An updated report on January protests in Iran

Posted on: January 20th, 2020

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people onboard including Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans, and British nationals. On January 11, 2020, thousands of people took to the streets across the country after General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran officially admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. He blamed human error and US adventurism for this plane crash. HRANA has earlier published a report about the first three days of the protest.

Between January 11-14, people took to the streets in 21 cities and 21 universities:

Cities: Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Sari, Kerman, Shiraz, Amol, Babol, Gorgan, Rasht, Sanandaj, Tehran, Karaj, Semnan, Arak, Yazd, Kermanshah, Qods, Zanjan, Ahvaz, Qazvin

Universities: University of Arak, University of Damghan, University of Tehran campus of Karaj, Shahid Beheshti University,  Isfahan University of Technology, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Alzahra University, Iran University of Science and Technology, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, University of Kurdistan, Bu-Ali Sina University, Razi University, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran University of Art, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Tabriz University. Moreover, the demonstration inside the Amirkabir University of Technology got violent after anti-riot police fired tear gas. Witnesses reported that an unprecedented number of militia forces were among the protesters. In Tehran, protests held in Rodaki street, Jomhoori street, Ostad Moin and from Azadi square to Sadeghieh square.

The themes of the slogans used by the demonstrators in Tehran were: calling the authorities to take accountability, questioning the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ actions, and urging the resignation of the Supreme Leader and other country’s seniors. They protest the government’s coverup and chant slogans such as “Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!”

Forces used against protesters

Security forces, anti-riot police, and militia groups used tear gas, shooting rubber bullet, and birdshot against protestors and several protesters were injured or arrested. According to Amnesty International, security forces and Intelligence department’s agents were at hospitals and in some cases wanted to transfer the injured protesters to military hospitals. Several hospitals in Tehran did not accept injured claiming that they fear being arrested if admitting injured protesters. According to Amnesty International, a woman was sexually assaulted by militia groups. A few hours after her arrest, an agent took her to a room and forced her to perform oral sex on him and was about to rape her.

On January 12, two women were shot in foot on Azadi street in Tehran and their status is unknown. 14 people were arrested in Amol and their whereabouts is still unknown after one week.

Arrests

On January 14, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, confirmed the arrest of 30 people in the protests. He also confirmed the arrest of the British Ambassador to Iran and added that no other foreigner was arrested. The head of the security department of Iranian Police confirmed the arrest of several people suspected to be leaders of protesters who encouraged others in the cyberspace to act against the national security.

HRANA identified 20 arrested individuals during January protests:

1.Keyvan Anbari, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

2.Mohammad Sefid Jameh, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

3.Nima Ahmadianpour, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

4.Moslem Soleimani (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

5.Zanyar Ahmadpour (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

6.Arshad Atabak(student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

7.Majid Mehrpouri (student), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

8.Ashkan Valizadeh, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

9.Salah Gharibi, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

10.Nabi Tardast, Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

11.Mohammad Esmaeili, arrested in Tehran, on January 12

12.Mohammad Amin Hosseini, arrested in Gorgan, on January 12

13.Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi (former political prisoner), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

14.Ali Noorizad, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

15.Shora Fekri, arrested in Amol, on January 12

16.Robert Macaire (British Ambassador to Iran), arrested in Tehran, on January 11

17.Hossein Karoubi (the son of Mehdi Karoubi), arrested in Tehran, on January 13

18.Rakhshan Banietemad (film director), arrested in Tehran, on January 13 and was released after few hours

19.Siavash Hayati, arrested in Kermanshah, on January 12 and was released on January 15

20.Masoud Hokmabadi (theater producer), arrested in Mashhad, on January 18; he announced earlier that he will not participate in Fajr Festival. According to Emtedad News, this is the reason for his arrest.

21.Ali Farmani (sound designer and producer), arrested in Shiraz (after attending a memorial ceremony for the victims of the plane crash), January 19.

Additional arrests

10 individuals were arrested by the security forces in Ilam, Sanandaj, Dehglan, Marivan, Khoy, and Kermanshah which according to Center of Democracy and Human Rights in Kurdistan, these arrests were related to their participation in protests after Iran admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran

1.Amir Ali Majd was beaten and arrested by the security forces at his book store on January 18, in Ilam.

2.Arman Mohammadi was arrested by IRGC officers in Sanandaj on January 17.

