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” 

————

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.

The Use of Torture in Iran – Obligations, Violations, and Victim Testimony 

 

The use of torture in Iran is vast, often state-sanctioned, and continually occurs with impunity. While States bear the sole responsibility for protecting the human rights of individuals within their jurisdictions, if they are unable or unwilling to do so, the international community must work towards ensuring that there is accountability for violations on part of the State.

Throughout history, and oftentimes in reaction to a negative international image, Iran has ratified five out of the ten core human rights treaties. In light of the upcoming World Day to Support Torture Victims, the international community must commit to working together to ensure there is justice and accountability for said violations. 

 

State Obligations 

The Islamic Republic is a State party to the ICCPR, with no reservations or derogations, thus obliging the State to respect all provisions within. Article 7 of the ICCPR expressly prohibits the use of torture, providing that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment […]”. Article 7 is additionally complemented by positive obligations in Article 10 paragraph 1, which sets forth that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.

The meaning of Article 7 has been debated and expanded upon throughout the years, most notably in UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) general comment no. 20

In addition to international obligations, Article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran states, ‘The use of any type of torture for extracting information or confession from a person is not allowed. Forcing a person to testify, take an oath, or confess is not allowed and such statements given under pressure are invalid. Those violating this principle will be punished according to relevant laws.’ 

There is an ever-present culture of impunity in Iran. Closing the accountability gap requires a bold stance from the international community to commit to understanding the widespread use of torture in Iran and utilizing that information to hold human rights violators accountable. The brief analysis that follows aims to demonstrate Iran’s extensive use of torture in every meaning of the term – notwithstanding obligations under the ICCPR and domestic law. The examples given are by no means exhaustive. 

 

Physical, mental integrity and prolonged solitary confinement 

The prohibition of torture outlined in Article 7 relates not only acts that cause physical pain but also to acts that cause mental suffering to the victim. It is widely recognized that prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture. In addition, prolonged solitary confinement is proven to cause both mental and physical suffering to the victim.

 

The use of physical torture in Iranian prisons can be divided into the following 3 categories:

 – Inflicting physical pain: floggings, use of handcuffs and shackles for prolonged periods of time, the beating of prisoners, hanging prisoners, amputation of body parts, and more.

It should be noted the above are a mere few examples of physical torture present in Iranian prisons.  Amputations and floggings are provided for under domestic punitive law.

– Deprivations: long periods of time in which prisoners are deprived of food, water, medical and sanitary products, sleep, fresh air, space to move, and/or healthcare.

There are several examples of prisoners kept in small spaces, denied medical and sanitary products, and healthcare. All of the above are instances that amount to torture. In addition, the denial of medical care is a violation of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Where the lack of medical treatment leads to avoidable death there is an additional violation of the right to life.

– Exploiting cultural taboos: sexual harassment of both men and women, force-feeding, harassing loved ones, and beating prisoners with items that might be sacred to their religion or culture.

This type of torture is physical, but it also has a deep psychological impact.

 

The use of psychological torture in Iran is widespread. Psychological torture negatively impacting an individual’s mental health and is aimed at breaking down the victim leading to a negative interpretation of self-worth and altered perspectives.

 

Examples of psychological torture common in Iran over the past 4 decades: 

– Prolonged solitary confinement: limits all the sensory experiences and leaves the victim fully dependent on the interrogator or prison guard for every basic necessity of life, including food and communication.
In Iranian prisons often solitary confinement cells have their lights on 24 hours a day, making it extremely difficult for prisoners to count the days or sleep.

– Control of access to information: many prisoners have stated how they were fed wrong information about the outside world while they were in solitary confinement. At times, they are told their friends or family members were also arrested, killed, or testified against them. There have been documented instances of individuals being told that their loved one was seeing someone else or had forgotten about them.  There are also times that individuals are completely cut off from the outside world given no access to newspapers or the like. The latter is in addition to psychological torture, a violation of Nelson Mandela Rules.

