Spanish National Ana Baneira Arrested in Iran

During the nationwide protests, security forces arrested at least two Spanish nationals who are still in detention. 41-year-old Santiago Sanchez was arrested in Saqqez after visiting Mahsa Amini’s burial place. HRANA has identified the second individual as Ana Baneira, 24 years old.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Spanish citizen Ana Baneira, age 24, was arrested and jailed in Iran.

Baneira’s whereabouts and the date she was arrested are still unknown. An informed source close to her family told HRANA that she was arrested in recent days.

 

Two New Zealand Tourists Leave Iran after Four Months Disappearance

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced that detained New Zealand couple Christopher Richwhite and Bridget Thackwray have been released and left Iran after four months.

Four months ago, these two social media influencers entered Iran from Turkey’s border, and then, they disappeared offline.
So far, Iran authorities had refused to confirm their detention until today when the New Zealand prime minister announced their release after negotiation.

As of yet, the reason for their possible arrest is unknown.

43 Human Rights Organizations Urge UN Human Rights Council to Hold Special Session on Iran

On October 17, 2022, Human Rights Activists in Iran and 42 other human rights organizations issued a joint letter urging the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session to address “the most serious crimes under international law and other gross human rights violations committed in Iran, including in the context of successive waves of protest crackdowns.”

The following is the full text of this letter:

UN Human Rights Council must hold a special session on Iran

We are writing to raise our deep concerns about the Iranian authorities’ mobilization of their well-honed machinery of repression to ruthlessly crackdown on current nationwide protests.

The United Nations Human Rights Council should act as a matter of urgency by holding a special session and — given the gravity of crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations committed in Iran and the prevailing systemic impunity — establish an independent, investigative, reporting and accountability mechanism.

The recent protests were sparked by outrage at the death in custody of Mahsa (Jina) Amini, a 22 year old woman from the Kurdish minority, on 16 September 2022 days after being arrested by the “morality” police for not complying with the country’s discriminatory and abusive compulsory veiling laws, which perpetuate violence against women and girls in Iran and strip them of their right to dignity and bodily autonomy. The focus of the protests has since quickly expanded to broader grievances and encompassed demands for fundamental political and social change towards protection and fulfilment of human rights.

Evidence gathered by a number of the undersigned organizations shows a harrowing pattern of Iranian security forces deliberately and unlawfully firing live ammunition and metal pellets, including birdshot, at protesters and bystanders including children. Undersigned organizations are documenting growing numbers of protesters and bystanders killed, with some already reporting over 200 deaths, including at least 23 identified children, in Sistan and Baluchistan, Kurdistan and other provinces throughout Iran, as well as hundreds of others injured to date in the ongoing crackdown. The actual numbers, though, are likely to be much higher and growing. Since 18 September 2022, over one thousand protesters, human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, university students and school children have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, some already charged with “acting against national security.” This cycle of deadly repression in the context of protests has become alarmingly familiar in recent years. During previous waves of mass protests including in December 2017-January 2018, November 2019, July 2021, November 2021 and May 2022, a number of our organizations documented similar widespread patterns of crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations, such as unlawful killings resulting from unwarranted use of force, including lethal force, mass arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and sentencing individuals to lengthy prison terms and death following grossly unfair trials.

Without concerted collective action by the international community that goes beyond statements of condemnation and long-standing calls directed at the Iranian authorities to conduct investigations, countless more men, women and children risk being killed, maimed, tortured, sexually assaulted and thrown behind bars, and evidence of grave crimes risks disappearing. The Iranian authorities have repeatedly ignored the calls of the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, multiple UN Special Procedures, UN Member States and the UN General Assembly to cease the unlawful use of force, including lethal force, against protesters and bystanders and to effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment. Simply put, all avenues for accountability are closed at the domestic level.

This latest round of bloodshed in the context of protests in Iran is rooted in and fueled by this deep and longstanding pattern of systemic impunity for the most serious crimes under international law which, given the scale and severity of past and ongoing human rights violations, the UN Human Rights Council has not sufficiently addressed.

