Mohammad Najafi and Abbas Safari Arrested to Serve Their Sentences

Posted on: October 30th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On the morning of October 28, 2018, attorney and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi and civil activist Abbas Safari were arrested and transferred to Arak Prison to serve their sentences the same evening.

Both men were previously detained along with nine others for participating in the January protests in Shazand County. Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi of Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102 sentenced both Najafi and Safari to three years in prison and 74 lashings for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public mind” and “disturbing the public peace.” The sentences were upheld in branch one of Markazi province Appeals Court.

Najafi got wind of his new “publishing lies” accusation via a writ he received October 13th from branch 1 of Shazand Investigation and Prosecutions office, where he was interrogated and ultimately charged for it.

Both Najafi and Safari have additional charges pending investigation in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.

Najafi was previously detained for inquiring into the death of civilian Vahid Heydari, who died in Police Detention Center No. 12 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.

Safari, age 41, married, unemployed, is a resident of Shazand County who until his arrest on Sunday had been free on bail.

Arak and Shazand are located in Markazi Province, south of Tehran.

Lawyers Issue Statement of Warning to Citizens and Judiciary Alike

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – A group of 39 Iranian lawyers have issued an apologia of the social issues that pushed thousands of citizens to protest this year, urging authorities to safeguard the right to rebellion all while warning protesters of their potential to invite blowback.

Judicial authorities have been quick to brandish heavy sentences, arrests, and capital punishment against the rising swell of citizens who have less and less to gain from passivity in the deepening recession. In an environment of dwindling tolerance on both sides, the lawyers asked Iranian authorities to keep their retaliatory instincts in check.

“The right for civil protest and assembly is rooted in the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly which have been asserted in the constitution and numerous international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the letter reads.

The lawyers’ letter lauds the initiative of strikers across sectors — from the generalized January protests (“against the conditions of the country’s economy and management”) to the strikes declared by truckers, factory workers, teachers, shopkeepers, university students, and farmers. The protests of Kurdish ethnic minorities in Iran’s border regions also figured in the lawyers’ letter.

Likewise, the letter’s authors validated strikers’ demands, including a more regulated cost of living, more affordable part prices for truckers, payment of back wages for factory workers, more liveable teacher salaries and the protection of public education, increased government efforts to mitigate symptoms of the recession, increased tolerance of student self-expression, and government intervention in regions suffering the effects of drought, i.e. Isfahan and Khuzestan provinces.

More “respect for the rights of protesters” is in order, the letter insists, adding that authorities are responsible for implementing “fairness, justice, and peace,” and for avoiding violent methods of engaging with citizen uprisings.

The letter ends by praising civil protests and social movements as the precursors to democracy and progress in Iran. While reiterating the demand that judicial and security authorities temper their responses to civic rumblings, it places an additional burden on Iran’s disaffected citizens: “we declare our solidarity and support for protesting social groups, and call on them to avoid violent methods.”

Signatories:

Mostafa Ahmadian
Maziar Tatiaei
Mosleh Ghorbani
Behrouz Nalbandi
Saleh Nikbakht
Keyvan Azizi
Sajjad Khosravi
Ayat Abbas
Esfandiar Abnoos
Osman Mozayen
Ehsan Hassanpour
Esmaeil Rahimi
Ali Sakeni
Amir Ahmadi
Esmaeil Salaripour
Arash Fattahi Boukani
Massoud Shamsnejad
Arash Rajabi Kermanshahi
Behrouz Vafadar
Shalir Fotoohi-Sara
Asrin Khaledi
Heydar Khodamoradi
Farman Jafari
Amir Salar Davoudi
Behzad Hakimizadeh
Arash Kamangar
Abdollatif Valadbeigi
Abdolbaset Pourzadi
Hassan Ranjbar
Halimeh Khezri
Keyvan Mamepour
Massoud Javadieh
Mohammad Mogheimi
Narmin Hosseinikhah
Shatav Mobtadi
Sadegh Saed Mouchesh
Fouad Motevasel
Koroush Heydari
Kaveh Alizadeh

Arak HEPCO Strikers Sentenced to Suspended Imprisonment and Lashings

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Fifteen workers from the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) in Arak who staged rallies in protest of delayed wages in May 2018 have been sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashings each for “disrupting the public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

Judge Akbar Rezvani of Arak Criminal Court No. 2 Branch 106 recently issued the sentences, which will be suspended over five years.

HRANA previously reported the identities of the defendants: Majid Latifi, Behrouz Hassanvand, Hamidreza Ahmadi, Amir Hooshang Poorfarzanegan, Morteza Azizi, Hadi Fazeli, Abolfazl Karimi, Farid Koodani, Majid Yahyaei, Amir Fattahpour, Yaser Gholi, Amir Farid Afshar, Mehdi Abedi, Ali Maleki, and Behrouz Velashjerdi.

Some of the protestors’ prison terms were compounded by additional charges: Fazeli, Afshar, and Karimi stand threatened by a year and six months’ additional prison time; Hassanvand also faces an additional year in prison [should he re-offend within the five-year suspension period].

Judge Rezvani also added six more months onto the sentences of [Latifi, Ahmadi, Poorfarzanegan, Koodani, Fattahpour, Gholi and Velashjerdi], charging them with “aiding in disrupting public peace.”

The collective verdict acknowledged economic hardship as a motivating factor in the strikers’ offenses, thus justifying a suspended sentence based on Articles 46 [“Suspension and Execution of Punishment”] and 38 [“Mitigating Factors”] of the Islamic Penal Code.

