Former president urges political prisoners to end hunger strike
Former president and opposition leader Mohammad Khatami urged Iranian political prisoners to end their hunger strike, opposition websites, reported Sunday.
At least 19 political prisoners were reportedly refusing food to protest the suspicious deaths earlier this month of two dissidents, DPA reported.
"What is important is that this hunger strike immediately comes to an end as the only important thing is the health of our political prisoners," Khatami said in a statement carried by several opposition websites.
Haleh Sahabi, 57, died during her father's funeral, when she reportedly fell to the ground after police tried to forcefully disperse the crowd and then had a stroke in the middle of the scuffle.
The 54-year-old Reza Hoda Saber went on hunger strike after Sahabi's death for 10 days but reportedly had a fatal heart attack.
Opposition websites reported that 12 prisoners in Tehran's Evin prison have been threatened by prison officials with extended terms if they did not end their hunger strike.
"If the officials still hear our voices, then we sincerely ask them to at least once, only once, talk to the protesters for settling the problems," Khatami said.
Scores of dissidents and former reformist officials were arrested after protests against alleged fraud in the 2009 presidential election in 2009 which led to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Former top officials such as Khatami, ex-president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, and former prime minister Mir Hossein Mussavi and parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi were pushed into the opposition and virtually ousted from official political circles.