Couple Executed in Zanjan Prison for Drug Convictions

According to the Iran Human Rights Organization, on April 11, 2024, two inmates were executed in Zanjan Prison for drug-related offenses.

The individuals executed were Esmaeil Hosniani, 29, and his wife, Marjan Hajizadeh, aged 19.

The couple had been sentenced to death for drug offenses three years prior. It was reported that Marjan Hajizadeh was arrested at the age of 16, though the Iran Human Rights Organization was unable to verify documentation confirming her status as a minor at the time of arrest.

The reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists for the year 2023 reveal a concerning prevalence of executions for drug offenses in Iran, constituting 56.4% of the total executions. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Reza Rasekhi Sentenced to Prison and Exile on Political Charges

Reza Rasekhi, currently incarcerated in Karaj’s Central Prison, has been sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile in Bostanabad, East Azerbaijan province, by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj. Subsequently, his prison term was reduced to nine months after entering a plea of no contest.

Presiding over Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, Judge Seyed-Musa Asef-Al-Hosseini found Rasekhi guilty of “propaganda against the regime,” citing his social media activities.

A source close to Rasekhi’s family, confirming his conviction, informed HRANA that Rasekhi was notified of this verdict ten days prior. However, he has been acquitted of “assembly and collusion against national security.”

Rasekhi was apprehended by security forces in November 2023 and subsequently transferred to Karaj’s Central Prison.

The 31-year-old resident of Karaj had previously been arrested during the nationwide protests of 2022. However, he was granted pardon under a “general pardon and commutation” directive.

Civil Rights Activist Atena Farghadani Arrested

Atena Farghadani, a prominent civil rights activist and cartoonist, was arrested by security forces on April 13, 2024, and confined in Qarchak Prison located in Varamin, as reported by Voice of America Persian News Network.

Farghadani’s refusal to provide bail for her release, as a form of protest against her arrest, reportedly led to her transfer to Qarchak Prison. Following her arrest, she was subjected to physical violence, resulting in visible bruises on her face.

HRANA received information from a source close to her family indicating that she was arrested for publicly displaying one of her paintings on a street in Tehran. For this, she has faced the charges of “blasphemy, disturbing public order and propaganda against the regime.”

This is not the first instance of Farghadani facing arrest and legal action for her activism. Previously, on June 7, 2023, she was arrested at Evin Courthouse and subsequently detained in Qarchak Prison. After several days, she was charged with “disturbing public order” and released on bail.

Baha’i Educator Keyvan Rahimian’s Nine-Year Sentence Sustained on Appeal

The Appellate Court of Tehran Province has maintained a nine-year sentence and additional penalties for Baha’i educator Keyvan Rahimian.

In a verdict issued by Branch 36 of the Appellate Court of Tehran Province, presided over by Judge Abbasali Hoozan, Rahimian was sentenced to five years for “educational activities and propagating against the Islamic Sharia” and four years for “assembly and collusion against national security.” Alongside the prison term, Rahimian has been stripped of social rights and fined.

Per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, five years of the prison term will be enforced.

Rahimian was apprehended by security forces in Tehran on July 18, 2023, and subsequently detained in Evin prison. His detention has been extended for four consecutive months, with Rahimian granted leave from November 25 to 29, 2023, to attend his mother’s funeral.

This is not Rahimian’s first encounter with legal repercussions for his activism. In August 2017, he was released from Rajai Shahr Prison after serving a five-year sentence. The current sentence raises concerns about the continued suppression of Baha’i individuals involved in educational and community activities.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

 

Saman Oveisi Arrested by IRGC Intelligence in Mahabad

According to a report by Kurdpa, Saman Oveisi was summoned by IRGC Intelligence in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province, in recent days and subsequently arrested after his arrival. He was then taken to an undisclosed location.

Oveisi, aged 21, was reportedly summoned via phone. The reason for his arrest, his current whereabouts, and the allegations against him remain unknown at this time.

Data compiled by the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reveals that IRGC Intelligence has been implicated in 392 cases of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests.

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Latest Developments on Baha’i Citizen Mina Karami’s Legal Situation

Baha’i citizen Mina Karami continues to serve her five-year prison term in Adelabad prison after the Appellate Court of Fars Province, influenced by the Ministry of Intelligence, recently rejected her request to complete her sentence outside prison with a monitoring ankle device.

A source close to Karami’s family has confirmed to HRANA the repeated denials of Karami’s release requests. Additionally, the Supreme Court rejected her plea for a retrial.

On April 13, 2021, security forces raided Karami’s residence, conducted a search, and subsequently summoned and interrogated her at the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility known as House No. 100. She was later released on bail.

