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Arash Sadeghi (left) has reportedly been refusing to eat for more than two months to protest the October 24 arrest of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi (right).

Dozens of Iranians have taken part in a rare demonstration outside Tehran's Evin prison to express their support for a jailed activist on hunger strike, Arash Sadeghi.

Sadeghi, a philosophy student who is serving a 15-year prison sentence on security charges, has reportedly been refusing to eat for more than two months to protest the October 24 arrest of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi.

Ebrahimi, a writer and human rights activist, has been jailed over an unpublished fictional story about Iran's controversial practice of stoning.

Amnesty International has called the charges against her "ludicrous" and warned that "she is effectively being punished for using her imagination."

Some reports say that up to 800 citizens marched peacefully near the Evin prison, where Sadeghi is being held, to bring attention to his plight.

Protest gatherings are rare in Iran, where antigovernment demonstrations are usually met with force.

Video and images from the January 2 protest shared on social media show citizens holding pictures of Sadeghi and his wife.

Some are seen raising their hands to show the names of Arash and Golrokh written on their palms. "We Are All Arash" is written on the palms of others. Some have covered their faces.

Sadeghi's supporters have in recent days raised alarm over his health after he went 70 days without food.

Hundreds of Iranians inside and outside the country have called for his release on Twitter under the hashtag #SaveArash.

Sadeghi's sentence for "collusion against national security," "propaganda against the state," "spreading lies in cyberspace," and "insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]" was upheld by an appeals court in March.

Sadeghi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the charges stemmed from his support of students who had been denied education and also for taking part in peaceful human rights gatherings.

Sadeghi's hunger strike has put him in the spotlight and earned him the admiration of many who see him as a symbol of resistance against state repression in the Islamic republic.

Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to release Sadeghi and his wife.

In a January 2 statement, the London-based rights group warned that Iranian authorities were putting Sadeghi's life "at grave risk."

"The authorities are well aware that even a delay of a few hours can mean the difference between life and death for Arash Sadeghi," the statement said.

Arash Sadeghi (left) and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee

An Iranian lawmaker has warned the government that a prominent jailed dissident is in serious condition on a hunger strike and should be released.

Reformist parliamentarian Elias Hazrati wrote to Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani that Arash Sadeghi is in critical condition after going 70 days without food and that his death could result in "serious" political consequences for Iran, the ISNA agency reported on December 31.

Sadeghi began the hunger strike to protest the prosecution of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who was arrested on October 24 for writing a fictional story about a stoning in Iran after a man burns a Koran. The story was never published.

She was convicted of "insulting Islamic sanctities" and spreading propaganda.

"Two prisoners are currently risking their lives in protest of the status quo [in Iran]," wrote Hazrati, who is also a journalist.

Amnesty International called her trial "grossly unfair."

Thousands of Iranians and many reformist lawmakers and activists on social media have called for the two to be released.

Sadeghi was arrested on June 7 for "assembly and collusion against national security."

He later received a 19-year prison sentence for "endangering national security and disseminating propaganda."

Sadeghi has been compared to prominent Northern Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, who died while on a hunger strike in 1981.

Based on reporting by dpa, ISNA, and dailydot.com

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