Human Rights In Iran: Not Improving, Deteriorating

Ein Update zur Menschenrechtslage im Iran. Entsprechend den Entwicklungen in letzter Zeit ist es eher lang geraten. Zusammengestellt von Kaveh Taheri.

Although the allegedly moderate President Hassan Rouhani has pledged more freedom in Iran, the country has seen no significant improvements in human rights and Iran remains one of the biggest jailers in the world of journalists, bloggers, social media and civil rights activists. The arbitrary arrests have reached the threshold of insanity and the rate of hundreds of executions will be the highest number of death penalty applications in the world by the end of this year.

Arrests and summons

Mammusta Taha Karimi, a Sunni preacher in the city of Mahabad, was arrested along with his students by Iran’s security forces, HRANA said. These 12 Sunni citizens are detained in Ghareh Bolagh Village of Mahabad, according to the news. Previously, Mr. Karimi was allegedly arrested in 2012 and had been for about 17 months in Rajai Shahr prison.

Fatemeh Mosana, a former prisoner in 80s, was arrested by security forces in October 2015. Formerly, Iran’s Intelligence Service officials had detained Miss Mosana along with her husband on January 29, 2013. They were released from the notorious Evin prison in January of 2014.

Morteza Nematollahi, a Shiite cleric, was arrested by Iranian officials after being summoned by the Special Clerical Court on October 18, 2015. Previously, Seyed Hussein Shirazi, the son of Ayatollah Seyed Sadegh Shirazi, was summoned to the Special Clerical Court to avoid any criticism of the regime of Iran in his annual speech of missionaries’ gathering.

Several civil rights activists including Shahin Mahinfar, Mohammad Noorizad, and Nasrin Sotoodeh along with her husband Reza Khandan were arrested for hours on the eve of the mourning for the death of Sattar Beheshti on October 29, 2015. They were kept in one of the maximum security buildings of Robat Karim County, located 27 km southest of Tehran. Also, reports indicated that officials banned Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, an Iranian democratic activist, to join the official mourning. The arrests had been conducted without any court warrant. Sattar Beheshti was an Iranian blogger who died in early November 2012 several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic on Facebook.

The civil rights activist Shapoor Reshnow’s arrest, who was arrested by security officials after an attack at his house on September 16, was extended, according to HRANA. His wife had a miscarriage as a result of fear and anxiety in the attack.

Ali Faezpoor, who was arrested in front of his house on October 3, 2015 was transferred to Ward 12 of Tabriz prison. Second branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tabriz ordered his arrest for vague charges of “propaganda against the regime of Iran,” according to the news. The labor activist has been frequently summoned and arrested by Iran’s security officials.

A couple, Amin Ihavand and his wife Mozhgan Abbas Bashi, were arrested in front of Bu-Ali Sina University in the city of Hamedan on October 21, 2015. The “Soofi Jam Kahneh” blog which allegedly belonged to them was banned by officials after the arrest. Another Yarsanism member Jahangir Salimi was summoned by Intelligence Service office in Kermanshah on October 21, 2015. He was arrested and kept in jail for several months last year.

Mahtab Mohammadi, an Iranian Cristian Convert from Tehran, was arrested and taken to an unknown location by security officials in October. Previously, her mother and her sister were summoned to the Intelligence Service office.

Mohammad Mahdavifar, a poet from Kashan city, was summoned by the court on vague charges of “composing poetry” named Alefba (Alphabet). Branch 105 of the Criminal Court accused him of “disturbing public opinion”, “insulting the officials” and “propaganda against the regime of Iran”. He was a volunteer soldier as a member of the Basij Resistance Force in Iraq-Iran war in the 80s.

Alireza Shariat Panahi, a former political prisoner, was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location in October. He had been in prison for supporting the MEK in the 80s.

Two former political prisoners Mahmood Azimi and his wife Fatemeh Ziaei, 56, were arrested by security forces in October. Miss. Ziaei had been in prison for five years in the 80s. She was also arrested for vague charges of “traveling to Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war” on January 21, 2009, and kept in prison for about two years. She suffers from MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

Ehsan Mazandarani, the Cheif Executive of Farhikhtegan newspaper, was arrested by security forces on November 2, 2015. Officials had seized his personal belongings, his relatives said. He, a former student of News College and former Etemad journalist, was previously detained on Febrebury 20, 2013 and released on bail from Evin prison after 19 days.