3.Sirus Abbasi and his wife Farideh Veisi were arrested on January 14 at “Zanest Educational Center” by Dehgolan Intelligence Department and were transferred to Sanandaj. His brother, Azad Abbasi, who went to the Intelligence Department’s office to follow up on their case was also arrested.

4.Keyvan Kouti was arrested by the highway patrol in Sarpol Zahab and was transferred to a detention center in Kermanshah, on January 14.

5.Amanj Nikpay was arrested by the Intelligence department’s officers on January 14, His father, Khaled Nikpay, who went to the Intelligence department office to follow up on his son’s case, was arrested and released on bail after interrogation. Moreover, Mohammad Sheykh Kanlu was arrested by the IRGC officers in Khoy and was transferred to the Urmia Intelligence detention center and Saman Abdolalizadeh was arrested by the security forces in Kermanshah.

 

Backlashes

Several artists said that they will not participate in the Fajr Festival:

The executives and judges of the Fajr Visual Arts Festival in categories of photography, graphic art, and ceramic art and 40 cartoonists will not participate as an act of protest. In addition, the following artists and actors/actresses will not participate in the Fajr Film Festival: Masoud Kimiai, film director, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Afsaneh Mahiyan, Naghmeh Samini, Saeed Changizian, Shiva Fallahi, Manouchehr Shoja, Mohammadreza Jadidi, Behrouz Seifi, Maryam Deyhoul, Amir Sepehr Taghilou, Rojan Kordnejad, Mehdi Safarzadeh Khaniki, Amir Ahmad Ghazvini, Romin Mohtasham, Seifollah Samadian, Kiyarang Alaei, Shahriar Tavakoli, Mehdi Khoushki (theater director), Amin Amiri, Samaneh Zandinejad, Shirin Samadi, Nooroldin Heydari Maher, Amin Tabatabaei, Arash Dadgar, Meisam Abdi, Alireza Koushk Jalali, Naghmeh Samini, Shirin Samadi, Atila Pesyani, theater group “Quantum”, Cinemafa News Agency, theater group “Vaghti Bozorgtar Boudam”, and theater group “Parvaneh Aljarayeri”. Moreover, Shahram Lasemi, Zahra Khatami Rad, and Saba Rad announced their resignations from their posts at the state television on their Instagram pages.

Keyvan Saket, composer, and Tar player, in a note on his Instagram page, expressed his empathy for people’s protesting the shot down of Ukrainian Airline flight 752 by IRGC and announced that he will not participate in any of the Fajr Festivals. Alireza Ghorbani, an Iranian singer, canceled his concerts on January 17-18.

Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian footballer, wrote on his personal page “I am speechless about the tragedy but covering the reality was unacceptable. The people who were responsible for it should be tried. Also, people who are distributing lies on the state TV”.

Monireh Arabshahi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and, Maryam Akbari Monfared Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth, and Iranian Journalist Association wrote separate announcements to denounce the plane crash and called on resignation and trial of authorities who caused this tragedy.

Lufthansa Airlines canceled its flights to Tehran till March 28, 2020. Sweden canceled Iran Air flights between Tehran to Stockholm and Gothenburg. Several other airlines changed their flight routes from Tehran and Iraq to avoid flying over the Iranian airspace.

 

The videoes of the January protests (first, second, third and fourth days) are available on Youtube.

Injured protesters are facing life threatening infections

Posted on: January 16th, 2020

The nationwide protests of November are one of the most significant events of 2019. During the November protests that lasted more than 10 days simultaneously in 719 parts of the country. At least 7133 people were arrested, hundreds died on the streets, and many protesters got gunshot wounds. This report is compiled by HRANA from field investigations of the injured individuals during the last November’s protests. The majority of the injured who are interviewed for this report are living in Karaj, Eslamshahr, Sirjan, Behbahan, Mahshahr, Qods, and Ahvaz. Their ages range between 19 to 30 and were mostly shot in their feet, chest, and upper body.  They are suffering from life-threatening infections.

Alborz and Tehran

An informed source told HRANA that more than 20 days after the protests, a trusted physician agreed to treat seven of the injured in Karaj. They were shot on the same day in Karaj. Two were shot by bird shots and five were shot by rifle bullets. One of the injured was severely shot in his right foot and right shoulder and was bleeding heavily.

