A devoted Christian convert from Islam, who Iran authorities arrested in 2013 because of her religion, went on hunger strike to protest the maltreatment she is getting from officials of Evin prison facility.
Maryam Naghash Zargaran, 36, is required for a regular medical care after undergoing heart surgery in 2010, but authorities turned a blind eye of her condition.
"Since May 25 Maryam hasn't left her bed. She is burning with fever and has been on hunger strike to raise her protest against prison authorities' indifference toward her health," a member of her family told Mohabat News.
A prisoner is entitled to a temporary release or leave for reason of essential health care, but Zargaran has been deprived of this privilege.
She was arrested in January 2013, and was sentenced to four years in prison for "propagating against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security".
But her friend and former colleague Pastor Saeed Abedini said authorities dislike Zargaran after she abandoned Islam, and of her being active in organizing church activities.
Abedini, a former Muslim, said he was a victim of persecution, adding the government arrested him more than once without legal basis or charges.
"Every time I got arrested, some people around me left for fear. But Zargaran was the only one who stayed even until I was put in Evin prison. This woman never gave up or chose fear and doubt. She stayed with us in Saeed Ministries until prison broke apart our ministry." Abedini said.
"She was the first underground female leader and one of the five leaders who helped us start churches before I became a pastor," he added.
Before going on hunger strike Zargaran had lost 25 kg, and her health continues to deteriorate, compounded by depression.
It's reported that her fellow prisoners showed solidarity with her by not accepting visitors even members of their family.