The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has expressed grave concern for the lives of 12 political prisoners on hunger strike in Iran’s Evin Prison.

Campaign spokesman Hadi Ghaemi said: “Iranian officials at the highest level, from Ayatollah Khamenei on down, are responsible for the health and safety of these hunger strikers.”

The 12 political prisoners at Evin Prison started a hunger strike last Saturday to protest the deaths of Reza Hoda Saber and Haleh Sahabi.

Sahabi, a Nationalist-Religious activist imprisoned during the election protests of 2009, died during a raid on her father’s funeral by Iranian security forces. She had been given a temporary leave to attend the funeral.

Saber, another jailed Nationalist-Religious activist, died following a massive heart attack, 10 days into his hunger strike in protest of what he called the “murder of Haleh Sahabi.” Sixty-four of his fellow inmates issued statement saying he was beaten on the eighth day of his strike at the prison infirmary, and his family accuses the prison authorities of failing to provide him with timely medical care.

Hadi Ghaemi added: “These concerns are legitimate, and authorities should launch a credible investigation into the deaths of Saber and Sahabi to ensure that culprits are held accountable.”

The Islamic Association of Iranian Physicians, along with senior Shiite cleric Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani and several court attorneys, have all urged the prisoners to end their strike.

Yesterday, Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi said the actions of Iranian authorities reveal their “intent to destroy” political prisoners.

Ardeshir AmirArjmand, a top aide to opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, said the Islamic Republic government is directly responsible for any incident that occurs in connection with the prisoners. He warned: “The authorities can no longer use flimsy excuses to explain their actions or any similar recurrence of what happened to Hoda Saber.”