Iranian Hunger Strike: Iranian Women Fight for Freedom After Ghobadlou Killing

Iranian Hunger Strike: Iranian Women Fight for Freedom After Ghobadlou Killing

Several Iranian women political detainees initiated a hunger strike on Thursday to protest the execution of Mohammad Ghobadlou, an Iranian protester. Narges Mohammadi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, announced the hunger strike on her Instagram account. She is one of the 61 women participating in the strike at Evin Prison in Tehran.

Following the announcement, numerous prominent Iranian artists and activists worldwide expressed their solidarity by joining the symbolic collective hunger strike.

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Ghobadlou, who was executed by the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, was arrested during the “Woman Life Freedom” protests in September 2022. Despite international outcry, the 23-year-old was executed. His lawyer, Amir Raisian, condemned the execution, stating it lacked legal justification as Ghobadlou’s court sentence had previously been overturned by the Iranian Supreme Court.

Ghobadlou was charged with “waging war against God” and “corruption on Earth,” both offenses punishable by death in Iran.

In this Sept. 21, 2022 file photo protesters chant slogans during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran.

The Islamic Republic has executed at least seven other protesters in connection with mass protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022, allegedly at the hands of Iran’s “morality police.”

Political prisoners at Evin released a statement on Thursday condemning the recent executions and announcing their hunger strike as a united protest on January 25, 2024. They aim to raise awareness about the executed individuals and advocate for the cessation of executions in Iran.

The regime’s brutal suppression of protesters persisted after Amini’s death, sparking months of demonstrations. Amini was arrested by the “morality police” for allegedly violating compulsory hijab laws and died three days later in custody, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran Human Rights reported in April 2023 that at least 537 people were killed since the protests began, with approximately 22,000 arrests, as per the state-run IRNA.

In solidarity with the Evin prisoners, many activists, families of former dissidents, and Iranian artists announced their participation in the hunger strike. Notably, pop singer Mehdi Yarahi and Iranian-American activist Masih Alinejad pledged their support.

Hamed Esmailiyoun, an opposition figure, urged Neda Al-Nashif, the deputy high commissioner for human rights at the United Nations, to visit Evin Prison during her Tehran visit and advocate for prisoners on death row.

“We must be their voice before it is too late for the prisoners on death row,” Esmailiyoun emphasized in a video posted on Instagram.

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