Farhad Meysami, MD, is a 48-year-old Iranian physician, teacher, author, and peace activist who was arrested in his personal library on July 31, 2018 by Iranian security forces, because he was carrying pin-back buttons reading "I do not agree with the compulsory hijab.” He was jailed, transferred to solitary confinement and charged with collusion and conspiracy to threaten national security. He was even deprived of access to an independent lawyer. Earlier this year, the Iranian judiciary released a list of 20 state-approved lawyers who would comprise the exclusive representatives for detainees held on political and national security charges. Farhad initiated a hunger strike on August 1, 2018, in protest of unjustified accusations, unfair trial process, and violations of human dignity. He demanded a fair trial (not just for him, but for every one of his fellow citizens)that would allow access to independent lawyers at all stages of judicial proceedings, and adequate opportunity for a meaningful defense in a public court with independent media present.
As of today (December 7, 2018), Farhad is still imprisoned and on hunger strike. He has lost a substantial amount of weight – from 78 kilograms (172 pounds) upon arrest to approximately 40 kilogram (88 pounds) as of mid November 2018, which for his height of 182 centimeters (6 feet) corresponds with an imminently life-threatening body mass index of 12. Farhad also suffers from underlying ulcerative colitis, which could only have worsened in his present circumstances.
Unfortunately, numerous attempts to request that Iranian officials at least transfer him to a hospital for treatment of his critical health condition have been ineffective. It is extremely tragic and worrisome that Farhad is at serious risk of death in prison as he struggles to endure such a lengthy hunger strike.
Please join us in urgently calling on Iranian officials for the immediate release of Dr Farhad Meysami. Farhad is an asset not just for the Iranian community, but for all of human society. Farhad’s endless dedication to non-violence and peace is a true living example of an invaluable quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”
Please help save the life of Dr Farhad Meysami who has so selflessly sacrificed his health for all his fellow citizens to defend human rights and promote a culture of non-violent resistance. At the same time, we need to raise our serious concerns about all other human rights defenders and civil rights activists who have been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their rights through civil non-violent actions.
For more information, please check out the following links:
Iran: Critically ill prisoner of conscience coerced to end hunger strike. Amnesty International. 24 October 2018.
Iran must protect women’s rights advocates – UN experts. United Nations Human Rights. 29 November 2018.
Iran must free Farhad Meysami, a nonviolent fighter for human rights. The Washington Post. 5 December 2018.