HRANA previously reported on ten striking workers who received subpoenas, quoting one HEPCO worker who saw the irony in the court summons, saying that strikers had already exhausted all other avenues of communicating their needs. “They have previously voiced their guild’s demands in letters to governmental and judiciary establishments such as the provincial governments, the local satellite office of the Supreme Leader, county governments, and security establishments.”

Below is an excerpt of the strikers’ verdict sheet:

1. Majid Latifi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “abetting and inciting workers of HEPCO to assemble and disrupt public peace, inducing propaganda against the regime.”

2. Behrouz Hassanvand, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering, producing sensationalized rhetoric for biased individuals, displaying insolence toward police officers [thereby] inducing conflict and disruption to public peace,” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.”

3. Hamidreza Ahmadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace by participating in rallies and rhetoric for biased individuals” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to propagandize against the regime.”

4. Amir Hooshang Poorfarzanegan, sentenced to six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend the gathering,” one year in prison for “disrupting public peace [thereby] inducing propaganda against the regime,” and 74 lashings for “aiding in disrupting public peace.”

5. Morteza Azizi, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, was sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “leading an illegal gathering of workers inducing propaganda against the regime.”

6. Hadi Fazeli, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in inciting workers to disrupt public peace” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime via voice, video, and text broadcasts.”

7. Abolfazl Karimi, represented by attorneys Seyed Farhad Bathaei and Fatemeh Karimi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing disruption of public peace,” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime through the printing, publishing, and display of protest banners.”

8. Farid Koodani, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disruption of public peace inducing propaganda against the regime.”

9. Majid Yahyaei, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

10. Amir Fattahpour, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing propaganda against the regime.”

11. Yaser Gholi, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through planning worker gatherings in the Tehran Privatization Organization[…] inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing disruption of public peace, and propaganda against the regime.”

12. Amir Farid Afshar, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers and biased individuals to disrupt public peace” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime through the creation of the HEPCO Telegram channel.”

13. Mehdi Abedi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

14. Ali Maleki, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

15. Behrouz Velashjerdi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace by inciting workers to a commotion in cyberspace.”

Iran: An Overview of Human Rights Abuses September – October 2018

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran between September 23rd and October 22, 2018, per information compiled and verified by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI).

Domestic restrictions in Iran on independent human rights reporting make it difficult to capture the full extent of these issues on the ground. The following overview draws on the work of HRANA reporters, as well as a network of independent and verifiable sources, including other human rights associations operating outside Iran’s borders.

Summary

Human rights violations continued all across the country over the past month, and included, but were not limited to: executions, child abuse, mass arrests, violation of prisoners’ rights, violation of freedom of expression, labor abuses, and unchecked environmental pollution.

Death Penalty

Capital punishment remains the most egregious violation of human rights in Iran. On October 10th — the World Day against the Death Penalty — the Center of Statistics at HRAI published its annual report to sensitize the public about the situation of the death penalty in Iran. The report provides statistics about executions carried out in this country between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018.

More than 25 citizens, including a juvenile offender, were executed in the last month (between September 23rd and October 22, 2018). More than 20 individuals, including a juvenile offender, were sentenced to death. Four people were executed in public.

HRANA was able to identify or gather details about death row prisoners, including a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Arsalan Khodkam, the ex-spouse of Leila Tajik, Hedayat Abdollahpour and three individuals convicted of financial crimes. New details on the executions of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi were also reported during this period.

Freedom of Thought and Expression

Freedoms of thought and expression were also widely restricted over the past 30 days.

Arrests: Arrestees in this category included a Shiraz city council member, Ahmad Alinejad and his wife, at least 20 residents of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, writer and Mashad resident Abbas Vahedian, Zahra Majd in Isfahan, and six individuals involved in the Freedom Movement of Iran, arrested in Nain (near Isfahan).

Convictions: Leila Mir-Ghaffari was sentenced to 2 years in prison, Ejlal Ghavami to 8 months, Hassan Abbasi to 35 months (five 7-months prison terms), an Arak resident to 1 year and 30 lashings, Hamidreza Amini to 11 years. Women who protested this past August were sentenced from 6 months to 1 year in prison, Mohammad Mahdavifar was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months, a dual-nationality defendant faces 8 years and 6 months in prison, Soheil Arabi faces 3 years in prison, 3 years in exile, and a fine; the prison sentence of Abdolreza Ghanbari was increased to 15 years, Alireza Moeinian was sentenced to 8 months in prison; a new 6-month sentence extended the prison term of Saeed Shirzad through 2020; six Arak residents arrested amid the January protests were collectively sentenced to a total of 6 years in prison and 444 lashings, and a group of political activists in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province were sentenced to exile and prison terms ranging from 8 to 18 years.

Eleven civil activists, including Mohammad Najafi, Ali Bagheri, and Abbas Safari were sentenced to 3 years in prison and 74 lashings. Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Mohammad Yaghoubi, Yousef Shirilard, Neda Yousefi, Davoud Rahimi, Massoud Ajlou and Mohammad Torabi were sentenced to 1 year in prison and 74 lashings, suspended over five years. Kian Sadeghi faces 3 years in prison and 74 lashings, suspended over five years. Morteza Nazari was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison, 2 years of exile, and a fine; Zahra Zare Seraji, on the same convictions, to 8 years in prison and a fine. Their co-defendants Ali Kabirmehr and Ali Bazazadeh were both sentenced to 13 years in prison and exile.

Summons: Hamid Farrokhnezhad, Parastoo Salehi, a number of reformist political activists, Tehran city council member Kazem Imanzadeh, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, and Mohammad Najafi were all summoned by courts and the Ministry of Intelligence.

