Images of an Iranian activist on hunger strike have sparked widespread concern on social media. Human rights activists published photos of doctor Farhad Meysami, who has been in prison since 2018, on Thursday evening. The well-known 53-year-old can be seen with a shaved head and completely emaciated. Iranians were shocked and again called for his release.
Meysami has been in prison for more than four years. The judiciary accuses him of violating "national security". The well-known activist had already gone on a hunger strike in 2018. Since the latest protests broke out in autumn 2022, the man has again refused to eat in the notorious Ewin prison in the capital, Tehran. According to media reports, Meysami is calling for an end to the executions of demonstrators, the release of political prisoners and the end of the strict Islamic dress code.
Politicians and intellectuals are demanding their release
Iranian authorities contradicted the reports on Friday. Meysami's weight loss was explained by the judiciary as an intestinal disease, as reported by the Misan news portal. He is said to have interrupted his hunger strike and received medical attention. The information could not be checked independently.
Prominent politicians and intellectuals are calling for Meysami's release. The Iranian political scientist Abbas Abdi made an appeal for this on Twitter. The human rights activist Hossein Ronaghi, who was most recently imprisoned in Ewin prison and was released on bail, wrote that Meysami did not deserve a prison sentence. His situation was "painful," Ronaghi wrote on Twitter. "Responsibility for his life rests with the Islamic Republic".
The latest wave of protests in Iran was triggered by the death of the Iranian Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody in mid-September. She had been arrested by the so-called vice police for violating Islamic dress codes. Street protests have abated in recent weeks. Many women now express their displeasure through civil disobedience, for example by ignoring the compulsory headscarf.