Zahedan Prisoner Hanged to Death

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Thirty-one-year-old Mehdi Mirshekar from Zabol, eastern Iran was executed on the morning of Saturday, October 20, 2018.

A prisoner of Zahedan’s Ward 7, Mirshekar had been in prison for six years on a rape charge. Per protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent, he was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on the evening of Monday, October 15th.

By carrying out this hanging in silence, authorities — particularly the Judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of prisoner sentencing and executions, in spite of their responsibilities of informing the public.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. On the World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10th), the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) published its annual report, indicating that at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Prisoner in Shirvan Sentenced to Death

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)– Branch 2 of the Shirvan Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday, October 16th that Taleb Govahi, a defendant on a murder case who has been detained in Shirvan Prison since the crime, has been sentenced to death.

An informed source told to HRANA that Gohavi, a 40-year old married resident of Shirvan county, North Khorasan province, was convicted of killing a car dealer in a 2016 skirmish. “He has denied at all stages of his trial that the murder was premeditated, and claimed he was defending himself against the victim, who also had a cold weapon.”

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. According to registered data from the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Prisoner Executed in Eastern Iran

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Ayoub Jahandar, 28, was executed at Ferdows Prison in the early morning hours of October 14, 2018.

A close source related to HRANA that Jahandar was sentenced to death for homicide and armed robbery after killing someone while holding up a Ferdows jewelry store in 2012. “Jahandar’s brother was sentenced to 15 years in prison for colluding with him on the robbery,” the source added.

Ferdows Prison is in the city of Ferdows in South Khorasan Province. Fewer than 300 people are held in this small prison. Reports of executions here have been rare in recent years.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. According to registered data from the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Inside Account of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi and Ramin Hossein Panahi’s Final Days

Posted on: October 16th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- New details on the executions of Kurdish political prisoners Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi has been brought forward by a staff member at the Iranian Prisons Organizations who asked to remain anonymous.

Moradi, Moradi, and Hossein Panahi were hanged September 8th and buried in undisclosed locations without prior notice to their families or attorneys, throwing the international human rights community into an uproar over the Iranian judicial system’s chronic fits of caprice.

According to HRANA’s source, the three young men were battered before their transfer to the gallows; and per the observations of the source’s colleagues, Hossein Panahi, in particular, looked terribly ill.

“Zanyar Moradi and Loghman Moradi caught sight of Ramin Hossein Panahi while they were being transferred in handcuffs and shackles for execution,” the source explained. “When they saw [Hossein Panahi] was only half-conscious and spoke up in his defense, prison staff including Gholamreza Ziaie, Maghsoud Zolfali, and Nader Bagheri lay into them.”

The source explained that Loghman and Zanyar’s loved ones were distressed on September 7th when the men were sent to quarantine, which, while ominous, ran counter to the pre-execution protocol of sending the condemned to solitary confinement.

“The lawyers and families of these two prisoners were not sure whether they were scheduled to be executed,” the source said, adding that they were killed six hours after their family’s final visit at 10 a.m. on the 8th. “Even Rajai Shahr Health Services Administrator Hassan Ghobadi, who was present during their last visit, would not confirm that their execution was imminent.”

According to HRANA’s source, the men’s hangings were atypical even for the Iranian prison system. Their gallows were mounted outside the designated execution quarters, known as “the silo;” it happened not at dawn, per Iranian custom, but at midnight; and the prison’s computer system shows no record of what were to be their very last movements on earth, i.e. their transfers. “We had heard that an execution had been carried out,” the personnel explained, “[but] since security officials took over the execution, even we don’t know exactly where that execution happened.”

Indeed, the details play out like a grim procedural: the Judiciary announced that the executions were carried out in “Tehran,” while a source close to the Moradi families confirmed to HRANA that Zanyar and Loghman’s bodies bore notes reading “executed in Rajai Shahr.” A visible presence on the night of the hangings was a Marivan Friday Prayer Imam notorious for his ties to the Iranian security apparatus, whose son had allegedly been murdered.

“I heard through my colleagues that the prisoners wanted to string the noose around their neck with their own hands,” the personnel said. “There was a scuffle when officials refused this request; Zanyar Moradi even claimed that Hassan Ghobadi had promised him that right.”

Two Executed, One Pardoned in Shahr-e Kord

Posted on: October 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On the morning of October 14th, Saleh Dehkordi, 38, and Yarali Noori, 40, were executed in Shahr-e Kord Prison. In the eleventh hour, Davoud Shokri, 26, was pardoned by family members of the plaintiff on his case.

All three were transferred to solitary confinement on October 13th, the protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent.

Dehkordi, who had reportedly been detained in Shahr-e-Kord since 2011, was slated for execution in 2014 but returned to prison when his victim’s family members agreed to absolve him. He was among Shahr-e Kord prisoners injured in a 2014 fire.