Another informed source in Alborz Province told HRANA that some of the victims from Mohammadieh, Shahriyar, and Eslamshahr who were injured between 16 to 18 November did not seek medical help fearing to be arrested: however, they could not afford private medical treatment. Therefore, one of the injured, a 19-year-old, died because of injuries and infection. The others are relying only on antibiotics to fight infections. The bullets are mostly in the chest and face and the upper body of these victims. Ayob Bahramian is one of the victims who left his house in Shahriar for shopping on November 16 and was shot in the thigh while crossing the street. He was hospitalized and went to a coma. He died on December 18, 2019. He was married and father of a four-year-old and a five-month-old baby.

One of the protesters in Qods city was shot in a foot while filming the security forces beating the protesters. His injury was not serious and was later treated by a trusted doctor.

An informed source told HRANA about the condition of the injured in Qods city “the first night of the protest, about 60 to 70 injured protesters were transferred to the hospital by the police vans and were treating under control of the police. Some of these injured were interrogated and released while being treated”.

Khuzestan

Another protester who interviewed with HRANA was shot by tear gas from a very short distance that broke his ribs. Some of the injured in Behbahan who were hospitalized, and their identities were given to the police are as the following:

1- Ardeshir Omidi, shot in both feet

2- Mohammad Kamrani lost his knee to a gunshot wound

3- Ebrahim Sheikhi, from Asad Abad village in Behbahan who was shot in the eye

4- Iman Alafchin, living in Khorasani neighborhood of Behbahan, who was shot in thigh and hand on November 16 was transferred to Ahvaz Hospital. He lost one foot from the knee down due to severe bleeding and medical negligence. The hospital billed him for approx. $2000. He couldn’t afford to pay this bill, so the hospital refused to release him. He is a baker and lives with his brother.

5- Maryam Payab was shot with a rifle bullet in the waist on November 16 and underwent surgery in Shahidzadeh Hospital in Behbahan She was released three days later by paying approx. $250. She was later arrested on December 19, 2019.

Three of the arrested citizens in Behbahan were also injured and have not contacted their families after their arrest. An informed source told HRANA that the security forces did not allow the personnel of Behbahan Hospital to register the injured individuals. They were even present in the operation rooms and took away the injured right after the bullets were removed from them. They even took bodies out of the hospital. Another citizen was shot in the neck and is in a coma in Ahvaz Hospital where he is under 24-hour monitoring of the security forces. The family of this victim is not allowed to visit him.

Meisam Odgipour, a resident of Khoramshahr, Anvar Matroudi, and Abdollah Yamasi, residents of Shadegan who were injured during the last November’s protest were arrested after being transferred to the hospital. Another citizen of Mahshar who was shot is not yet been treated and his life is in danger. Majid Majdam, a resident of Sarband, in Karun county in Khuzestan, was injured and died in the hospital. In addition, Mansour Dorris, son of Sarabad’s Imam of Friday Prayer was killed by gunshot and was buried on November 26, 2019.

Other provinces

Two protesters in Sirjan were treated by a trusted doctor. They were shot in the stomach. In Yasuj and Gachsaran, some of the arrested protesters were beaten severely. Among them, a 30-year old man had a broken wrist as a result of police beating. He was denied medical treatment and was transferred to the prison where he was only given pain killers for his injury before being released on bail.

Ayub Bahramian

 

Infections of the injured protesters

15 years imprisonment for two of the arrestees of last November protests

Posted on: January 14th, 2020

On January 13, 2020, Mobin Moradi was sentenced to a six-year prison term by Kermanshah Revolutionary Court on the charge of “cooperation with an opposition group”. He was arrested during November protests in Kermanshah and was released on 200 million Tomans [approx. 20 thousand dollars] bail on December 9, 2019.

In addition, on the same day, Poshtivan Afsar was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by Marivan Revolutionary Court on the charge of “membership in an opposition group”. He was arrested during protests on November 19, 2019, in Marivan. On December 14, 2019, he was released on 400 million Tomans [approx. 40 thousand dollars] bail.

The nation-wide protests of November are one of the most significant events of 2019. During the November protests that lasted more than 10 days simultaneously in 719 parts of the country. At least 7133 people were arrested, and hundreds died on the streets.

   Poshtivan Afsar

 

Mobin Moradi

Three days of protests: Iran faced protests after admitting it shot down plane

Posted on: January 14th, 2020

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people onboard including Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans, and British nationals. On January 11, 2020, thousands of people took to the streets across the country after General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran officially admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. He blamed human error and US adventurism for this plane crash.

