More than a month after he started his hunger strike, Esmail Abdi -- a member and a former head of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association -- was transferred from Tehran’s notorious prison, Evin, to a hospital on June 3.
In protest of the procedure of his trial as well as the security approach toward labor and union activists, Abdi went on hunger strike on April 30.
According to Abdi’s relatives, he has been suffering kidney pain and irregular blood pressure, as well as significant weight loss.
“Abdi’s health condition is not good at all. He has been admitted to the emergency ward at Imam Khomeini hospital as of noon last Saturday. He is in an poor physical condition and feeling very weak. They have medically tested him, but we want him to be admitted to an ordinary ward of the hospital to continue his hunger strike there,” Abdi’s wife, Monir, said in an interview with Radio Farda.
“If the prosecutor is going to grant him a furlough, he should do it as soon as possible since Abdi has promised to end his hunger strike if his furlough is approved,” she said. “Otherwise, he will continue. (On June 6,) we are going to relay his demands to Tehran’s Attorney General office.”
Other sources close to the confined teachers’ rights activist have also reported his health condition is deteriorating fast after more than 30 consecutive days of hunger strike.
Abdi has also demanded to be tried in an ordinary civil court rather than a special security one. Prison authorities have so far not responded to his hunger strike or demands.
“The judiciary and security authorities are responsible for Abdi’s life,” said his lawyer, Amir Salar Davoodi.
The Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, for which Abdi was secretary-general, also declared that “Abdi’s life is in danger.”
“The negligence of judicial and security officials toward Abdi’s condition is against Iran’s public security and interests,” the association asserted.
Meanwhile, in a statement addressed to President Hassan Rouhani, the association has called him to look into the lawsuits against incarcerated Iranian teachers and end the “security approach” toward union activists.
Other teacher unions from different cities, such as Iran’s Free Labor Syndicate and Vahed Bus Drivers Union of Tehran and Suburbs -- as well as Canada’s teachers’ union -- have also demanded Abdi’s immediate release.
Abdi is accused of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and “assembly, intended to disrupt public order.” He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a preliminary court, but a higher court reduced the term to six years.