A group of 44 prisoners of conscience held in the Ershad high security section of Orumiyeh Central Prison began a hunger strike today in protest at the denial of medical care, the rejection by the security services of their requests for conditional release and the installation of surveillance cameras in their rooms and toilets.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that these prisoners started their hunger strike after a meeting with the head of the section.

In response, the prison official, Soltani, threatened them, saying that if the hunger strike continues, all the prisoners will be transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention centre in cooperation with the ministry’s office in Orumiyeh Central Prison.

The Ershad high security section was created in 2021 with the specific aim of isolating political and religious prisoners.

On 10 January 2023, 45 political and religious prisoners held in Dormitory 10 (Hedayat) were severely beaten by prison guards and transferred to Ershad High Security Section.

This section consists of four rooms where all contact with the rest of the prison has been cut off.

In addition, CCTV cameras were installed in all the rooms and toilets in this section, leading to widespread protests by the inmates.

Located outside the main prison building, political prisoners in this section do not have access to the prison infirmary and the prison doctor regularly visits the section to examine sick prisoners.

In addition, prisoners suffering from various medical conditions are denied transfer to medical centres or access to specialised medical services.

Prisoners in this section have been deprived of their right to leave and conditional release due to opposition from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organisation.