A Statement by the Council for Coordination of Teaching Syndicates

Posted on: August 10th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRNANA) – The Council for Coordination of Teaching Syndicates has issued a statement protesting the sentence imposed on Mohammad Habibi, a teacher union activist. The council has called the verdict a good example to measure judicial fairness in Iran. The Council has also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Habibi.

“The judge’s motive behind this verdict is to send a warning to the society: If you are pursuing justice, you will face prison and lashing”

Full translated text of the statement:

Ninety days have passed since the unlawful and violent arrest of Mr Mohammad Habibi, a member of the board of the directors of the Teachers Union Association of the Province of Tehran. The arrest appalled the teachers and the society as a whole, and every conscientious person has condemned this move.

The events since Mr Habibi’s arrest on May 10th – from the way he was arrested, the legal process and the location of detention – all pointed to the fact that there is an extrajudicial will to impose an unlawful ordeal on this jailed teacher. Annulling the bail and a request made by the IRGC Intelligence unit to unlawfully transfer Habibi to Tehran are examples of the lack of due process and infringement on the rights of the accused. Sadly, this is not the whole story. Mr Habibi was denied urgently needed medical attention. Such negligence coupled with deplorable prison conditions could lead to a tragedy if the status quo persists.

Based on reliable information obtained by the Council, the family of Mr Habibi did not stop at any attempts to fight for his rights. They have pursued his case through letter writing and in-person visits [with officials]. As a result of their efforts, it could be said with certainty that authorities on the highest level are aware of Mohammad Habibi’s appalling conditions. They know how distressed the teaching community in Iran is over Mr Habibi’s ordeal. Nevertheless, Judge Ahmadizadeh who presides over Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, in an unprecedented and unfair verdict, sentenced this committed teacher to 10 and a half years in prison, a two-year ban from social activities, a two-year ban from leaving the country. And to make the punishment harsher, he added 74 lashes to the sentence.

It is as though the judge’s motive behind this verdict is to send a warning to the society: If you are pursuing justice, you will face prison and lashing. It is as though the judge wishes to tell oppressed people who are frustrated and fed-up with corruption and rising prices that authorities don’t touch the thieves and the embezzlers, and only seek [individuals such as teachers] who fight for freedom and justice.

In our view, the instances of due process violation are so evident that investigating the judicial ordeal of Mohammad Habibi’s case could be used as a measure of justice in the Judiciary. Therefore, we ask independent jurist and legal experts to investigate this matter so that perhaps the Judiciary would respond to the inquiries and concerns of teachers:

1) We would like to know on what basis the agents [who came to arrest Mr Habibi] put a gun to his head while handcuffing him?

2) We would like to know what or who allowed plainclothes agents to drag Mohammad Habibi on the pavement after beating him?

3) We would like to know on what basis and how the investigator first set a bail, only to annul it later and send the case to the court?

4) We would like to know why the judge rejected the bail and returned Mr Habibi to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary?

5) We would like to know why Mohammad Habibi was not transferred out of prison for medical care despite the coroner’s confirmation that he needed care?

6) Why and how a judge increased the punishment that he imposed? The maximum penalty for collusion is five years in prison. For propaganda against the regime it is one year and for disturbing the public order is a one-year prison term. The judge did not contend to the maximum and increased the sentence length by 1.5 to 10 and a half years in prison while his punishment in the worst case would have been 7.5 years in prison.

These are the unanswered questions that have preoccupied the minds of most teachers.

How odd are all this hostility and rancour with the people who are responsible for the education of the children?

The Council condemns in the strongest term the sentence against Mr Habibi and demands his immediate release until the case is heard before an appeals court. The teaching community does not accept the charges against the imprisoned activist and is asking for the exoneration of Mr Habibi in an appeals court. We believe imprisoning union activists is a clear example of treating civil activities as security threats. In such a climate, and while there are jailed teachers, speaking of resolving educational problems is futile. Consequently, the union activists, mindful of their imprisoned colleagues, will start this school year in a new, different way.

