Iran: Two Bloggers and Student Leader on Hunger Strike in Prison

This poster appears on many blogs. It says Majid Tavakoli is brave in the fight against despotism.

Two bloggers and one leading student activist – deprived of their pen and blogs in an Iranian prison – are now using a hunger strike to protest prison conditions and defend their rights.

The student is Majid Tavakoli, a leading human rights activist, and the two bloggers are Hussein Ronagh Melki, and Koohyar Godarzi.

Hussein Rongah Melki (also known as “Babak Khoramdin”) was one of the key cyberactivists behind Iran Proxy against web filtering. He used to blog about [fa] about human rights and civil society.

When Tavakoli was arrested in December, he was photographed in women's clothing by the authorities as an attempt to humiliate him. As an expression of support, countless Iranians photographed themselves dressed in hijab and replaced their Facebook profile photos.

The last post in Kouhyar Godarzi's blog in April 2008 calls on readers to help stop an execution.

After the contested Iranian presidential election in June last year, the Iranian government quelled protests and arrested hundreds of political and civil society leaders, including human rights activists, bloggers and journalists.

Majid and Hussein began their hunger strikes on May 23 from solitary confinement. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, news of Majid Tavakoli's hunger strike has caused human rights activists and intellectuals in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, to announce their own solidarity hunger-strikes.

Iranian blogger Sight writes [Fa]:

Stop your hunger strike Majid. I am not deserving of you to sacrifice your life for me. If you would not be here, I do not want the Spring. Stay with us Majid, stay.

Marjan Tehran writes [Fa]:

Majid should not be forgotten. From the moment he came to the university until he was arrested, he struggled {for freedom] now it's his friends and campaigners’ turn to do their best and not to forget him.

Iranian authorities have jailed several bloggers in recent years, including Hossien Derakhshan who also still remains in prison.

Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, a 29-year old Iranian blogger and journalist died in Evin Prison in Tehran on March 18, 2009.

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