Isa Saharkhiz, an Iranian journalist and political activist, was arrested by IRGC officials during an attack at his house on November 2, 2015. He has been allegedly accused of vague charges of “propaganda against the regime of Iran”, “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” and “assembly and collusion against the regime”, his son Mehdi Saharkhiz confirmed to a rights group. Officials have seized his personal belongings and taken him to an unknown location. Previously, he was reportedly released in 2013.

Two other journalists, Afarin Chitsaz and Saman Safazaei, were also arrested on November 2, 2015.

Hadi Heydari, an Iranian cartoonist and journalist, was arrested by security forces in a raid on his workplace Shahrvand Newspaper office on November 16, 2015.

Alireza Varasteh, was arrested by Iran’s security forces in a peaceful protest to support political prisoners on November 9, 2015. Officials attacked and detained Mr. Varasteh, 23, while he was posting a banner on which was written “Stop Execution of Iranian Youth” on it. He was formerly fired from Tehran University Teacher Training.

Abbas Asgarizadeh, political activist, was arrested by Intelligence Service officials in an attack at his house in November. Officials transferred Mr. Asgarizadeh, 74, to Ward 7 at the Evin prison. He, who has relatives in the MEK , had been reportedly jailed by officials in the 80s.

Saeed Soltani, was arrested by Intelligence Service officials in an attack at his work place and taken to detention in Alamdar Jolfa (Hadishahr) in East Azerbaijan Province on November 11, 2015. Also, Iran’s security officials apprehended another civil rights activist Maghsood Basirpoor in his work place in the city of Malekan of East Azerbaijan, rights groups said. They were reportedly released after being interrogated. Previously, Mr. Soltani was arrested for alleged activities named “ethnic activities” and taken to the Intelligence Service chambers in 2006.

Four civil rights activists Alireza Ameri, the blogger Javad Sayahi, Farid Khaziri and Ali Zargan were detained by Iran’s security force plainclothes and taken to an unknow location after the peaceful demonstration in front of Evin prison on October 10, 2015.

Mohammad Karimi, the civil rights activist and a member of Iran’s National Front, was arrested by security forces nearby his house and taken to jail on October 6, 2015. He, one of the participants in protests in front of Dena Company office, has been reportedly transferred to the public ward of Evin prison. Officials had entered his house without any prior notice and seized his personal belongings under the court warrant.

Molavi Aminollah Dahmardeh, son of Shams al-Din, was arrested by Intelligence Service officials in Zabol city of Sistan and Baluchistan Province on October 6, 2015. He, religious activist and Cheif of the Religious Sciences School, has been transferred to Special Clerical Court in the city of Mashhad. Officials have seized his personal belongings in an attack at his house, Baluch Activists Campaign declared.

Iran’s Intelligence Service indicated that at least ten individuals alleged to be members of terrorist groups were arrested in the provinces of Golestan, Mazandaran, Tehran and Sistan and Baluchistan, according to the governmental news agencies. The Intelligence Service Minister Seyed Mahmood Alavi said during a press conference on November 10, 2015 that we succeed in arresting ten persons in the provinces of Golestan, Mazandaran, Tehran and Sistan and Baluchistan, more than 20 people from terrorist groups crossed the borders of Iraq and Syria into Iran, 14 persons in an attack of a terrorist group in Safi Abad of Dezful.

Hussein Ali-Mohammadi Alvar, who was arrested eight months ago, is kept in the ward amongst criminals in Tabriz prison. He suffers from eyesight disorder. Hussein was formerly detained along with another civil rights activist Seyed Taha Kermani on November 4, 2013, and they were released on bail after spending six months in prison. Branch three of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tabriz had convicted them to ten years in prison for vague charges of “blasphemy” and “firing on public properties”.

The blogger Mohammad-Reza Poorshajari, from Mashhad city, was transferred to Yazd city to serve his remain punishment as “life in exile” when his prison term ended on October 31, 2015, his daughter Mitra Poorshajari said. He, 54, who was arrested by security forces in Urmia in March 2015, was sentenced to a year in prison and life exile by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Karaj. Previously, Mr. Poorshajari had been in Central Karaj prison for four years.

