Six Sunni prisoners of conscience in Ghezel Hesar prison in Iran have been on hunger strike for 36 days in protest against their death sentence. Their health is deteriorating.
The men were examined by the prison doctor on Sunday, December 9, 2013. "The prison doctor examined the prisoners and took their vital signs," a source told the HRA News Agency.
"In his report to the judicial authorities and the courts, he declared that they are in a critical condition, and that some of them are on the verge of developing kidney and intestinal infections," he said.
Two of the men, Hamed Ahmadi and Jamshed Dehghani, have collapsed several times and have been vomiting blood.
The six men have low blood pressure, and prison doctors have said that they are in need of intravenous therapy. The men have refused the treatment, and have refused to end their hunger strike.
Fears for the health of the hunger strikers is growing. "At every moment we may receive bad news from the prison," a source said.
The prison authorities are using a variety of techniques to pressure the men into ending their hunger-strike. Last week, prison officials forced the hunger-strikers to stand outside for three hours in freezing conditions.
According to reports, on December 6, 2013, the men had gone to use the outdoor prison phone. Prison guards held the men outside for hours before allowing them back into the building.
Prison guards are also attempting to isolate the men, and 'normal' prisoners have been warned not to communicate or interact with the hunger-strikers.
According to a letter from the men, a 'normal' prisoner, Korosh Zardooyi, was beaten and hung by his handcuffs in punishment for attempting to help two of the hunger-strikes who had collapsed.
The six prisoners began their hunger strike on November 4, 2013, after being told that they would be transferred to a new ward. There were fears the move was in preparation for their execution.
On November 6, 2013, they were beaten, shackled, and transferred to solitary confinement, where they were held under under intense pressure. According to reports, the men suffered several injuries, and guards broke two of Jamshed Dehghani's fingers.
The men have since been moved to Section 1, Unit 3 of the prison, known as the 'services ward'.
The six men, Hamed Ahmadi, Kamal Molayee, Jamshed Dehghani, Jahangir Dehghani, Syed Hadi Hosseini and Seddigh Mohammadi are said to be in danger of imminent execution.
Their execution was originally scheduled to be carried out in September, 2013, but was postponed for a month by the authorities. The decision was made to delay the execution following a wave of criticism from both the families of the men and the international community.
According to the organization 'Iran Human Rights' (IHR) there is increasing concern that four of the men may be executed 'in the coming days'.