Censorship: The weekly magazines “Nabze Bazaar” and “Paytakht Kohan,” as well as the website “EntekhabKhabar,” were convicted in press court. Courts also issued indictments for the Chief Executive Officers of “Shargh” and “Shahrvand” newspapers for their reporting on sexual tourism. The National Front of Iran was prevented from holding its Central Council meeting in Tehran, a journalist was beaten by Qazvin municipal agents, and a Kurdish student was barred from education, presumably for his political affiliations.

Prisoners’ Rights
Prisoners are rarely protected from cruel and unusual punishments, and their rights to proper nutrition, hygiene, and medical treatment are systematically violated. A few of these victims are detailed below by category of violation.

Raids and beatings: Prison agents punched Arash Sadeghi on his cancer surgery site; Urmia prison authorities attacked political prisoners and injured them severely, inciting them to hunger strike by the dozens; another Urmia prisoner was assaulted; a prisoner was beaten and injured by Rajai Shahr Prison personnel; Bandar Abbas Prison authorities broke an inmate’s fingers; an Urmia prisoner suffered a TBI after a beating by authorities; and prisoners were forcefully undressed and beaten in Zahedan Prison.

Withholding of medical treatment: A prisoner died after being denied medical care in Zahedan Prison. Farhad Meysami, Arash Sadeghi, and a prisoner in Sanandaj were also denied medical treatment.

Going without: Dozens of Gachsaran prisoners launched protests and hunger strikes in opposition to prison conditions. Six Gonabadi Dervish prisoners continued in an ongoing hunger strike. Reza Sigarchi, also in an act of protest, refused food and medicine in Great Tehran Penitentiary, while 8 Gonabadi Dervishes at the same penitentiary and 8 Baha’i prisoners of Karaj disappeared off of the administrative radar for 30 days. Houshmand Alipour was denied access to an attorney. Three prisoners in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison were blocked from receiving visits, and the fate of sequestered labor activist and Sanandaj resident Zanyar Dabbaghian was still unknown.

Three prisoners attempted suicide in Zahedan, Urmia, and Saravan prisons. Local sources consistently impute prisoner suicides and suicide attempts to the violence and oppression of prison life.

Religious and Ethnic Minorities

Religious and ethnic minorities remained under threat and consistent judicial pressures this past month.

Baha’is: Eight Baha’i citizens were arrested in Baharestan (near Isfahan), four were arrested in Karaj, one of whom had his business forcibly shut down, and three were arrested in Shiraz.
[Some of these arrests reflect coordinated or group arrests, and linked articles will reflect that information overlap].
A Baha’i resident of Yazd who had been blocked from pursuing education was fired from work for their faith, and the parents of a Baha’i prisoner were temporarily detained following a search of the prisoner’s home.

Sunnis: Five Sunni scholars were sequestered for hours in the Zahedan-Khash road patrol office. Three Baluchi citizens, who are scholars of the Ghalamouei seminary, were arrested in Sirik County (southern Iran). Sunni scholars expressed outcry over the public statements of a soccer player they alleged to be disparaging of Sunni sanctities.

Six members of the Yamani Religious Group in Izeh County were also arrested, presumably for their beliefs.

Ethnic minorities: Arab citizens were arrested, and are still being arrested en masse in wake of the Ahvaz Parade Attack. HRANA is still in the process of confirming the identifies of the arrestees, which according to local reports number into the hundreds. Other arrests suspected to be ethnically discriminatory include Nasim Sadeghi, Mohammad Abdolmohammad-Zadeh, Mojtaba Parvin, Ebrahim Divazi, as well as residents of Ilam, Ahvaz, Marivan, Urmia, Sanandaj, Kermanshah, Saqqez, Pevah, Oshnavieh, and Sardasht.

News emerged on the convictions of Abbas Lasani, Kiumars Eslami, Eghbal Ahmadpour, Keyvan Olyali, Hossein Ali Mohammadi Alvar, as well as defendants in Sanandaj, Urmia, Kamyaran, and two detainees of the Afrin battles in Syria. Turkic activist Javad Ahmadi Yekanli was summoned by county security police in the city of Khoy.

Children’s Rights

Children are among the most vulnerable to human rights abuses in Iran. Over the past month, four wrongful child deaths were reported in the cities of Tehran, Falavarjan (Isfahan Province), Qaem Shahr (Mazandaran province) and (Isfahan Province).

The national director of Iran’s social emergency hotline said that 30% of reports called into the center are flagging some form of “domestic violence,” 30% of which turn out to be child abuse cases. Of this 30%, 50% were related to educational negligence, 30% to physical abuse, 15% to psychological abuse, and 4% to sexual abuse of children.

Maryam Sedighi, deputy director of the social welfare department of Alborz Province, said that 12% of “123” social emergency calls made in Alborz — i.e. an average of 40 calls per month — are child abuse reports.

Reports indicate the rape of a young girl by her father in Tehran; a boxing coach accused of raping his teenage student; a father pouring boiling water over his 7-year-old daughter in Genaveh, Bushehr Province; and a teacher using corporal punishment on a pupil in Kazeroon, Fars Province.

Three juvenile suicides were also reported: one student in Rigan County, Kerman Province, and two teenage girls, aged 14 and 16, in the cities of Abadan and Sanandaj.

The Iranian education system allocates fewer and fewer resources to its pupils, and educational facilities across the country — particularly in rural or underprivileged areas — can be found in varying states of wear and disrepair. One pupil in Razan, Hamadan province was injured in the chest, neck, and shoulders when he was caught in falling debris of a school wall that suddenly collapsed. The Razan director of education said that he is currently stable, but will require surgery.

