Hunger striker starting to suffer in third week of US Embassy protest

21 08 2009

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

By Mary McConnell

AN IRANIAN man on hunger strike
outside the US embassy has now gone 22 days without food.

Jayanshah Jayanshahi, 51, pictured, from New Southgate, is one of ten people camped outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square in Mayfair protesting at the treatment of a group of Iranian refugees in Iraq.

The group managed to get an audience with MPs and peers to appeal for help.
The refugees, all members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, a group that opposes the Iranian regime, say the Iraqi forces abducted 36 people from Ashraf during a massacre at the camp on July 28.

During the US occupation of Iraq the
people of Ashraf were given protection by American troops but in January they removed the safety net. During the violence 12 people were said to have been killed and 500 were wounded.

After three weeks without food the
protesters’ fat stores will have been used up and their bodies will begin to eat their own internal organs. But they have vowed to continue the strike until the US government resume protection of Ashraf and the 36 detainees are released by Iraqi police officers.

A spokeswoman for the group on strike said: “There were originally nine striking, but another person joined the protest eight days ago. Two more people had to go to hospital last week but have since returned.

“Their health is not fantastic and they are all feeling weak. Jayanshah is putting on a brave face. He says he is OK, but I guess he is more concerned about the plight of the people in Ashraf than he is about his own health. It is a selfless thing they are doing.”

On Monday a meeting took place between three of those on hunger strike and
supporters including Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, a Liberal Democrat peer, in order to raise awareness of the strikers’ cause.

He said: “I have followed what has been happening in Camp Ashraf in recent weeks with mounting shock and a degree of despair. At the time of the events there were American troops in Camp Ashraf who did nothing whatsoever. The level of protest by western governments and international organisations has been low and the effect of the protests has been almost zero.”


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