Four Detained in Urmia for Organizing Nowruz Celebration

On May 9, security forces in Urmia detained four individuals for reportedly organizing a Nowruz celebration, subsequently transferring them to an undisclosed location. Kolbar News identified the detainees as Othman Abbasi, Rahman Khosrawi, Heyman Alizadeh, and Shahram Soltani, all residents of Shahin Dej.

The reason cited for their arrest was the organization of a Nowruz celebration. The security agents reportedly did not present any arrest warrants at the time of the detention.
The current whereabouts of the detainees and any specific charges against them have yet to be disclosed.

Six Individuals Arrested in Oshnavieh by Security Forces

Security forces in Oshnavieh, West Azerbaijan province, arrested six residents and transferred them to an undisclosed location, according to reports from Kurdpa.

The individuals have been identified as Omid Rashid-Pak, Fakhreddin Modarresi, Rahim Rafa’ati, Hesameddin Mohmoudi (aged 19), Moloud Roosta, and Hassan Rasouli.

Rashid-Pak and Modarresi were taken into custody on May 2, while the other four were arrested on May 1, 2024.

The reasons for their arrests, their current locations, and the charges against them remain unknown at this time.

Alarming Rise in Casualties Among Border Workers: Over 170 Kolbars and Fuel Carriers Dead or Injured in Two Months

HRANA News Agency reports that from February 20 to April 19, 2024, the number of incidents causing death and injury among cross-border laborers (Kolbar) and fuel carriers (Sukhtbar) has significantly increased.

During this period, at least 15 Kolbars in the border areas of Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan provinces, and 9 Sukhtbars in the southeastern border areas of the country, lost their lives. Additionally, 141 Kolbars and 11 Sukhtbars were injured. Indiscriminate military shootings were the leading cause, followed by incidents such as falls from heights, frostbite, and cardiac arrest.

In comparison, the casualty figures from the previous two months totaled 93 (10 dead and 83 injured). This indicates a 90% increase in casualties and injuries among border workers (both Kolbars and Sukhtbars) in the recent two months.

Military shootings caused the deaths of 9 Kolbars and injuries to 115. Additional Kolbar fatalities occurred due to falls from heights (3 deaths), frostbite (2 deaths), and cardiac arrest (1 death). Of the injuries, 17 resulted from falls, 4 from military personnel assaults, and 4 from landmine explosions in the border areas.

In Sistan and Baluchestan province, 9 Baluchi Sukhtbars died from direct gunshot wounds or vehicle overturns due to military shootings. An additional 11 Sukhtbars were injured in similar incidents.

All reported incidents in Kermanshah province occurred in the border areas of Nowsud county, resulting in 98 injured Kolbars and 3 deaths. In Kurdistan province, the border areas of Baneh reported the most Kolbar casualties, with 3 deaths and 22 injuries.

Between March 23 and March 28, 2024, at least 7 Kolbars died, with 5 deaths attributed to military shootings and falls from heights.

On February 24, 2024, military personnel targeted dozens of Kolbars with gunfire at the border. Investigations show that on this day, at least 45 Kolbars were injured by military gunfire.

These figures are collected by HRANA and may underreport the true scope of casualties, as data is likely lacking in some areas.

Kolbars, primarily Kurdish citizens residing in impoverished regions, face numerous hazards while carrying heavy loads over long, difficult paths, in addition to facing military forces on both sides of the border. Indiscriminate shootings by border guards remain a significant cause of death and injury among Kolbars.

Meanwhile, in Sistan and Baluchestan province, lack of sufficient income forces many to engage in high-risk fuel carrying, known as Sukhtbari, for family livelihood. This dangerous occupation involves transporting fuel across borders and exposes workers to threats such as military attacks and natural disasters.
In addition to material damages, the killing of pack animals and incidents such as frostbite and avalanches also lurk for cross-border workers.

HRANA’s report on human rights violations in Iran during the 1402 Hijri year provides statistics on citizens killed or injured by Iran’s military forces.

Farahnaz Nik-Khoo Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Farahnaz Nik-Khoo to ten years in prison on political charges.

Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Salavati, sentenced Nik-Khoo to ten years for “acting against national security through espionage.”

On December 3, 2022, IRGC Intelligence arrested Nik-Khoo at Tehran airport as she was attempting to leave the country. She was initially detained in Evin Prison, and after seven months, on April 30, 2023, she was moved to the women’s ward of Evin Prison.

The exact nature of the activities leading to these charges remains unclear.

A reliable source previously informed HRANA that Nik-Khoo was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence, and interrogated for two weeks. Meanwhile, the case is under the purview of IRGC intelligence.