Elementary-school student Donya Veisi of Garmash village, Kurdistan Province, fell victim to her own school’s disrepair when one of the walls surrounding her school yard collapsed, killing her. Later — amid allegations that Donya had in fact been raped and killed — the Kurdistan Prosecutor verbally engaged to investigate the matter.

Women

The question of women’s rights at sporting events gained heightened public attention this past month when, under pressure from FIFA to permit their entry into stadiums, a select number of Iranian women (most of them family members of players and federation employees) were finally allowed to witness a kickoff in person (Iran vs. Bolivia). Authorities’ exclusive selection criteria were highly criticized.

Meanwhile, Shiraz-based activist Maryam Azad was arrested by security forces at a Tehran Airport as she was leaving the country for Turkey.

The managing director of the office of forensic medicine in Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province indicated that, of the 429 domestic violence crimes recorded in his office over the past 6 months, 404 were incidents of violence by husbands against their wives.

Additional cases of violence against women included a man’s murder of his ex-wife when he failed to meet “mehrieh” obligations [a type of alimony settlement], and the circumstances surrounding one woman’s decision to set herself on fire in Mashad.

Two women, long hounded by the judiciary for participating in a rally on International Women’s Day, were recently acquitted of their charges.

Laborers and Guilds

This past month was rythmed by strikes, sit-ins, and rallies organized by guilds and employees across sectors who demanded more secure working conditions.

Commercial Transport: This past month, truck drivers in Iran went on a nationwide strike for the third time [in 12 months]. Over the course of their 20-day strike, at least 261 striking drivers in 19 different provinces were arrested and threatened with heavy sentences, including the death penalty. Strikers’ demands did make significant headway: after years of guild activism, the High Council of Transportation Coordination approved a new freight transport measurement rate known as the tonne-kilometre (tkm) method, which was among the most pressing demands of truck drivers. Despite this partial victory, the fates of the 261 detained protesters are still unknown.

Education: Six Educator-Activists who participated in demonstrations May 10th were sentenced to 9 months in prison and 74 lashings. Also reported was the conviction of schoolteacher and University of Tehran student Ruhollah Mardani, who was arrested earlier this year in connection to nationwide protests. Five teachers were summoned by the Bureau of Public Places in Saqqez.

Following a call to strike by the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI), Iranian teachers staged sit-ins [on October 14th and 15th] to demand more liveable salaries and justice for their persecuted colleagues. Strike activity was recorded across the provinces of Kerman, Lorestan, Khuzestan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Kurdistan, Alborz, Hamadan, Fars, Zanjan, Qom, Mazandaran, Tehran, North Khorasan, Ilam, East and West Azerbaijan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Bushehr, Gilan and Hormozgan.

Merchants: Merchants went on strike against the many interconnected symptoms of Iran’s current recession, including unstable exchange rates, inflation, rising prices, and unemployment. Merchant strikes went on for two consecutive days in the cities of Karaj, Shahreza, Shahriar, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Tabriz and Sarab.

Two street vendors were reportedly beaten by municipal agents in Qazvin and Gorgan.

Health and Environment:

Five environmental activists arrested 8 months ago have been indicted with charges of “corruption on earth,” which can carry the death penalty.

Intelligence agents halted a group of environmental journalists, including Javad Heydarian, before they could board a flight to Germany for work. Their passports were confiscated.

Public concern over pollution and waste issues is ballooning, and [many citizens are critical of the government’s inaction in face of myriad threats to the public health].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iranian Ministry of the Interior, Iranians surpass the worldwide average of daily waste production (300 grams) by a whopping 400 grams every day.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency of Miandoab (West Azerbaijan Province) announced that contamination of the Zarrinehroud River from the city’s sugar factory, coupled with poor ecological management of the river and its dam system, has caused thousands of fish to die in the river.

High levels of air pollution were reported this month in the cities of Kerman, Mahshahr, Ramshir, Rigan, and the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman.

Cultural Rights and Censorship

A number of photographers from Shiraz faced persecution for their instagram activity this month [which was cited as “improper”].

Two cultural directors from Sistan and Baluchestan province were summoned to the Intelligence office for attempting to host a peaceful community celebration.

Pending content modifications and the resolution of charges against the Home Video Entertainment Network, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned distribution of the network’s TV series “13 Shomali” (Northern 13), which previously aired on Saturdays.

Military and Law-Enforcement Power Abuses

Several citizens were killed as a result of power abuses and negligence by security forces this past month.

Police car chases, inappropriate shootings by border authorities, and authorities’ failure to warn civilians of road barriers led to 2 civilian injuries and 5 civilian deaths in Iranshahr (Sistan and Baluchestan Province), Jask (Hormozgan Province) and Azadshahr (Golestan Province) and Razavi Khorasan.

Security forces reportedly assaulted fuel vendors in Saravan (Sistan and Baluchestan Province).

More than a dozen “Kulbars” [laborers who make their living carrying goods across border areas] were wounded and killed across the country, namely in Sardasht (West Azerbaijan Province), Piranshahr (West Azarbaijan Province), Urmia (West Azerbaijan Province) Nowsud (Kermanshah Province), Marivan and Baneh (Kurdistan Province) and Ilam (Ilam province).

A prisoner in Urmia was sentenced to hand amputation, and a robbery convict was dealt 74 lashes in public in the Zeberkhan Rural District (Nishapur County, Razavi Khorasan Province).

__________________________________________________________________________

The above-cited reports are only a few examples of dismally more widespread trends. Their mention in this overview by no means implies their significance over those incidents which went unreported, due to tight restrictions on investigative journalists on the ground.