The Council for Coordination of Teaching Syndicates
August 7th, 2018

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In mid-July, a group of graduated teachers met with the Minister of Education’s advisor in Union Affairs and delivered a letter in defense of Mohammad Habibi. In the letter, the signatories expressed concerns about Mr Habibi’s health and asked for his transfer to Evin Prison.

In June, a letter signed by 6,500 teachers and civil rights activists demanding the release of Mr Habibi was delivered to the Iranian Parliament.

On May 10, 2018, the Council called on the teachers to assemble in protest. In Tehran, several of the protestors were arrested and transferred to Tehran’s Evin Prison. They were all released on bail three days later except for Mr Habibi.

Mohammad Habibi was previously arrested in March 2018 and was jailed for 44 days before he was released on a $50,000 USD bail [the figure in USD is an approximate ammount].

Summary Report: Recent Arrests, Imprisonment and Executions

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A summary report on the most recent news of arrests, imprisonment, and executions in Iran from the the last week of July 2018 to August 7, 2018.

Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi Released from Tabriz Prison

Iraj Mohammadi (left) and Mohammad Amin Agoushi (right)

Political prisoners Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi were released from Tabriz Prison on Sunday, August 5, 2018, following the end of their judicial sentence. In September 2007, Mr Mohammadi and Mr Amin Agoushi were sentenced to a 10-year prison exile term each on the charge of “Acting against national security”.

Last week, HRANA reported on a hunger strike launched by Iraj Mohammadi in objection to the Iranian authorities preventing his release from prison despite reaching the end of his conviction.

Iranian authorities arrested Mohammad Amin Agoushi on September 23, 2007, on the charges of “Espionage” and “Cooperation with Iraqi Kurdistan”. In May 2008, branch 2 of the military court in Urmia charged him with “Moharebeh” (enmity against God) and transferred him to Urmia’s central prison. Four months later, Judge Hafiz Ghaffari sentenced him to death by a firing squad.

In 2010 the retrial request was approved and the case was sent to branch 31 of Iran’s Supreme Court where the sentence was reduced to ten years in prison exile. Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi were transferred to Tabriz Prison from Zahedan in March.

In February 2017 Iraj Mohammadi explained some points in an open letter about rejecting his request for amnesty. Mr Mohammadi emphasized that the mentioned reasons were false, stating that he suffered from nervous and mental illnesses as a result of being held in solitary confinement for eight months and tortured at the onset of his arrest.

Sunni Prisoner Yasser Sharafipour Suffers from Medical Neglect

On Friday, August 3, 2018, the chest, abdomen and back of Yaser Sharafipoor, a Sunni prisoner in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison, was burned with hot water.

An informed source told HRANA: “The burn was so severe that he had difficulty breathing. Prison authorities transferred him to the clinic but they only used burn ointment and returned him to the ward. When the prisoner protested, they sent him to the hospital with handcuffs and shackles. Despite the recommendation of the doctors to hospitalize him, he was returned to the prison.

Arraignment of Kamal Abdollahi in Urmia Court

Kamal Abdollahi, a citizen from Piranshahr who is held in Urmia’s central prison, was charged with “Acting against national security” by branch 6 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. No information was given to Mr Abdollahi regarding the reason for the charge.

Iranian authorities arrested Mr Abdollahi on May 5, 2018, and held him for three months in a detention center operated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Urmia.

Five members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Arrested

On the morning of August 5, 2018, drivers of the United Bus Company of Tehran went to the company’s offices to track their housing situation in connection with issues such as the lack of delivery of housing to members despite paying all the agreed amounts in the contract. When they arrived, they were not allowed to enter, which sparked a protest that was cracked down by police forces. During the crackdown, five members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company were arrested. The individuals are Hassan Saeedi, Davood Razavi, Atta Babakhani, Ali Ghorbanian and an unidentified person.

A close source tells HRANA: “Their detention was a result of a request by Mr Sanandaji, the President of the company. Members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company gathered in front of branch 4 of Tehran’s security offices to support their detained colleagues until their release.”

The five workers were reportedly released hours after they were detained.

