Zahra Mohammadi Sent to Jail to Serve Five Year Sentence

On January 8, civil activist Zahra Mohammadi was sent to the women’s ward of the Correctional Center of Sanandaj City to endure her five year imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Mohammadi was arrested by security forces on May 23, 2019. After more than six months in detention, she was released on a bail of 700 million tomans (166,600 USD) on December 2 of that year.

In July 2020, Branch 1 of Sanandaj’s Revolutionary Court sentenced her to 10 years in prison on the charge of “organizing people with intention to disturb national security”. In February of 2021, this verdict was reduced to 5 years on appeal. Her request for a retrial was rejected by the Supreme Court of Iran.

Mohammadi, 29 years old, is a member of the cultural association Nojin which is engaged in environmental activities, forest protection and Kurdish language teaching.

Security Forces Brutally Suppress Protesters in Isfahan

On Friday, November 26, a farmers’ protest in Isfahan over water mismanagement turned violent after military and police forces used tear gas and live ammunition on protesters.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, internet connection has been intentionally disrupted across the city and in some areas has been completely shut down.

According to video footage obtained by HRANA, numerous military forces attempted to scatter protesters using batons, tear gas, and live ammunition. In this brutal attack, several citizens, some of them elderly, were injured.

The protest began on November 7, when farmers assembled at the office of Hossein Mirzaie, a parliament member who had previously responded to reports of water shortages with directives to simply pray for rain.

“We are waiting for the MP to come here and do rain prayer,” the farmers stated in response. “We (will stay) here on sit-down strike until it rains.”

In the following days, they continued their protest by assembling in dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud to demand their water portion for wheat cultivation and the revival of the river. They also asked for the shut down of a water transfer project which extracts water from the province through two canals, exacerbating the current water shortage. Recently, a video published on social media shows that some farmers are damaging the water pipe, which carries water from Isfahan to Yazd Province, in protest.

Gradually, other citizens joined the farmers until November 19, when thousands of people assembled and marched. The protestors chanted, “Let Isfahan breath, give Zayndeh-rud back”, ” Zayndeh-rud is our inalienable right”, and “We won’t get back home, not until the water gets back to the river”,  and “Shame on the police and death to the dictator”.

According to information obtained by HRANA, as of Saturday, at least 214 protesters, including 13 underage citizens, have been arrested. Most of these arrestees have been transferred to the IRGC’s regional quarter known as Saheb-al-Zaman as well as Ghoddusi Basij Base in Isfahan City. Some of these citizens have been released after taking a solemn pledge and confiscating identity cards until the end of the day. About the 150 detainees were relocated to Isfahan, Khomeini Shahr Prisons and Isfahan women’s penitentiary.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran News Broadcasting (IRIB), The Isfahan chief of police, Mohammad-Reza Mir-Heydari, commended the police, Basij military forces and security agents for suppressing the protest and promised decisive action against the protesters.

The regime’s official and affiliated media outlets, such as Fars News Agency and IRIB, claimed that the protesters are not Isfahan farmers and these protests have been held by the call of “anti-revolutionary groups”.

Last Wednesday, security forces set fire on some of the farmers’ tents, who went on sit-down strike under Khaju Bridge.

In addition to denying the news about the death of one protester, Spokesman of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences stated, “According to the latest reports, all injured people, including police forces, have been discharged from hospital and only 19 people are still hospitalized, of which one is on critical condition.”

Thousands Demonstrate Against Water Mismanagement in Isfahan

On Friday, November 19, thousands of citizens and farmers assembled and protested in the dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud in Isfahan.

Since last Sunday, these farmers have been on a sit-down strike in protest of authorities’ ongoing mismanagement of the water supply. They ask for their water supply for the fall wheat planting and revival of the river Zayandeh-rud, most of which is now dry. Moreover, the lack of water crisis management has affected the living conditions of many farmers.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, thousands of citizens in Isfahan have been assembled in dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud and near the Khaju Bridge. Reportedly, in this area, the internet connection is intentionally disrupted.

The protestors chanted, “Let Isfahan breath, give Zayndeh-rud back”, ” Zayndeh-rud is our inalienable right”, and “We won’t get back home, not until the water gets back to the river.”

Along with land subsidence and water shortage, the way the shortage has been handled has worsened the living conditions of about one hundred thousand farmers in eastern Isfahan.

The farmers have assembled to protest several times, but they have not received any proper response from authorities. Once in response to these issues, parliament member Hossein Mirzaie recommended “rain praying” as the only solution.

As a backlash, the farmers assembled at the office of parliament member Hossein Mirzaie and asked him to pray to see if it rains. “We are waiting for the MP to come here and do rain prayer,” the farmers stated. “We go here on sit-down strike until it rains.”

