Iranian dissident blogger Hossein Ronaghi’s health has life-threateningly deteriorated because of his hunger strike and other medical conditions at Tehran’s Evin Prison.

In a statement from Evin Prison Saturday, imprisoned filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof warned about serious deterioration of Ronaghi’s health and said he is in danger of having a stroke any minute after fifty days of hunger strike.

Hossein Ronaghi who has been on hunger strike since his arrest on September 24 amid Mahsa Amini protests has refused liquid nourishment and water since Saturday. Ronaghi who was badly beaten in detention by agents who broke both his legs had said he would refuse all food and liquid nourishment if he was arrested again.

In September after protests began, security agents tried to enter Ronaghi’s apartment while he was being interviewed by Iran International TV online. “I think they are here,” he said before the interview ended but he managed to escape. He was arrested violently along with two of his lawyers when he presented himself to the authorities.

The reason he escaped the first arrest was that once plainclothesmen take someone away, they can kill the person, while the authorities can claim no knowledge of the incident. Ronaghi, therefore, decided to officially present himself to the prosecutor at Evin Prison.

His brother Hassan Ronaghi in a tweet Sunday said his brother’s condition has worsened and he has been taken to the prison clinic. The family say he has been denied proper medical care since his arrest despite several serious medical conditions including partial kidney failure, and broken legs.

Ronaghi who was first arrested during the 2009 post-election unrest has been in and out of prison several times. He lost one kidney because of physical abuse and torture, lack of medical treatment, and the effect of several hunger strikes during his previous imprisonments. His remaining kidney is badly damaged too.

Ronaghi previously went on hunger strike three times. -- in June, August, and October 2010 -- in protest to maltreatment and pressures to consent to televised false ‘confessions’ against himself and others. He only ended his hunger strike when his mother also went on a hunger strike that lasted nearly two weeks.

Ronaghi’s father was hospitalized on November 3 when he had a stroke outside Evin while trying to talk to prison authorities about his son’s situation.

Hossein Ronaghi’s parents outside Evin prison

Hassan Ronaghi said Saturday that his brother had seizures several times, but judicial authorities refuse to free him despite medical authorities’ confirmation that he is not fit to serve a prison sentence.

“Prison authorities and the Evin Prosecutor want to kill Hossein,” he wrote, adding that the Supreme Leader’s Office, intelligence ministry and judicial authorities should be held to account if something happens to his brother.

Panahi and Rasoulof warned about Ronaghi’s determination to start refusing liquids and said he could lose his life like prisoner of conscience Behnam Mahjoubi and jailed poet Baktash Abtin both of whom were denied timely medical care and died at Evin Prison in the past ten months. 

In a tweet Saturday, Fakhri Mohtashami, the wife of prominent political prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh who is also serving a sentence at Evin Prison, said her husband had seriously warned about Ronaghi’s condition in a phone call from the prison. Tajzadeh told his wife that Ronaghi is extremely weak, and something had to be done before it got too late.

“Hossein Ronaghi’s health is failing...He has decided to refuse water, sugar and salt. This means danger of death,” former political prisoner Kianoosh Sanjari tweeted Saturday while remembering the loss of his comrade Akbar Mohammadi who died of hunger strike and lack of medical care in 2006 while both were held at Evin Prison. 

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