On January 11, people took to the streets in Tehran, Sari, Arak, Yazd, Shahr-e-Qods, Semnan, Shiraz, Rasht, Babol, Amol, Mashhad, Zanjan, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Qazvin, University of Arak, University of Damghan, University of Tehran campus of Karaj, Isfahan University of Technology, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Alzahra University, Iran University of Science and Technology, and Shahid Beheshti University. Moreover, on January 12, the protests were held in the cities of Isfahan, Shiraz, Rasht, Sanandaj, Tehran and the universities of Babol Noshirvani, Hamedan Bu-Ali Sina, Amirkabir, Sharif, Tabriz, and Allameh Tabatabaei and the demonstration inside the Amirkabir University of Technology got violent after anti-riot police fired tear gas. Witnesses reported an unprecedented number of militia forces were among the protesters.

The theme of the slogans used by the demonstrators in Tehran were: calling the authorities to take responsibility, questioning the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ actions, and urging the resignation of the Supreme Leader and other country’s seniors. They protest the government’s coverup and chant slogans such as “Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!”

 

Arrests

Student activists at Razi University in Kermanshah told HRANA that by the end of January 11, four student protesters were arrested of whom one is already released. Local sources in Tabriz also reported that at least seven Tabriz University students are arrested during the protests in this city. Three of the arrested students are identified as the following: Keyvan Anbari (Electrical Engineering major), Mohammad Sefid Jameh (Civil Engineering major), and Nima Ahmadianpour (Civil Engineering major). On January 11, 2020, the British Ambassador to Iran Robert Macaire was arrested in front of Amirkabir University but was released shortly after. Britain confirmed his arrest and has denounced it as a violation of international law. In addition, on January 13, 2020, Hossein Karoubi the son of a leader of Iran’s opposition Green movement, Mehdi Karoubi, was arrested by security forces in his home. On the same day, Rakhshan Banietemad, film director, was arrested and released after a few hours. On January 12, Rakhshan Banietemad withdrew her invitation to gather in different cities’ Azadi squares to mourn. She tweeted that she withdrew it due to the warnings of security organizations and for the people’s safety.

 

Backlashes

Several artists said that they will not participate in the Fajr Festival:

The executives and judges of the Fajr Visual Arts Festival in categories of photography, graphic art, and ceramic art will not participate as an act of protest. In addition, the following artists and actors/actresses will not participate in the Fajr Film Festival: Masoud Kimiai, film director, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Afsaneh Mahiyan, Naghmeh Samini, Saeed Changizian, Shiva Fallahi, Manouchehr Shoja, Mohammadreza Jadidi, Behrouz Seifi, Maryam Deyhoul, Amir Sepehr Taghilou, Rojan Kordnejad, Mehdi Safarzadeh Khaniki, Amir Ahmad Ghazvini, Romin Mohtasham, Seifollah Samadian, Kiyarang Alaei, Shahriar Tavakoli, Mehdi Khoushki (theater director), Amin Amiri, Samaneh Zandinejad, Shirin Samadi, Nooroldin Heydari Maher, Amin Tabatabaei, Arash Dadgar, Meisam Abdi, Alireza Koushk Jalali, Naghmeh Samini, Shirin Samadi, Atila Pesyani, theater group “Quantum”, Cinemafa News Agency, theater group “Vaghti Bozorgtar Boudam”, and theater group “Parvaneh Aljarayeri”. Moreover, Shahram Lasemi, Zahra Khatami Rad, and Saba Rad announced their resignations from their posts at the state television on their Instagram pages.

Keyvan Saket, composer and Tar player, in a note on his Instagram page, expressed his empathy for people’s protesting the shot down of Ukrainian Airline flight 752 by IRGC and announced that he will not participate in any of the Fajr Festivals. Alireza Ghorbani, an Iranian singer, canceled his concerts on January 17-18.

Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian footballer, wrote on his personal page “I am speechless about the tragedy but covering the reality was unacceptable. The people who were responsible for it should be tried. Also, people who are distributing lies on the state TV”.

Monireh Arabshahi, detained civil rights activist in Evin Prison, wrote an open letter to denounce the plane crash and called on resignation and trial of authorities who caused this tragedy. She said “the reality about Plasco, Sanchi, and ten other planes are ambiguous. Are they errors as well? I believe, the international tension and virtual information forced Iran to confess admitting it, otherwise, they never apologized or confessed to anything.