Shahr-e Kord is the capital of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. According to registered data from the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

On World Day Against Death Penalty, Women in Evin Prison Urge UN Special Rapporteur to Visit Iran

Posted on: October 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – From the walls of Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward, political prisoners Maryam Akbari Monfared, Golrokh Irayee, and Atena Daemi wrote a letter dated October 10th — the World Day Against the Death Penalty — urging the United Nations Special Rapporteur Javaid Rehman to come and witness Iranian human rights violations in person.

In observance of the same occasion, Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) recently published its annual report on the death penalty, pending, and carried out since October 2017. According to this report, 256 executions were carried out in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, a 50% decrease from last year due likely to newly-ratified laws precluding death-sentence rulings on drug-related cases. Due process is glaringly absent from the judicial processes leading up to executions in Iran.

Recently, another group of prisoners from Rajai Shahr in Karaj wrote to Rehman, requesting that members of the United Nations place on their dealings with Iranian authorities a condition: demonstrate further respect for human rights by abolishing the death penalty, which the prisoners called a “weapon of terror.”

The complete text of Akbari, Irayee, and Daemi’s letter, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

“To Mr. Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran,

As the World Day Against the Death Penalty approaches, we decided to report to you a summary of the countless instances of human rights violations that took place over the last decade in our country.

News agencies announced the elimination of the death penalty for drug-related offenses some time ago, yet killings on such accounts are still happening outside of the media spotlight. Drug dealing and homicide remain the judicial justification for a majority of the executions in Iran.

Current statistics — which you most certainly have seen — indicate that defendants, men & women alike, are sentenced to death every year on homicide and manslaughter charges, and lose their lives very soon after their convictions are delivered.

Alongside prisoners convicted on criminal charges, many prisoners of conscience and political prisoners have been executed by firing squad or in the gallows over the last four decades.

According to available documentation, these executions were at their peak in the first decade of the Islamic Republic (1978-1988). People were often executed without trial, their bodies piled in unmarked mass graves on the fringe of the city. (Meanwhile, those who oppose capital punishment have no license to speak, and are currently behind bars because of their dissent).

As the World Day Against the Death Penalty drew near, authorities carried out the execution sentence of Zaynab Sakavand, a 24-year-old woman who had spent many years in prison since being convicted as a minor. This was but one example among the thousands carried out over the past few years on charges of smuggling, theft, killing, […]. As long as the death sentence can be meted, its pool of victims will be populated by alleged offenders of this type, many of whom are victims of poverty and socioeconomic class struggle, or political and ideological activists who are victims of a corrupt system whose policies are rigged against them.

The current administration began selling in 2013 the well-known figurative promise to provide keys to unlock problems and free prisoners of politics and conscience. Yet executions [on these grounds] have pressed on. Sherko Moarefi, Ehsan Fattahian, and Gholamreza Khosravi were all executed shortly after the administration undertook its [“key”] project.

The summer of 2016 conjured memories of the 1980s. Prisoners of conscience (Sunni Kurds) were executed en masse, leading to the overnight evacuation of a Rajai Shahr Prison hall. Exactly one month before the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Ramin Hossein Panahi, Zanyar Moradi, and Loghman Moradi were executed without the slightest shred of evidence to support their conviction. Their bodies, like the bodies of Farzad Kamangar (the hanged teacher), were buried in an unknown location. They suffered the same fate as Roghiyeh Akbari Monfared, Mojtaba Mohseni, Mehrzad Pakzad, Abdolreza Akbari Monfared, the Behkish Family, and thousands of others who lost their lives in the mass executions of the 1980’s, many of whose names have been documented by the Committee for Enforced Disappearance of the United Nations.

Over the past few years, many Kurdish and Arab activists, as well as a number of ideological activists, have been arrested for subscribing to beliefs that countered those of the ruling body. They were accused of baseless crimes, and — with the ultimate intention of creating fear and repressing public unrest — were tortured, forced to implicate themselves by false confession, and hanged. Mohammad Salas was the most recent of these victims.

The Islamic Republic’s apology for the death sentence is its [supposed] role in preventing criminal recidivism and in setting an example for others. While experience has proven that execution is not and never will be an effective preventative measure, the Islamic Republic continues to argue for its necessity and consonance with Sharia law. This fact alone demonstrates their abuse of the religious spirit of Iranian society, with the intention of oppressing and deceiving the public mind. If Iranian authorities can actually produce reliable documentation in support of their position on these cases, which are only a few among countless cases like them in Iran, they should certainly welcome you in Tehran.