Nik-Khoo, 50 years old, is a retired employee of the national telecommunications company.

Security Forces Detain Three Individuals in Sarvabad, Kurdistan Province

According to Kurdpa, security forces apprehended Omid Shahdad, Omar Hosseini, and Ali Hosseini in Sarvabad, Kurdistan province, on April 18, 2024, and subsequently transferred them to an undisclosed location.

Aged 37, 30, and 26 respectively, Shahdad, Omar, and Ali Hosseini hail from a village in Sarvabad County. The arrests were conducted at their residence without the presentation of any arrest warrant.

Details regarding the cause of their detention, their current whereabouts, and the specific allegations against them remain unknown at this juncture.

According to data collected by the Department of Statistics and Publication of HRA in 2023, Kurdistan Province accounted for 8.3% of reported human rights violations, including instances of arbitrary detentions.

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Hooram Mehrnavaie Taken Into Custody by Security Forces in Bukan

On April 2, Hooram Mehrnavaie was apprehended by security forces following being summoned and his presence in the Ministry of Intelligence office in Bukan, as reported by Kurdpa. He was subsequently transported to an undisclosed location.

The specific grounds for Mehrnavaie’s detention, his current location, and the charges against him remain undisclosed.

This marks not the initial encounter with law enforcement for Mehrnavaie, aged 21. On December 2, 2022, he was arrested and later released on bail. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Bukan sentenced him to 54 months in prison for “collaboration with anti-regime political parties.” On April 9, 2023, he was incarcerated in Bukan Prison and later granted release on probation, equipped with a monitoring ankle device.

Monthly Report – March 2024: Human Rights Situation in Iran

HRANA – HRA’s Statistics Department has released its monthly report for March 2024, uncovering a concerning array of human rights violations across Iran. The document highlights an alarming number of 19 executions, including a rare instance of a woman being put to death, with many cases falling short of international legal standards for the death penalty.

Notably, the report points to significant suppression of freedom of expression, detailing arrests and convictions of journalists and activists. This includes a transgender individual arrested under dubious charges and a teacher’s union advocate fined for purportedly destabilizing public perception.

In addition to freedom of speech violations, the crackdown on women’s rights activists and harsh sentences handed down to 11 women in Gilan Province for allegedly acting against national security are emphasized. The plight of Iranian workers is also underlined, with instances of unpaid wages, unsafe work conditions, and the tragic suicide of a worker following the demolition of his livelihood.

This comprehensive report sheds light on the depth of human rights abuses in Iran, offering a sobering reminder of the ongoing challenges within the country.

Executions

This month Iran executed 19 individuals of whom 18 were men and 1 woman. A total of 11 individuals were sentenced to death. Additionally, Iran continues to execute individuals for crimes that do not meet the threshold set by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on March 18th, 2024, a couple was executed for drug-related crimes.

Similarly, on March 25, 2024, Abbas Aghaie was also executed for drug-related crimes, however, no official sources confirmed his death. Iran continues to execute prisoners in secret, often without the family even knowing.

This month only 4 of the 19 prisoners executed were confirmed by official reports It’s concerning that over 75% of executions in Iran occur without government or judicial notification, deemed “secret” executions by human rights organizations.

 

Freedom of Expression and Thought

Iran persists in its suppression of freedom of expression and thought, as evidenced by recent events. This month, authorities arrested a transgender individual under the pretext of allegedly orchestrating traffic disruptions in Gonbad-e Kavus to promote indecency and promiscuity by gathering young motorcyclists. While the specifics of these purported actions remain undisclosed, the police chief suggested the individual’s motive was to impress friends and seek thrills.

Furthermore, in a concerning development, four journalists faced convictions this month. Among them, Ali Moslehi received a severe sentence of six years and two months, while Omid Pahdi, known for publishing politically sensitive material, was handed a two-year jail term for his critical publications.

The relentless crackdown on dissent extends to activists like Mahmoud Safdari, a teacher’s union advocate, who was fined for allegedly spreading falsehoods aimed at destabilizing the public perception and undermining the regime. These incidents highlight a worrying trend of censorship and repression, underscoring the urgent need for greater respect for fundamental freedoms in Iran.

