Saeed Shirzad

Iranian children’s rights activist Saeed Shirzad has begun a hunger strike in prison after being arrested on Tuesday while volunteering for relief efforts in Eastern Azerbaijan.

HRANA reported on Thursday that Shirzad began his hunger strike to protest his arrest and the conditions of his incarceration in Ahar Prison.

Shirzad was arrested along with two other activists, and while the other two were released after a brief detention, Shirzad has been kept in Ahar Prison.

Shirzad was involved in one of the camps that activists set up to deliver aid and relief to Varazaghan, one of the cities devastated by the August 11 earthquake.

The Islamic Republic has been suspicious of independent aid delivery groups, and reports indicate that between 35 and 45 people have been arrested in Eastern Azerbaijan by security forces for their refusal to surrender independent aid collection to state relief delivery officials.

The arrests are reportedly being mainly carried out by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.