Iranian Lawmaker Warns About Hunger Striker's Condition

An Iranian lawmaker has warned the government that a prominent jailed dissident is in serious condition on a hunger strike and should be released.

Reformist parliamentarian Elias Hazrati wrote to Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani that Arash Sadeghi is in critical condition after going 70 days without food and that his death could result in "serious" political consequences for Iran, the ISNA agency reported on December 31.

Sadeghi began the hunger strike to protest the prosecution of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who was arrested on October 24 for writing a fictional story about a stoning in Iran after a man burns a Koran. The story was never published.

She was convicted of "insulting Islamic sanctities" and spreading propaganda.

"Two prisoners are currently risking their lives in protest of the status quo [in Iran]," wrote Hazrati, who is also a journalist.

Amnesty International called her trial "grossly unfair."

Thousands of Iranians and many reformist lawmakers and activists on social media have called for the two to be released.

Sadeghi was arrested on June 7 for "assembly and collusion against national security."

He later received a 19-year prison sentence for "endangering national security and disseminating propaganda."

Sadeghi has been compared to prominent Northern Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, who died while on a hunger strike in 1981.

Based on reporting by dpa, ISNA, and