The condition of two Sunni political prisoners who are facing execution in Ghezel Hesar prison is rapidly deteriorating. They are suffering from both the effects of their hunger strike and the injuries caused by being harshly beaten and abused by guards whilst in solitary confinement.
"The physical condition of Hamed Ahmadi and Jamshed Dehghani is very worrying," a source told the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), "they have internal bleeding from their stomach."
Five Sunni prisoners awaiting execution in Ghezel Hesar prison have been on hunger strike for over a week, in protest at being transferred from their cells in Section 4, Unit 3 of the prison. There were fears that the move was in preparation for their execution.
The men have been in solitary confinement since Wednesday, and were beaten by prison guards. Despite their injuries, the men have refused offers to be taken to the prison infirmary, fearing abuse from prison guards.
"Five Sunni prisoners are in solitary confinement and are on hunger strike," the source told HRANA, "on a previous occasion when they went to the prison infirmary, whilst returning the guards made them remain naked. They demanded that they do things that we can not even say. It is because of this that [the five men] have decided that from now on they will not go to the infirmary."
A sixth prisoner, Seddigh Mohammadi, was also transferred to solitary confinement with the men. However, he was returned back to Unit 3 after his health deteriorated due to suffering from seizures.
The men are said to be in danger of imminent execution. Their execution was originally scheduled to be carried out on the 26th of 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.
The men were students of knowledge and were active in preaching Sunni Islam within their communities. Actively spreading Sunni Islam can be dangerous in Iran, a Shia-ruled country, where ethnic and religious minorities face discrimination and persecution. Many Sunni scholars and students of knowledge have been imprisoned and even executed, after refusing to stop propagating Sunni Islam.
The men were severely tortured in pre-trial detention, and were forced to sign false confessions. They were physically abused and their families were threatened, in an attempt to make the men accept false charges. Despite the use of 'confessions' obtained through torture, the death sentence for the men has been upheld, and their executions appear to be imminent.