Two Thousand Satellite Dishes Confiscated in Tehran

HRANA News Agency – The Commander of Tehran’s Relief Special Unit released the news of a project to collect satellite dishes in the west regions of the capital city and added, “A large number of LNB satellite reception components together with satellite dishes have been discovered and confiscated.”

According to a report by ISNA News Agency, Colonel Ardeshir Motahari announced the implementation of a project to collect various satellite equipment in the west of capital city on Thursday, May 19, 2011, and added, “There were thirteen operation units each consisting of eight agents who operated within the area enclosed by Ferdowsi Blvd., Marzdaran St. and Alborz St.”

 

Colonel Ardeshir Motahari reported, “In this project, 2,732 satellite dishes, 4,018 LNB satellite reception components, 39 rotating engines and 92 switches were confiscated.”

 

HRW: Proposed Penal Code Deeply Flawed in Iran

HRANA News Agency – (Beirut) – Proposed amendments to Iran’s penal code would violate the rights of accused people and criminal defendants, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.  Iranian authorities should suspend enactment of the proposed amendments and undertake a major overhaul of the country’s abusive penal laws.

The48-page report, “Codifying Repression: An Assessment of Iran’s New Penal Code,” says that many problematic provisions of the current penal code remain unaddressed in the proposed amendments. Some of the amendments would weaken further the rights of criminal defendants and convicts and allow judges wide discretion to issue punishments that violate the rights of the accused. Lawmakers and judiciary officials have cited the amendments as a serious attempt to comply with Iran’s international human rights obligations.

“These amendments do little to address penal code provisions that allow the government to jail, torture, and execute people who criticize the government,” saidJoe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “If Iran wants to comply with its human rights obligations, it should completely and categorically ban deplorable practices like child executions, limb amputations, and stoning.”

In January 2012 the Guardian Council, an unelected body of 12 religious jurists charged with vetting all legislation to ensure its compatibility with Iran’s constitution and Sharia, or Islamic law, approved the final text of an amended penal code. Parliament and other supervisory bodies have approved and finalized the text of the amendments, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet signed the amended code into law. Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who is the head of Iran’s judiciary, has ordered Iran’s courts to apply the old penal code until  Ahmadinejad signs the new amendments into law, which could happen at any time.

Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which went into effect in 1991, reflects the ruling clerics’ interpretation of Sharia law, based on the Jafari or Twelver Shia school of jurisprudence. It includes discretionary (ta’zir) punishments not specifically laid out in Sharia law that apply to most of Iran’s national security laws, under which political dissidents are convicted and sentenced in revolutionary courts.

The latest amendments address changes in three types of punishments specified in Sharia law:hadd – crimes against God, such as adultery and drinking alcohol,  for which Sharia law assigns fixed and specific punishments);qesas– retributive justice, often reserved for murder; anddiyeh – compensation to victims in the form of “blood money.”

The most serious problems with the new provisions include their retention of the death penalty for child offenders and for crimes that are not considered serious under international law, Human Rights Watch said. The amendments also fail to define clearly and set out in the code several crimes that carry serious punishments, including capital punishment.

They also include broad or vaguely worded national security-related laws criminalizing the exercise of fundamental rights. And they would permit the continued use of punishments that amount to torture or cruel and degrading treatment, such as stoning, flogging, and amputation.

The amendments also reinforce previously discriminatory provisions against women and religious minorities.

Contrary to official assertions that the amendments will prohibit the execution of people less than 18 years of age, the new law retains the death penalty for children in certain circumstances. Children convicted ofta’ziror discretionary crimes such as drug-related offenses may no longer be sentenced to death but instead to correctional and rehabilitation programs.

But the new code explicitly pegs the age of criminal responsibility to the age of maturity or puberty under Sharia law, which in Iranian jurisprudence is 9 years for girls and 15 years for boys. A judge may, therefore, still sentence to death a girl as young as 9 or a boy as young as 15 convicted of a “crime against God” orqesascrime such as sodomy or murder if he determines that the child understood the nature and consequences of the crime.

Iran remains the world leader in executing people convicted of committing an offense while under the age of 18. The government maintains that Iran does not execute children because authorities wait for child offenders to reach 18 before executing them. In 2011 at least143 child offenderswere on death row in Iranian prisons, the vast majority for alleged crimes such as rape and murder. Death sentences for those crimes would not be affected by the amendments.

“The absolute prohibition on the execution of child offenders convicted of discretionary crimes such as drug trafficking is long overdue,” Stork said. “But it is of little consolation to the dozens of child offenders currently on death row for other crimes, and their families.”