Intelligence Agents Arrest Young Man from Zarabad

According to HRANA’s sources and the Baloch Activists Campaign, a 35-year-old man by the name of Abdul Latif Miran Zehi was arrested by Intelligence agents on August 2, 2018, and transferred to Chabahar Prison.

An informed source said: “Abdul Latif Miran Zehi was getting his hair cut at a salon in Zarabad when he was arrested, handcuffed and taken by Intelligence agents who did not present an arrest warrant.”

No information about the reason for his arrest is available at this time and Mr Miran Zehi’s family is unaware of his condition following his arrest.

On May 25, 2018, a 23-year-old man by the name of Abdul Ghani Miran Zehi was arrested by Intelligence agents.

Gonabadi Dervish Maryam Farsiyabi Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

According to close sources and the Sufi news website Majzooban-e Noor, Maryam Farsiyabi, a Gonabadi Dervish, who is detained in Charchak Prison in Varamin, was sentenced to six months in prison and a two-year travel ban by branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Ms Farsiyabi was arrested on February 20, 2018, during the “Golestan 7th Avenue Event” which she attended with her husband, Mohammad Karimayee, and hundreds of other Gonabadi Dervishes.

Ms Farsiyabi was beaten by Iranian authorities to the point that she suffered from a fracture to her hand and her jaw was dislocated.

Mr Karimayee was recently sentenced to seven years in prison by the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Maryam Farsiyabi, along with other women Dervish prisoners, launched a hunger strike on June 15, 2018, in protest of a violent attack by the guards. They ended their hunger strike on June 30, 2018.

Mohammad Mozaffari lashed 74 times in Evin Prison

The 74 lashings sentence for Mohammad Mozaffari was reportedly carried out in Evin Prison on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Mr Mozaffari is a political activist who was sentenced to two years in prison, 74 lashes and a 20,000,000 Rial [approximately $200 USD] fine on the charge of “Propaganda against the regime”. The sentence was issued by Abolqasem Salavati, a judge in branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

On June 18, 2018, Mohammad Mozaffari was sent to Evin Prison to serve his two-year sentence.

Mr Mozaffari’s lawyers objected to his judicial sentence and the case was referred to the appeals court. Mr Mozaffari’s sentence was upheld by branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court.

Four prisoners were executed in Minab and Bandar Abbas

Iranian official sources have reported on the execution of three prisoners in Minab Prison on rape charges. The executions were reportedly carried out on the morning of Wednesday, August 8, 2018. According to an Iranian state-run news agency, the unidentified prisoners were accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in 2016 in the city of Minab.

Minab is one of the eastern cities of the Hormozgan province in southern Iran.

Prisoner at Bandar Abbas Central Prison Executed

On the morning of Tuesday, August 7, 2018, a prisoner convicted of “Murder” was reportedly executed in Bandar Abbas’s central prison. The prisoner, who has been identified as 46-year-old Amir Ali Kolivand, was arrested in June 2014.

Mr Kolivand was transferred from Haji Abad Prison to Bandar Abbas’s central prison on Monday, August 6. Haji Abad is the northernmost city of the Hormozgan province and is located near the Kerman province.

Regarding Mr Kolivand’s case, an informed told HRANA: “Amir Ali Kolivand was also charged with trafficking 5 kilograms of crystal meth, but he was executed on the charge of killing a bus driver.”

Mr Kolivand’s execution has not been announced by Iranian official sources.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran, in proportion to population per capita and executions, ranks first in the world in executions.

An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are considered “secret executions”.

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

Baha’i Citizen in Yazd Arrested

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi, a Bahai citizen, was arrested without a warrant by security forces on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, in the city of Yazd (conservative religious capital of the Yazd province).

A close source confirmed the news and told HRANA: “At noon, security forces arrested Mehran Bandi Amirabadi at his workplace.”

Mr Amirabadi was tried with six other Bahai citizens in branch 3 of the Yazd Appeals Court. Mr Amirabadi was sentenced to one and a half years in prison and one year in exile in Divandareh (a remote city in the Kurdistan province).

