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Source: RFE/RL

Aug 8, 2023

Iranian Kurdish Political Prisoner Goes On Hunger Strike, Sews Lips Shut

Soheila Mohammadi, an Iranian Kurdish political prisoner held at Urmia central prison in northwestern Iran, has gone on hunger strike and sewn her lips shut, a human rights watchdog said.

The Norway-based Hengaw group, which monitors rights violations in Iran's Kurdish regions, said that Mohammadi began her hunger strike on August 5 in the women's section of Urmia prison.

Hengaw said she sewed her lips together "as a demonstration of protest against the mistreatment by prison officials in Urmia."

The report highlights that despite completing three years of her five-year term, Mohammadi continues to be deprived of parole opportunities and conditional release.

A source told Hengaw about the challenges she faced in the prison, noting the warden's unwillingness to even permit Mohammadi a meeting with the local prosecutor.

Reports from February indicate that she previously attempted suicide because of mounting pressure from the prison authorities and their continued efforts to deny her parole.

Mohammadi, who is also a mother, was taken into custody in Salmas during in fall 2020 by the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence division.

Following an extended period of interrogation, she was relocated to the Urmia prison women's ward. Accused of affiliating with the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), she was given a five-year sentence at Urmia's Revolutionary Court and has since remained incarcerated without a single day's leave.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network has reported a growing number of arrests in the region.

According to the network's collected data from June, at least 70 Kurdish Iranian citizens in various cities and villages in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan have been arrested on political charges by security and judicial institutions over the previous month.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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