Middle East

Iranians march on jail to demand Arash Sadeghi's release

Protesters outside Evin Prison Image copyright NOORIZAD
Image caption Supporters rallied to demand the release of Arash Sadeghi

Hundreds of people have marched on Tehran's Evin Prison to demand the release of a student activist who has been on hunger strike for 71 days.

Arash Sadeghi is serving a 19-year prison sentence in Iran for alleged conspiracy and propaganda against the state, but denies the allegations.

He began his protest after his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, was jailed for writing a story about stoning.

Mr Sadeghi is one of eight prisoners said to be on hunger strike in Iran.

Concerns over his health have increased in recent days and on Friday he was the subject of an international Twitter campaign under the hashtag #SaveArash.

The campaign received support from hundreds of users and became a trending topic on the social media site worldwide even though the platform is banned in Iran.

Image copyright Twitter/@halVlid
Image caption The Twitter campaign on Friday saw #SaveArash trend worldwide

Mr Sadeghi has claimed that Ms Ebrahimi Iraee's six-year prison sentence was handed to her by the authorities to further punish him.

She was jailed last year on the basis of an unpublished story she had written about the stoning to death of a woman accused of adultery.

Amnesty International called the conviction "ludicrous" and the trial "farcical".

Both husband and wife were arrested by men believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guard on 6 September 2014. Authorities found the story, written in a private diary, at their home.

Mr Sadeghi's mother, who was also home at the time, reportedly suffered a stroke and later died.

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