In this context, we urge the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session as a matter of urgency. At that session, the Council should establish an independent mechanism with investigative, reporting and accountability functions to address the most serious crimes under international law and other gross human rights violations committed in Iran, including in the context of successive waves of protest crackdowns. The mechanism should conduct investigations into such crimes and violations with a view to pursuing accountability, in particular where violations may amount to the most serious crimes under international law. The mechanism should be mandated and adequately resourced to gather and preserve evidence, and to share it with national, regional and international courts and administrative bodies that may have jurisdiction over crimes. Its public reporting should include analysis of patterns of crimes and violations and the identification of perpetrators.

A mechanism with such functions is urgently needed to complement the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, given the gravity and scale of the crimes committed with absolute impunity in the country. The Special Rapporteur has underscored the urgency of “accountability with respect to long-standing emblematic events that have been met with persistent impunity, including the enforced disappearances and summary and arbitrary executions of 1988 and the protests of November 2019.”

In his statement to the UN Third Committee in October 2021 and January 2022 report, the Special Rapporteur has reflected on “the structural impediments for accountability” and the “lack of any progress or political will to conduct investigations, let alone ensure accountability.” The Special Rapporteur has stressed that within Iran’s current “system of governance, it is clear that obtaining accountability for human rights violations becomes arbitrary at best and impossible at worst” and emphasized that “it becomes imperative that the international community uses other existing channels, including in international fora … to seek accountability…. Without the involvement of the international community, such grave violations will continue.”

Many family members of human rights defenders have been threatened while the human rights defenders have been violently arrested and their houses raided.  Human rights defenders and victims’ relatives are echoing growing frustration at the international community’s failure to take meaningful action to address successive waves of protest killings in Iran. The father of Milan Haghigi, a 21-year-old man killed by security forces on 21 September, said: “People expect the UN to defend us and the protesters. I, too, can condemn [the Iranian authorities], the whole world can condemn them but to what end this condemnation?”  Meaningful action by the international community, in the form of the creation of an independent, investigative, reporting and accountability mechanism, is long overdue.

 

Signatories:

 

  1. Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran
  2. The Advocates for Human Rights
  3. All Human Rights for All in Iran
  4. Amnesty International
  5. Article18
  6. Article 19
  7. Arseh Sevom
  8. Association for the human rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran (AHRAZ)
  9. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  10. Baloch Activist Campaign
  11. Balochistan Human Rights Group (BHRG)
  12. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  13. Center for Human Rights in Iran
  14. Centre for Supporters of Human Rights
  15. CIVICUS
  16. Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort
  17. FEMENA
  18. Freedom from Torture
  19. Front Line Defenders
  20. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  21. Gulf Center for Human Rights
  22. Haalvsh
  23. Hengaw Organization for Human Rights
  24. Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA)
  25. Human Rights Watch
  26. Impact Iran
  27. International Commission of Jurists
  28. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  29. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  30. Iran Human Rights
  31. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
  32. Justice for Iran
  33. Kurdistan Human Rights Association-Geneva (KMMK-G)
  34. Kurdistan Human Rights Network
  35. Kurdpa Human Rights Organisation
  36. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran
  37. Miaan Group
  38. Minority Rights Group International (MRG)
  39. Rasank
  40. Siamak Pouzand Foundation
  41. 6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)
  42. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  43. World Organisation against Torture (OMCT)

53 UN Human Rights Council Members Issue a Statement over Iranian Protests

In a joint statement, 53 UN Human Rights Council members urged Iran’s regime to refrain from disproportionate use of force against the protestors. This statement, drafted by Chile, asked Iranian authorities to align their legislation to international human rights standards and conduct an impartial investigation into Mahsa Amini’s death.

The statement expressed “deeply concerned by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after her arrest for allegedly failing to comply with Iran’s rules by wearing what was perceived as improper Hejab.”

