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Activist On Hunger Strike In Protest To Arrest Violence Freed On Bail

Iranian student activist Bahareh Hedayat was released from the notorious Qarchak Prison on February 18. Photo from social media.

Bahareh Hedayat, a prominent student and women's rights activist who had gone on hunger strike in protest to violence by agents who arrested her, was freed on bail on Tuesday.

Hedayat was arrested on February 10 at her university's security office in Tehran. On Monday, human rights activists revealed that she was on hunger strike in protest to being badly beaten by agents and that her health was deteriorating due to her hunger strike.

Hedayat was transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison in the south of Tehran from a temporary detention center on Sunday. The charges which led to 38-year-old Hedayat's recent arrest have not been announced yet. She has previously spent several years in prison for "propaganda against the regime" and similar charges.

On Tuesday based on letters and documents smuggled out of Evin Prison BBC Persian revealed that Niloufar Bayani, an environmentalist accused of "acting against national security" and "collaboration with the United States" has been subjected to severe psychological and physical torture during the two years she has been in jail. Bayani has been sentenced to a 10-year prison term.

On February 6, a voice recording released by BBC Persian revealed that the interrogator of Mehdi Mahmoudian, a rights activists and member of Ettehad-e Mellat Party, was threatened with torture.

The interrogator's threat was made in a phone call before Mahmoudian's arrest on February 4 for planning to hold a vigil for the victims of the Ukrainian plane downed by the Revolutionary Guard on January 8.

The cases of violence against Hedayat, torture of Bayani, and threats against Mahmoudian, as examples of brutal physical and psychological treatment of prisoners have caused a great uproar among Iranian social media users in the past month.

Judiciary officials have not commented on the new revelations of extensive torture in Iranian prisons but on Wednesday Chief of Greater Tehran Police, Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi, said the Police do not use violence against anyone when arresting them and denied that Hedayat had been subjected to violence by her arresting agents. General Rahimi said officers who use violence against the accused will be "severely punished".

In its latest report on February 18 Amnesty International said torture and other ill-treatment, including through the denial of medical care, remained widespread and systematic in Iranian prisons and were committed with impunity.