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9 Iranian female prisoners begin hunger strike

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian opposition website says at least nine female political prisoners have begun a hunger strike in protest of snap body searches and abuse by prison guards.

The kaleme.org late Wednesday said the women prisoners started the strike after female guards at Evin prison in northern Tehran carried out unannounced inspections that included body searches, beating and verbal insults of the prisoners.

Internationally renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike in the same prison since last week. She is protesting mistreatment by authorities.

A delegation from the European Union last week cancelled a visit to Tehran after Iranian authorities rejected its request to meet Sotoudeh and dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

The European Parliament awarded the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to both in October.

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