October 3, 2021
The health of political prisoner Soheila Hejab who has been on hunger strike at the notorious Qarchak Prison for women since September 19 has worsened.
A pro-monarchy and anti-hijab activist, Sohelia Hejab passed out twice as she staged a sit-in in a corridor at Qarchak women’s prison, former hunger striker Arash Sadeghi tweeted Saturday evening.
Sadeghi wrote that Hejab, a 30-year-old law graduate who has been on hunger strike since September 19, was wearing a shroud to symbolize her readiness to die.
A member of the royalist group, Constitutional Party of Iran banned by the Islamic Republic, Hejab is protesting against the treatment of political prisoners. Hejab was sentenced to 18 years in July 2020 for “propaganda against the regime”, “forming a women’s rights group” and “calling for a referendum to change the Constitution”, by notorious judge Mohammad Moghiseh. In May 2020 she was arrested again by Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization and was taken to Qarchak Prison for women in the south of the capital to serve her sentence.
On Friday the United States-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that Hejab’s blood pressure had dropped, and that her stomach “would not even hold water.”
“Her family are seriously worried due to [her hunger strike] and her kidney problems,” HRANA wrote. HRANA said prison authorities had on the orders of a judge refused to allow her to receive treatment in a hospital outside the prison.
In a voice message from prison in May 2020 Hejab accused Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) intelligence officers who arrested her of brutality. She said that she had been held by her hair, dragged along the ground, and kicked.
She also said her interrogators from IRGC intelligence at Qarchak threatened to have her killed by dangerous criminals in the jail. She has written a number of letters from prison in which she has defended her political beliefs and criticized the Iranian authorities including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hejab was first arrested in Shiraz in January 2018 on charges of assembly, collusion and propaganda against the regime. After five months at Adel-Abad Prison of Shiraz, Hejab who hails from a Kurdish family from Kermanshah was pardoned and freed.She was violently arrested again in June 2019 by IRGC intelligence, taken to Evin prison, and later released on a large bail.
Qarchak prison, also called Shahr-e Rey prison, is a prison for women located in Varamin 30 km south east of Tehran. Other prisoners such as Sepideh Gholian (Qolian), who recently gave a detailed account of mistreatment of women in Bushehr jail in southern Iran, rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Australian-British academic Kylie-Moore-Gilbert have described conditions at Qarchak as worse than Evin prison where political prisoners are often held.