The new amendments continue to allow the death penalty for activities that should not constitute crimes at all – certain types of consensual sexual relations outside of marriage – or that are not among the “most serious” crimes (typically those that cause the death of a victim) under international law. Other crimes that carry the death penalty under the new provisions include insulting the Prophet Mohammad and possessing or selling illicit drugs.

The revised penal code allows judges to rely on religious sources, including Sharia law andfatwasissued by high-ranking Shia clerics, to convict a person of apostasy or sentence a defendant convicted of adultery to stoning. This remains the case even though there is no crime of apostasy under the penal code, and stoning as a form of punishment for adultery has been removed from the new provisions.

The new provisions also expand upon broad or vaguely defined national security crimes that punish people for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, or assembly. One troubling amendment concerns article 287, which defines the crime ofefsad-e fel arz, or “sowing corruption on earth.” Legislators have expanded the definition ofefsad-e fel arz, a previously ill-definedhaddcrime closely related tomoharebeh(enmity against God) that had been used to sentence to death political dissidents who allegedly engaged in armed activities or affiliated with “terrorist organizations.” The new definition also includes clearly nonviolent activities such as “publish[ing] lies,” “operat[ing] or manag[ing] centers of corruption or prostitution,” or “damage[ing] the economy of the country” if these actions “seriously disturb the public order and security of the nation.”

Under the current penal code, authorities have executedat least 30 peoplesince January 2010 on the charge of “enmity against God” or “sowing corruption on earth” for their alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups.At least 28 Kurdish prisonersare known to be awaiting execution on national security charges, including “enmity against God.” Human Rights Watch hasdocumentedthat in a number of these cases, the evidence suggests that Iran’s judicial authorities convicted, sentenced, and executed people simply because they were political dissidents, and not because they had committed terrorist acts.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because it is unique in its cruelty and finality, and is plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error. In addition, Iranian trials involving capital crimes have been replete withserious violationsof due process rights and international fair trial standards.

The Iranian authorities should abolish punishments retained or permitted under the new penal code that amount to torture or cruel and inhuman treatment, such as flogging, amputation, and stoning, Human Rights Watch said.

“These penal code amendments are nothing but a continuation of Iran’s reprehensible track record when it comes to administering justice in the courts,” Stork said. “Real criminal reform in Iran requires a wholesale suspension and overhaul of the Iranian penal code that has been a tool of systematic repression in the hands of the authorities, including the judiciary.”

Students Protest in Shahrekord University

HRANA News Agency – On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, students at Shahrekord University demonstrated against the quality and price of food available at the university’s self-service cafeteria.The protest was sparked by the news of a worm having been found in school cafeteria food.Iran’s semi-secret police tasked to monitor all educational institutes, Herasat, violently confronted student protestors and eventually quelled the demonstration.Shahrekord University is located in southwestern part of Iran in Chahrmahal and Bakhtiari Province.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), as the new school year began in Iran, an increase in the cost of food available at Shahrekord University had caused discontent and anger amongst students.Following a report indicating that a warm was found in school cafeteria food, students began to gather demanding better food at reasonable prices.

In an interview with HRANA, one of the demonstrators said, “The majority of students are experiencing financial problems, and when the cost of food went up at the beginning of the new school year, students were very unhappy.What happened yesterday was only a spark among students who were already dissatisfied with the situation.”

During these demonstrations, students demanded school cafeteria officials to be reprimanded and a guild council to be formed again in Shahrekord University.Some of the slogans shouted by the protestors were:

Students die but accept no misery!
Chivalrous students, Support, Support!
Have no fear; have no fear; we’re all united!

Yesterday’s demonstrations lasted an hour during which students were violently confronted by Herasat agents.

 

Negar Haeri, daughter of political prisoner Mashallah Haeri was arrested

HRANA News Agency – Negar Haeri, daughter of political prisoner Mashallah Haeri was arrested by security forces in Iran.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), during last week, Negar Haeri was arrested by security forces for following the case of his father and his bad health situation in Rajai Shar Prison. She also had been detained for this reason last year.

Continue reading “Negar Haeri, daughter of political prisoner Mashallah Haeri was arrested”

Amnesty: IRAN TV “Confessions” breach suspects’ rights

Amnesty's Urgent Action - IRAN: Gholamreza Khosravi is scheduled to be executed on 10 SeptemberHRANA News Agency –Iranian businessman Mazyar Ebrahimi and 11 others have been held incommunicado since their arrest in June 2012. On 6 August the five women and seven men appeared on Iranian state television “confessing” to the killing of five Iranian nuclear scientists and academics since 2010. Amnesty International fears they could face the death penalty.

