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.

Man Shot Dead by Regime’s Military Forces in Border Area of Urmia County

Earlier this Tuesday, November 2, a man was shot dead by military forces in border areas of Urmia county.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the victim has been identified as Veisi Badini, a resident of the village Soorkan. Badini was married and has two children.

Military forces reportedly began to shoot directly towards Veisi Badini, who was pasturing livestock, without any warning beforehand. In the aftermath of their shooting, the forces did not allow any medical treatment, which led to his death from bleeding. As of yet, they have refused to deliver the body to Badini’s family.

HRANA’s annual human rights report has specifically documented cases in which military forces’ use of live ammunition against citizens has led to their injury or death.

According to the 2020 report, 36 cross-border laborers (kolbars), 5 cross-border fuel carriers (sukhtbar) and 33 other citizens have been shot dead by military forces and border guards in the last year. In addition, 130 people have been injured of which 109 are kolbars, 5 are sukhtbars, and 16 are citizens.

Several Citizens Arrested by IRGS’s Intelligence Unit in Robat Karim

The County Prosecutor of Robat Karim City recently announced the arrest of several citizens by IRGS’s intelligence unit.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the citizens were arrested largely on charges of membership in what he called an “anti-revolutionary network”.

“In the last week, IRGS’s intelligence agents could detect and arrest the heads of an anti-revolutionary network in Robat-Karim city”, the County Prosecutor commented. “These arrested people were transferred to the jail after being notified of the charge and the issuance of an arrest warrant.”

He added, “Investigation and identification of the related people to this case is still ongoing.”

This report does not mention the number of arrestees, their identities, or their current whereabouts.

 

Citizen Sentenced to Forty Lashes for Stealing Three Packs of Cashews

A board member of Tehran University revealed a lawsuit wherein in recent weeks a criminal court condemned a citizen to 40 lashes, along with other punishments, just for stealing three packs of cashews.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a board member of Tehran University publicized the court order in which a citizen has been convicted to 40 whips.

This verdict stands in blatant violation of the international covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 7 prohibits “torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment”.

Despite being a party to the international covenant, Iran’s regime regularly uses inhuman and humiliating punishments like flogging.

Yousef Salahshouri Amir Sattari Rauf Summoned to Tabriz Criminal Court

On Monday, October 18, Yousef Salahshouri and Amir Sattari Rauf were summoned to Branch 111 of the Criminal Court of Tabriz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, they have received separate summons, issued through the online system of Judiciary (SENA), to appear in court. Salahshouri and Sattari Rauf are to appear in court on October 27 and October 30 respectively.

As mentioned in the summons, the charges against Salahshouri are “disturbing public order by participation in illegal protests and assembles”, “agitating people for violent act through telecommunication systems in cyberspace” and “propaganda against the regime”.

On July 25, Yousef Salahshouri was arrested by the intelligence agents and transferred to the detention center of the Ministry of Intelligence in Tabriz. On August 11, in a phone call, he informed his family that he had been transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released on bail on August 14, and then on October 3,  the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz held the first court session addressing one of his charges.

Mr. Sattari Rauf was arrested on July 22 by security forces and transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released from Tabriz prison on August 15.

On July 24, a number of citizens in Tabriz marched and protested in support of the protest of Khuzestan against water shortage and mismanagement of the government. During the protests, a number of these citizens were arrested.

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Kolbar Jian Ali-Pour Shot Dead by Regime Military Forces at Border Areas of Sardasht County

On Thursday, October 14, a kolbar was killed by the direct shooting of military forces in border areas near Sardasht.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, on Thursday, the man has been identified as Jian Ali-Pour, a resident of a village in County Sardasht. He was married with two children. According to this report, the military forces shot him dead without any warning beforehand.

Many poor people living in border areas turn to this illegal work and carry loads on foot through borders to make ends meet. Yearly, dozens of kolbars are injured and killed from accidents, dangerous conditions, and border guard shootings.

HRANA’s annual human rights report has specifically documented cases in which military forces’ use of live ammunition against citizens has led to their injury or death.