– Verbal threats: Individuals are threatened with physical torture such as; the rape of oneself or a family member, killing, or additional false sentencing in the name of societal shame i.e. changing one’s charge to moral corruption.

– Creating shame and disrespect: examples: ethnic individuals forced to speak in Farsi, religious minorities forced to disrespect their own religion, and sexual minorities forced to deny and or insult their sexuality. In addition, female prisoners have documented instances of having been repeatedly told to list the men they have slept with.

– Witness suffering: prisoners are forced to hear or witness the suffering of others. This includes: hearing others being beaten, watching executions, or watching others being tortured.

Interrogation and forced confessions 

The use of statements or confessions obtained through torture is not legally admissible in a trial of the accused. The Human Rights Committee has expressed that forced confessions amount to torture under Article 7 of the ICCPR. These acts are also expressly prohibited in the Iranian Constitution. 

 

Access to doctors and lawyers 

Under the ICCPR, there should, in all cases, be prompt and regular access to doctors and lawyers. In the case of Iran, once imprisoned, many political prisoners and activists are denied access to both medical care and legal counsel. Instances of denial are well documented in HRANA reports. In addition, particularly in the case of those detained in Evin Prison, the lack of adequate medical care has been documented to lead to avoidable illness and death. There are serious concerns regarding the consequences of the denial of medical care. 

The right to an effective remedy 

Positive obligations onto the State include effective remedies for victims of torture, including compensation. However, victims and families of torture victims are often harassed, intimidated, and bribed. Iranian authorities systematically repress the efforts of those seeking justice for crimes committed against them including for torture. 

Victim testimonies: physical and psychological torture 

Yashar Piri

Yashar Piri, a Turkic ethnic activist from Tabriz city, was beaten during both his arrest and interrogation. His brother, Rouzbeh, wrote in a note that “Basij members in plain clothes arrested Yashar without providing a court order or a judicial officer card“. He continued, claiming that when “Yashar was arrested, he was hit on the head with an electric shocker and then pepper-sprayed in his mouth, his legs were tied with a belt, and after handcuffing him, the beating continued until he was drug to the ground and transferred to an unknown place while unconscious”. Yashar was released 3 days after his arrest and has been in the hospital since being treated for his injuries obtained in this event.

Mohammad Doji

On November 18 of last year, 19-year-old Mohammad Doji died following severe physical torture in Amirabad Prison in Gogan city. Prisoners who witnessed the incident have stated, “There was a clash in the prison and the guard officer took off his [Mahammad Doji’s] clothes to punish Mohammad. He tied his hands and feet while he was naked and hung him from the ceiling of the prison in the cold. They beat and beat him until he was unconscious, they poured cold water on him, and all this was done in front of our eyes to teach us a lesson. Unfortunately, this morning he could not stand the torture anymore.

Hamid Rastbala

In August 2020, Hamid Rastbala, a Sunni Prisoner held in Vakil Abad Prison of Mashhad, wrote in a letter about the torture that he and other Sunni prisoners faced. He details torture aimed at forced confessions below. 

Parts of this letter reads: 

They recklessly call the Sunnis the military enemies of the Islamic Republic. We were tortured in solitary confinement for almost ten months to obtain false confessions. Many of us Sunni political prisoners were greeted with severe floggings and severe shocks (electrical shocks by shockers). Some of us were even sexually abused by spraying pepper spray on our genitals and anus. 

They threatened to arrest, torture, assassinate and rape our families. Many of us suffered severe mental health concerns, and to halt the torture and pressure, we accepted any accusation that was leveled against us.

We even admitted and repeated these accusations in front of the video camera so that they would not harm our families. This is human rights and human dignity in the Islamic Republic.

Mohammad Alijani

Mohammad Alijani was arrested during the nationwide protests of November 2019 in Islamshar. He is currently being held at Greater Tehran Prison and is facing charges of Muharebah. In July 2020, Alijani wrote a letter about the physical and mental torture he faced. 