Among available reports of human rights abuses, however, some are more oft-cited due to their sensitive nature or predominating presence in public opinion. It bears mention that all human rights abuses are worthy of the news coverage and social media activism that has come to the aid of so relatively few. Bearing in mind their roles as public opinion influencers, social media activists and human rights reporters must be wary not to underlie existing human rights abuses with unintentional discrimination in their reporting.

Retrial Denied to Imprisoned Couple Struggling with Health Problems

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- A request for retrial for a married couple imprisoned on political grounds has been denied for the second time by Branch 33 of Iran’s Supreme Court.

Hassan Sadeghi and Fatemeh Mosana, who have been tortured and incarcerated multiple times over the past four decades since the Revolution, are currently serving 15-year prison sentences; Sadeghi in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison, and Mosana in Tehran’s Evin prison.

After being tortured by intelligence agents during an arrest, Sadeghi sustained eye injuries that have developed into secondary ailments, including glaucoma. His glaucoma-afflicted right eye may soon require surgery, but the advancement of his disease informs a poor prognosis. Though he has made an appointment with an ophthalmologist, he won’t be able to honor it: the prosecutor’s office refuses to issue Sadeghi the permit he needs to go there.

Sadeghi was first arrested in 1981 at the age of 16, and was tortured over the course of his six-year detention; the impact of multiple lashings ground a dent into his skull. Under psychological and physical duress, Sadeghi also developed an ulcer and gastrointestinal infection. Years later, gel insoles and orthopedic shoes help relieve the chronic foot pain caused by his torturers, who fractured his heel bone with repeated whips of a cable to the soles of his feet — yet the prosecutor’s office bars Sadeghi from even buying them himself.

Mosana, 41, was first arrested in 1980 at the age of 13. With her mother, she was charged with “Moharebeh” [enmity against God] and “Baqi” [rebellion] for membership in the opposition group MEK. Both served three years in prison; meanwhile, three of her brothers and a sister-in-law were executed for opposition activities.

Mosana suffered a leg injury while incarcerated in 2016 that required the application of a cast, a treatment that authorities delayed for two and a half months. After her complaints of chronic pain were ignored by prison staff, she was transferred to an outside medical facility where doctors diagnosed her with permanent tendon rupture.

Sadeghi was again arrested along with Mosana and his two children in February 2013 for commemorating his late father, an anti-regime activist. Authorities sealed Sadeghi’s home after the arrest and detained their 10-year-old daughter Fatemeh for three days. Their son Iman, 19 years old at the time, was in custody for a month and a half.

Sadeghi and Mosana spent a year behind bars before going free on bail. Judge Ahmadzadeh of Revolutionary Court Branch 26 would later order the couple to serve 15 years in prison and surrender their property, including their home and their shop. This sentence was later upheld in appeals court.

Mosana was detained September 30, 2015, to begin serving the 15-year sentence. Her husband was arrested in turn while visiting her in Evin prison on February 7, 2016. Their children, now aged 26 and 19, are in the care of their elderly grandmother.

Four Activists Arrested in East Azerbaijan Province

Posted on: October 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Three Azerbaijani activists residing in Tabriz — Sajjad Afroozian, Ebrahim Ranjbar, and Sadollah Sasani — were arrested by security agents Friday, October 26th for participating in a memorial service for Gholamreza Amani. A fourth, Hakimeh Ahmadi, was arrested for undisclosed reasons in Marand.

Gholamreza Amani was a renowned Azerbaijani activist who died in a car accident along with his two brothers on October 23, 2008. Amid public suspicions around the circumstances of his death — believed by some to be a “premeditated murder” — security forces have kept an anxious eye and grip on the gatherings held in his memory.

A close source said security forces surrounded Maralan cemetery on Thursday, where Amani’s commemoration was scheduled to take place. Afroozian was among a number of activists contacted by security agents that day who threatened to detain them if they showed up.

Two of the arrested memorial attendees have been pursued by authorities in the past. Sasani was among a group of Azerbaijani activists arrested and interrogated in July 2017 during a gathering at Babak Fort. He was later released on a bail of 20 million tomans (approximately $5,000 USD). In one of his multiple run-ins with security agents and interrogators, Afroozian was violently apprehended in December 2016 in the city of Malekan and released the following February on a 50 million toman bond [approximately $12,000 USD].

Coinciding the three aforementioned arrests was the detainment of Hakimeh Ahmadi, arrested at her home in the city of Marand. Security agents reportedly roughhoused both her and husband, threatening them with a close-combat weapon. They offered no explanation for her arrest.

Ahmadi was previously arrested this past September and released on a 100 million toman bail [approximately $7,000 USD].

Afroozian, Ranjbar, Sasani, and Ahmadi have all been transferred to undisclosed locations.

Tabriz, Marand, and Malekan are located in the northeastern province of Azerbaijan, which borders the Republic of Azerbaijan and is home to Iran’s Azerbaijani minority.

Authorities Prevent Folk Author’s Remembrance Gathering for the 3rd Time

Posted on: October 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Shahnaz Darabian’s plans to mark the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death at his resting place in Karaj’s Behesht-e Sakineh cemetery were abruptly derailed by a phone call October 24th, by which Iranian security forces informed her that the ceremony would not be permissible.

The widow and children of late writer Ali Ashraf Darvishian had announced their plans to commemorate his passing on October 23rd of this year.

“Security organs pled ‘anti-regime abuses’ to stop the event from taking place,” a close source told HRANA. “They have said that only family and close relatives of Mr. Darvishian are permitted to visit his grave for an hour. They left the family with no choice but to cancel the ceremony.”

The cancellation marks the third consecutive time that Iranian authorities have obstructed posthumous honors for Darvishian. Just two days after his death in 2017, Iranian authorities canceled a commemoration event planned for October 28th at Elmi Karbordi University. A second attempt to hold a ceremony was halted by security forces December 1, 2017.

