Reports from Iran indicate that teachers' leader Mahmoud Langroudi started a hunger strike last Wednesday along with a number of other political prisoners. In a statement setting out his reasons for the protest, Mr Langroudi says that he will refuse food until he has an open trial in a legal court and asks on what grounds he has been jailed for 14 years.

Mr Langroudi has suffered physical and psychological torture from the regime over the years. His arrest in September last year came at the end of many brave actions by teachers demanding proper funding for education. Thousands struck and protested, despite threats from security forces. Mr Langroudi describes teachers as being 'ashes under the fire' of government policies and says that the protests were organised spontaneously as hundreds of teachers in different towns came together to struggle for education. As a result many activists were arrested including himself.

The day before he was arrested, Mr Langroudi had raised the teachers' demands with a leading member of the government.