Retired Educator and Union activist Latif Roozikhah Sentenced to Seven Months Imprisonment

The Revolutionary Court of Jolfa City recently sentenced retired educator and union activist Latif Roozikhah to seven months imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Roozikhah was asked to appear at the court on November 10.

He was sentenced to seven months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime.”

 

 

Educator and Union Activist Aziz Ghasemzadeh Summoned by Public and Revolutionary Court of Rudsar County

On Saturday, November 6, educator and union activist Aziz Ghasemzadeh was summoned by the Public and Revolutionary Court of Rudsar County.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Aziz Ghasemzadeh received a summons via the online judicial system SENA to appear at the Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Rudsar within eight days.

Following nationwide protests of educators all across the country, on September 26, security forces arrested Ghasemzadeh at his parents’ home in Rudsar City. During the arrest, security forces searched the house and confiscated several of Ghasemzadeh’s personal belongings.

The arrest took place the day after working and retired teachers held protests in 36 cities across the country, which were organized by the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations. Throughout the detention, he was denied any access to a lawyer, phone calls and family visitations. Finally, on October 11, 2021, he was released on bail.

Ghasemzadeh will need to defend himself against charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “spreading lies”.

 

Rahil Mousavi Arrested By Security Forces in Khorramshahr City

On November 9, photographer and media activist Rahil Mousavi was arrested by security forces in Khorramshahr City.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mousavi was transferred to an unidentified location following the arrest.

Ms. Mousavi had previously faced other arrests. On December 8, 2016, intelligence agents detained her for a while due to taking photos of a protest against Karun water transfer.

The reasons for Mousavi’s arrest, the charges against her, and her whereabouts are still unknown as of this writing.

The Uprising of the Thirsty; An Analysis of the 2021 Khuzestan Protests

The July 2021 Iranian protests were a continuation of protests that have been erupting sporadically since 2016.

The driving force behind the July/August uprising was to protest the perennial water shortages and rolling blackouts stemming from mismanagement of resources, fueling public anger. The latest round of protests erupted on 15 July, starting in Khuzestan soon spreading to other provinces including Isfahan, Lorestan, Eastern Azerbaijan, Tehran, and Karaj. These protests have been coined the ‘Uprising of the Thirsty’.

As nearly 5 million Iranians in Khuzestan are lacking access to clean drinking water, Iran is failing to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to water, which is inextricably linked to the right to the highest attainable standard of health; both are protected by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESR), to which Iran is a signatory. It is a common cause that Iran’s water crisis has reached a critical point. Even the regime’s state-run media have acknowledged the dire situation, with at least 700 villages out of water.

According to the state-run Aftab News on July 4, 2021, “Of Iran’s population of 85 million, about 28 million live in areas with water shortages and are under pressure in this regard, mainly in the central and southern regions of the country. Water shortages have affected all sections of society, from urban households to agricultural and rural communities.”

It did not take long for the protests to take on a political character, with protesters in various cities calling for the end of the current regime and expanding the subject matter of their protests from water shortages to deteriorating living conditions.

One protester told HRA, “My ideal outcome is to see a regime official resign in response to our suffering. We are tired of all of this misery, poverty, dehydration, neglect, lies, and empty promises.

A protester living in Tehran told HRA, “Besides supporting [the people of] Khuzestan, we are protesting unemployment, high prices, poverty, and the existing problems in the country. We can no longer bear the hardships of life created by unworthy officials. The authorities must address the problems…

In the two weeks of the uprising, Human Rights Activists (HRA) verified 129 videos documenting the protests, 361 arrests, 6 deaths, and several more wounded. HRA’s Spreading Justice team (HRA-SJ) additionally identified individual violators associated with the violent crackdown. The following report analyses the events that occurred as a result of the uprising, those responsible, and concludes with a call for accountability noting that without action, this cycle of abuse will only continue.

Read the full report here.

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For further inquiries please contact Skylar Thompson, Senior Advocacy Coordinator Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) at [email protected]

Seven Political Activists Arrested in Robat Karim County

On Wednesday, November 3, seven political activists were arrested by security forces in Robat Karim County at Sattar Beheshti’s burial place.