 

Parts of his letter reads: 

I, Mohammad Alijani, Reza’s son, was arrested by the security and intelligence police during the protests in November 2019. I was severely tortured physically and mentally.

I was made to confess to charges such as disturbing public order by participating in the riots and destroying public property of the Basij base, insulting the leadership, by force, and under physical and psychological torture. 

I am the breadwinner of my home and my absence from home has caused problems such as falling rent and family problems to pay for the house. My family and I suffer greatly from this.

 

Abolfazl Karimi 

Abolfazl Karimi was a juvenile at the time of arrest during the November 2019 protests. On March 16, 2020, Karimi wrote a heartfelt letter about his conditions and the torture he faced in Evin Prison.

 

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

I suffered a lot in ward 2A of Evin prison and was unaware of my mother’s pain [who had recently gone under surgery]. Because they did not allow me to contact my family and kept me in solitary confinement for 50 days. During interrogations, I was threatened with the arrest of my mother and father. I was also beaten with a shocker by the Akbarabad Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence; they claimed that I had killed one of the officers. Officers broke my head and pulled my toenails. Even now, all my toenails are falling out. They broke one of my teeth by kicking my face and during the interrogation in Branch 1 of Baharestan, they forcibly accused me of the crime. My request to everyone is to please not say that the IRGC intelligence does not hurt anyone. The IRGC’s intelligence is crueler than Shimr (Shimr is referred to as who is said to have killed Hossein (one of Shia 12 Imams) in the battle of Karbala).

 

The Afkari brothers

The Afkari brothers, arrested in relation to nationwide protests of August 2018, are said to have been made to confess against each other under severe torture. Even after one of them, Navid Afkari was executed, the others continued to be tortured and kept in solitary confinement.

 

Their parents wrote a letter to the Judge Supervisor of the prison. An excerpt follows: 

Mr. Hashemi, Judge Supervisor of Adelabad Prison of Shiraz; My children Navid, Vahid, and Habib Afkari were beaten and transferred to solitary confinement on 3 and 5 September 2020. For this reason, they demanded that their complaint be investigated, and the family also demanded that the beating and torture of their sons by Ali Khadem al-Husseini, a prison guard, be investigated. We demanded a forensic doctor go to the prison and record the injuries inflicted on my children, which were 17 in the case of Navid and about 15 in the case of Vahid and Habib.

However, 47 days later, no action has been taken and the office of Mr. Rezaei Dana, the director of Adelabad Prison, claims that the complaints were registered by Mr. Rezaei Dana.  However, the reviewing authority does not give us the date of registration of the complaint and the letter number.

 

Niloufar Bayani 

Niloufar Bayani, an environmental activist who worked as an expert at the Parsian Wildlife Institute, was arrested along with eight other environmental activists in early 2018. The arrests took place in a coordinated operation by the IRGC’s intelligence on charges related to “espionage”.

There are multiple reports that these individuals were physically and psychologically tortured. During the interrogation carried out by IRGC intelligence interrogators, Niloufar Bayani was abused and harassed. She was made to be completely naked and endured sexual assaults including inappropriate touching. She was threatened with rape and was severely beaten by officers using cables and hoses. 

Bayani wrote a letter describing her detention conditions stating she was kept in solitary confinement for 8 months and was interrogated daily from 8 to 12 hours a day.

An excerpt of her letter follows: 

“I was blindfolded, while being interrogated I was made to stand, spin or squat and stand again, I was threatened with the arrest and torture of my 70-year-old mother and father. They threatened me to be physically tortured by showing me images and descriptions of torture devices. And I heard hours about the suffering and pain that torture causes.” 

The above are a mere few recent examples of many more known and unknown cases of physically tortured prisoners across the country. It should be noted that many cases of physical torture are never revealed and there can be no correct statistic given in this regard. These few cases were chosen to show that physical torture is being used widely for various reasons being punitive, making examples for others, extracting false confessions, and more. The examples also provide insight into the widespread use of torture not limited to one institution, rather country-wide. The featured cases also aim to highlight that the victims of torture can be anyone including juvenile offenders, women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and more. 

