A KU student’s cousins have gone on hunger strike after being banned from contacting their families while they await the death penalty in Iran.
Kamil Alboshoka’s two cousins, Jabber and Mokhtar, along with his three friends Mohammed Amouri, Hashem Shabani and Hadi Rashedi have been on hunger strike at Karoon Prison in Ahwaz, south-west Iran since Saturday March 2.
Mr Alboshoka said: “The authorities don’t allow them to visit a doctor. It’s too difficult, I want to help them but I don’t know how.”
The men were sentenced to death on January 9 this year and their physical condition has rapidly deteriorated ever since.
The River reported last month that the men were arrested on charges including “enmity against God”, “corruption on earth” and spreading propaganda against the system.
Second class citizens in their own land
The five men protested against the government after literature denouncing Ahwazi Arabs as second class citizens in their own land was released.
Mr Alboshoka was tortured by Iranian authorities himself after attending a protest in 2005 and Mr Rashedi has both a heart and liver condition but has had no access to a doctor since his arrest in 2011.
The KU student said: “His [Hadi Rasedi] leg was broken under torture. He had a doctor’s appointment every two weeks before his arrest but now he has no doctor.”
Mr Alboshoka attended a protest on March 8 this year outside the EU Parliament in Brussels.
A chance to live
Mr Alboshoka said that the atmosphere and level of support gave him hope that his cousins could be saved from the death penalty.
He said: “All of us shared our enthusiasm. I personally was happy and I felt my hopes rise up to save my cousins and best friends.”
Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace laureate, has issued a statement in support of Mr Alboshoka’s campaign to free his cousins and friends. It states that they were subjected to severe torture and that any confessions made in these conditions cannot be used when it comes to sentencing.
Mr Alboshoka said: “She’s popular in the world and she has been very helpful. She asked the Iranian authorities to stop the death penalty. We need the media and human rights organisations to spread the word.”
He went 16 days without sleep as he contacted various media corporations to make the public aware of what was happening and he hopes that more people will start to contact that Iranian government in order to stop the death penalty as a result.