Thirty-five Iranian prisoners on death row in Qezel Hessar Prison were transferred on Sunday December 7 to solitary confinement in Rejai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that some prisoners have said the transfer could be a step toward their execution.

Ward 2 prisoners in Qezel Hessar have been on a hunger strike since last week to protest the sudden rise in the number of executions in recent weeks. The prisoners were threatened by prison authorities with a further rise in executions if they didn’t end their strike.

There are 3,000 prisoners in Ward 2 of Qezel Hessar sentenced for drug charges and 1,000 of them are sentenced to death.

Last fall, a hunger strike by prisoners forced the authorities to halt executions for about six months.

According to Iranian penal law, the transportation or possession of a certain amount of drugs carries the death penalty.