The Daily Star
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
TEHRAN: An imprisoned Iranian activist has ended a 70-day hunger strike after officials agreed to temporarily release his wife following a public outcry, Iranian media reported.
Their cause won widespread support on social media and protesters rallied Monday in support of the couple.
Arash Sadeghi, who is serving 15 years in prison on charges of conspiracy, publishing false information and propaganda against the regime, launched the hunger strike in protest at his wife's prison conditions.
Sadeghi's wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, is serving six years for "insulting Islamic sanctities" and "spreading propaganda against the regime".
The couple's lawyer Amir Raeisian said Sadeghi had given up the hunger strike after authorities agreed Tuesday to grant Iraee temporary leave from prison.
"Normally it will be five to six days and extendable," he told news agency ISNA. "Arash Sadeghi will also be transferred to hospital for treatment."
The ILNA news agency reported that Iraee's family secured a deposit of five billion rials ($128,000) for her leave.
Speaking to the judiciary-linked Mizan website, Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi Wednesday confirmed the temporary release and the end to Sadeghi's hunger strike.
He said Iraee could appeal her sentence and noted that under Iranian law, Sadeghi was eligible for release after serving seven and half years.
Sadeghi's hunger strike attracted tremendous attention among social media users and high-ranking reformist officials.
Monday's protest saw dozens marching outside Tehran's notorious Evin prison, where the couple was being held.
The hashtag #SaveArash was among the top trends for a few hours on Twitter this week, even though the site is blocked in Iran.