Korosh Zaeim, an Iranian political activist and a member of the Central Council of Iran’s National Front, was summoned by Intelligence Service officials on November 4, 2015. He was allegedly sentenced to a year in prison by Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court chaired by Judge Salavati.

Esmaeil (Zartosht) Ahmadi Ragheb, an Iranian civil rights activist, has been called by Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Shahriar County for his alleged charges, he wrote on his Facebook account. He must be presented for vague charges of “propaganda against the regime” on November 22, 2015. 

Seyed Mansoor Mousavi, an Iranian teacher, was summoned by Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in November. He, a journalist, member of the Cultural Council of the Islamic Iran and co-founder of the Education Experts Community, had been arrested by officials on September 17, 2015, and kept in Ward 2-A Sepah of Evin chaired by IRGC for 20 days.

Meysam Mehrani, an Iranian journalist, was called by Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Karaj on November 14, 2015.

At least 126 citizens including civil and ethnic rights activists, poets, writers and intellectuals have been reportedly apprehended by Iran’s security forces in the provinces of West and East Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Tehran during the middle of November. Officials had allegedly attacked with tear gas pistols, batons and electric shockers and detained the citizens while angered citizens gathered peacefully against the “anti-ethnic” regime policy on governmental TV shows. The citizens had protested against un-ending discrimination on ethnic minorities.

As in the past, dozens of Baha’i citizens have been oppressed and persecuted by the regime for their faith, rights groups said. Recently, the oppression of Baha’i people has been increased as has been ongoing during all the past years. So many Baha'i citizens have been dismissed, included a ten-year-old schoolchild, from universities and schools due to their faith. In the past few days again many Baha'i citizens have been arrested in several cities of Iran. Accordingly, Iran’s Intelligence Service officials arrested at least 16 Baha’i citizens in the cities of Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, 2015.

The names of detainees are as follows:

Tehran: Sahba Fanoosh, Negar Bagheri, Nava Monjazeb, Yavar Haghighat, Navid Aghdasi and Helia Moshtagh.

Isfahan: Keyvan Nik-Aeen, Parvin Nik-Aeen, Yeganeh Agahi, Matin Janamian, Sahab Rouhani and Navid Hemat.

Mashhad: Sanaz Eshaghi, Nika Pakzadan, Farzaneh Daneshgari and Naghmeh Zabihian.

According to the news, Matin Janamian and Sahab Rouhani were allegedly released on November 15, 2015.

Another Baha'i citizen Nakisa Hajipur was arrested by security forces in an attack at her house and taken her to an unknown location on November 15, 2015, Baha’i news agency said.

Iran's security forces reportedly arrested 14 Christian converts citizens in a raid on a house church gathering in Varamin and Tehran on November 1. The attack took place during the Sunday service, Ramin Rad, co-founder of Voice of Christian of Iran, told BCR Group. He added that thirteen of those in attendance were taken in prison by Iran’s Intelligence Service officials, and their current location is unknown. The names of the detainees are: Zari Shah Khasti (Poorkaveh), Simmin, Bahram, Amin, Leyla, Zahra, Mehdi and Farzaneh, Shayan, Sara, Nazanin, Elnaz and Mohammad Shah Khasti.

Dozens of Baluch citizens were arrested by security forces in recent months for vague charges in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Baluch Activists Campaign stated. Accordingly, IRGC officials arrested General Manager of the Alien and Foreign Immigrants of Iranshahr city, ISNA stated. He was accused to receive illegal toll as bribe by licening for foreigners.

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting removed names and pictures of two young actresses Pegah Ahangarani and Baran Kowsari from TV advertising.

 

Judicial sentence

Shahram Ahmadi, 30, a Sunni prisoner of conscience who was arrested on November 29, 2009, was finally sentenced to death by the Appeal Court. The verdict was submitted to his lawyer on October 25, 2015, and referred to Iran’s Supreme Court, BCR Group has learned.

He was sentanced to capital punishment for the vague charges “Moharebeh”, “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime of Iran” at Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court chaired by Judge Mogheyseh on October 12, 2012 [He was tried in a so-called court in 5 minutes]. He, from Sanandaj city, was held in solitary confinement for 33 months in ward 350 of Evin prison in Tehran, before being transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Shahram had been also kept in the prisons of Sanandaj and Zanjan since the arrest. His younger brother, Bahram Ahmadi, was executed in Ghezel Hesar prison along with five other Sunni preachers on 27 December 2012.