 

Accountability

The frequent use of acts amounting to torture illustrates the deep level of impunity enjoyed in Iran. Closing the accountability gap requires a bold stance from the international community to commit to understanding the widespread use of torture and utilizing that information to hold human rights violators accountable. 

 

Torturer Violator Spotlight

 

Sohrab Soleimani

Sohrab Soleimani

Sohrab Soleimani has been directly involved in and responsible for countless violations of fundamental human rights as the director-general of prisons in Tehran Province. These violations have included harassment, torture, and pressure on prisoners, especially in political and ideological prisons. There are many reported incidents of brutality against prisoners at the hand of Sohrab Soleimani. Imprisoned journalist Issa Saharkhiz suffered from frequent seizures while held in solitary confinement and protested the lack of medical care for political prisoners under Saleimani’s directorship. Article 10 of the ICCPR, as noted above, mandates that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. In addition to the countless violations of both Article 7 and 10 related to torture, Soleimani is responsible for widespread violations of the non-derogable right to life. Soleimani and all of those acting under his control should be held accountable. Read more about Soleimani’s violations here. 

Bahram Reshteh ahmadi

Bahram Reshteh Ahmadi 

As the Deputy Prosecutor for Security and the Head of the Evin Security Court, Bahram Reshteh Ahmadi has played a key role in violating the rights of defendants and political prisoners, as well as in detaining political, civil, and human rights activists. Ahmadi has additionally been directly involved in the harassment of political prisoners through the denial of access to legal counsel, a right expressly guaranteed under the ICCPR.  Read more about Ahmadi’s violations here. 

Hamid Mohammadi

Hamid Mohammadi

Since June 2020, Hamid Mohammadi has been the warden of Evin Prison. As warden, Mohammadi carries the ultimate responsibility for the life and wellbeing of prisoners held there. Mohammadi is responsible for the cruel, inhumane, and often degrading treatment in Evin Prison in the form of torture, beatings, interrogation, and solitary confinement. He also bears responsibility for inmates’ frequent deprivation of health and medical care, which has led, in several cases, to avoidable physical and mental suffering and even death. Under Mohammadi, political prisoners and journalists such as Nasrullah Lashani, Keyvan Samimi Behbahani, Majid Asadi, and Golrokh Iraee have experienced harsh interrogations, prolonged solitary confinement, and lack of access to medical care, family, or lawyers. 

 Read more about Mohammadi’s violations here. 

 

Additional Iranian human rights violators complicit in acts of torture can be found at www.spreadingjustice.org using the searchable tag ‘torture’ and include among others: 

 

Seyed-Kamal Hadianfar, Seyed Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati, Mohammad-Hassan Sadeghi Moghaddam, Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, Ali Fallahian, Mohammad Mahdi Haj-Mohammadi, Ali Sheikhloo, Heydar Moslehi, Ruhollah Rezaei Dana, Hassan Karami, Saeed Jalili, Seyed-Mahmoud Alavi, Ali Larijani, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, Hamid-Reza Baharvand, Mostafa Nazari, Mohsen Rezaee, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, Esmaeil Fallah, Morteza Bahmani, Mohammad Shahriari, Sadegh Jafari Chegeni


For media inquires please contact Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson [email protected]

Ebrahim Raisi in Response to Questions About his Role in the 1988 Executions in Iran: “I Should be Praised and Admired”

In his first press conference since being announced as winner of Iran’s presidential election, Ebrahim Raisi was interviewed by Al Jazeera.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Al Jazeera questioned the president elect about his role in the executions of the political prisoners in Summer 1988 in Iran, his inclusion on the human rights sanctions list, and the request for his trial by some human rights organizations.

In response, without claiming to have played a role in the 1988 executions, Raisi claimed that he has “always been a defender of the rights of the people, as a juristic”, and that “human rights has been at the axis of all (his) responsibilities”. He went on to state that he should be “praised and acclaimed” for this.

