Rooz has conducted an exclusive interview about the latest condition of Kurdish political prisoner Rahim Rash with his son, Souran Rash. Rahim started his hunger strike 26 days ago to protest his arrest. Noting that his father’s condition is “severe,” Souran says, “My father was tortured at the Oroumieh jail and will continue his strike to protest the torture and his continued arrest. He is extremely slim and can’t walk on his own.”
The excerpts of the interview appear below.
Rooz: Mr. Rash, what is the latest news that you have of your father? Is he still on hunger strike?
Souran Rash (Rash): On Sunday two days ago my family visited my father. My father said he is still on strike. In fact he has been on a hunger strike for 26 days now.
Rooz: Where did you visit your father? How was his physical condition?
Rash: My father was transferred a few days ago from the Islamic Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) prison in Oroumieh to the Mahabad general prison, right after his physical condition started deteriorating severely. My family visited my father at the Mahabad general prison. My mother said that my father was extremely slim and in a severe condition. They have transferred my father several times to the prison clinic and administered ivy to him but his condition is such that he can’t stand on his feet on his own and walks with help from other people.
Rooz: Did your father say anything about his charges or his treatment by security agents?
Rash: Verbally they said my father was charged with “acting against national security” and “moharebeh” (enmity with God). My father said during the visit that he was tortured and mistreated at the Oroumieh jail.
Rooz: Was your father tortured when he was on hunger strike?
Rash: Yes! My father went on hunger strike one day after his arrest, and the strike continues to this day. My father was tortured at the IRGC intelligence’ jail in Oroumieh. My father even said that his torture and mistreatment were among the reasons why he was continuing his hunger strike, although we don’t know the details about the torture.
Rooz: Did you ask your father to end his hunger strike?
Rash: During this time, both prison officials and my mother and brother have asked my father to end his strike. My father went on strike right after his arrest, but he became more determined to continue after he was mistreated in jail.
Rooz: Even though his condition is worsening?
Rash: Yes. My father was arrested in 1997 also and held at the Saghez prison. Then too few people believed that my father could go on hunger strike for 36 days. Then too we brought our father home from prison on stretchers. The news coverage was very limited back then because the Internet and the media weren’t as widely used as now. But my father was acquitted and freed. This time too my father insists on continuing his strike until he is released.