Ali Ashraf Darvishian, a writer and scholar of folk literature, died of an illness on October 26, 2017, at the age of 76. He was buried October 30, 2017, in Behesht-e Sakineh cemetery of Karaj.

Ali Ashraf Darvishian

Darvishian published around 30 books, the most influential of which was a 19-volume anthology of Iranian folklore he composed in collaboration with Reza Khandan Mahabadi. One of the oldest members of the Iranian Writers Guild, his honors include the Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Grant, awarded to writers across the world who are struggling against persecution and economic hardship.

Due to his political activity leading up to the Islamic Revolution, Darvishian was fired from his job, prevented from working, and imprisoned between 1970 and 1979.

Other notable Darvishian works include My Favorite Stories, Bisotun, Abshuran, Bread Season, Along with my Father’s Songs, Golden Flower and Red Klash, The Black Cloud of a Thousand Eyes, Our School’s Bulletin, Rangineh, When Will You Be Returning, Dear Brother, and Fire in the Kid’s Library.

Khuzestan Arrest Campaign: 133 Victims Identified, Public Demands Transparency

Posted on: October 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – HRANA has confirmed the names of 133 Ahwazi Arabs swept up in an arrest campaign, a purported search for accomplices of an armed attack on a September 22nd military parade that left 24 dead and 57 wounded.

Held in the southwestern border city of Ahvaz in observance of the Iran-Iraq war, the parade was tragically interrupted by the gunfire of four assailants who were promptly killed by authorities. Having since attributed the tragedy to ISIS, the Iranian authorities recently launched a retaliatory missile attack on an ISIS base in Iraq. Security forces, seemingly in a continued state of urgency, have continued to sequester citizens across the Khuzestan province on grounds they have yet to disclose.

With no available information on how these would-be suspects could be linked to the armed attack or to ISIS, locals wonder if arrestees are being targeted for other reasons entirely. That detained hail mostly from the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Susangerd, and Abadan; many have had prior run-ins with authorities, several on account of their civic activism; and almost all are Ahwazi Arabs, one of Iran’s ethnic minorities.

In response to allegations that they may be using the parade attack as a pretext for purging the region of civic activism, Iranian authorities seemed to hedge.

“There are no civil or children’s rights activists among those arrested,” said Khuzestan provincial governor Gholamreza Shariati on October 22nd, without making mention of arrest numbers. “We are making concerted efforts to avoid trouble for civil and political activists, and they have not been a subject of discussion. One woman is among those detained, but we have not detained any children.”

Local activists, meanwhile, feel that their comrades have inexplicably come under a scrutiny bordering on persecution. Human rights activist Karim Dahimi cited his colleague, Susangerd civil rights activist Lamiya Hamadi, as an example: “She is not, in fact, a religious activist,” Dahimi said. “Gholamreza Shariati admitting her arrest only corroborates the fact that civil rights activists are among those detained.”

Dahimi also scoffed at the governor’s claim that only one woman had thus far been detained, countering with examples of women who were carted off shortly after their family members: Faez Afrawi, who was detained shortly after her son, is now being held in an undisclosed location, and the wife, sister, and mother of detainee Adnan Mazraia, who are also being held incommunicado.

Regarding Shariati’s claims that no children had been arrested, Dahimi said, “it ought to be noted that the entire families of the four attackers were detained on the day of the attack, including their children.”

Save for a few insinuations that some detainees have been transferred to Tehran, arrestees’ inquiring family members have been suffering in radio silence from authorities. “No one has been released since the attacks began in Khuzestan,” said Dahimi. “What’s more, we don’t know where they’re being kept, or what kind of condition they’re being kept in.”

Not long after the attack, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced it had taken 22 suspects into custody, broadcasting footage of blindfolded, unidentified detainees facing a wall. Now local sources estimate the number of those arrested has climbed well into the hundreds.

While arrest numbers rise and authorities play tactics close to the vest, public fears return to the possibility that security forces will coerce past offenders to “confess” to a role in the attack. In response to mounting public concern over scapegoating and discrimination, the Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, issued the following statement on October 21st:

“[…]Although state organizations have yet to give a report on the number of detainees or the process of detention, according to the families of detainees, over 500 were arrested between September 23 and October 22 and are held in undisclosed locations. The detainees are deprived of the most basic legal rights, including the right to legal representation or the right to family visitation.

The Defenders of Human Rights Center condemns the recent arrests and any illegal action taken by the security officials and the IRGC. The Center announces that such blind arrests and security measures only result in further unrest and certainly cannot shut down the voice of the protestors. The only path to achieving peace inside Iran is through being responsive to citizens and delivering on delayed promises, as well as through combating administrative corruption, existing “red lines,” and releasing all prisoners of conscience and political prisoners.”

