Iranian activist ends hunger strike, wife released temporarily, Tasnim says

  • World
  • Wednesday, 04 Jan 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary said on Tuesday an imprisoned human rights activist ended his hunger strike and his wife was granted a temporary release from jail, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported.

Activist Arash Sadeghi, 36, was sentenced to a 19-year prison term in 2015 for "acting against national security, spreading lies in cyberspace, and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic".

At least eight political prisoners in Iran were on "life-threatening hunger strikes ... to demand better conditions and reviews of their unjust prison sentences", the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) said in a December statement.

The New York-based rights group said the lives of at least three of them, including Sadeghi, were in danger after weeks on hunger strikes.

Sadeghi, jailed in June, started his hunger strike on Oct. 24 to protest the jailing of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraee. She was sentenced to six years in jail for "insulting Islamic sanctities" after writing an unpublished story on the stoning of a woman for adultery and some Facebook posts.

He was taken to a hospital in Tehran on December 17 after suffering heart palpitations, the ICHRI said in the statement.

"Sadeghi has ... ended his hunger strike," said Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi. "The representative of the prosecutor met with Sadeghi several times, during which he was told to end the hunger strike.

"He believes his wife has been treated unjustly, but such measures complicates her case," Dolatabadi said. "There are legal ways to protest the sentence."

Iran's Students News Agency, ISNA, said Ebrahimi-Iraee's temporary release may be extended. Her release comes after days of an international Twitter campaign, which got the backing of users around the globe and became a trending topic.

Iran has some of the strictest controls on internet access in the world. It blocks access to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, although many users get access to them through widely available software.

Top Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, have twitter accounts.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, editing by Larry King)

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