Christian convert Vahid Hakani goes on hunger strike

Christian convert Vahid Hakani goes on hunger strike

Christian prisoner Vahid Hakani has gone on hunger strike after his request for conditional release was rejected.

He is also protesting against poor conditions in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison.

Vahid has already been hospitalised once during his time in prison, as a result of gastrointestinal complications and the deterioration of his physical condition in the prison. 

Vahid is now in the second week of his hunger strike – he began on 20 March – and there are fears he will be exacerbating his illness.

Vahid, along with fellow converts Mojtaba Hosseini, Homayoun Shekoohi and Mohammad Reza Partovi, are among the Christian prisoners of conscience in Adel Abad.

On 10 June 2013, the four men were each sentenced to three years and eight months in prison at the Third Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, on charges of “promoting Christianity”, “association with Christian organisations abroad”, “propaganda against the state”, and “disrupting national security”.

In recent weeks their families have made several pleas for their release, as they are now eligible for early release, having served over half of their sentences. However, the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz has rejected their requests.

Adel Abad has been called a place of “torture” for prisoners of conscience, who are held alongside regular criminal offenders, such as murderers and thieves.

In a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, on 2 March, it was noted that it has been a hard year for minorities. According to Mr Shaheed, as of 3 January, at least 307 members of religious minorities were in jail, among them 136 Baha’is, 19 Gonabadi dervishes, 50 Christians, 90 Sunnis and two Zoroastrians.