On September 17, 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died at a hospital after the Moral Police arrested her for improper hejab. Since September 23, demonstrations were held in at least 85 cities and 18 universities across 29 provinces, and are still ongoing, as many have been arrested, injured, or killed.

Report on Yasin Jamalzadeh’s Murder during Nationwide Protests

On September 21, 2022, Yasin Jamalzadeh was shot dead by the military during the protests in Rezvanshahr which was held after the death of Mahsa Amini. HRANA has obtained more details about this case.

Yasin Jamalzadeh, age 28, was a father of twin girls and a resident of Masal County, Gilan Province. He was shot in the chest and died on the spot.

An informed source told HRANA that Yasin Jamalzadeh’s family has been under pressure from the government to not speak about him with the media.

The video at the end of this report shows Jamalzadeh’s final moment.

On September 17, 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died at a hospital after the Moral Police arrested her for improper hejab. Since September 23, demonstrations were held in at least 85 cities and 18 universities across 29 provinces, and are still ongoing, as many have been arrested, injured, or killed.

 

 

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One Kolbar Killed, Two Injured in Direct Shooting 

On September 16, 2022, the military forces killed a kolbar (cross-border carrier of goods) and injured two others in a  direct shooting incident at the Nowsud border area In Kurdistan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, on September 16, 2022, the Iranian military shot a kolbar identified as Esmail Abdi, 32 at the border area. Two other kolbars identified as Mokhtar Fattahi, 36, and Hamid Ahmadi were seriously injured.

According to an informed source, Ahmadi was injured in the neck and Fattahi in the arm and both were hospitalized in Kermanshah. Abdi’s body has not yet been delivered to his family.

Rahman Ghaderi Sentenced to Three Years and Three Months

The Piranshahr Revolutionary Court has sentenced Rahman Ghaderi to three years and three months in prison. If the verdict is upheld on appeal, based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, two years and seven and a half months imprisonment will be enforceable.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Rahman Ghaderi, a resident of Piranshahr, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison.

According to the verdict, Ghaderi has been sentenced to two years and seven and a half months in prison on the charge of “collaboration with an anti-regime political party”, and seven and a half months for “propaganda against the regime.”

On February 13, 2022, security forces arrested Ghaderi without showing a warrant and took him to a detention facility in Urmia. At the end of the interrogation process, he was relocated to Naqadeh Prison. On March 12, 2022, he was released on bail.

Sa’ada Khadirzadeh Sentenced to 12 Years Imprisonment

The Criminal Court of Mahabad sentenced Sa’ada Khadirzadeh to 12 years and 6 months in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Sa’ada Khadirzadeh, a resident of Piranshahr, was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in prison on the charges of “accessory to the murder of an IRGC member,” and “membership in an anti-regime political group.”

On November 8 2021, Khadirzadeh was transferred to Urmia Prison and conceived a child, but later attempted suicide.  

Heyman Abdi Arrested in Shahin-Dej

The intelligence agents arrested Heyman Abdi, a resident of Shahin Dej, and transferred him to a detention facility in Miandoab.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the intelligence agents arrested Heyman Abdi in Shahin Dej, the West Azerbaijan Province.

According to an informed source, the security forces did not show an arrest warrant and mentioned the collaboration with one of the anti-regime political parties as the reason for Abdi’s arrest.

Five Sanandaj Residents Sentenced to Total of 20 Years in Prison

The Revolutionary Court of Kurdistan sentenced five residents of Sanandaj city to a total of 20 years in prison and 25 months of suspended imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kolbar News, the revolutionary Court sentenced Fardin Rahimi, Aliollah Veisi, Mehdi Seyfi, Sirvan Abdollahi, and Marzieh Morad-Veisi each to four years in prison and five months floating imprisonment on the charges of “propaganda against the regime, collaboration with one of the anti-regime parties, and forming illegal groups”.

These individuals were arrested in May 2021 and later released on bail after interrogation.