Mr. Shahram Ahmadi, a Sunni prisoner, suffers from kidney infections. He has entered into his seventh prison term on April 25, 2015. However, his activities were reportedly linked to cultural-religious affairs such as preaching in public places such as mosques and universities, participating in religious (Sunni) meetings, distributing religious books and CDs, religious holiday’s prayer, funding religious ceremonies and training in seminary courses.

Solmaz Ikdar, an Iranian journalist, was sentenced to three years in prison for vague charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” and “propaganda against the regime” in the Islamic Revolutionary Court chaired by Judge Mogheyseh. Miss. Ikdar was arrested when she decided to travel for education at the airport on June 11, 2015. She was transferred to the infamous Gharchak prison for women in Varamin when she failed to pay the bail (200 million Tomans=66,000 $) and had been there for one night. The Iranian journalist, who has worked for several newspapers, was previously fired from a university and sentenced to six months suspended sentence for vague charges of “propaganda against the regime of Iran” in 2008.

Siavash Alikhani, an activist close to Erfan-E-Halgheh (deviated Halqeh Cult), sentenced to two years suspended sentence on the charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “obtaining illegal property” in Shahrekord city. He was arrested by IRGC officials in March and released on the bail after having days in the solitary confinement. Officials had seized his personal belongings such as cell phone, laptop, books and his handwritings in the attack at his house.

Rahim (Saeed) Jafari, an Iranian civil rights activist from Gonbad Kavoos city, has received a prison sentence along with a fine by Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court according to Campaign to Defend Political and Civil Rights Prisoners in Iran. The court sentenced Mr. Jafari, 23, for vague charges of "propaganda against the regime” and “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran”. Furthermore, he is to be tried in yet another trial at the public criminal branch court for charges of “insulting President Hassan Rouhani” and “spreading false news on the internet” on January 15, 2016.

Execution

Three men and a woman were executed in Central Tabriz prison on November 12, 2015.

A prisoner identified as A.S was executed by hanging for alleged charges of “rape” and “murder” on November 9, 2015. He was 30 and hanged in public in the city of Khoy in West Azerbaijan of Iran, Haraz News stated.

Four prisoners named Kambiz Shahbazi, Iraj Tizmaghz, Mehdi Aflaki and Siroos Cheshmeh were hanged for alleged charges of drug-related crimes in Central Karaj prison on November 8, 2015

Three inmates were hanged for rape in Baft County of Kerman Province on November 10, 2015.

Two prisoners identified as Mohammad Barani, 39, and Mokhtar Khoojmali, 33, were hanged for alleged charges of “possessing drugs” in Central Gorgan prison in November.

Barekat Malek Raeisi, son of Mohammad, was hanged for drug-related crimes in Isfahan prison in November. He, from Minan village of Sarbaz County in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, had been in jail since 2008.

Two prisoners Ghorban Golmohammadi and Hassan Javadi were hanged in Rajai Shahr prison on November 4, 2015. They were executed for “murder” as “retaliation punishment” under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code (Qisas).

Two unknown prisoners were hanged in public for rape in Ali-Abad Katool of Golestan Province in November.

Three prisoners Ali Baz Khosrawi, Mostafa Khosrawi and Ali Baz Noorian were hanged in Adel Abad prison on October 6, 2015. They were sentenced to death penalty for murder as retaliation punishment by the court.

Three prisoners were executed for murder by hanging in Rajai Shahr prison on October 7, 2015.

Mehdi Changzan, 25, was hanged for murder in Bandar Abbas prison on October 8, 2015.

Three inmates were hanged for drug-related crimes in Central Rasht prison in October. Iran’s judicial officials sentenced them to death for possessing drugs in the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Rasht.

Mohsen Tima was executed by hanging for murder in Bandar Abbas prison on October 11, 2015. He, from Shamil in Bandar Abbas city, had been in jail since 2000.

Three prisoners were hanged in public in the county of Kazerun of Fars Province, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. Officials sentenced them to death and called them as Mofsed fil-Arz (the word for capital crimes “or the person guilty of them” in the Islamic Republic of Iran known as “spreading corruption” in English), for murder, kidnapping, bank robbery, armed conflict, wickedness and disturbing urban safety in the neighbouring areas.

