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U.S. State Department Demands Release Of Iran Activist On Prison Hunger Strike

Civil rights activist Dr. Farhad Meysami. File photo

The U.S. State Department has asked Iran to “immediate release” of Farhad Meysami an activist who was arrested this year for condemning mandatory hijab laws in Iran.

Meysami, who is a medical doctor, was arrested in July and has been on a hunger strike since August 1, demanding his own freedom and the release of other well-known activists detained on vague charges, without standard legal protections.

The State Department tweeted December 7 that “U.S. condemns arbitrary detention of Dr. Farhad Meisami. We are deeply concerned about his rapidly deteriorating health and call on Iranian regime to immediately release him. The people of #Iran deserve a govt that respects their rights, not one that subjects them to slow death.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh, another prominent activist and rights defender and her husband were also arrested in the summer. Sotoudeh has also gone on a hunger strike since late November in support of Meysami, warning that his health is in serious danger.

The anti-hijab movement has gained more traction in Iran this year as many lone women have dared to remove their headscarves in public places as a show of defiance. Some of them have been arrested and prosecuted.