200 Citizens Facing Legal Charges in Isfahan Over Comments on Raeisi’s Death

The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Isfahan has announced the initiation of legal proceedings against 200 citizens for posting remarks concerning the helicopter crash that resulted in the death of Ebrahim Raeisi.

The prosecutor stated, “More than 200 individuals who spread false news and offensive remarks regarding the helicopter crash incident involving Ebrahim Raeisi have been identified.” Seyed Mohammad Mousavian elaborated that these individuals would face legal actions as per the directives of the country’s Prosecutor-General and the emphatic instructions of the head of Isfahan’s Judiciary.

The identities of these individuals have not been disclosed in the report.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, May 20th, when a helicopter transporting President Raisi, along with several officials including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, crashed in the Dizmar forest between Varzaqan and Jolfa. Official media confirmed the deaths of Raisi and his companions the following morning after the crash site and wreckage were located. Numerous citizens have since been arrested or subjected to legal proceedings for expressing their opinions on the incident, which the authorities have deemed inappropriate.

Civil Rights Activist Mehdi Mahmoudian Faces Legal Action for Criticizing Discrimination Against Baha’i Community

Civil rights activist Mehdi Mahmoudian faces a new legal challenge with the initiation of a case against him in the Cyber Crimes Court.

This civil activist announced that a new case has been initiated against him in the District 31 Cyber Crimes Court. This case was filed following a complaint by the officials of Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery, due to Mr. Mahmoudian’s interview regarding the burial issues faced by the Baha’i community in burying their deceased.

Further complicating his legal battles, one of Mahmoudian’s previous cases has been escalated to Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Mahmoudian was detained on May 19, 2024, following his appearance at the Culture and Media Court, but was released on bail the subsequent day.

Prior to this incident, he disclosed that he was summoned to court on charges of “propaganda against the regime.”

With a history of convictions and imprisonment for his advocacy, Mahmoudian continues to confront significant legal pressures.

Reza Kosari in Extended Detention by Ministry of Intelligence in Mashhad

Reza Kosari, a Mashhad resident, has been detained for over four months at the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention center in Mashhad without a definitive legal status.

According to HRANA, Kosari was apprehended by intelligence agents in Mashhad in February 2024 and placed in solitary confinement. Since his arrest, he has managed only two brief phone calls and one face-to-face visit with his family.

A source close to Kosari’s family relayed to HRANA, “Mr. Kosari, a pharmacist with several pharmacies in Mashhad, had his premises searched by intelligence agents in January this year, allegedly for hoarding medication. His case was subsequently referred to a public court where he received a 30 million tomans fine for possession of some prohibited medications. It appears, however, that his arrest might be more connected to his support for political prisoners and for families of victims and the injured from the nationwide protests of 2022.”

Up to now, the specific accusations against Kosari remain undisclosed.

Sunni Cleric Besmellah Khogiani Arrested in Zahedan

On Saturday, June 8th, Besmellah Khogiani, a Sunni cleric, was detained by security forces in Zahedan and taken to an undisclosed location.

A source close to the cleric confirmed the arrest to HRANA, stating, “This Sunni cleric was arrested at his home by the agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on Saturday, and has been taken to an unknown location.”
The reasons for his arrest, the charges, and his whereabouts are unknown at the time of this writing.

Molavi Besmellah Khogiani, who serves as the Imam of Friday prayer at Siddiqi Mosque in Karimabad, Zahedan, has previously been arrested.

Sirus Fathi Detained by Security Forces

Sirus Fathi was detained by security forces today, June 11th, and taken to an undisclosed location. His wife, Sharifeh Mohammadi, a labor rights activist, is currently incarcerated in Lakan Prison in Rasht.

HRANA reports that Fathi was arrested at his home at ten o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, June 13th. Details of his whereabouts remain unknown. Sharifeh Mohammadi was initially arrested by intelligence agents at her home in Rasht on December 5, 2023. She was later transferred from Lakan Prison in Rasht to Sanandaj Prison on December 30 of the same year and subsequently returned to Lakan Prison.

As of now, the specific reasons for the arrests and the charges against Mohammadi and Fathi have not been disclosed.

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Civil Rights Activist Atena Farghadani Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Atena Farghadani, a cartoonist and civil rights activist imprisoned in Evin Prison was sentenced to six years in prison by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

The verdict, issued on June 10 and communicated to Ms. Farghadani on June 11, was presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. She received a five-year sentence for “blasphemy” and an additional year for “propaganda against the regime.” Ms. Farghadani had previously chosen not to attend the court hearings for these charges.
Atena Farghadani had previously refrained from attending the court to respond to her charges.

On April 13, 2024, in a protest action, she attempted to display one of her paintings on a wall on a street in Tehran. During this act, she was arrested by security forces and transferred to Evin Prison.

Additionally, on June 7, 2023, Farghadani was detained after appearing at the Evin Courthouse and subsequently transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin. Shortly after, Branch 1 of the Evin Courthouse charged her with disturbing public order, and she was later released on bail.

Farghadani has faced previous arrests and convictions related to her activism.

Reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of HRA in 2023 indicate a total of 193 cases in which Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, has been involved in issuing verdicts that infringe upon the human rights of defendants.

Sentences of Four Workers’ Rights Advocates Reduced After Retrial

Four workers’ rights activists, Keyvan Mohtadi, Anisha Asadollahi, Hassan Saeedi, and Reza Shahabi, have had their prison sentences reduced to three years and seven months following a retrial, reports Shargh Newspaper.