For the four decades of the Islamic Republic’s existence, Raisi has served in various positions in the judiciary against human rights and been responsible for the execution, imprisonment, torture, amputation to repression, justification of repression, violation of the rights of countless women, Bahai’s and others.

For his role in the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, in Tehran, he has been called the “Ayatollah of Massacre” by critics.

Parliament Approves General Plan to Reward Individuals Sanctioned by “Hostile” Countries and Increase Punishment for Espionage

The general plan to increase the punishment of espionage was approved by Parliament. The plan will also extend  benefits to individuals sanctioned by countries deemed “hostile” by a designated committee.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA), under the proposed plan, those who spy for “hostile” countries will be considered “corruptors on earth” and sentenced to execution.

The determination of whether the spying country is hostile or not will fall under the responsibility of a committee consisting of representatives of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, the NAJA Intelligence Organization, and the Ministry of Intelligence, headed by the representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

A member of the Parliamentary Judiciary Commission has stated that those who are on the list of sanctions of countries deemed hostile will be considered “self sacrificers” (a citizen classification most commonly reserved for veterans) and enjoy the attached rights and privileges.

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Shahin Mirkhani Executed in Shirvan Prison

On May 30, Shahin Mirkhani was executed in Shirvan Prison in North Khorasan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Iran Human Rights (IHR), 40-year-old Mirkhani, son of Rasoul, was previously sentenced to death on drug-related charges.

Per the report, an informed source said, “Shahin Mirkhani was sentenced to death for carrying 420 kilograms of crystal meth stimulant, and on Sunday was executed in the backyard of Shirvan Prison.”

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 1st and  December 20th 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 report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary. Human rights organizations call these “secret executions.”

At the time of writing, Mirkhani’s execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

HRANA Recap: Recent Sentences and Summons in Iran

Khabat Mafakheri sentenced to 4 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj

 

Khabat Mafakheri, a citizen of Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province, was recently sentenced to 4 years suspended imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRA), quoting Kurdpa, Mafakheri was arrested in early August 2020 and released on bail in mid-December of that year. According to the report, Mafakheri was notified of the verdict in the past few days and was charged with collaborating with one of the opposition parties.

 

 

Four Baha’is sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison

 

Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Baha’i citizens Mona Mehrabi, Elham Karampisheh, Afsaneh Yadegar Ardestani, and Ehsanullah Yadegar Ardestani. The four citizens were previously sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 3 years in prison each.

 

 

 

Court of Appeals upholds 3 year sentence for Maziar Seyednejad

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 16 of the Court of Appeals of Khuzestan Province upheld the conviction of a labor activist Maziar Seyednejad. Seyednejad had previously been sentenced to three years in prison on charges related to his membership in an opposition group.

 

 

 

Citizen sentenced to 99 lashes and exile for extramarital affair

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Aftab News, the case of a citizen who was sentenced to 99 lashes and two years of exile in an area with a brutal climate for having an extramarital affair has been referred to a court of equal rank in Tehran.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights explicitly prohibits the use of degrading and inhumane punishment such as flogging.

 

Sunni cleric summoned and interrogated by Zabul City intelligence forces

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Baloch Activists Campaign, on May 29, Sunni cleric Abdul Samad Ijbari, the director of the Quran Education School in Hassanabad village of Zabul province, was summoned to the Zabul city intelligence office in Sistan and Baluchestan province and was interrogated.

The report states that the Sunni cleric was summoned following the presence of Mohammad Othman Qalandarzahi at the Hassanabad Mosque. The reason for the summons and the accusations against Ijbari are not yet known.

 

 

Golpayegani Comments on Ministry of Health’s Failure to Disclose Info on Wound Dressings Given in April 2020

Hamidreza Golpayegani, founder and CEO of the charity foundation EB Health House, gave a statement on the Ministry of Health’s handling of a delivery of 5.8 tons of wound dressings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Golpayegani specifically commented on the lack of communication and regulation from the Ministry.