On 12 JuneMazyar Ebrahimi, founder of a cinema and television production company in Iraqi Kurdistan, was arrested in Tehran by Ministry of Intelligence security forces for “reasons of national security”. His family have not been informed of his whereabouts since and their requests for contact have been refused. Mazyar Ebrahimi has not been allowed a lawyer of his choosing since his arrest because his case is still “under investigation”.

On 6 August, Iranian state television channel IRTV1 broadcast a 39-minute documentary called “Terror Club” showing the alleged “confessions” of Mazyar Ebrahimi and 11 other men and women also arrested in June 2012 for involvement in the killings of five Iranian nuclear scientists and academics since 2010. The group said they had received weeks of military and intelligence training in Israel before carrying out the assassinations in Iran. The documentary did not show any evidence to support these claims, nor did it state whether they have been tried.. Another man who appeared in the documentary,Majid Jamali Fashi, was executed earlier on 15 May 2012. He had also appeared in an earlier broadcast in January 2011, aired before his trial in August 2011.

The use of televised “confessions” grievously undermines defendants’ right to a fair trial, in particular the presumption of innocence and the right not to be compelled to confess guilt and are particularly disturbing in cases like this one where defendants are accused of crimes which could lead to their being sentenced to death and executed. Those accused of crimes must be treated in accordance with international human rights law and must receive trials that comply with the most rigorous internationally recognized standards for fair trial, and without recourse to the death penalty.

Please write immediately in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:

Call on the Iranian authorities to ensure that Mazyar Ebrahimi and the other 11 detainees have immediate access to their families and lawyers of their choosing and are protected from torture or other ill-treatment;

Call on them to ensure that all 12 suspects receive fair trials in accordance with international human rights law, without recourse to the death penalty, and reminding the authorities that televised “confessions” violate Articles 14 (2) and (3g) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 OCTOBER 2012 TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid

Keshvar Doust Street,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @khamenei_ir

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

[care of] Public Relations Office

Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Secretary General High Council for

Human Rights

Mohammed Javad Larijani

c/o Office of the Head of the Judicary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave

South of Serah-e Jomhouri

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

(Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad

Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

IRAN TV “Confessions” breach suspects’ rights

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Majid Jamali Fashi, was executed on 15 May 2012 following a “confession” made on an earlier broadcast on Iranian state television in January 2011. He was arrested in January 2010 and charged with assassinating Tehran University professor, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, who had been killed by a bomb earlier that month.

The 11 other detainees who appear, in the documentary, to make “confessions” to the killings are: Behzad Abdoli; Firouz Yeganeh; Maryam Zargar; Ramtin Mahdavi Moshayi; Arash Kheyratgir; Maryam Izadi; Fouad Faramarzi; Nashmin Zareh; Mohsen Sedeghi-Azad; Ayoub Moslem; and Tara Bagheri. In August 2012, Iranian state television reported that 20 people have reportedly been arrested in connection with the killings but only 12 appeared to make “confessions” in the TV documentary.

Televised “confessions” have repeatedly been used by the authorities to incriminate individuals in custody. Many have later retracted these “confessions”, stating that they were coerced to make them, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment.

Amnesty International is concerned that Mazyar Ebrahimi and the other 11 detainees have been held in incommunicado detention since June 2012, without access to their relatives or to lawyers. Incommunicado detention facilitates torture or other ill-treatment which may be used to coerce a detainee into making a “confession” which may subsequently be used as evidence in court. Prolonged incommunicado detention can itself amount to torture.

Access to a lawyer from the outset of detention is essential to ensuring a fair trial. International fair trial standards require that anyone accused of a serious crime has access to a lawyer not only during the trial itself, but also immediately on arrest and throughout all subsequent proceedings, in particular in cases of offences carrying the death penalty.

Amnesty International urges the Iranian authorities to end immediately their practice of broadcasting “confessions” and other incriminating testimonies obtained from individuals who may have yet to stand trial. Such practice constitutes a gross breach of detainees’ right to a fair trial and of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law. Article 14 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, states that “Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law”, while Article 14 (3g) states that everyone has the right “not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt”.

In Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s TV “confession” broadcast on 11 August 2010, she appeared to implicate herself in the murder of her husband. She is facing execution by stoning for “adultery while married”.

On December 13, 2011, two members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, Hashem Sha’bani Amouri and Hadi Rashidi, were featured in a programme aired by Iran’s state-controlled television station, Press TV, in which they appeared to “confess” to having carried out “terrorist activities”. Subsequently, on 7 July 2012, both men were sentenced by Branch 2 of the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court after conviction of charges including the vaguely-worded offences of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” (moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz), “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”.

