Hamid Baqai, a deputy of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly been on hunger strike in prison for a number of weeks. Photos have emerged on social media of Baqai looking extremely gaunt and emaciated.
Media outlets close to Ahmadinejad, who held office in Tehran from 2005 to 2013, published the pictures on Saturday.
Baqai was granted six days of leave from Tehran’s Evin Prison to seek medical treatment, but returned to jail on Saturday after authorities refused to extend his leave. Mehran Abbulahpour, Baqai’s lawyer, told Iranian media his client is poor health as a result of his hunger strike.
On March 28, Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asking for the release of Baqai.
“You are aware of the details of treating Hamid Baqai … you know that he is not guilty and has done no illegal financial activity,” the letter read.
Baqai was vice president for executive affairs during Ahmadinejad’s second term. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in December 2017 after being found guilty of misappropriation of public funds and collusion in government transactions.
He was accused of intercepting $3 million sent by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to African leaders.
In response to the allegations at the time, Baqai wrote an open letter to Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) extraterritorial Quds Force.
“There has been no financial cooperation between me and the IRGC … this false allegation [also] puts you and the origination under you command in question since based on this allegation you have given pubic money to people without legal procedure,” Baqai wrote.
Several of Ahmadinejad’s senior aides have been arrested on charges of corruption since 2015. In January 2015, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Ahmadinejad’s vice president from 2009 to 2013, was jailed for five years in connection with a money laundering.
Source » rudaw