“In April 2020, the Ministry of Health and the EB House negotiated with the German government and with the support of Germany and UNICEF, 5.8 tons of wound dressings was delivered to the Ministry of Health to be given to us periodically, but unfortunately there has not been a regulation in timing,” Golpayegani said. “We did not receive any wound dressing last October and November and the Ministry never told us how many wound dressings were received from Germany.”

EB Home Foundation is a charity foundation that assists patients with specific skin problems.

“An expert at the General Directorate of Medical Equipment said all 5.8 tons of dressings have been received,” Golpayegani added, “But they also need dressings for burns and diabetic wounds.”

 

 

 

Demanding Water, Wages, and Benefits: A Recap of This Week’s Protests

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at least 26 protests took place across the country this week, 6 of them today. The unassociated protests and their participants’ demands varied greatly, but all related, in one way or another, to political and economic institutions’ disregard for citizens’ needs. Here is a quick breakdown.

 

Pensioners Protest in 5 Cities

 

On May 16, retirees protested in at least 5 cities, including Tehran, Karaj, Khorramabad, Mashhad, and Kermanshah.

Pensioners carrying banners chanted slogans and marched in front of their local Social Security offices. They demanded an increase in pensions following the poverty line increase,  implementation of the equalization of salaries law, strict implementation of Article 96 of the Social Security Law, attention to supplementary insurance problems, and payment of end-of-year bonuses.

 

 

Teachers protest in Tehran and Tabriz

 

On May 16, several teachers protested in front of the Parliament Building in Tehran and in front of the Department of Education Building in Tabriz, calling for their demands to be addressed.

 

 

Families of the victims of the 2020 Ukrainian plane crash protest in Tehran

 

On May 16, a group of families of the victims of the 2020 Ukrainian plane crash gathered in front of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces in Tehran. The families protested the trial, the rejection of their request to study the case, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s remarks about “curing the accident” in his leaked tape of the interview.

 

 

 

Municipal workers protest in Lowshan

 

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), on May 16, workers of the Municipality of Lowshan protested low wages and insurance problems in front of the municipal building for the second day in a row. According to the workers of Lowshan Municipality, on the morning of May 15, the protest broke out after Lowshan’s mayor insulted several service workers in the yard and inside the building.

 

 

 

Kaveh Glass Industrial Group workers protest in front of Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare

 

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), on May 16, a group of workers from the Kaveh Glass Industrial Group demanded fair working conditions and retirement benefits in front of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare.

 

Per the report, the workers demanded the right to retire after working 20 continuous years or 25 consecutive years, given the difficulty and high risk of the job.

 

According to news sources, the workers all have retirement status and have been insured in these difficult jobs for more than 20 years.  The workers claim that the employer not only did not help them to retire but also laid them off shortly before the benefits were set to activate. They are currently both jobless and unable to retire.

 

 

Teachers and staff of special-needs education schools protest in Khuzestan province

 

According to the Asr-e-Junub news agency, on May 16, teachers and staff of schools for children with special needs in Khuzestan province protested in front of the General Directorate of Education in Ahvaz. The protestors demanded increased salaries and the resolution of clerical insurance problems.

 

Literacy movement educators protest in front of Parliament Building

 

According to the ISNA news agency, on May 16, a group of educators of the literacy movement protested in front of the Parliament Building and requested Parliament representatives’ support, as their employment status is currently shaky.

 

Residents of Health Boulevard in Saravan protest in Sistan and Baluchestan Province

 

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, a group of citizens living in Saravan’s Health Boulevard protested in front of the governor’s office and the office of Islamic Consultative Assembly representative Malek Fazeli on May 17.

 

The residents protested lack of electricity and poor infrastructure in the area, after numerous attempts to resolve the issue through the electricity department were unsuccessful.

 

Servants and school caretakers protest in Shiraz

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 16, servants and caretakers of Shiraz schools demanded an increase in wages and benefits in front of the city’s education building.

