Hashem Khashtar, born on 2nd of June 1953 in Birjand (North East Iran), is the representative of the Iranian teachers Association in Khorassan Razavi province (North-East Iran) and a political prisoner in Iran. He received his agricultural engineering degree in 1977 and started teaching afterwards.
During the last two decades, he has been arrested and charged several times due to his activities for teachers’ rights and participating in peaceful protests. His first arrest was during a nationwide teachers’ strike in 2004 where he was sentenced to two years imprisonment. He was arrested again in 2009 and charged with “act against national security” by the court for participating in protests. He spent two more years in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad without receiving any furlough.
After finishing his time in 2011, he continued advocating for teachers’ rights. He wrote several open letters to the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and demanded him to resign and let the people of Iran to enjoy their rights and freedom. In one of his letters he wrote “the root of the corruption and all the problems is Ali Khamenei”.
Because of these activities, he was abducted by the security forces in Mashhad in 2018 and his whereabout was unknown for couple of weeks. Finally, his wife disclosed that he had been kept in a psychiatric hospital in Mashhad, tied to a medical bed by handcuffs and shackles, and had been under psychological torture. She stated that her husband has started a hunger strike.
After this discovery, he transferred to the Vakilabad prison while there were no official charges issued against him. In early 2020, he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and three years exile for his activities. He will be 86 by the time he released from prison.