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Sunday 22 April 2012

Source: Prominent Iranian translator on hunger strike

(CNN) -- A prominent Iranian literary translator imprisoned since January on unknown charges is now on a hunger strike, and relatives say he sounds weak and fragile, a source close to his family said Sunday .
Mohammad Soleimani Nia is refusing solid food and is only drinking salted and sugared water as a way to protest his imprisonment without charge, the source said .
Soleimani Nia was detained in early January for unknown reasons and was being held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison, notorious for its harsh conditions, the source said .
He was moved last Wednesday to a general section of the prison, but Soleimani Nia said that was so he would feel pressure to stop the hunger strike, according to the source .
Soleimani Nia is allowed to call home each week, but was told by authorities that he could not talk about his condition or the situation in prison, the source said. His family is allowed to see him on Mondays .
According to the source, the last time Soleimani Nia spoke to his family, he sounded really weak and fragile, but was not allowed to talk about his health .
The source says his family has gone to court several times a month to find out what charges have been filed against him, but they were ignored and not given any answers .
After Soleimani Nia's detention in January, his family expressed concern for his health, saying he is not a strong person physically. The source described him as a "gentle, polite person" .
Firoozeh Dumas, an Iranian-American author whose best-selling book "Funny in Farsi" Soleimani Nia translated for the Iranian audience, described her friend as "a very gentle soul" .
"He's a very innocent, very delicate man," Dumas said in January, adding, "I don't think he would physically survive" the harsh conditions of prison" .

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