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Beaten During Arrest Prominent Iranian Female Activist On Hunger Strike

Bahareh Hedayat, prominent Iranian activist. Photo from social media.

An Iranian human rights organization on Monday reported that student and women's rights activist Bahareh Hedayat who was arrested a week ago is on hunger strike and her health is deteriorating.

The website of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA) on Monday reported that Hedayat who was transferred from Vozara Detention Center to the notorious Qarchak Prison in the south of Tehran on Sunday.

According to other student and women's rights activists, Hedayat refused any food and drink for three days but is now taking liquids.

Thirty-eight-year-old Hedayat was arrest on February 10 by Security Police at the Security Office of Tehran University. She had been called in to the university security office to answer some questions. Chief of the university's security has denied any role in Hedayat's arrest.

Human rights activists say the police beat her, pulled her hair and dragged her to their vehicle when she demanded to be shown an arrest warrant. Hedayat has been on hunger strike in protest to being beaten since her arrest.

In a brief phone call on February 11 Hedayat informed her family that she had been detained and was being questioned. The charges brought against her have not been announced.

Bahareh Hedayat who is a former Secretary of the Office to Foster Unity (Daftar-e Tahkim Vahdat), Iran's largest pro-reform student group has been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned several times since 2007 for "propaganda against the regime" and similar charges. In total, she has served more than six years in prison.

She was known for her work on the One Million Signatures Campaign aiming to change discriminatory laws against women. In 2012 she was awarded Sweden's Edelstam Prize for "outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one's beliefs in defense of human rights".

On Sunday a group of students who held a protest rally at Amir Kabir University of Tehran demanded that Hedayat be released.