Hunger strike wins men a prison move
THE brother of a Sheffield man sentenced to death in Iran for "disrespecting Allah" has been moved to a different jail following 48 days of hunger strike.
Hiwa Butimar, a Kurdish rights activist, journalist and environmentalist, is being held in Iran alongside fellow journalist Adnan Hassanpour.
The two men, both ethnic Kurds, were condemned to death in July by authorities in Iran's north-western Kurdistan province who claimed they had acted "against the country's national security".
Hiwa's brother Hadi, also known as Martin, lives in Firth Park with his family and has been leading a campaign to save his brother's life.
He said: "Moving jails is one of the things we were fighting for and it's better but it's not everything.
"My family tried to visit him – travelling 100 miles from their home town – but when they got there they were told they could not. The authorities wanted to make a problem out of nothing, which was very disappointing for them."
Martin, a 34-year-old married dad-of-two, says Hiwa has been targeted because the Iranian government regards people who stand up for Kurdish rights as opposing the Islamic state – and therefore opposing God.
Martin, of Ribble Way, has been unable to speak to his brother since he was arrested in December but launched his own campaign of appeal against their death sentences.
Part of his campaign was to get the men moved from the specialist intelligence service prison in Sanandaj to a "normal" institution in the same area – a goal that has now been achieved but only following 48 days of hunger strike by the two men.
He said that he was unsure of where to proceed now but would be discussing the situation with his brother's wife to work out their next step.
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