We the undersigned, political activists held at the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, on this World Day Against the Death Penalty, express our abhorrence of the executions that have already taken place in Iran, and request that you — Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Mr. Javaid Rehman — travel to Iran to investigate violations of human rights, and advocate for a wholesale abolition of the death sentence, regardless of the crimes it aims to punish, be they political, ideological, or criminal. Your arrival in Iran and plea for accountability from authorities will clarify many ambiguities. The Islamic Republic’s refusal to welcome you would demonstrate their determination to eliminate human beings in their death machine and would confirm the criminal scope of their actions. While we harbor no delusions that things will improve, since we view the current administration as beyond reform, we nevertheless wish for an immediate halt on capital-punishment verdicts, and for a change to Iran’s oppressive penal law.

Signed:

Maryam Akbari Monfared, Golrokh Irayee, and Atena Daemi
Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, October 2018”

About the authors: Maryam Akbari Monfared was detained on December 31, 2009 following a widespread Ashura demonstration during the holy month of Muharram. In June 2010, Judge Salavati sentenced her to 15 years’ imprisonment in Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court. She was convicted of enmity against god, gathering and colluding against national security, and propagating against the regime through working with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). She has denied these charges.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Irayee was arrested along with her husband on September 6, 2014. She was first held at an IRGC safe house for two days and then spent 20 days in the solitary cells of Evin’s Section 2A, which is under IRGC jurisdiction. She was released on a bail of 800 million rials. On October 24, 2016, the IRGC arrested Irayee again, without a warrant. Her husband Arash Sadeghi, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison, is currently in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison, and has undergone operations for cancer. Irayee was sentenced to six years in prison, which was reduced to 2.5 years based on amnesty and Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code. She was convicted of insulting the sacred and gathering and collusion against the regime.

Atena Daemi was detained October 21, 2014, and was transferred to Evin’s Women’s Ward January 14, 2015 after spending 86 days in a solitary cell of Ward 2-A. On May 15, 2015, she was sentenced by Judge Moghiseh of Revolutionary Court Branch 28 to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the regime, and Insulting the supreme leader. On February 15, 2016, she was released on a bail of 5500 million rials. Her appeals court convened in July of 2016, and reduced her sentence to seven years. She learned of the appeals decision two months later. After being arrested again in her parents home on November 26, 2016, her sentence was reduced to five years, pursuant to article 134 of Islamic Penal Code.

Earlier this month, HRANA reported on verbal orders from an Evin Warden that barred these women from having visitors for three weeks.

World Day Against the Death Penalty: Iran Annual Report Oct ’17 – Oct ’18

Posted on: October 10th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the World Day Against the Death Penalty, the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) has published its annual report, in efforts to sensitize the public about the situation of the death penalty in Iran.

HRANA’s Statistics Center relies on the work of HRANA reporters, as well as a network of independent and verifiable sources. It also incorporates disclosures to the media by judicial authorities announcing or confirming prisoner executions, and as such is exposed to a margin of error representing efforts by the Iranian authorities to omit, conceal, or restrict the collection of such data.

Between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, the death penalty and executions have been the focus of 287 HRANA reports. Over this time period, the Iranian authorities issued the death penalty sentence to 240 individuals and have already carried out 256 executions; [that’s one hanging every 34 hours for a population about twice the size of California’s]. Six percent of the executions in Iran were carried out in public.

Females account for only three of the 256 HRANA-confirmed execution victims this year.

Five were under the age of 18 when they allegedly committed the crime they were charged with.

While execution numbers went down by 50% in comparison to the same time last year, Iranian courts have issued 7.4% more death sentences.

Public hangings and executions of women have gone down 54% and 50%, respectively.

The report includes a breakdown of executions by capital offense:

Drug and narcotic offenses: 6%
Murder: 72%
Rape: 9%
Political or security-related offenses: 7%
Armed robbery/offenses classified as “corruption on earth”: 6%

The chart below displays execution numbers by the province in which they took place.

Below is a distribution of execution information sources. The chart indicates that 68% of HRANA-confirmed executions were not announced by official Iranian sources. Undisclosed executions are referred to as “secret” executions.

Open Letter from Prisoners to UN Envoy: Death Penalty is a “Weapon of Terror”

Posted on: October 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, a letter was published to the attention of Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. Its authors were reaching out from the walls of Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj, on the western outskirts of Tehran, to raise the specter of rising execution numbers and public hangings that still mar the face of the country.

The full text of their letter, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

Javaid Rehman
Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Dear Mr. Rehman,

The death penalty is not simply a social predicament for us Iranians; it is a living nightmare. We live it and re-live it in the faces of children who witness public hangings, and in the faces of prisoners on death row. In the past few weeks alone, our fellow prisoners Mohammad Salas, Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi were executed. Our families used to see each other during weekly visits. This time around, the visit was transformed to a day of mourning – further proof that the death penalty, a medieval legacy of human societies, is a collective punishment. With all of the shock and mental anguish that their executions put our families through, one can only imagine how the families of the victims are feeling.

