dasht prison, Mohamed Mardani, and in absence of any response to complaints from prisoners, including all of what is in line with inhumane pressures, even leading up to the deaths of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. These are as follows:
- Welding of the windows of prison cells with multiple layers of steel cord, minimizing air circulation in the hall
- Insulting, lewd and pernicious behaviour toward prisoners and their families, in such a way that, despite several inspections using electronic surveillance devices, they continued to conduct irregular full body searches. They also continue to send prisoners to the visitors’ hall barefoot.
- Refusal to accept letters from political prisoners announcing their hunger strike, which led to lack of medical care for prisoners; therefore, increasing the risk to the safety of the striking prisoners.
- Arresting members of prisoners’ families in the visitors’ hall, one example is the arrest of Mr. Hassan Sadeghi’s teenage son, Iman Sadeghi.
- Prohibiting sending inmates to the hospital with the excuse that they were not in their prison uniform; including preventing prisoners Hasan Sadeghi and Payam Markazi.
- Officials and prison employees brutally assaulted political prisoners Ibrahim Firuzi and Mahmoud Naji, following which said prisoners were transferred to the ward where violent criminals and murderers are incarcerated. Violent inmates attacked and threatened political prisoner Iraj Hatami with a knife and a lit cigarette. Officials and prison employees brutally assaulted political prisoner Ramazan Ahmed Kamal in such a way that due to force of the impact, to his head with a baton, prisoner spent more than a week in a coma and in critical condition. Also on Monday, December 5th, 2016, political prisoner Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz was brutally beaten by the head of the prison’s ward, and other prison personnel, while being forcibly transferred to court and then to solitary confinement.
- Lack of medical care for prisoners who need a doctor’s constant monitoring, and creating various delays, which can lead to unfortunate disasters. Political prisoners Mohammad Nazari, Karim Marouf Aziz, Asghar Qattan, Farhad Eghbali are prisoners with a history of cardiovascular disease and suffer from extremely ill health.
In protest to the condition of prison including the above mentioned incident, as of December 7th, 2016, I will be going on hunger strike and I will sew my lips, until all my demands, which is the demands of other prisoners as well, are met. I would also like to announce, in case this letter is not forwarded to the relevant authorities, the warden of the prison and the head of ward 4 are accountable. I also announce that in case anything happens during the course of my hunger strike, or afterwards, the Bureau of Prisons, its director and the head of ward 4, and the head of prison maintenance must be hold accountable.
My demands are as follows:
1) Removal of cancer-causing jamming devices and steel mesh fences from the windows
2) Telephone privileges for prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, like other wards
3) Guaranteeing and a written apology from the head of prison to the prisoners and their families for beating prisoners, and taking responsibility for non-repetition of such cases.
4) Immediate follow-up of medical issues, treatment and hospitalization of ill prisoners and accepting responsibility by the prison authorities for anything that may happen to them.
5) Prosecutor must guarantee that the complaints from prisoners will be followed up including the above mentioned complains.
Note: The reasons for this strike are in no way related to release or furlough from prison.
GoharDash Prison ( Rajai Shahr prison)
7th December 2016
Read more about Saeed Shirzad’s life, activities and his situation in prison:
Saeed Shirzad was born in the deprived village of Kermanshah-Iran. At the age of eight, he emigrated with his family to one of the most southern areas of Tehran. After completing his first grade of high school, due to poor financial circumstances he was forced to leave school and to travel to the south of the country for work.
While he was working, he decided to enrol in university. During the protests following the ‘presidential election’ in 2009 in Iran, he was an electrical engineering student at the University of Shahryar. He had to quit studying due to the oppression and restrictions within the university. He then decided to devote his time and energy to work with NGOs, mainly with children’s rights NGOs.
In 2006 he started working with the children at the Shoush Children’s Home and also with The Society for the Defence of Children Living on the Streets and Child Labourers (Jamiat Defaa). He was volunteering in the areas of training, education, course coordinator, health services, and aiding refugees, asylum seekers, and children, in collaboration with UNICEF. All this work was accomplished through volunteers and donations from the public. On average, 80-100 children, mostly Afghan refugees, were given educational support and legal documentation for their families, through volunteer lawyers. Furthermore, the families of these children were also provided with important services and life-skills classes as well.
Saeed also worked with street children and their families. Through the NGO, Saeed provided support and healthcare to such families. On average 120-150 families and their children were supported.
During the summer of 2012, Saeed provided humanitarian assistance by helping to organise recreational and educational camps for the children affected by the Azerbaijan earthquake. Saeed attended several villages in Sistan-Baluchistan province in Iran for disaster relief and humanitarian aid for the poor people. He also travelled to southern Turkey to help Syrian refugees. He also helped by working earthquake survivors’ camps, educating children, distributing approx. 500 educational books and entertainment for children at the beginning of the Iranian New Year, providing heating appliances, health and school supplies. Many volunteer like Saeed had to help as the government officials ignored the situations of the survivors of the earthquake.
At this point authorities decided to arrest Saeed and sentenced him to one year suspended sentence for being a children’s rights activist. He was released on bail after 19 days. After his release he did not give up and he went back to the Azerbaijan earthquake area and continued helping the victims of the earthquake. He also continued working as a volunteer in several NGOs in Iran including with The Society for the Defence of Children Living on the Streets and Child Labourers (Jamiat Defaa) and also worked with Shoush Children’s Home.
Although his activities in the field of children’s rights was legally permitted, when he was arrested one of the main concerns of the interrogators was that he held an Identification card for his work at The Society for the Defence of Children Living on the Streets and Child Labourers (Jamiat Defaa)”.
Some of the organisations that previously supported Saeed Shirzad are as follows: – – Amnesty International issued a statement calling for an immediate investigation into the situation of Saeed
– Front Line Defenders has published his case on their website.
– Mike Palecek, secretary of the Canadian union of Postal workers (CUPW) issued a statement addressed to Ali Khamenei on 1st December 2015.