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Iranian dissidents have announced a hunger strike to end the executions of activists after the death of 23-year-old protester Mohammad Ghobadlou. 

“This is an act of solidarity with 61 female political prisoners in Iran,” Iranian-American journalist and activist Masih Alinejad announced in a post on social media platform X. 

“Miles away from Iran—this is a very emotional experience,” Alinejad wrote. “I feel close to my fellow Iranian women who are leading the campaign against unjust executions in my home country.”

“These brave women have been tortured and endured sexual harassment in prison, yet they still choose to send a message to the rest of the world: We are united against this murderous regime,” she added. 

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Dozens of women at the Evin Prison in Tehran announced on Thursday that they would go on a hunger strike and demanded an end to the executions.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi announced the strike, and it quickly gained international support from journalists, lawyers, former prisoners, artists and other Iranian groups in the global diaspora, Radio Free Europe reported. 

Protest in Iran

In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, Iranians protests the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File) (The Associated Press)

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“The news of the execution of Iranian youth has sparked a wave of anger and protest in society,” political prisoners at the Iranian prison said of their protests, ABC News reported. 

The protesters said that the move aims to “keep the names of the executed alive” and hopes to save hundreds of individuals awaiting similar executions in prisons across the country. 

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Protestors light fire in middle of the street during Mahsa Amini protests

Iranians protest 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, September 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

Police arrested Ghobadlou on charges of allegedly killing a policeman during the 2022 protests. The Iranian Supreme Court in the summer of 2023 overruled a death sentence for Ghobadlou, who suffered from bipolar disorder, and ordered a retrial that never happened. Ghobadlou had remained under psychiatric observation since he was 15, and he had allegedly stopped taking his medication ahead of the incident, Barron’s reported. 

Amir Raisian, Ghobadlou’s lawyer, said on X that he had learned of his client’s execution only the night before it happened – merely 12 hours’ notice. He issued a blistering condemnation for the execution, calling it a “murder” and insisting that the authorities lacked “any legal basis” for it. 

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Iran has executed at least seven other protesters for alleged crimes related to the 2022 protests, which broke out in response to the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died from alleged police brutality due to her seeming breach of the country’s headscarf laws. 

Some foreign-based Iranian human rights groups have claimed that Iran executed more than 700 prisoners last year, with at least 11 more at “imminent risk” of execution, according to watchdog group Human Rights Watch. The group noted that most of the “at risk” prisoners are of Kurdish ethnicity, just as was Amini. 

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