Iranian Political Prisoner Put In Isolation

Relatives of Manuchehr Bakhtiari have warned that the Iranian political prisoner's health is deteriorating due to him being on a hunger strike and in solitary confinement.

In an interview with Radio Farda on July 18, a relative who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from authorities, said that Bakhtiari, whose 27-year-old son Pouya Bakhtiari was killed in a crackdown on protests in Iran in November 2019, is on hunger strike and his family is not allowed to contact him.

In November 2019 thousands of citizens protested in more than 100 Iranian cities and towns against the government's sudden decision to raise gas prices. The protests quickly turned political, with many chanting against the Iranian clerical establishment and its leaders.

The Iranian Human Rights Organization has confirmed the death of 324 citizens, including 14 children, in these protests, but Reuters estimated that the actual number of people killed was around 1,500.

Iranian authorities have not held anyone to account for the killings.

Security agents on July 11 raided and arrested a number of family members of victims of the November 2019 protests, the day before a planned protest against the mandatory wearing by women of the hijab, or head scarves.

From prison, Bakhtiari condemned the police raids in an audio address, calling for nationwide protest to condemn this "barbaric act." Following this, he was moved to isolation.

The families of other victims of the 2019 crackdown have reportedly also faced pressure. Mahboobeh Ramezani, the mother of Pejman Gholipur, who was killed in the November 2019 protests, has been sentenced to 100 lashes.

Peyman Gholipur, Pejman's brother, announced the news on Instagram on July 17, and said that his mother's sentence was probably related to the campaign against the mandatory hijab that was held on July 12.

He also called his mother's only crime "seeking justice" and said, "The biggest reason why they fear her is that she shouts the truth" Gholipur said. "They are afraid of her because she does not put down Pejman's picture for a minute."

The charges against those arrested on July 11 have not been officially announced.

With writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi