Jailed Iranian activist Ronaghi hospitalized, ‘life in danger,’ his brother warns

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Iranian authorities on Sunday transferred to hospital a prominent dissident arrested in September as protests swept the country and who is now on hunger strike, his brother said, warning his life is in danger.

Hossein Ronaghi, an outspoken freedom of speech campaigner, is one of dozens of prominent rights activists, journalists and lawyers who have been arrested in the crackdown on protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the morality police.

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Ronaghi was taken to Evin prison after his arrest on September 24. His family says he risks dying due to a kidney condition, and that both his legs have been broken in prison.

He has been on a hunger strike for over 50 days and began refusing water on Saturday to protest the authorities’ denying him medical leave, his brother Hassan had said previously.

On Sunday, his brother said Ronaghi was moved to the Dey general hospital in Tehran.

“Hossein was taken to one of the departments of the Dey hospital,” Hassan Ronaghi wrote Sunday, saying his parents had been prevented from seeing their son. “His life is in danger.”

He accused prosecutors of blocking his release “under false pretences” and of instead seeking “to kill Hossein,” urging people to surround the hospital and help ensure his wellbeing.

Renowned Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, jailed with Ronaghi in Evin, had already expressed concern for his life, warning he could suffer a heart attack at any moment.

“According to the prison doctors, the risk of cardiac arrest is now very high,” they said in a letter published by the Iran Wire news site.

“There is a possibility at any moment of the heartbreaking repeat” of the death in custody of a political prisoner, they added.

Ronaghi, 37, a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, has for years been one of the most fearless critics of the Islamic republic still living in the country.

Security forces made a first attempt to arrest him on September 22 while he was giving a live television interview to London-based Iran International television, but he managed to slip out of his apartment, he said at the time.

He came out of hiding two days later but was immediately arrested, along with his lawyers.

Shocking images later emerged of the arrest, with Ronaghi put into a chokehold and hauled away when he presented himself at a prosecutors’ office.

Read more:

Jailed Iran activist Hossein Ronaghi escalates hunger strike: Brother

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