 

The following videos were prepared by gathering 41 reports of protests on January 11, 2020. The video is also available on Youtube.

 

 

The following videos were prepared by gathering 80 short videos of protests on January 12, 2020. The video is also available on Youtube.

 

Seven Civil Rights Activists Were Sentenced to 29 Years Imprisonment

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

On December 4, 2019, Moin Hajizadeh, Raha Ahmadi, Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, Saman Zandian, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh were sentenced to 29 years imprisonment, combined. On November 10, 2019, they were tried at the Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court headed by judge Abolghasem Salavati.

Saman Zandian and Moin Hajizadeh were sentenced to eight years in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state”, “insulting the Supreme Leader”, and “assembly and collusion”. Raha Ahmadi, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh were sentenced to two years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion”.

Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Saman Zandian and Moin Hajizadeh should serve five years and six months in prison, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh should serve two years in prison, and Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari should serve five years in prison.

Moin Hajizadeh was arrested on August 8, 2019 by security forces and was transferred to an unknown location. He is now in the Ward 4 of Evin Prison. Raha Ahmadi was arrested on August 4, 2019 by security forces and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin in late August. She was initially charged with “propaganda against the state”, “assembly and collusion”, “cooperation with enemy states”, and “promoting corruption and prostitution” in her incitement at the prosecution office of Evin Prison. Although her bail was set after two months, her 600 million Toman [approximately 55 thousand dollars] bail has never been accepted.

Leila Mirghafari was arrested in September 2019 by security forces and was transferred to Qarchak Prison. Mohammad Abolhasani was arrested on August 14, 2019 based on a verdict by the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court.

Saman Zandian was arrested amid the demonstrations against the economic hardship in August 2018. He completed his sentence in prison but was notified about his new charges in August 2019. Vahid Ghadirzadeh was arrested in August 1, 2019 by security forces in Ardabil and is still in a limbo state.

A video was published earlier that shows some of these activists handing out flowers and talking to people in the subway.

Appeals Court upholds Kiumars Marzban’s Sentence of 23-year and 9 Months Prison Term

Posted on: October 14th, 2019

On October 13, 2019, appeals court upheld Kiumars Marzban’s sentence of 23 years and nine months imprisonment. On August 24, 2019, Kiumars Marzban, a detained 26-year-old writer and satirist, was sentenced to 23 years and nine months in prison by the preliminary court in Tehran. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Kiumars Marzban should serve 11 years in prison.

His lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, confirmed the appeals court’s verdict and added that the appeals court hearing was convened without Marzban or his lawyer presence and without hearing his defense. Aghasi said: “We did not receive any response to our appeal statement. For instance, he was charged with “cooperating with a hostile state” while even Iranian authorities consider the organization that he wrote for as a nonprofit organization.”

Kiumars Marzban began his career making short films. He directed eight short film between 2005-2009. He left Iran in 2010 and while living in Malaysia, he hosted a comedy podcast called “Sangtab Radio”. He published few books such as short stories titled “kham bodam, pokhteh shodam, balk eh pasandideh shodam” (I was Raw, I Became Ripe and Pleasant) and “aziz jan” (My Dear).

Kioomars Marzban returned to Iran in 2017. On August 26, 2018, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officers raided Marzban’s residence, arrested him, and confiscated his several personal items included laptop and cellphone. He is a prisoner at Evin Prison for a year now. His trial was scheduled for March 3, 2020 but it was held in late July 2019 at the Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for “cooperating with a hostile state”, seven years and six months in prison for blasphemy, a year and half imprisonment for “propaganda against the state”, three years in prison for “insulting the Supreme Leader and the Founder of the Revolution”, and nine months imprisonment for “insulting authorities”.

Kiumars Marzban Was Sentenced to 23-year and Nine Months Prison Term

Posted on: August 25th, 2019

On August 24, 2019, Kiumars Marzban, a detained 26-year-old writer and satirist, was sentenced to 23 years and nine months in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Kiumars Marzban should serve 11 years in prison.

Kiumars Marzban began his career making short films. He directed eight short film between 2005-2009. He left Iran in 2010 and while living in Malaysia, he hosted a comedy podcast called “Sangtab Radio”. He published few books such as short stories titled “kham bodam, pokhteh shodam, balk eh pasandideh shodam” (I was Raw, I Became Ripe and Pleasant) and “aziz jan” (My Dear).

