Jailed Iranian activist dies on hunger strike

The Iranian political activist, Vahid Sayadi  Nasiri (right) who was  jailed for the political content of messages posted on social media has died after spending 60 days on hunger strike, his family says.

Nasiri had been accused of insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other offences. He was released last March after serving two-and-a-half years in prison but detained again five months later.

The activist demanded his transfer from a high-security unit of a prison in the city of Qom to a different location.

Nasiri was first arrested in September 2015 and sentenced to eight years in prison for “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the state,” according to the advocacy group Iran Human Rights Monitor. The charges were related to posts he had made on his Facebook page. He was later pardoned and released early. However he was arrested again in August, just months after his release, reportedly on similar charges.

He began his hunger strike in October in protest at the conditions of his imprisonment and his lack of access to a lawyer, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor. He also said the principle of separation of prisoners’ crimes was being violated as he was being held with ordinary criminals and was being attacked and harassed, the group said. As his health deteriorated Nasiri was taken to hospital from Qom prison where conditions are known to be harsh. His sister, Elaheh, said the family had been informed by authorities of his death. No other details were immediately available.

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