Two foreign female academics held in Iran go on hunger strike

Two female academics held in Tehran’s Evin Prison called for international solidarity as they announced that they would be denying food and water indefinitely as of Christmas Eve.

Fariba Adelkhah, research director at SciencesPo-Paris, and Australian academic, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, imprisoned in Evin (Tehran) went on unlimited hunger strike on December 24th.

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and Iranian-born French academic Fariba Adelkhah are striking for the freedom of all researchers and political prisoners in Iran who’ve been “unjustly imprisoned on trumped-up charges,” according to their open letter sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) by a source with contacts inside the prison.

Isolated in Evin’s Ward 2-A, which is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and where contact with anyone beyond its walls is severely restricted, the women also asked to be transferred to the regular women’s ward, according to the source who requested anonymity for security reasons.

Like at least 9 other foreign nationals or residents currently jailed in Iran, the women have vehemently denied the espionage charges that they’re contesting in Iran’s secretive revolutionary court system, where trials are often criticized for lack of evidence and not fulfilling fundamental standards of due process.

Open Letter by Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert and Dr. Fariba Adelkhah

To our families, friends and supporters:

On this day 24th December 2019 we will commence a joint hunger strike in the name of academic freedom.

We will strike on behalf of all academics and researchers across Iran and the Middle East, who like us have been unjustly imprisoned on trumped up charges and simply doing their job as researchers.

To date, we have been in the custody of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for an extremely long period, Kylie Moore-Gilbert for over 15 months, and Fariba Adelkhah for over 7 months. We have been subjected to psychological torture and numerous violations of our basic human rights.

We are striking not only to demand our immediate freedom, but to ask for justice for the countless, thousands, unnamed yet not forgotten men and women who have suffered the same fate as ours or worse, and have been imprisoned in Iran, having committed no crime.

This Christmas Eve, we ask you to join us for one day in foregoing food and water to express solidarity with us, while we will continue our strike beyond Christmas.

We hope we will be celebrating with you in more than spirit this time next year.

Thank you for your support.

It means the world to us and gives us the strength to keep fighting.

Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, University of Melbourne (Australia)

Dr. Fariba Adelkhah, Sciences Po (France)