Listed below are the identities of the 133 arrestees thus far confirmed by HRANA:

  1. Khaled Abidawi, of the Shekareh Kut-e Abdollah neighborhood
  2. Abu Shalan Saki, of Hoveyzeh
  3. Ahmad Bawi, of the Zahiriyeh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  4. Ahmad Timas, of the Shekareh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  5. Ahmad Hazbawi, of the Kut-e Abdollah neighborhood
  6. Ahmad Hamari, 29, holder of a bachelor’s degree, married, of the Mandali neighborhood of Ahvaz
  7. Ahmad Haidari, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  8. Ahmad Sawidi, of the Hujjiyeh village of Susangerd
  9. Ahmad Krushat, son of Kazim, of Ahvaz
  10. Osama TImas, 26, of the Shekareh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  11. Omid Bachari, of the Muwilhah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  12. Amir Afrawi, son of Fazel, of Albuafri village of Susangerd
  13. Jader Afrawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  14. Jasim Krushat, 45, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  15. Jafar Hazbawi, of the Kut Abdullah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  16. Jafar Abidawi, of the Goldasht neighborhood of Ahvaz
  17. Jamil Ahmadpour (al-Ha’i), of the Aziziyah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  18. Jamil Haydari, 33, of the Northern Kamplou neighborhood of the Lashkar district of Ahvaz
  19. Jamil Sylawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  20. Jawad Badawi, 26, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  21. Jawad Hashemi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  22. Hatam Sawari, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  23. Hassan Harbawi, of Susangerd
  24. Hussein Haidari, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  25. Hamdan Afrawi, son of Abbas, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  26. Khazal Abbas al-Tamimi (Fazeli), 30, of the Shayban village of Ahvaz
  27. Khalil Saylawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  28. Daniyal Adel Amjad, 43, married, of the Mash’ali neighborhood of Ahvaz
  29. Ramin Bechari, of the Muwilhah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  30. Riyaz Zahiri, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  31. Riyaz Shamusi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  32. Zamil Haydari, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  33. Sattar Kuti, of Hamidieh
  34. Samir Silawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  35. Sohrab Moqadam, of the Darvishiyya Kut Abdullah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  36. Seyed Jasim Rahmani (Musawi), 33, married with three children, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  37. Seyed Jalil Musawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  38. Seyed Hamud Rahmani (Musawi), of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  39. Seyed Sadeq Musawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  40. Seyed Qasim Musawi, of Ahvaz
  41. Shaker Sawari, of Ahvaz
  42. Shani Shamusi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  43. Sadeq Silawai, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  44. Adil Zahiri, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  45. Adil Afrawi, of Hamidiyeh
  46. Aref Ghazlawi, son of Hanun, of Ahvaz
  47. Aref Mughaynemi, 27, of the Hujjiyah village of Susangerd
  48. Aref Naseri, 30, son of Aydan, of Kut Abdullah, Majd Kuy, neighborhood of Ahvaz
  49. Abbas Badawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  50. Abbas Haydari, of the Shekareh district of Kut Abdullah
  51. Abbas Saki, son of Abdali Sharhan, of Howeyzeh
  52. Abbas Mughaynemi, 26, married, of the Hujjiyah village of Susangerd
  53. Abdulrahman Khasarji, 32, married, of the Kut Seyed Na’im neighborhood of Ahvaz
  54. Abdullah Siylawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  55. Adnan Sawari, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  56. Abdulrahman Haidari, 19, son of Qasim, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  57. Aziz Hamidawi, of the Muwailha neighborhood of Ahvaz
  58. Aqil Shamusi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  59. Alireza Daris, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  60. Ali Saki, son of Amruh, of Howeyzeh
  61. Ali Sawiydi, of the Hujjiyah village of Susangerd
  62. Ali Shajirat (Abu Faruq), of the Muwailha neighborhood of Ahvaz
  63. Ali Afrawi, son of Hamd, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  64. Ali Mansouri, of the Hamidiyah
  65. Ali Abaji, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  66. Ali Alhay (Hiyawi), of Ahvaz
  67. Ali Haydari, son of Shayi’, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  68. Ali Sawari, 23, son of Chasib, of the Aziziyah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  69. Ali Sawari, son of Ghazi, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  70. Ali Kuti, of Hamidiyeh
  71. Ali Mazbani, Nasr (Sawari), of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  72. Ali Mazraie, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  73. Issa Badawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  74. Fars Shamusi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  75. Fazel, Shamusi, of Ahvaz
  76. Sadiq Haydari, son of Jasim, 28, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  77. Farhan Shamusi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  78. Fahd Niysi, resident of Ahvaz
  79. Qasim Ka’bawi (Ka’abi), 24, of Hamidiyeh
  80. Karim Majdam Abu Mu’taz, of the Kut Abdullah neighborhood of Ahvaz
  81. Kazim Ghazlawi, son of Hanun, of Ahvaz
  82. Lami Shamusi, of Hamidiyeh
  83. Lamiya Hamadi, of Susangerd
  84. Majed Childawi, son of Sa’dun, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  85. Majed Haydari, 25, of the Northern Kamplou neighborhood of the Lashkar district of Ahvaz
  86. Majed Sawari, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  87. Maher Mas’udi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  88. Mohsen Badawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  89. Mahdi Sa’edi, of the Hamidiyeh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  90. Mohammad Sawari, son of Sabah, of the Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  91. Mohammad Amuri, 26, of Ahvaz
  92. Mohammad Mohammadi (Ahyat), 22, of Hamidiyeh
  93. Mohammad Mas’udi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  94. Mohammad Mo’men Timas, 55, of the Shekareh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  95. Mahmud Duraqi, of the Muwailha neighborhood of Ahvaz
  96. Mukhtar Mas’udi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  97. Murteza Bayt Shaykh Mohammad, son of Naser, 24, of the Hujjiyah village of Susangerd
  98. Murteza Mughaynemi, 22, of the Hujjiyah village of Susangerd
  99. Murteza Yassin, of Darvishiyya Kut Abdullah
  100. Mostafa Sawari, son of Sahi, of Shekareh Kut Abdullah
  101. Mahdi Kuti, of Hamidiyeh
  102. Mahdi Mazraie, of the Abu Hamiza neighborhood of Susangerd
  103. Musa Mazraie, of the Abu Hamiza neighborhood of Susangerd
  104. Milad Afrawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  105. Naiem Haydari, 24, of Ahvaz
  106. Nur Naysi, resident of Alawi neighborhood of Ahvaz
  107. Hadi Abidawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  108. Wali Amiri, of Kut Abdullah
  109. Yusef Khosraji, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  110. Ahmad Amin (Qays) Ghazi, writer, researcher and cultural activist, of the Mellat neighborhood of Ahvaz
  111. Khalid Siylawi, of the Mollashieh neighborhood of Ahvaz
  112. Sajjad Siylawi, of Ahvaz
  113. Seyed Sadiq Nazari (Abu Nabil), of the Al-i Safi neighborhood of Ahvaz]
  114. Ali Sawari, son of Sahi, of Kut Abdullah
  115. Fa’iz Afrawi, 30, married with one child, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  116. Zudiya Afrawi, 55, mother of Fa’iz Afrawi, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  117. Mohammad Ami Afrawi, married, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  118. Qaysiyya Afrawi, mother of Mohammad Amin Afrawi, 60, of the Albuafri village of Susangerd
  119. Adnan Mazraie, of Susangerd
  120. Wife of Adnan Mazra’i, of Susangerd
  121. Sister of Adnan Mazra’i, of Susangerd
  122. Mother of Adnan Mazra’i, of Susangerd
  123. Jalal Nabhani, of the Ameri neighborhood of Ahvaz
  124. Khalid Hazbawi, 40, of the Kut Abdullah, Majd Kuy, neighborhood of Ahvaz
  125. Mohammad Hazbawi, son of Abdulkarim, 30, of the Kut Abdullah, Majd Kuy, neighborhood of Ahvaz
  126. Reza Bitrani, 34, of the Kut Abdullah, Majd Kuy, neighborhood of Ahvaz
  127. Tariq Amiri, 24, of Kut Abdullah
  128. Jamal Mujdam, 35, of Kut Abdullah
  129. Hussein Subhani, 28 of the Khashayar neighborhood of Ahvaz
  130. Rashid Krushat, son of Haj Musa, of Ahvaz
  131. Hakim Krushat, son of Mannan, of Ahvaz
  132. Ali Mughaynimi, son of Saddam, of Susangerd
  133. Jawad Mahnapour (Afrawi), of the Albuafri village of Susangerd

