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Detained Iranian Journalist On Hunger Strike


TEHRAN (Reuters) -- An Iranian journalist and political activist detained after the Islamic republic's disputed election in June has gone on hunger strike, a reformist website has reported.

Norouz website said Hengameh Shahidi, who worked for the "Etemad-e Melli" newspaper of pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karrubi, started her action in Tehran's Evin jail on October 27.

"She is suffering from heart disease and severe depression," it said, giving no source.

Norouz said Shahidi, a women's rights activist who advised Karrubi in the June 12 presidential election, had been detained for several months. Etemad-e Melli was shut down by the authorities in August.

Thousands of people were arrested after the June election, which sparked huge street protests and plunged Iran into political turmoil.

The moderate opposition says the poll was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's reelection. The authorities deny it. Karrubi came fourth in the vote.

Most of the detainees have since been released, but more than 100 senior reformers, activists, journalists, and others have been put on trial accused of fomenting street unrest. The opposition has denounced the court sessions as "show trials."

The authorities have portrayed the post-election street demonstrations, which were quelled by the elite Revolutionary Guards and an allied Islamic militia, as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic republic.
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