Two prisoners hanged for drug-related crimes (possessing drugs) in Central Ardebil prison in October.

An unknown prisoner hanged for murder in Adel Abad prison on October 4, 2015.

Mohammad-Reza Fiooji, 27, son of Koochak-Ali from Kahnooj County, was executed in Bandar Abbas prison on September 27, 2015.

Six prisoners, from Sistan and Baluchistan, were hanged in Yazd prison on September 23, 2015.

Not astonishingly, Hassan Rouhani defended the execution of hundreds for drug offenses in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera;

Corriere Della Sera: Iran has the highest per capita capital execution rate in the world, including public executions. Do you think the death penalty is an effective way to counter crime?

Rouhani: «Punishment should work as a deterrent. We can discuss about the effectiveness of executions, as well as of arrests and even fines. But in every country the criminal code is related to the domestic rules, many countries retain the capital punishment, other countries don’t. In Iran, most executions refer to illicit drugs trafficking, due to our long and porous border shared with our Afghan neighbor. If we abolished the death penalty we would enhance their drug trafficking up to the European countries and that would be dangerous for you».

In this regard, The Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group calls on western governments to put the dead penalty on the top of the agenda in their political-economic relations with the regime of Iran.

Death

Korosh Bakhshandeh, the outstanding labor activist, lost his life due to a heart attack in his birthplace Sanandaj city on November 5, 2015.

According to the Campaign to Defend Civil and Political Prisoners, the labor activist, a member of the Coordinating Committee for Creation of Labor Organizations and the member of the executive board of the Committee to Defence Labor Activists in Mahabad, had undergone an operation because of his heart failure in Rajai Hospital in Tehran.

Mr. Bakhshandeh was arrested by Iran’s security forces on March 7, 2015, in Sanandaj, and released on bail of 100 million Tomans (33,000 $) on May 6, 2015.

Finally, he was accused of “membership in Komoleh (Communist Party of Iran)”, “attending in the protests against the regime of Iran” and “membership of the Coordinating Committee for Creation of Labor Organizations” on October 20, 2015. Branch 1 of the Sanandaj Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced him to two years in prison, the campaign learned. The verdict was reduced to three months and a day in prison due to his “illness and aging” according to the Article 38 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Arman Payeh, 42, who has been in Zahedan prison since 1999, died due to lack of medical treatment on October 29, 2015. He, a former colonel of the Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, had suffered from a sever inflammation in his liver since last year. Mr. Payeh was allegedly arrested on the charges of “relationship with oppositiom groups”, rights groups have learned.

Yadollah Amiri, who had been reportedly kept in Central Zahedan Prison, died as a result of suicide on November 3, 2015. He, 36, committed suicide due to “excruciating life” in the prison. Officials arrested him for drug smuggling and sentenced Mr. Amiri to life-time imprisonment in the Islamic Revolutionary Court.

An Ahwazi Arab teenager has been killed and dozens of people injured on Monday in clashes with Iranian security forces in Ahwaz City, neighborhood of Al-nahda. The violence was a reaction to Iranian forces' decision to restrict Ahwazis from selling Ahwazi traditional and local cuisine, which is based on seafood as well as the Falafel sandwich, which brought many tourists from inside and outside to the Ahwaz city. On November 9, Ali Jalali, a 17-year-old Ahwazi, died from his wounds after he was shot dead by Iranian forces after he clashed with them while trying to prevent them from confiscating his stall. Iranian forces for years have been targeting the source of income of Ahwazis by confiscating their businesses and arresting them.

Alireza Rezaei, a young Afghan citizen, lost his life in Chaldoran County of West Azerbaijan in October. He was allegedly beaten by Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces in a border police station.

Korosh Rouhi, a Baha’i citizen from Shiraz, was fatally stabbed to death in his residential garage in Fazilat avenue of Shiraz last week, according to the Baha’i news agency.

An Afghan citizen Abdul-Hagh Arab was arrested and severely tortured by Intelligence Division of Iran’s National Police Forces in Nik Shahr County of Sistan and Baluchistan Province on October 14, 2015. He was called to pay an illegal toll as a bribe as Baluch Activists Campaign confirmed by his testimony.

The report is provided as a service to the news media and human rights organizations. All details have been verified by human rights activists and reliable sources that are unidentified for security purposes. Statistics are current as of the above date.

By: Kaveh Taheri