Teacher Activist of Sound Mind Sequestered in Psych Ward

Posted on: October 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Retired teacher and current teacher’s union member Hashem Khastar, who has no history of mental illness, was arrested in front of his garden on the evening of Tuesday, October 23rd and dispatched by ambulance to Mashhad’s Ibn Sina Hospital Psychiatric Ward.

Khastar’s family were suspicious and worried, a close source said, when they came home Tuesday to find his car unlocked in front of the house. On a Wednesday phone call — his first contact with his family since the arrest — Khastar said that the Intelligence Unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had arrested and admitted him to the hospital for reasons they wouldn’t disclose.

According to the source, Khastar’s family were initially forbidden by security agents from visiting him in the ward but were more recently able to obtain that permission through coordination with authorities. Khastar — who declared hunger strike earlier today, October 25th, demanding to see his wife — explained during her visit the details of his arrest: “They brought some articles of my clothing into the ambulance, took me straight to the hospital, and put shackles on my feet.”

It is rumored that this puzzling detainment was ordered by the prosecutor’s office. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on the reasons behind Khastar’s arrest.

A recent arrest during silent teacher protests on June 21, 2018, landed Khastar, 65, in a Security Police detention center on Abbas Abad (formerly Vozara) street. In 2009, he was arrested in connection to widespread protests following that year’s Iranian presidential elections and was fined by Iranian courts for two letters he wrote from Vakilabad Prison. He was released, then arrested again later for refusing to pay the fine.

Mashhad is the capital of Razavi Khorasan province, located in Iran’s northeast.

Activist Leila Mir-Ghaffari Gets Suspended Prison Sentence for Pointing at Picture

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On October 6th, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 26 sentenced civil rights activist Leila Mir-Ghaffari to a two-year prison sentence, suspended over three years, for having pointed to a picture on the wall.

Mir-Ghaffari’s attorney Mohammad Hossein Aghasi explained to HRANA that her conviction of “insulting the supreme leader” hinged on a single moment: when she voiced criticism of foreign aid to Lebanon and Syria whilst pointing a “finger of blame” to a picture of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose image overlooks the entrance to almost every public building in Iran.

Mir-Ghaffari was initially detained on October 2nd for defending the “Girls of Revolution Street,” a movement that gained international attention through photographs of its defenders de-veiling in public places in protest of mandatory head coverings. Morality court ordered her to pay a fine of 32 million IRR [approximately $250 USD], and she was released on bail the next day.

On June 13, 2018, HRANA reported on a summons from the Tehran Appeals Court to review the sentencing of a number of civil activists, including Mir-Ghaffari, who had been issued 91 days’ imprisonment and 74 lashes each. Judge Farshid Dehghani presided over their preliminary trial on February 9, 2016, in Tehran Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 1060.

In November 2016, Mir-Ghaffari was arrested with 17 others for staging a peaceful gathering across from Evin Prison. Authorities sent the women protestors to Gharchak Prison and the men to Evin. Charged with “disrupting the public peace,” they were eventually released on bail of 500 million IRR [approximately $4000 USD]. Her co-arrestees were Reza Makeian (Malak), Hashem Zaynali, Simin Aivazadeh, Ehsan Khaybar, Abdulazim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojaie, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleymani, Sharmin Yamani, Sala Saie, Arshiya Rahmati, Massoud Hamidi, Ali Babaie, Esmaeil Hosseini, Farideh Tousi, and Zahra Moddareszadeh.