Van Bommel demands Dutch support for Iranian hunger strikers

3 October 2008

Van Bommel demands Dutch support for Iranian hunger strikers

Harry van Bommel is urging Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen to summon the Iranian ambassador in relation to a long-lasting hunger strike currently being conducted by dozens of political prisoners in his country. “Verhagen must show that the human rights situation in Iran is something which he takes seriously,” said Van Bommel, the SP's spokesman on international affairs. “This could be achieved by telling the Iranian ambassador that the demands of these primarily political prisoners must be met.”

Since 25th August, in a number of different prisons in Iran, fifty-three political prisoners, amongst whom are three women, have been on hunger strike. They are demanding a fair trail, better living conditions in prison and an end to internal exile, and to torture and executions. The diplomatic world has given little attention to the prisoners' protest. Too little, says Van Bommel. “The Dutch government must show that they really do want to do something about the human rights situation in Iran and therefore about the situation in which these people find themselves. The ambassador in Tehran and the Foreign Minister must get to work on this immediately.”

In July another hunger striker, Akbar Mohammadi, died in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where he was serving a fifteen year sentence to which he had been condemned in 1999 for his part in the organisation of protests against the Islamicist regime in Iran.

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