According to the 2020 report, other than material damages like loss of pack animals due to road accidents, frost, or avalanche, 36 cross-border laborers (kolbars) have been shot dead, and 109 have been injured by military forces and border guards.

 

Homes Demolished and Citizens Mistreated by Municipal Agents in Zahedan

On Tuesday, October 5, on the outskirts of Zahedan, municipal agents demolished another home, leaving an entire family without shelter.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the destroyed home is one of several like it that the municipality claims has been built on non-residential premises, despite clear preliminary real estate contracts to the contrary. One of the officials involved reportedly claimed that the municipality was permitted by a judicial order to demolish these houses.

“Four municipal agents demolished our only shelter,” a woman says in a video that was posted on social media following the incident. “They threw me down to the ground and forced my husband to get into their car. This home was my only shelter. From all these houses in the city, why did they demolish my home? We built this house hardly and we couldn’t afford even to finish the walls…It is not fair that I have to become homeless.”

“If these pieces of land do not have any legal document, why do they let the real estate’s sell these houses?” another citizen asked. “Why the officials don’t do their job properly so that people don’t fall into the mistake to purchase these houses. Why don’t they prevent people from construction in the first place? Unfortunately, it is their mismanagement that gets us into trouble.”

An urban expert also commented on the event, suggesting an ulterior incentive for authorities to “condemn” such residences.

“Province officials have to hinder those who in some ways grab these great pieces of land,” the expert said. “They claim ownership of these lands by fencing and sell the parcels illegally to poor people for low prices.”

Sentence Alternatives to Prison, Such as Purchasing Supplies for Under-Equipped Schools, Introduced in Urmia

The head of Branch 119 of the Criminal Court of Urmia recently announced that the county’s criminal justice system is introducing a number of sentence alternatives to prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kargar Online, the judicial official has sentenced several men to purchase educational supplies internet packages and cell phones for school children in poor areas instead of serving time.

It is worth mentioning that Chapter 9 of the new enactment of the Islamic penal code has also highlighted similar alternative sentences.

Accordingly, under certain conditions and with the defendant’s consent, judges may enact these kinds of alternative sentences.

Cross-Border Fuel Carrier Shot Dead In Bashagard by Military Forces

On Wednesday, September 29, military forces opened fired and killed a Sookhtbar (cross-border fuel carrier) in Bashagard City in Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Resanak, he was carrying fuel with his car when the direct shooting of military forces (called Mersad Forces) towards the car led to his death. The report identifies the victim as Behzad Balavar.

HRANA’s annual human rights report has specifically documented cases in which military forces’ use of live ammunition against citizens has led to their injury or death.

According to the 2020 report, other than material damages like loss of pack animals due to road accidents, frost, or avalanche, 36 cross-border carriers (Kolbars) and  fuel porters (Sookhtbars) , and 33 regular citizens have been killed by the regime’s military forces. 130 people have been injured due to unlawful shootings from which 109 were Kolbars, 16 regular citizens, and 5 fuel porters.

 

 

HRA Publishes Book on History, Obstacles, and Achievements

“To all those who sacrificed to advance the rights of others. To those who went to prison, into exile, to our mothers-  who were our first human rights teachers, to those who died in love along the way. To Jamal Hosseini, Farzad Kamangar, Michael Cromartie, Taher Elchi, Ali Ajami” 

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Human Rights Activists in Iran is pleased to announce the forthcoming August 30th release of ‘Human Rights Activists in Iran: History, Obstacles, Achievements’ now available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble. 

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) has been documenting abuses and advocating for the rights of victims inside of Iran since 2006. Founded by Director Keyvan Rafiee, the organization has grown from grassroots activism to a multi-divisional non-profit organization headquartered in Washington D.C. USA. Today, HRA is one of the oldest operating organizations focused on human rights in Iran and boasts the largest network of in-country volunteers. 

The story of HRA is fraught with struggle; members have worked tirelessly to promote respect for human rights and have consequentially faced imprisonment, exile, and death. 