Kioomars Marzban returned to Iran in 2017. On August 26, 2018, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officers raided Marzban’s residence, arrested him, and confiscated his several personal items included laptop and cellphone. He is a prisoner at Evin Prison for a year now. His trial was scheduled for March 3, 2020 but it was held in late July 2019 at the Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for “cooperating with a hostile state”, seven years and six months in prison for blasphemy, a year and half imprisonment for “propaganda against the state”, three years in prison for “insulting the Supreme Leader and the Founder of the Revolution”, and nine months imprisonment for “insulting authorities”.

HRANA reached out to his lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, and he confirmed the news and that the sentence for 11 years imprisonment for “cooperating with a hostile state” will be implemented. He said “I requested appeal on behalf of my client, and due to the reform of the provisions in Article 450 of the criminal procedure law, according to which the appeals courts are canceled, it was delegated to the court. The charge of “cooperation with the hostile government of the United States of America” is not true for my client and the other charge “propaganda against the state” is based on this charge”.

 

Annual Report of Prosecuted Lawyers in Iran

Posted on: June 11th, 2019

 

The following is an overview of the prosecuted human rights lawyers in Iran in 2018. According to Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer, lack of judicial immunity, prosecuting defendant lawyers, and absence of union support for lawyers are some of the issues that put pressure on lawyers in Iran.

This report focuses on analyzing the situation of the lawyers who accepted cases with political, faith, or security chargers. These lawyers are in prison or are temporarily released on bail waiting for their trial.

Amir Salar Davoudi

On June 1, 2019, Amir Salar Davoudi, lawyer and civil rights activist, was sentenced to 111 lashes and 30 years in prison of which the highest penalty is 15 years imprisonment for the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram app”. Davoudi has been detained since November 2018 on the charges of “insulting officials”, “propaganda against the state”, “cooperating with enemy states through interviewing with Voice of America (VOA) television channel”, and “forming a group to overthrow the state”. He has been sentenced at the Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court to 30 years in prison for several charges which according to the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, he should serve the sentence for the charge with the highest penalty which is 15 years in prison on the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram group app”. He has decided not to appeal this sentence.

Davoudi who has been retained as counsel by several detainees held on politically motivated charges in Iran was arrested by security agents in his office on November 20, 2018. The security agents also searched Davoudi’s home and office and took away some of his personal belongings. He had been taken in for questioning on previous occasions and had been warned not to inform the public about his clients’ politically sensitive cases. The second session of his trial was held on May 4, 2018 at the Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer, was arrested on June 13, 2018 in her house. The Branch 38 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Sotoodeh to a five-year prison term and then the verdict was transferred to the Branch 36 of the Tehran’s appeals court. She is imprisoned in the Women Ward of Evin prison being accused for seven charges for her second case and is sentenced to 33 years and six months in prison and 148 lashes though only 12 years of this verdict is executable.

Mohammad Najafi

Mohammad Najafi, attorney and human rights activist was sentenced to 19 years imprisonments. He is serving his three years sentence in prison and faced 74 lashes and 16 more years imprisonment in January 2019 for his new charge of “spreading falsehood and disturbing public opinion”, “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “propaganda against the state”, “cooperating with enemy states through interviewing with Voice of America (VOA) television channel”.

On October 28, 2018, Najafi was arrested and transferred to Arak Prison to serve his sentences. He was previously detained along with 10 others for participating in the January protests in Shazand County. Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi of Arak Criminal Court No. 2, the Branch 102 sentenced Najafi to three years in prison and 74 lashes for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public opinion” and “disturbing the public peace.” The sentences were upheld in the Branch one of Markazi province Appeals Court.

Najafi got wind of his new “publishing lies” accusation via a writ he received on October 13th from the Branch 1 of Shazand Investigation and Prosecutions office, where he was interrogated and ultimately charged for it. He has additional charges pending investigation in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.

Najafi was previously detained for inquiring into the death of Vahid Heydari, who died in Police Detention Center amid the January protests. Najafi challenged Iranian judicial authorities who had claimed Heydari was a drug dealer that committed suicide while in custody. Najafi’s interviews with Heydari’s loved ones suggest that Heydari was a street peddler with no criminal record, whose autopsy report showed none of the typical markers of suicide but did indicate head injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma.

Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi accused security authorities of fabricating the grounds for Najafi’s case, arguing that Najafi had simply proven that Heydari was not a drug dealer.

