An Iranian Blogger’s Hunger Strike in Question
350 Iranian bloggers, political and civil society activists co-signed a letter last week warning that the life of publisher, physicist and blogger, Mehdi Khazali is in grave danger after he has been on hunger strike for more than 90 days.
But while some bloggers warn that Mehdi Khazali’s life is danger, there are also those who question whether he is really on hunger strike.
Khazali is the son of a leading right-wing cleric and former Counsel of Guardians member, Ayatollah Khazali. He was arrested together with several participants of a writer’s association called Saraye Ghalam.
Iranian blogger Freedomseeker [fa] explains the rumours:
… one of main reasons that people do not believe in Khazali’s hunger strike is that more than a year ago, it was announced that he had been on hunger strike for 67 days. Shortly after he was released by order of Ayatholah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Republic’s Leader, Khazali started his weekly mountain hiking and urged people to take part in parliamentary elections. In the photos published from his mountain hiking, there was no visible sign of a long hunger strike and he appeared in good shape… His past activities with the regime made some people suspect the regime is in the process of creating fake opposition.
Not everyone shares this belief. An online petition calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehdi Khazali:
Mehdi Khazali renews hunger strike. Mehdi Khazali, a jailed Iranian physician and blogger, has begun his sixth round of a hunger strike in Evin Prison. Mehdi Khazali was last arrested in November of 2012 after security forces attacked a writer’s gathering. Kaleme reports that Khazali had broken his earlier strike when prison authorities promised to meet his demands. However, a lack of commitment to those promises and the persistent “illegal treatment of prisoners by the interrogators and judiciary officials” have led Khazali into another hunger strike.
Irane Azad writes[fa] that the same people who make fun of Mehdi Khazali’s hunger strike, if he dies tomorrow, will call him martyr. These people boycotted the presidential election in 2009 but after the Green Movement [protest movement] erupted, they became supporters on the frontline.
Meanwhile, blogger 666Sabz warns[fa],”People! A person is dying in prison.”