Human Rights Activists in Iran: History, Obstacles, Achievements is dedicated “To all those who sacrificed to advance the rights of others. To those who went to prison, into exile, to our mothers-  who were our first human rights teachers, to those who died in love along the way. To Jamal Hosseini, Farzad Kamangar, Michael Cromartie, Taher Elchi, Ali Ajami” 

The opening chapter, written by Keyvan Rafie, tells the story of how HRA was formed during a time when he and his founding colleagues were imprisoned. He reflects on the challenges, widespread as they were, including a lack of technology, citing a time before the widespread availability of the internet in Iran, as well as targeted harassment. Determined to create an organization that would stand the test of time, he writes, “We realized that without planning, discipline, and a coherent structure, there was no hope for our survival. By studying and by gaining experience [in human rights], we were able to develop certain principles… The lack of any of [these principles] would have meant the end of our activism.” 

Keyvan also notes core principles that were established at the organization’s founding, principles that continue to lead HRA today: being youth-led, maintaining a social base inside the country, and the principle of non-discrimination, among others. The book features sections dedicated to HRA members that have lost their lives as a result of their dedication to human rights, including Farzad Kamangar, executed at the hands of the regime, and Jamal Hosseini, who lost his life while working in exile. 

Throughout the book, prominent human rights activists, lawyers, and community leaders share their stories and experiences of both being part of HRA and witnessing its work, in the hopes of inspiring future generations of activists. They include:

  • Keyvan Rafiee – Founder and Director of Human Rights Activists in Iran
  • Behrouz Sadegh Khanjani – Head of the Iranian Church organization and a former prisoner of conscience
  • George Haroonian – Iranian-American Jewish human rights activist
  • Simin Rouzgard – Former Editor of Peace Mark Magazine
  • Ladan & Roya Boroumand – Founders and directors of Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
  • Rezvaneh Mohammadi – A Gender and Sexual Minorities activist who was sentenced to 5 years because of her activism
  • Shahed Alavi – Journalist and Kurdish rights activist
  • Habibollah Sarbazi – Journalist and founder of the Baloch Activists Campaign
  • Shirin Ebadi – Lawyer, founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, a former judge who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003
  • Kavian Sadaghzadeh Milani – Founder of the Center for Health and Human Rights, Baha’i rights activist
  • Simin Fahandaj – Spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community
  • Dian Alaei – The Baha’i International Community representative
  • Kouhyar Goudarzi – Journalist and co-founder of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters
  • Hossein Raeesi – Lawyer and author
  • Hadi Ghaemi – Founder of the Center for Human Rights in Iran
  • Dr. Abdolkarim Lahiji – Lawyer and President of the International Federation for Human Rights
  • Mehrangiz Kar – Lawyer, author, and human rights activist
  • Elahe Sharifpour-Hicks – Former Human Rights Watch researcher and director of the Human Rights and Planning Group in New York
  • Shadi Sadr – Lawyer, and Co-founder of Justice for Iran
  • Karim Khalaf Dahimi – Arab human rights activist
  • Ali Kalaei – Journalist and former prisoner of conscience
  • Ali Ajami – Former editor of HRANA, a former prisoner of conscience (he passed away in 2020)
  • Behrouz Javid Tehrani – Former prisoner of conscience for a decade, research assistant at Human Rights Watch
  • Jamshid Barzegar – Former BBC Persian site editor, director of the Persian section of Deutsche Welle (Germany)
  • Morteza Kazemian – Journalist and member of the Central Council of the Association for the Defense of Press Freedom
  • Najaf Nemati – Researcher, writer, and Turkish rights activist
  • Siamak Ghaderi – Editor-in-Chief of various newspapers in Iran, including the State News Agency (IRNA), a former prisoner of conscience, and winner of the Hellman Prize –Human Rights Watch
  • Reza Haghighat-Nejad – Author and analyst who is a contributor to many news media
  • Reza Haji-Hosseini – Editor of Human Rights section in Radio Zamaneh
  • Kaveh Ghoreishi – Activist, author, and reporter
  • Kambiz Ghafouri – Political analyst and journalist for various media outlets, including Radio Free Europe and Iran International

 

 

Human Rights Activists in Iran: History, Obstacles, Achievements’ is published in hopes that the tireless work of those who have sacrificed everything will forever be ingrained in history.