[The aftereffects of] the death penalty are not the lot of political prisoners alone; every death-row prisoner feels them. The whole of society bears their cruelty.  The efforts of Special Human Rights Rapporteurs, particularly the late Asma Jilani Jahangir [Rapporteur between 2016 and 2018], who helped abolish the death penalty for drug-related offenses, are admirable. However, the widespread nature of executions calls for more drastic and concrete measures. Especially in today’s Iran, capital punishment is not simply a legal apparatus, but also a political weapon of terror used to suppress citizens expressing discontent with Iran’s economic, political, and social conditions.

We political prisoners believe that Iranian people will not be freed from this inhumane punishment without a serious international intervention. In our view, the economic and diplomatic needs of the Iranian regime are the ideal starting place for negotiations with authorities to put an end to capital punishment. We beseech you, as the Special Rapporteur, to ask the international community to make their dealings and diplomatic ties with the Iranian regime contingent on abolishing the death penalty and respecting human rights principles in Ian.

We thank you, in advance, for your efforts.

Sincerely,

1- Mohammad Amirkhizi
2- Majid Asadi
3. Payam Shakiba
4- Hassan Sadeghi
5- Arash Sadeghi
6. Abul Qassim Pulat
7- Abraham Firoozi
8- Mohammad Ali Mansouri
9- Saeed Masoori

CC: World Coalition against the Death Penalty (www.worldcoalition.org)

At Least 3 Prisoners Hanged to Death in Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj

Posted on: October 4th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Early in the morning of October 3, 2018, at least three prisoners were hanged to death while seven others were granted temporary reprieve.

HRANA has confirmed the identities of those executed as Yasser Eslami and Mahmoud Akbari of Ward 1 and Omid Khosronejad of Ward 10. Eslami and Khosronejad, co-defendants in a murder case, spent four years in prison prior to their executions yesterday.

Mehdi Danesh from Ward 1 and Siroos Khodabandehlou from Ward 6 were among the seven prisoners whose execution was stayed.

HRANA previously reported on a mass transfer of prisoners to solitary confinement, the protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent. All ten of the above prisoners were transferred to solitary cells on Sunday, September 30th.

By carrying out these hangings in silence, authorities — particularly the judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of prisoner sentencing and executions, in spite of their responsibilities of informing the public.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are referred to as “secret executions.”

According to registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of HRAI, in the past year (from March 21, 2017, to March 18, 2018) at least 322 citizens were executed and 236 others were sentenced to death in Iran. Among these were the executions of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.

Birjand Prison Executes Four Afghan Nationals

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Six years ago, four Afghan nationals planned to use underground channels to migrate to Iran, where they had invested hopes of a better life. In the early morning hours of October 2, 2018, they were executed on charges of “armed drug trafficking,” a charge to which they reportedly confessed under the duress of torture.

Shah Mohammad Miran Zehi, Ahmad Shah Issa Zehi, Mohammad Miran Zehi, and Eid Mohammad Miran Zehi were married with children and had been in Birjand Central Prison for over six years.

In an open letter, the prisoners explained the circumstances in which they were detained and coerced to utter false confessions. Mohammad Miran Zehi wrote that they had filed into a Toyota set to take them to Birjand from Zabul when they got into a dispute with their driver near the village of Bandan [a tributary of Nahbandan on the Afghanistan-Southern Khorasan border]. Claiming he needed gas, he reportedly dropped the group off at a private residence and said he would be back.

“When [the driver] returned, he was flanked by authorities. They struck me in the head and took us to the Bandan police station. They subjected us to the cruelest forms of torture in there,” Mohammad Miran Zehi said.

Accusing them of transporting more than 300 pounds of opium and two Kalashnikov rifles, Bandar authorities used violence to press them to confess, going as far as pulling a toenail from Mohammad’s right foot.

The case file against the four was set into motion when they finally acceded to the torturers’ demands, “under the pressure, the fear for our lives, the inability to take it any longer, and hoping that maybe it would make them stop,” their letter explained.

The case file was then forwarded to judicial authorities and spent five years in suspense before Judges Nabavi and Seyfzadeh of Birjand Revolutionary Court Branch 2 issued the execution sentence on January 31, 2017. The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Shah Mohammad Miran Zehi, Ahmad Shah Issa Zehi, Mohammad Miran Zehi, and Eid Mohammad Miran Zehi; the death sentence of Saraj Gavkhur, a fifth defendant on the same case file, was commuted to 25 years’ imprisonment.

According to a close source, the group was made scapegoats for an armed conflict that had taken the life of a security agent days before their entry into Iran.

Birjand Central Prison is in the city of Birjand, capital of Southern Khorasan Province.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are referred to as “secret executions.”

According to registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of HRAI, in the past year (from March 21, 2017, to March 18, 2018) at least 322 citizens were executed and 236 others were sentenced to death in Iran. Among these were the executions of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.