In August-September 2022, the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, presided over by Seyed-Mahmood Sadati, found Karami guilty of “engaging in education and propaganda activities against Islamic Sharia,” resulting in a five-year imprisonment, a fine, social restrictions for ten years, and a two-year ban from leaving the country. This verdict was upheld on appeal.

On February 13, 2024, security forces arrested her in Shiraz and transferred her to Adelabad Prison to commence serving her sentence.

Hasti Tale-Talab Detained Without Clarity in Vakilabad Prison

Hasti Tale-Talab, a resident of Mashhad, has been detained in Vakilabad Prison for over three weeks without a clear legal status.

According to a source close to Tale-Talab’s family who spoke to HRANA, she has been held in Vakilabad prison for 25 days. Her family has been kept uninformed about her legal case.

On March 17, 2024, Tale-Talab was summoned by the Public and Revolutionary Court of Mashhad and detained during her appearance.

Reports obtained by HRANA indicate that Tale-Talab is facing multiple charges, including “provoking impurity and indecency,” and “propaganda against the regime.”

In October-November 2023, the Ministry of Intelligence raided Tale-Talab’s residence, conducted a search, and confiscated some of her belongings.

Tale-Talab, aged 51, is a mother of four.

Hossein Kooshki Nejad Begins One-Year Prison Term in Evin Prison

On April 7, 2024, Hossein Kooshki Nejad commenced his one-year prison term in Evin Prison. His brother, Reza, who was detained during the 2022 nationwide protests, is currently serving a two-year sentence in Ilam prison.

According to reports obtained by HRANA, Kooshki Nejad faced legal action last year in the Courthouse in Khorramabad, accused of the political charge of “propaganda against the regime.” The Tehran Revolutionary Court subsequently took over the case and sentenced him to one year in prison.

Kooshki Nejad stated that the beginning of his sentence had been postponed until April 7.

Political Prisoner Mohsen Ghiasi Denied Medical Care in Evin Prison

Mohsen Ghiasi, detained during the nationwide protests in 2019, known as the Aban protests, is currently serving a five-year, three-month prison sentence in Evin Prison. Recent reports indicate that he has been denied medical furlough as a punitive measure.

According to a source close to Ghiasi’s family who spoke with HRANA, in mid-March, Ghiasi was placed in solitary confinement as punishment for protesting against the poor conditions in the prison during Ramadan. He endured eight days in isolation, and his medical leave was subsequently revoked.

Security forces arrested Ghiasi on November 26, 2019, in Isfahan during the protests. After four months, he was transferred from Ward 209 of Evin Prison to the Great Tehran Penitentiary.

He was released on bail on March 15, 2020.

On March 1, 2023, the Revolutionary Court of Shahriar, presided over by Esmaeil Barjesteh, sentenced Ghiasi to seven years and three months in prison on multiple charges, including “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”

Following Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, which stipulates that in cases of multiple charges, the harshest punishment shall be enforced, Ghiasi began serving a sentence of five years and three months.

Ghiasi, aged 42, is a resident of Shahriar County, married, and a father of one.

The November 2019 protests were triggered by a surge in fuel prices, leading to demonstrations in numerous cities across the country. Seyed Hossein Taghavi, the spokesperson for the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, stated that approximately 7,000 individuals were arrested during these protests. Reports from human rights organizations indicate that hundreds of people lost their lives as a result of the actions carried out by the security apparatus.

 

Fifteen Baha’i Women Face Indictment in Isfahan

The Isfahan Courthouse has indicted 15 Baha’i residents from Baharestan City in Isfahan County.

Among those indicted are Mojgan (Mozhgan) Pourshafee, Nasrin Khademi, Azita Rezvani-Khah, Shola Ashouri, Mojdeh Bahamin, Bashra Motahar, Sara Shakib, Samira Shakib, Roya Azad Khosh, Noushin Hemmat, Shurangiz Bahamin, Sanaz Rasteh, Maryam Khorsandi, Firoozeh Rastinejad, and Farkhandeh Rezvan Pay.

These women have been charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “assisting in education and propaganda activities against Islamic Sharia.” The indictment was issued on April 8, 2024. Among them, Pourshafee, Khademi, Rezvani-Khah, Azad Khosh, Shakib, Raseh, Ashouri, Bahamin, Rastinejad, Khorsandi, and Hemmat were previously arrested in 2021 and later released on bail.

Furthermore, Bahamin, Rezvan Pay, Motahar, and Shakib’s residences were subjected to raids and searches by Intelligence agents.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.