The activists have been identified as Heshmatullah Tabarzadi, Esmaeel Moftizadeh, Parviz Safari, Arash Soleymani, Mohammad-Reza Khosravi, Ali Rostami and Yasamin Hanifeh

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, these political activists were arrested after gathering to visit Sattar Beheshti’s grave and to mark the anniversary of his death in Imamzadeh Mohammad-Taghi Cemetery in Robat Karim County.

Sattar Beheshti was a blogger and worker who was tortured to death in a detention center. He had been arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police (FATA) for his civil and political activities online.

The specific reason for the arrests is unknown as of this writing.

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Seventeen People Arrested for “Promoting Western Lifestyle” on Instagram Pages in Behshahr

Seventeen people were recently arrested in Behshahr for reasons related to their activity on their personal social media pages.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna News, the Iranian Cyber Police cited “promoting a western lifestyle, publishing obscene pictures and modelling ads” as the reasons for the arrests.

By order of a judge, the police erased all contents of the cited posts and replaced them with FATA’s logo. What the regime labels as “promoting a western lifestyle” has long been a source of tension between the regime and the Iranian people.

Imposing a certain lifestyle on citizens stands in blatant violation of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which entitles everyone the right to life, liberty and security of person. Additionally, Article 12 of this declaration affirms, “One shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Journalists at Tehran-Municipality-Owned Newspaper Asked Probing Personal Questions by New Management

Following turnover in the Tehran-Municipality-owned Hamshahri newspaper’s managerial board, the extension of staff members’ contracts is being influenced by answers they give to a set of probing personal questions about their lifestyle and beliefs.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Fararu, employees are being asked questions such as “Why haven’t you married?” and “Why didn’t you vote in the election?”.

“It seems to be very serious,” journalist Mohsen Zohuri, commented. “They held an inquisition meeting for the journalists of Hamshahri and asked the question like ‘Why don’t you go to Congregational prayer?’, ‘Did you vote on such and such election?’, ‘How many chapters of Quran have you memorized?’, “Why did you get divorced?’ or ‘Why haven’t you married?’ ”

Changes in management in Tehran Municipality led to the appointment of a new director at Hamshahri newspaper. The new director has reportedly spearheaded this new procedure for extending contracts, and it is being applied to even the publication’s most tenured reporters.

“The new management in Hamshahri newspaper has set an inquisition meeting for its well-experienced and professional journalists,” a member of the Board of Directors of the Journalists’ Guild Association wrote on his personal page on social media. “They have to answer the irrelevant questions which means nothing but spying on personal lives and has nothing whatsoever to do with their occupation. I hope someone comes forward to explain that.”

 

Eight Street Booksellers Arrested by Security Police of NAJA

On Saturday, October 2, Tehran’s Security Police of NAJA arrested eight street booksellers for allegedly selling illegal books.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IBNA, the police confiscated some of the books.

One of the members of the Workgroup for Protecting the Rights of Publishers and Booksellers called these detained booksellers “distributors of illegal and smuggled books”.

The member claimed that part of these confiscated books is the works of the supporters of the restoration of the monarchy in Iran as well as illegal books and unpermitted hard copies of bestselling books.

Ghasem Bahrami still Detained in Unknown Location

Sixteen days after his arrest in Mashhad, the whereabouts and situation of critical poet Ghasem Bahrami remain unknown.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mr. Bahrami was arrested by security forces on September 15, and then transferred to an unidentified location where he has since been held incommunicado.

Bahrami is known for expressing political views through his poetry. There is still no concrete information about the reason for his arrest or the charges against him, but is said that his arrest is related to the publicizing of videos and lyrics retrieved from his poems.

Rapper Known for his Protest Songs Arrested in Isfahan

On Monday, September 13, Tomaj Salehi, a rapper known for his protest songs, was arrested by security forces at his home in Isfahan.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 12 security forces came to the artist’s house in 4 cars, searched his house during his arrest, and confiscated a number of his belongings.

Mr. Salehi had previously warned on his Twitter account that he might be arrested.

As of this writing, no information is available on the charges against him or where he is being held.