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Rights Group Blames Iranian Officials For Journalist's Death

Iranian political activist Hoda Saber who died after a 10-day hunger strike on June 12
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) says it holds the Iranian judiciary and prison officials responsible for the death of journalist and rights activist Hoda Saber, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Saber, who had been held since July in Tehran's Evin prison, reportedly died of a heart attack on June 10 while on a hunger strike he started on June 2. The strike was in protest at the death of women's rights activist Haleh Sahabi, who died during a scuffle with security forces at her father's funeral on June 1.

ICHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi told Radio Farda on June 14 that the prison officials deliberately refused to take Saber to the hospital until six hours after his heart attack, and the delay led to his death.

Ghaemi also cited a letter by Saber's fellow inmates, who say he was severely beaten by prison guards before being transferred to the hospital.

"What is shocking is how prison officials are ordered by the Islamic Republic authorities to avoid providing prisoners with immediate medical treatment," Ghaemi said.

"What happened to Hoda Saber was an example of a murder disguised as a natural death," Ghaemi added. "Iran's leaders use every possible means to get rid of dissidents and activists."

Ghaemi also noted that it is shocking how prison workers are allowed to beat prisoners.

He cited the case of jailed journalist Massoud Bastani, who was recently beaten in front of his family.

The prison guard allegedly responsible for the beating has not been punished.