Rasoul Hardani; an Ahwazi Arab prisoner suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), who is currently serving a 22-year sentence in Rajaee Shahr prison in Tehran, began a hunger strike today (Saturday July 2nd) in protest at his prolonged imprisonment and the intolerable conditions in the prison, which are reportedly further damaging his already poor health, according to human rights activists.
Hardani accused the judicial authorities of deliberately and illegitimately extending his incarceration, despite his numerous appeals to the judicial authorities. The primary charge against him is being a brother of Khaled Hardani, who was involved in an attempt to hijack an Iranian domestic plane on a flight between Ahwaz and Bandar Abbas in 2000. Rasoul is also accused of assisting his brother to escape to a neighbouring country. His lawyer, Alizadeh Tabatabaee, has called on the judicial authorities to release Rasoul from the prison as his client’s heath condition is constantly deteriorating due to his MS and the poor conditions there.
Rasoul Hardani was 17 years old when his brother Khaled and their cousins Shahram Pour Mansouri and Farhang Pour Mansouri tried to hijack an Iranian airplane to escape to Dubai. They justified their action as a desperate effort to flee the grinding poverty and marginalisation caused by the regime’s systematic apartheid-style policies against the peoples of Ahwaz, which trap the people there under relentless oppression.