Earlier, parliament member Abas Moghtadai promised that, along with other Isfahan members of parliament, he would have a meeting with the president to address their issue. However, as of this writing, no report has been published on the holding of this meeting or its resolution.

Park Ranger Sentenced to Death for Murder of Illegal Hunter

The criminal court of Kermanshah Province recently sentenced a park ranger to death for the murder of an illegal hunter while he was poaching in the protected nature area Bisotun.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Javan Online, Branch 3 of the Criminal Court has issued this verdict. The report has identified the convicted park ranger as Boroomand Najafi.

In August 2020, during a fight between several forest rangers and several illegal hunters, one of the hunters was shot dead.

The most recent report of the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between October 8 of 2020 and October 9 of 2021, at least 266 citizens, three of whom were juvenile offenders, were executed and 90 citizens were sentenced to death.

 

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.

_________________________

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

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Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Transferred to General Ward of Evin Prison on 31st Day of Detention

On Wednesday, September 15, lawyers Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian were transferred from solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison to the general ward of the prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, these citizens announced their transfer to the public ward of Evin Prison during a telephone call with their families.

Despite the issuance of indictment and designation of a court branch, the detainees were still kept in solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison under the supervision of the intelligence service section of the judiciary for an entire month. Mostafa Nili has only been allowed to make phone calls twice since his arrest.

On August 14, several lawyers and civil activists, including Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafraz, and Leila Heydari, were arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.

Leila Heydari and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb were released on bail a day after their arrest, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz were released on bail on August 29, but Nili, Kaykhrosravi, and Mahmoudian had remained in detention.

Apart from being allowed to contact their families on the first day of their detention, these citizens have been largely denied the right to make telephone calls.

Ministry of Intelligence Withholds Details on Death of Yasser Mangouri in Detention Center

On Thursday, September 9, following a call attributed to the Ministry of Intelligence, the family of Yasser Mangouri was informed of his death while he was being held in a detention center.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mangouri had been arrested by security forces on July 17.

No information has been provided to the family about the details of the death or its date.

Mr. Mangouri is said to had been previously interrogated on charges of “collaborating with an opposition party”.

Yaser Mangouri, a native of Piranshahr in West Azerbaijan Province, was a married father of three. He was also a welding worker.

The security agency has so far refused to return the body of Mr. Mangouri to his family.

 

Citizens Accused of Robbery Humiliated by Police in Parade Through Streets of Khorramabad

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IRIB, police recently shamed a number of citizens who had previously been arrested on charges of robbery in Khorramabad.

Dariush Shahonvand, prosecutor of Khorramabad said, “These people are armed thieves who stole in Poldakhtar, Khorramabad, Doroud, and Aleshtar counties. The arrested armed robbers will be charged for Moharebeh (rebellion, or waging war against God in Shariah Law) with the most severe punishment, which is the death penalty. The hearings of these defendants will be public.”

In recent years, law enforcement officers have occasionally humiliated accused criminals in a similar manner, by parading them around the city. This violates human rights treaties, domestic law, and violates human dignity.

Death Sentence and Lashes Issued to Defendants in Tehran

A defendant in Tehran was recently sentenced, in absentia, to death after being charged with murder.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the case’s other defendants were sentenced to other punishments, including prison time and lashes.

According to this report, a man named Reza, who is not currently in Iran, was sentenced to death in absentia for committing murder and to 10 years in prison and 74 lashes for other crimes he committed.

The second person who was involved in the conflict was sentenced to pay a ransom, a fine to the government, and 55 months in prison and lashes for injuring the victim’s father.

A third person was sentenced to 20 months in prison and lashes for disturbing public order and committing other crimes, and the other individuals involved in the bloody conflict were sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes for disturbing public order.

Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.

One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.

Iran is one of the few countries that has continued to use humiliating punishments despite the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights explicit prohibition of the use of inhumane and degrading punishments, including the death penalty and flogging.

Saeed Afkari Beaten and Arrested on the Anniversary of the Execution of Navid Afkari

On Sunday, September 12, Saeed Afkari, the brother of Navid Afkari, was beaten and arrested by six plainclothes officers and taken to an unknown location in Shiraz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, he was released after a couple of hours.

Mr. Afkari tweeted the day before that the security forces were pressuring the Afkari family to stop Navid Afkari’s execution anniversary. Following this tweet, Mr. Afkari’s twitter account has become unavailable.

It is also said that during Mr. Afkari’s arrest, security forces beat his sister, Elham Afkari.

Navid, Vahid, and Habib Afkari were arrested in 2018 in connection with the nationwide protests in August 2018. The brothers have been repeatedly beaten and tortured during interrogations. Navid Afkari, an Iranian wrestler, was executed at Adelabad Prison in Shiraz at dawn on September 12, 2020. Habib and Vahid have been sentenced to long imprisonment.