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France 'Dismayed' By Death Of Jailed Iranian Activist


Vahid Sayadi Nasiri died after a hunger strike in Qom prison on December 12.

France has called on the Iranian authorities to "shed all light" on the circumstances of the death of an activist jailed for his messages on social media.

The Foreign Ministry said on December 17 said it was "dismayed to learn of the death in detention" of Vahid Sayadi Nasiri, saying the activist had been "imprisoned for his political activity."

Nasiri's sister, Elaheh, told RFE/RL that the Iranian authorities had informed the family that the activist had died in a hospital in the city of Qom on December 12 after spending 50 days on hunger strike.

She said her brother went on hunger strike to protest against the conditions of his imprisonment and to demand his transfer from a high-security unit of a prison in Qom to Tehran's Evin prison.

However, the chief prosecutor of Qom Province, Mehdi Kahe, said Nasiri died in hospital of liver disease, according to official news agency IRNA.

It said he had been in prison for "blasphemy," without giving details.

Nasiri was initially arrested in September 2015 and sentenced to eight years in prison for "insulting" Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and "propaganda against the state," according to the U.S.-based advocacy group Iran Human Rights Monitor.

The charges stemmed from posts he had made on his Facebook page.

Nasiri was released early in March after serving 2 1/2 years in prison, but was arrested again in August, reportedly on similar charges.

In its statement, the French Foreign Ministry urged Iran to "abide by its political commitments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

It also pointed out that the death of Nasiri came at a time of "increasing harassment of human rights activists" in Iran.

On December 13, the United States condemned Tehran for the "unconscionable" death of Nasiri, saying he was "just one of many more unjustly detained prisoners held at the mercy of the Iranian regime's whims."

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