Women

A continuing crackdown on women’s rights activists persists. On February 29, 2024, the trial of 11 women commenced, all of whom were detained during a mass arrest of citizens in Gilan Province on August 16 and 17, 2023. Their trial concluded this month with Judge Mehdi Rasekhi issuing severe sentences. Zohreh Dadras received a nine-year, six-month, and two-day sentence for her alleged involvement in “forming a group to act against national security,” while Forough Saminia, Sara Jahani, Yasamin Hashdari, Shiva Shah Sia, Negin Rezaie, Azadeh Chavoshian, and Matin Yazdani each received six years and 47 days for charges of “assembly and collusion to act against national security.” Additionally, Hooman Taheri and Jelveh Javaheri were sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.”

Furthermore, Iran continues its surveillance of social media activity, exemplified by the sentencing of Zainab Khaniabpour to two years in prison for sharing pictures without hijab online. Another case of repression emerged when Bita Rasouli, a female singer from Lahijan, Iran, was arrested by security forces on March 18th, only to be released on bail the next day. Rasouli, who had traveled from Turkey to participate in a private ceremony, was detained for reasons including dancing, singing, and accompanying a male musician in a women’s club. Allegations of physical and verbal abuse during her 24-hour detention surfaced, and her case is currently under review by the FATA Police and Security Department.

Workers

Workers in Iran continue to face dire conditions and perilous work environments. This month alone, 13 fatalities tragically occurred due to work-related accidents, with an additional 27 workers sustaining injuries. Furthermore, a staggering 1,600 workers reported unpaid wages spanning 63 months, while 270 workers were denied their insurance rights. Moreover, a total of 169 businesses were sealed. Additionally, one distressing case involved the confiscation of a worker’s house and property. Lastly, a tragic incident occurred when 38-year-old Bapir Khalidi committed suicide after his shoe shed was destroyed and confiscated by officials of the municipal highway barrier.

These distressing statistics underscore the profound challenges confronting workers and emphasize the urgent necessity for enhanced labor protections and enforcement mechanisms. In an effort to bring to light these injustices, workers and trade unions often protest, this month there were 89 trade union gatherings and 2 strikes.

International News

This month, significant attention was directed towards the human rights situation in Iran as the Human Rights Council convened multiple sessions. Dr. Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, delivered his conclusive report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. During this session, he shed light on the alarming frequency of death penalty sentences, notably for drug-related offenses and involving juvenile offenders. Moreover, he highlighted violations of the right to a fair trial and the mistreatment of human rights defenders.

In addition, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran presented its comprehensive findings to the Human Rights Council. Meticulously documenting various incidents and recurring patterns of rights violations, the report offers a distressing glimpse into systemic abuses. From the tragic case of Mahsa Amini to the use of violence against peaceful protesters resulting in unlawful killings, the report illustrates a concerning trend. Furthermore, the documented violations, which include extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, enforced disappearances, and gender persecution, underscore the pressing need for accountability and justice for the victims and survivors.

Samku Nasrollahi Detained by Security Forces in Bukan

On March 24, 2024, security forces reportedly detained Samku (Samko) Nasrollahi in Bukan, West Azerbaijan province, and transferred him to an undisclosed facility, according to Krudpa.

The arrest of Nasrollahi, a 35-year-old father of two, allegedly occurred after his participation in a Nowruz ceremony in a village. No arrest warrant was presented by the agents.

Despite inquiries made by Nasrollahi’s family to the Ministry of Intelligence in Bukan, no clear answers have been provided regarding the allegations against him or his current whereabouts.

Fatal Shooting: Military Fires on Fuel Carriers in Sistan and Baluchestan

On March 21, 2024, a tragic incident unfolded in Mirjaveh County, Sistan and Baluchestan province, as military forces fired upon a fuel-carrying vehicle, leaving one dead and three injured, according to Haal Vsh.

The victim, identified as Hamidollah Brahui (Koohi-Zahi), aged 25, lost his life in the incident, while the identities of the three injured individuals remain undisclosed.

Eyewitnesses report that the military forces initiated gunfire abruptly, without issuing any prior warning.

This distressing event echoes a concerning trend highlighted in HRA’s annual report, which revealed that in 2023 alone, 37 fuel carriers (Sukhtbar) lost their lives in incidents involving military forces.

Milad Rigi Arrested by Security Forces in Khash

On March 19, 2024, Milad Rigi Tanha was apprehended by security forces in Khash and subsequently moved to an undisclosed location, as reported by Haal Vsh.

The 20-year-old resident of Khash was allegedly taken into custody by plainclothes officers without the presentation of any arrest warrant. Currently, the grounds for his arrest and the charges levied against him remain undisclosed.

According to data collected by the Department of Statistics and Publication of HRA in 2023, Sistan and Baluchestan Province accounted for 5.63% of reported human rights violations, including instances of arbitrary detentions.