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Iran: Prisoners Beat Striking Political Prisoners; Zarafshan and Batebi released on Furlough

Source: Radio Farda Newsroom

After the 12 political prisoners in the Evin prisoners' cellblock one ended their 21-day hunger strike, they came under attack of other prisoners, who were angry at them for causing the loss of privileges, jailed student Ahmad Batebi, who along with lawyer Nasser Zarafshan was one of the strikers, and has since been released on furlough, tells Radio Farda.

July 27, 2004 - Using metal clubs, angry prisoners attacked 12 political prisoners after they ended their 21-day strike, beating lawyer Nasser Zarafshan, who headed the strike and others, jailed student Ahmad Batebi, who was one of the political prisoners on hunger strike, and has since has been released on furlough, tells Radio Farda's Stockholm correspondent Elaheh Ravanshad.

"The prisoners were angry that because of the hunger strike of the political prisoners, the entire cellblock had lost privileges, such as phone and open cell doors," Batebi said.

The altercation, which resumed on the next day, was ended with the participation of the prison's special guards.

Batebi adds that after 21 days, and after receiving message from activists outside the jail that the hunger strike has had wide press coverage, the prisoners decided to end their hunger strike on Monday, and Zarafshan ate a simple meal Monday night.

The armed forces judiciary sentenced Zarafshan to five years in jail in 2002, for speaking to press as a lawyer representing families of the victims of the 1998 serial murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry agents. The Islamic revolutionary court sentenced Batebi to eight years, because his picture holding up the bloody tee-shirt of a fellow demonstrator appeared on the cover of the Economist after the 1999 student uprising.

The political prisoners' hunger strike was championed in Sweden by a committee of Iranian exiles, which managed to get Swedish press to cover the statements of their striking students.

... Payvand News - 7/28/04 ... --

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