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Mahsa Amini protests: Iran activist on hunger strike to 'refuse water'

Hossein Ronaghi, now in 'critical condition', will no longer accept water after he was denied release on medical grounds, according to his brother
A person in Cairo looks at a tweet showing an image of the reported assault on Wall Street Journal contributor and Evin prison detainee Hossein Ronaghi by security forces in Iran (AFP)

Jailed Iranian activist Hossein Ronaghi, who is on hunger strike, will begin refusing to drink water after being denied urgent medical leave, his family said on Saturday.

Iranian security forces arrested Ronaghi in September after he spoke out against the bloody crackdown that erupted across Iran that month over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Ronaghi's brother, Hassan, said Hossein was in "critical condition" and risked dying if Iran's prison authorities did not act.

"Hossein said in a call from prison that he's recently had seizures several times," Ronaghi's brother Hassan wrote on Twitter.

"Today, Hossein's [blood] pressure dropped severely, and he lost consciousness... Hossein said he would begin refusing water from tonight."

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"The prison authorities and the prosecutor of Evin are planning to kill Hossein. Whatever happens to Hossein, the judiciary, the Ministry of Intelligence, the prison's organisation, the prosecutor of the Evin Prosecutor's office, and the Leader's House are [all] responsible."

On-air home raid

In September, security agents came to Hossein's home while London-based Iran International was conducting an interview with him.

Footage released by Iran International showed the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal contributor looking visibly anxious but insisting on continuing the interview. 

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The activist managed to slip out via his building's car park and later issued a video message from an undisclosed location.

But his brother said Hossein was detained and beaten by security officers when he went to Tehran's Evin prison to meet with prosecutors on 24 September.

According to rights groups, more than 300 people have been killed in protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody after being arrested over her hijab.

But despite a heavy crackdown, protests have continued, leading to officials calling on the Islamic Republic to reform its policies on women's dress.

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