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice either individually, in public or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and denies recognizing the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Political Activist Mokhtar Zarei Temporarily Released from Prison

According to close sources and the Kurdistan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, political prisoner Mokhtar Zarei was temporarily released on bail from Sanandaj Prison on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, after 17 days of detention.

Mr Zarei was reportedly arrested on Saturday, July 23, 2018, and summoned to court.

A few days before his arrest, Mr Zarei claimed the reason for his arrest is his criticisms against Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and the human rights violations in Iran.

Environmental Activist Yousef Farhadi Babadi Summoned to Court

Environmental activist Yousef Farhadi Babadi was reportedly summoned to branch 118 of the Isfahan Criminal Court regarding Dr Abedi’s (parliament representative of Isfahan) lawsuit. Mr Babadi was released on bail from Isfahan prison on March 12, 2018.

On March 5, 2018, Mr Babadi received a subpoena and a call from the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province’s prosecutor’s office regarding his publication in a social media channel called “Sound of Water”, which mainly criticized the water situation in Iran. This subpoena was issued to him based on the charge of “Disseminating lies and disturbing public opinion in cyberspace”.

A Civil Rights Activist in Marivan and Two Others in Oshnavieh Arrested by Intelligence Agents, Transferred to Unknown Location

According to close sources and the Kurdistan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, in the last week of July 2018, Marivan intelligence agents arrested Arman Ghafouri, civil rights and environmental activist, and transferred him to an undisclosed location. Mr Ghafouri’s family has not been able to obtain any precise information about the reason for his arrest or the location where he is being held.

Previously, Armin Ghafouri and eight other civil rights activists were arrested on March 12, 2018, and interrogated by Iranian authorities regarding their participation in a gathering condemning the “Turkish military operation of Afrin”. army’s attack on the Afrin city”. They were subsequently released on bail.

During the past few days, Kamel Ahmadi and Tayyeb Bamorovat were arrested by Intelligence agents for the charge of “Cooperation with a Kurdish opposition party” and transferred to an unknown location. A total of seven citizens from Oshnavieh have been arrested for the same charge and the identity of only five of them has been identified thus far.

Protests and Marches in at Least Six Iranian Cities

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Throughout Sunday and Monday in Iran, multiple protests were reported across Iran. Protesters included: a group of Azadi Sports Complex workers (in Tehran), a group of Falat-e Ghare oil workers (in Khark island in the Persian Gulf), several Northeastern Railroad workers, a group of Tehran’s Shad Abad Iron Market merchants, a group of landowners in Savojbalagh (whose properties have been recently designated as a “national resource”), and a group of residents of Asr Abad village in Marivan (western Iran).

Azadi Sports Complex

According to the state-run Fars News Agency, Azadi Sports Complex workers were protesting the dismissal of six of their colleagues in addition to unpaid severance pays.

Azadi complex is under provisional direction following the sacking of its last director in July. Twenty protesting workers first gathered in Azadi Sports Complex to voice their demands and then headed to the Ministry of Sport and Youth. Following the rally in front of the Ministry, Zhaleh Faramarzian, a Ministry VP, met and spoke with a representative of the protesters. When Ms Faramarzian reportedly promised to help resolve their issues, the protestors marched to the Development and Maintenance of the Athletic Facilities Office to hold discussions with its president, Hassan Karimi.
As a result of these discussions, it was agreed that the six dismissed workers would return to work and the other demands would be met as soon as possible.

Falat-Ghareh Oil Workers Go on Strike

Workers at the Falat-Ghareh located in Khark Island in the Persian Gulf launched a strike and rallied in protest to a $50* cut to their salaries. According to the state-run Tasnim News Agency, the employer is refusing to heed to the demands of the workers.

Railroad workers continue their strike

The news website Radio Zamaneh reports on the continued strikes of railroad workers and that the North East railroad workers blocked railroad tracks to stop train services.

There are reports of continued strikes in the cities of Sarakhs, Shahroud, Damghan, and Semnan. The workers in these areas have reportedly not received their salaries, insurance, and severance pays for the past three months.