 

Private school teachers protest in Ilam

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 17, teachers and employees of private schools in Ilam protested outside the Department of Education building of the province. According to the report, the protestors have been working for years with very low salaries. They requested a salary raise and benefits increase and called on the elimination of discrimination they have been facing compared to government employees.

Safety Consultants protest outside Ministry of Labor building in Tehran

 

On May 19, a group of safety consultants from all over the country protested in front of the main door of the Ministry of Labor building in Tehran. They demanded an immediate cessation of the implementation of Technical Protection and Safety Services bylaws, and revision of the bylaws and instructions “in the presence of experts and representatives of real advisors”.

 

 

 

Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Water Company workers protest in Gachsaran

 

According to Kebnanews, on May 18, several members of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad Water and Sewerage Company protested not receiving their wages and insurance benefits in front of the Dogonbadan’s Water and Sewerage Office in Gachsaran.  All of the protesting workers have been employed for more than 5 years by this company, and have not been paid for three months.

 

 

Karnameh Sabz’ teachers protest in Tehran

 

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, on May 19, teachers of Karnameh Sabz protested the uncertainty of their employment status in front of the Ministry of Education building in Tehran. Karnameh Sabz teachers are educators who took the Ministry of Education’s recruitment exam (Article 28 exam) and have been selected by officials, but no action has been taken by the ministry since the exam. On the previous day, teachers also protested in front of the Parliament building in Tehran.

 

 

Truck drivers protest in Arak  

 

According to the ISNA news agency, on May 19, several truck drivers in Arak protested for the fifth day in a row. They called on their union demands and complained about the failure of officials in the Road Maintenance & Transportation Organization.

Aseminun miners protest in Manujan in Kerman

 

On May 19, workers of the Aseminun mine in the city of Manujan in Kerman province protested not receiving their wages for the third day in a row of the strike. The

protesters demanded payment of their unpaid wages, the ousting of the current mine owner, and the transfer of ownership to the public sector.

Gardeners protest in Robat Karim

According to the Basi news agency, on May 20, several gardeners from Robat Karim protested in front of the governor’s office.  Protestors claimed their right to ownership had been violated by the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad even though they had the proper legal paperwork.

 

 

Agents and sellers of Sufi Cement protest in Tabriz

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, several agents and sellers of Sufi Cement gathered in front of the East Azerbaijan Governor’s Office in Tabriz to protest cement shortages.

Shareholders of Samen Coin protest in Tehran

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, 2021, a group of shareholders of Samen Coin protested in front of the Central Bank in Tehran.

 

Jovein Cement factory workers protest in Khorasan Razavi

 

According to the Free Trade Union of Iran, on May 20, 2021, workers of the Joven Cement Factory in Khorasan Razavi protested low wages and poor working conditions.

 

Villagers protest amid continued water shortages in the western suburbs of Karun

 

According to the IRIB news agency, on May 21, villagers of the western suburbs of Karun gathered in front of the Arvandan Oil and Gas Company refinery to protest authorities’ unfulfilled promises to address the ongoing water crisis in Karun. Twelve villages in the western suburbs of Karun, each with populations of  over 6,000, have been experiencing water shortages for nearly four years.

 

Kolbar Injured from Landmine Explosion in Nowsud Border Area

On Thursday, May 6th, a kolbar was injured in the leg after a landmine left over from the Iran-Iraq war exploded in the border area of Nowsud.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the citizen has been identified as Nader Saberi, son of Mr. Barakhas, from Tilkuh village in Kamyaran.

Every year, landmines cause the death and injury of several compatriots in border areas. About 42,000 square kilometers of land in Iran is contaminated with leftover landmines and unexploded ordnance from the Iran-Iraq war.

The Iranian regime continues to produce and plant anti-personnel mines, and, contrary to international conventions, the regime believes that using these mines is the only effective way to secure the country’s long borders.

Accordingly, they have planted mines on border areas with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. During the conflicts of the 1980s in Kurdistan, mines were planted in this region, as well.