Another Ahwazi Arab man, Taha Heidarian, was shown in the same programme making a “confession” in connection with the killing of a law enforcement official in April 2011 amidst widespread protests in Khuzestan. On or around 19 June 2012, he and three other Ahwazi Arab men were executed in Karoun Prison, according to activists close to the family, after apparently being convicted by a Revolutionary Court of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” in connection with the killing.

Name: Mazyar Ebrahimi, Majid Jamali Fashi

Gender m/f: Mazyar Ebrahimi (M); Majid Jamali Fashi (M); other detainees are male and female�

UA: 258/12 Index: MDE 13/062/2012 Issue Date: 10 September 2012

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Bodily Search of Female Students at University of Science & Culture

HRANA News Agency – Following the implementation of gender segregation at universities throughout Iran, the entrances for male and female students at the University of Science & Culture in Tehran (USC) have been segregated, and female students have been subject to bodily searches.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), as the new school year began in Iran, USC female students were directed towards a canvas tarp hung at the entrance designated for them.Iran’s semi-secret police tasked to monitor all educational institutes, Herasat, was established behind this curtain to inspect female students’ clothing and makeup.

In an unprecedented act, USC Herasat subjected several female students to bodily searches and asked to see their student ID cards.University students who didn’t have their ID cards with them were denied attending classes at USC and sent home.Additionally, a number of other students were asked to present birth certificates or driving licenses.Faced with students objecting to being searched, USC Herasat cited a notice issued by the university officials authorizing the bodily search.

To increase pressure on university students, the number of female agents at USC has increased significantly.Although USC Herasat had in the past confronted students aggressively and insulted them for their attire, as a result of gender segregation, USC semi-secret police has begun a new phase of its operations.

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Peaceful Demonstrations Turned Violent in Azerbaijan

HRANA News Agency – Peaceful demonstrations by Azerbaijani citizens turned violent when Iranian security forces interfered with a gathering to save Lake Urmia.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), anti-riot police in the city of Tabriz shot tear gas directly at the crowd and injured a number of the protestors.

Oddly enough, plain cloth agents broke the windows of shops and public phone booths in Tabriz.Previously, this behavior had also been observed multiple times in Tehran.

Eye-witnesses have reported that the clashes are still on-going in front of the Constitution House of Tabriz (Khaneh Mashrouteh).Demonstrators are shouting slogans such as “Rise up and cry out Azerbaijan. Give life back to Lake Urmia” and “Lake Urmia dies. Congress orders its demise.”During the clashes with the police, a large number of citizens have been injured.

While the clashes in the city of Urmia are spreading to Ykaneyan Bazaar, Agh Dash and Shapour Gate, the number of those injured are significantly increasing.

HRANA correspondents report that Iranian security forces have stormed the Motahari Hospital to arrest those injured during street clashes.

 

36 Activists helping refugees of earthquake have been arrested

HRANA News Agency – At least 35 activists Helping refugees of Earthquake were arrested tonight in Haris, Azarbaijan, after their relief camp was attacked by Iranian Security forces. In Addition, one activist was arrested yesterday.

 

Continue reading “36 Activists helping refugees of earthquake have been arrested”

Attempt to Arrest Babak Ejlali Failed

HRANA News Agency – On Monday, August 1, 2011, Iranian security forces raided and searched Babak Ejlali’s house and summoned him to the Intelligence Agency.During this raid, Babak Ejlali’s computer and personal notes were seized.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Iranian security forces carried an arrest warrant for Babak Ejlali.However, the attempt to arrest him failed because Babak Ejlali was not home at the time of the raid.

Babak Ejlali is the editor of Rasa Online News and a human rights activist.Because of his family ties and connections with the jailed Iranian blogger Hussein Ronaghi, Babak Ejlali has been interviewed by various media outlets for information about Ronaghi’s condition.

 

Documentary Filmmaker and Women’s Rights Activist Arrested

HRANA News Agency – This morning, on June 26, 2011, Mahnaz Mohammadi, a documentary filmmaker and women’s rights activist, was arrested.

According to the Committee of Human Right Reporters, this morning, following a raid on her home, Mahnaz Mohammadi was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.The identity of the arresting officers and the reason for this arrest are not known.

Previously, on December 29, 2009, Mahnaz Mohammadi together with Jafar Panahi, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami and a few other movie producers were arrested when a group of directors and documentary filmmakers visited Tehran’s Behesht-Zahra Cemetery to place flowers on the graves of those killed in the events following Iran’s presidential election.

“Women Without Shadows” is Mahnaz Mohammadi’s most notable documentary for which she received many awards in Iran and abroad.Recently, Mahnaz Mohammadi and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad in collaboration with each other made the documentary film titled “We Are Half of Iran’s Population.”This documentary explores the demands of Iranian women in the presidential election.