Farhad Mohammadi

On January 2, 2019, Farhad Mohammadi, a Kurdish human rights lawyer and secretary of the National Unity Party in Kurdistan, was arrested in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province by security agents. The reasons for his arrest, his place of detention, and the charges pending against him are not yet known. He is also an environmental activist. His arrest warrant was extended on February 3, 2019.

Mostafa Daneshjoo

Mostafa Daneshjou, the detained lawyer of the Gonabadi Dervishes, was sentenced to eight years in prison on December 16, 2018 on charges of “membership in the Dervish cult,” “acting against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “disturbing the public opinion”.

Seven armed agents arrested Daneshjoo in his mother’s home on July 7, 2019, taking him to solitary confinement in Evin Prison’s Ward 209 where he was detained for 45 days. He was then sent to Ward 4, typically designated for convicts of financial crimes. He was arrested pursuant to a case filed against him in 2017 in Tehran’s Security Investigation Court, in connection to a violent clash that took place February 2018 near the Dervish spiritual leader’s residence in Golestan Avenue in Tehran.

He was denied medical care for his severe heart disease in January 2019.  Symptoms of Daneshjoo’s asthma were exacerbated by his stay in Evin Prison’s Ward 250 between 2011 and 2015. Despite orders from the assistant prosecutor to send Daneshjoo to a healthcare facility, Evin Prison authorities have barred his transfer.

Per a letter from the security office at Azad University, Daneshjoo’s alma mater, he has been barred from continuing his studies. Citing his defense of the Gonabadi Dervish religious minority, security authorities have revoked his permit to practice law.

Mostafa Tork Hamedani 

Mostafa Tork Hamedani, is an attorney who has been sentenced to six months imprisonment in Iran for allegedly slandering a former prosecutor on January 15. 2019. The preliminary sentence against him was 10 months in prison and 40 lashes but on January 15, 2019 his sentence was reduced to four months with the flogging sentence suspended for one year. He was released on January 21, 2019, in the process of pardoning prisoners with less than a year sentence.

Hamedani was prosecuted based on a lawsuit brought by former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, who accused Hamedani had made public accusations against him before Mortazavi was convicted in a financial case regarding corruption during the period Mortazavi headed the Iran’s Social Security Organization (SSO) between 2011to 2013.

Arash Keykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh Saadi

Attorneys, Arash Keykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh Saadi, were arrested along several other lawyers and civil rights activists who gathered in front of the Iranian Parliament building to protest both the Caspian Sea Agreement and the Guardian Council’s vetting process on August 18, 2018. They were transferred to the Great Tehran Penitentiary after being charged at the Branch five of the Evin Prosecutor’s Office. Keykhosravi and Sholeh Saadi were released on bail on December 11 and December 4, 2018 respectively. They were sentenced to six years jail time on December 10, 2018 on the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security”. Their appeal request was sent to the Branch 34 Tehran appeals court.

Notably, Ghasem Shole-Saadi previously served two terms in the Islamic Consultative Assembly and was convicted of “insulting the Supreme Leader” via a letter he notoriously published in 2002. He has been imprisoned several times on charges from the Revolutionary Court for “propaganda against the state”.

Keykhosravi has represented several high-profile human rights cases throughout his career, including the suspicious death of environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami in Tehran’s Evin Prison in February 2018.

Masoud Shams Nejad

Masoud Shamsnejad, lawyer and professor, was arrested on January 8, 2019 and transferred to the Ward 3-4 of Urmia Prison on January 17, 2019. The security guards raided his home and confiscated his belongings at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment by The Branch three of Urmia Revolutionary Court on February 10, 2019 on the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “membership in an opposition group”. He was under pressure for the cases he accepted to defend. After he requested for appeal, he was released on one billion Tomans bail on February 17, 2019.

Zeinab Taheri

Zeinab Taheri, is a lawyer who was charged with “publishing lies with intent to disturb the public opinion” and “propaganda against the state,” in an indictment prepared by the Prosecutor’s Office for Culture and Media that referred her case to The Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran.

Taheri was summoned and arrested on June 19, 2018 and then was transferred to the Qarchack Prison. She was arrested a day after her client, Mohammad Reza Salas Babajani, a Sufi dervish was executed on June 18, 2018. Salaj Babajani was executed for allegedly driving a bus that killed three members of the security forces near the house of a Dervish spiritual leader on 19 February 2018.