Originally sentenced to six years, the activists appealed for a retrial, which was granted and subsequently heard by a different court branch, leading to the reduction, their attorney Hossein Taj confirmed.

On May 9, 2022, security forces arrested Mohtadi and Asadollahi at their home and detained them at Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Mohtadi was later transferred to Ward 4. In January 2023, Tehran’s Revolutionary Court initially sentenced Mohtadi to five years for “assembly and collusion against national security” and an additional year for “propaganda against the regime.” Both verdicts were affirmed upon appeal.

Asadollahi faced similar charges, receiving five years for “assembly and collusion against national security” and eight months for “propaganda against the regime.” Her sentences were also upheld by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. The couple had faced arrests and convictions previously for their civil rights activities.

Hassan Saeedi, affiliated with the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Company, was arrested on May 18, 2022. He was sentenced to six years for “propaganda against the regime” and “assembly and collusion to undermine national security,” along with facing a travel ban and restrictions on political activities and social media usage. Additionally, he was prohibited from residing in Tehran Province and its neighboring provinces for two years.

Reza Shahabi, a board member of the same syndicate, received a six-year sentence for analogous charges, along with similar bans and restrictions. His verdict was upheld in January 2023. Shahabi has a history of previous arrests and convictions due to his activism.

Hamideh Zaraei, Opponent of Mandatory Hijab, Begins Hunger Strike in Lakan Prison

Hamideh Zaraei, an opponent of compulsory hijab, has initiated a hunger strike to protest her continued detention in Lakan Prison, Rasht. She was detained on June 5 following a court appearance at Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht.

A source close to Ms. Zaraei’s family confirmed her hunger strike to HRANA, stating: “Hamideh had declared that if she was not released by Saturday, June 8, she would start a hunger strike. Today, when her sister attempted to visit her in Lakan Prison, officials barred the visit.”

Zaraei was initially arrested at her home on May 29, 2023, and taken to Kachooie Prison in Karaj.

On November 16, 2023, the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, led by Judge Musa Asaf Al-Hosseini, sentenced her to one year in prison, two years of exile to Rasht, a two-year travel ban, and a two-year ban from using social media. Following a plea of no contest, her prison term was reduced to nine months. Upon completing her sentence on February 22, 2024, she was released from Kachooie Prison and began her exile in Rasht.

Recently, Ms. Zaraei was summoned to Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht for further inquiries. Last Wednesday, after her court appearance, she was arrested and transferred to Lakan Prison.

The summons was related to her ongoing two-year exile term in Rasht, during which she was required to check in every three days at a local police station. Following several visits, the station’s officers demanded she wear a chador for her appearances—a condition Ms. Zaraei, who opposes mandatory hijab, refused. Subsequently, the police chief instructed her to cease her visits. This led to her being summoned to court once again after she failed to verify her continued residence in Rasht.

Previously, in 2022, Ms. Zaraei was arrested in connection with nationwide protests and was later released from Kachooie Prison on February 7, 2023, following an official pardon.

Sepehri Siblings Receive Lengthy Sentences from Mashhad Revolutionary Court

Branch 5 of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad has imposed lengthy prison sentences on three members of the Sepehri family.

Asghar Sepehri, the brother of these convicted siblings, revealed on his social media that during the court session on June 6, 2024, presided over by Hossein Yazdankhah, Fatemeh Sepehri received an 18-year and six-month sentence, Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri eight years, and Hossein Sepehri five years and six months.
The siblings were found guilty of multiple charges including “assembly and collusion against national security,” “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Furthermore, Fatemeh Sepehri was also charged with “supporting the adversary country, Israel.”

Asghar noted significant ambiguities in the increased sentences for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting the Supreme Leader,” as well as the specific examples cited by the court for these charges. HRANA will provide more information for further clarification on this matter in subsequent reports.

On September 28, 2023, Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri and Hossein Sepehri were arrested by security forces in Mashhad and subsequently detained at Vakilabad Prison. Hossein Sepehri was released on bail on January 1, 2024.

Their sister, Fateme Sepehri, already serving a sentence for a prior conviction in Vakilabad Prison, was granted medical leave for one week on October 16. However, she was re-arrested just three days later at her residence in Mashhad and returned to prison. Her prior convictions include ten years for “collaboration with hostile foreign governments,” five years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” two years for “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime.” Her ten-year sentence was upheld under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code after an unsuccessful appeal.

Moreover, Fatemeh Sepehri faced additional charges from the Mashhad Criminal Court for “disseminating false information to disturb public opinion on the Internet and having interviews with foreign media,” which resulted in one year of imprisonment and a fine.

Fatemeh Sepehri, known for her role as one of the signatories of a letter demanding the resignation of Ali Khamenei, has faced repeated arrests and convictions on similar grounds. Advocates are urgently calling for her release due to her deteriorating health and the need for appropriate medical care.

Baha’i Tahereh Nowrouzi Arrested in Shiraz

On Sunday, June 9th, Tahereh Nowruzi, a Baha’i resident of Shiraz, was detained by security forces and relocated to an undisclosed location.

A source close to Nowruzi’s family confirmed the incident to HRANA, reporting: “This morning, Sunday, security agents stormed Nowruzi’s home and took her into custody. During the raid, they also conducted a search and seized several of her personal belongings, including her mobile phone, laptop, books, and photographs.”
The source further noted, “Tahereh is the mother of two young children, ages 6 and 2. With her husband residing in a different city, her arrest has severely impacted her children’s well-being.”

Currently, the reasons for Nowruzi’s arrest and details of her detention remain undisclosed.

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

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