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Hunger-striking Iranian journalist Hengameh Shahidi could die in detention

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison, 13 June 2006
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison, 13 June 2006

REUTERS

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 11 May 2017.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the irresponsibility of the Iranian authorities in refusing to free Hengameh Shahidi, an Iranian journalist who, according to her family, began a hunger strike two months ago and has not been taking any form of food since yesterday [10 May 2017].

When arrested on 9 March, Shahidi told her mother she planned to go on hunger strike in protest against her detention and the pressure put on her to make her confess. She also wanted to denounce the fact that she had been denied her rights and refused access to her lawyer.

She is currently being kept in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison and, according to her family, her situation is now critical.

RSF points out that subjecting journalists, citizen journalists and other prisoners of conscience to inhuman and degrading treatment constitutes a flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.

RSF calls for Shahidi's immediate and unconditional release.

Iran continues to be one of the world's five biggest prisons for journalists and citizen journalists, with a total of 28 currently detained. It is also one of the world's biggest prisons for women journalists.

Iran is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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