Railroad workers in Iran who number 7,000 nationally demand that temporary and contractual agreements are scrapped and replaced by permanent positions. They also ask for their unpaid salaries and benefits and seek insurance coverage [by the employer].

Iron Market Strike Continues

Radio Zamaneh reports that for the second day in a row, merchants at Tehran’s Shad Abad Iron Market went on strike. A video clip disturbed on social networks shows closed shops at this market.

Land Owners of Kowsar Remain in Limbo over Legal Status of Their Properties

According to Radio Zamaneh, a group of landowners at Savojbalagh assembled in front of Alborz Province’s Agricultural Jihad Ministry to protest broken promises by officials and the legal limbo surrounding the status of their properties.

The owners of these 1,200 pieces of land had purchased their properties from Habitation Coops. However, the lands were declared “national” property in 2016. The owners have been passed between the Natural Resources Office and the Housing and Urban Planning Organization.

Back in March, the Savojbalagh county director claimed that the issues surrounding the properties were resolved and the landowners would receive good news.

Residents of Asr Abad Village Protest Their Village Being Used as Landfill

According to Radio Zamaneh, Asr Abad residents protesting the burial of the city of Varamin’s garbage in their village have blocked the burial for the past three days. Photos of the large piles of garbage in a parking lot have been distributed. Marivan’s Governor had promised to remove the trash but no concrete action has been taken.

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* Calculated based on an exchange rate of $1=10,000 tomans

Reza Shahabi Released by the End of His Sentence

Posted on: May 22nd, 2018

HRANA News Agency – A prominent labor activist, Reza Shahabi, was released from Evin Prison by the end of his sentence. During his jail time, he went through several strokes and hunger strikes.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Reza Shahabi, a prominent labor activist and member of the board of the syndicate of Bus Drivers Company was released from Evin Prison on March 13. (more…)

A Labor Activist Began Serving His Term in Saqez Prison

Posted on: April 28th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Osman Esmaili, a labor activist who had been sentenced to two months in prison for “participating in the International Labor Day” was send to Saghez prison to endure his imprisonment sentence.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Osman Esmaili, a labor activist who had been sentenced to two months imprisonment by the first Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Saghez for “promoting the interests of opposition groups” through “participating in the International Labor Day”, was send to Saghez prison to endure his imprisonment sentence. (more…)

Mokhtar Asadi’s Parole Was Rejected by the Court

Posted on: March 31st, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Mokhtar Asadi’s request for parole was refused. He is a member of the Kurdish Teachers’ Association, who is serving a one-year imprisonment in Evin prison on charges of propaganda against the regime.

According to the report of Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran (HRANA), the parole of Mokhtar Asadi, Trade Union activist who is serving his one year in Evin Prison, has been rejected. (more…)

Mokhtar Asadi Arrested in Tehran

Posted on: November 29th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Mokhtar Asadi, member of the Teachers’ Trade Union of Kurdistan who had referred to the Revolutionary Court of Tehran for pursuing his bail was arrested on September 18, 2017.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mokhtar Asadi, activist and a member of the Teachers’ Trade Union of Kurdistan who had went to the Revolutionary Court of Tehran for pursuing his bail related to his former case was arrested and transferred to the prison. (more…)

The Appeal Court of 2 Labor Activists Held in Kurdistan

Posted on: June 9th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – On March 6, 2017, the appeal hearing of Mahmoud Salehi and Osman Ismaili was held in Kurdistan province.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the appeal hearing of Mahmoud Salehi and Osman Ismaili was held at the fourth branch of the Appeal Court in Kurdistan Province on March 6, 2017. (more…)

3 Workers Arrested in Shiraz

Posted on: April 17th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Three labour activists in Fars province were arrested by the security forces in Shiraz. There is no information about these activists’ situation and whereabouts.

According the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Shahab Karin Aghaei, Jafar Pazhoheshpour, and Hossein Esmaeili were arrested in front of Job Centre Department of Fars province, by the plainclothes agents, on Wednesday February 8, 2017. (more…)