Taheri was released on bail on August 8, 2018. She had cases such as Mohammad Reza Salas Babajani, Mohammad Ali Taheri, and Ahmad Jalali.

Payam Derafshan and Farokh Forouzan

Lawyers, Payam Derafshan and Farokh Dorouzan were arrested on August 31,2018 and were released on bail on September 6, 2018. Derafshan was the lawyer of Mohammad Najafi and Kavous Seyed Emami. Forouzan was also a children’s rights activist.

Hoda Amid

Hoda Amid, attorney and women’s right activist, was arrested on September 1, 2018 by the security forces and was transferred to the Evin Prison. She was released on bail on November 4, 2018. It has been claimed that Hoda Amid and Najmeh Vahedi had held a workshop for women on “Marriage Article (conditions stipulated in marriage certificate)”.

Hossein Ahmadi Niaz

Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, lawyer, was summoned to the Branch 106 of Criminal Court of Sanandaj on the charge of “publishing falsehood” and “disturbing public opinion” on January 15, 2019.

Last year, he was arrested after being referred to the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj on August 05, 2018 and was released on bail after a few hours.

Farzaneh Zeilabi

On February 8, 2019, Esmail Bakhshi’s lawyer, Farzaneh Zilabi, was summoned to the Branch three of the Revolutionary and Civil Court of the city of Shush to answer questions as a “knowledgeable person” about the case. She said on February 17, 2019 after going to court “I was summoned based on a report by the Justice Bureau’s Security Department and the summon was in connection with an interview during which the subject of Esmail Bakhshi’s torture was brought up. Considering the accusations in the report, such as “spreading falsehood” and “propaganda against the state”, I refused to answer questions that the report had directly addressed to me”. She explained that the case is ongoing, and, as Bakhshi’s lawyer, she was not able to divulge confidential information about her client to anyone. If she did, she would be both breaking the law and violating disciplinary codes of conduct. She added that she will stay Bakhshi’s lawyer.

Esmail Bakhshi, a labor activist, who spoke out about abuse and torture he suffered in detention.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei

Judge Salavati accused Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei with “spreading falsehood and disturbing public opinion” in the Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Alizadeh Tabatabaei said on February 20, 2019 that this is following his complaint against Salavati in which Salavati had claimed that he never asked the accused in “Mola Tina” case to change their lawyer and I was spreading falsehood by saying that.

Three Board Members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) were Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison

Posted on: May 21st, 2019

Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan were charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” They were sentenced to 18 years in prison, combined.

The trial of the three writers was held earlier at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. They were arrested on January 22, 2019 after being subpoenaed on the “encouraging immorality or prostitution” and security-related charges. They were released from Evin prison a few days after on bail.

The trial led by Judge Moghiseh at the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan were sentenced to one-year imprisonment for “propaganda against the state” and to five years imprisonment for “assembly and collusion against national security”. Their attorneys, Naser Zarafshan and Razieh Zeidi were informed of the verdict. In an announcement, the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has condemned the verdict.

The IWA was an independent group of authors, poets, editors and translators based in Iran which was formed in May 1968 to fight against state censorship. Government have continuously persecuted its members after Islamic revoloution. In 1998, several IWA members, including opposition politicians, Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh were murdered.

An investigation concluded that the murders had been carried out by authorities of the Intelligence Ministry. A number of ministry officials were arrested, and information about the murders was leaked to the media. During a judicial inquiry, the prosecution confirmed that the chain murders were part of a systematic policy to physically eliminate political and cultural dissidents of Iran.

 

Azerbaijani Activist Mohammad Khakpour Summoned to Ardabil Prosecutor’s Office

Posted on: November 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Azerbaijani activist Mohammad Khakpour received a writ dated November 14th, ordering him under threat of arrest to appear at Branch 1 of the Ardabil Investigation and Prosecution Office within the next five days.

Khakpour was among a group of Ardabil residents arrested for their participation in Azerbaijani cultural gatherings last July. Marking the season of annual crackdowns on these gatherings — which in recent years have gravitated to Babak Fort — at least 80 Azerbaijani activists were arrested that month. Khakpour was held in custody for three days.

Fort Babak, a monument built during the pre-Islamic Sasanian period, is the namesake of Babak Khorramdin, who led an uprising against the Abbasid caliphate in 893. In recent years, it has become a place of symbolic gathering for Azerbaijani activists, especially during annual commemorations held in the first week of July.