A United Nations human rights investigator has urged Iran to find a “prompt solution” to a prolonged hunger strike by prisoners protesting their conditions and their unexplained transfer to a high-security section of a prison outside Tehran.
UN special rapporteur Asma Jahangir on August 31 said she was “deeply alarmed” by reports of the deteriorating conditions of about 53 prisoners, including 15 followers of the Baha'i faith.
UN officials said at least 18 of the 53 were known to be on the hunger strike.
The prisoners were abruptly transferred to a high-security section of Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in recent weeks.
Iran’s Shi’ite government considers the Baha’i faith, which was founded in Iran in the 19th century, to be a heretical offshoot of Islam. There are an estimated 300,000 Baha’i in the country today.
"I am deeply alarmed by reports about the deteriorating medical conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike, and that their torture and ill-treatment have continued since their transfer," Jahangir said.
"I urge the government of Iran to look for a prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike through good-faith dialogue about the grievances and underlying human rights violations, ensuring full respect for their dignity and autonomy," Jahangir said.
Amnesty International on August 22 also decried the conditions for what it called "political prisoners."
Iranian officials declined to comment.