Retired Kurdish teacher and civil rights activist Salman Olfati has been on a hunger strike since 24 April in protest at his detention by the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province.

Olfati, 60, was arrested on 12 April by the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC in Gilan-e Gharb, Kermanshah Province, and taken to the military-security organisation’s detention facility in Kermanshah.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that Olfati has only been able to make one phone call to his family since his arrest and continues to be denied access to legal counsel and family visits.

Additionally, the IRGC Intelligence Organisation has blocked access to the Telegram channel “Kherad-Andishan-e Zagros”, which Olfati managed.

According to a source close to Olfati, IRGC interrogators have offered to release him if he signs a written pledge to refrain from political activity, a condition he has refused to accept.

The activist’s family has learned that he went on a hunger strike on 24 April in protest at his “illegal” detention by the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC in Kermanshah, the source added.

At the time of Olfati’s arrest on a street in Gilan-e Gharb on 12 April, IRGC intelligence agents also raided the activist’s family home without a warrant.

Olfati’s detention comes following his public criticism of IRGC and security forces’ threats and pressures to prevent Newroz (also known as Nowruz in Persian) ceremonies, organised by civil rights and cultural activists in Gilan-e Gharb.

This is not the first time Olfati has faced such circumstances. He was previously arrested by security forces on 15 May 2023 and released on bail from Dizel Abad Prison in Kermanshah after several weeks.