Journalist Ruhollah Nakhaei Begins Serving Two-Year Sentence Despite Pardon

Journalist Ruhollah Nakhaei has initiated his two-year sentence, despite being included in the “general commutation and pardon” directive issued in the winter of 2023, as stated by his lawyer, Parto Borhanpour.

Arrested during the 2022 nationwide protests, Nakhaei was convicted by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court for “assembly and collusion against national security” (two years) and “propaganda against the regime” (seven months). The verdict, upheld on appeal, is now enforceable for two years, per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

About the 2022 Nationwide Protests

The arrest of Mahsa Amini by Tehran Morality Police for her improper hejab and her suspicious death on September 16 sparked protests sweeping across Iran. During the nationwide protests, about 19600 people, including journalists, artists, lawyers, teachers, students, and civil rights activists, were arrested.

Inmate Executed in Ardabil Prison for Drug Offenses

Ardabil prison officials executed Iraj Paki Delazi, a 38-year-old father of four, on February 19, 2024, for drug offenses.

Despite the execution, no official sources or domestic media outlets in the country have reported on the incident, raising concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process. The lack of information prompts questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Delazi’s death.

The reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists for the year 2023 reveal a concerning prevalence of executions for drug offenses in Iran, constituting 56.4% of the total executions. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Afshin Naziri Faces Imprisonment and Travel Restrictions Over Political Charges

Afshin Naziri has been handed a verdict by the Revolutionary Court of Pardis, resulting in a sentence of four years and nine months of imprisonment, coupled with a two-year travel ban.

The charges against Naziri include 33 months for “membership in groups acting against national security,” 16 months for “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran,” and eight months for “propaganda against the regime.”

Additionally, as per the court’s decision, Naziri is prohibited from leaving the country for a duration of two years, and his cell phone has been ordered to be confiscated.

Naziri’s troubles began on August 27, 2023, when security forces arrested him at his residence, subsequently transferring him to Evin Prison. After enduring 12 days of detention, he was released on bond.

Three Political Prisoners Sentenced to a Combined 14 Years in Upheld Verdict

The Appeals Court of Tehran has confirmed a joint 14-year prison sentence for political prisoners Mohsen Haji-Mohammadi, Rezavaneh Ahmad-Khan Beigi, and Behfar Laleh Zari.

As per the verdict endorsed by Branch 36 of the Appeals Court of Tehran, Laleh Zari and her husband Ahmad-Khan Beigi have each been given four years for “assembly and collusion against national security” and an additional year for “spreading propaganda against the regime.” Haji-Mohammadi, on the other hand, received a four-year sentence for “assembly and collusion against national security.”

The initial ruling was handed down by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Iman Afshari.

On September 18, 2023, civil rights advocate, Ahmad-Khan Beigi and Laleh Zari were arrested at their residence by security forces. Laleh Zari, initially held in solitary confinement under Security Police custody, was later transferred to Evin Prison, while Ahmad-Khan Beigi was relocated to Qarchak Prison in Varamin, eventually being moved to Evin Prison.

Haji-Mohammadi’s arrest occurred in Tehran in September 2023. After seven days of solitary confinement under the Public Security Police, they were transferred to Evin Prison.

All three political prisoners have a history of arrests and convictions stemming from their engagement in political activism.

Qom Seminary Lecturer, Mohammad-Taghi Akbarnejad, Arrested by IRGC Intelligence

In a recent development, Mohammad-Taghi Akbarnejad, a lecturer at Qom Seminary, has been arrested by IRGC Intelligence agents in Qom and taken to an undisclosed location.

The grounds for his arrest and the specific location of Akbarnejad’s detention remain unknown.

It is worth noting that Akbarnejad has previously faced legal scrutiny for his activism, adding a layer of complexity to the current situation.

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Azerbaijani-Turk Activist Salar Taher Afshar and Rap Singer Milad Jalili Sentenced to a Total of 14 Months in Prison

In a recent legal development, the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz has handed down a combined 14-month prison sentence to Salar Taher Afshar, an Azerbaijani-Turk activist, and Milad Jalili, a rap singer.

As per the verdict issued by Branch 2 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court, Taher Afshar has been sentenced to six months for “assisting in spreading propaganda against the regime,” while Jalili has received eight months for “propaganda against the regime through performing a political rap music supporting convicted secessionists.” Notably, Jalili has been acquitted of the charge of “acting against national security through inciting people to violence and riots.”

Jalili was taken into custody on November 28, 2023, and Taher Afshar on December 19. They were both released on bond on January 29 and 22, 2024, respectively. However, Taher Afshar was re-arrested in Urmia on February 6 and subsequently transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran after four days.

In 2023, the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) recorded 329 reports, citing the arrest of 324 citizens linked to ethnic and national rights. Notably, 156 of these arrests occurred without the issuance of a judicial warrant.

Woman Executed in Qazvin Prison for Drug Offenses

In a tragic turn of events, Hajar Atabaki, a 41-year-old mother of one, was executed in Qazvin Prison on January 20, 2024, following her conviction for drug-related crimes, as reported by the Iran Human Rights Organization.

Ms. Atabaki had been found guilty of drug offenses approximately two and a half years ago.

The execution raises concerns and renews discussions about the use of capital punishment, especially in cases related to non-violent offenses.

The reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists for the year 2023 reveal a concerning prevalence of executions for drug offenses in Iran, constituting 56.4% of the total executions. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Political Prisoners Forough Taghipour and Marzieh Farsi Sentenced to 15 Years Each in Absentia

In a recent court in absentia, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran has handed down a 15-year imprisonment to each of the political prisoners, Forough Taghipour and Marzieh Farsi.

Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court imposed the 15-year sentences on both women in the same legal case, citing “suspicious membership in anti-regime groups” as the grounds for their conviction. The specific acts supporting this charge remain undisclosed. Notably, Iman Afshari, the presiding judge known for controversial verdicts, led the proceedings.

According to a source who informed HRANA, the defendants contested the legitimacy of the court and opted not to participate in the proceedings.

It is essential to highlight that the women had previously been indicted for “Baghi” (armed rebellion) on December 9, 2023. Security forces arrested Farsi and Taghipour on August 21, 2023. Initially detained in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, they were later transferred to the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison.

Their activism has led to a history of previous convictions and incarcerations.

Reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of HRA in 2023 indicate a total of 193 cases in which Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, has been involved in issuing verdicts that infringe upon the human rights of defendants.

Baha’i Citizen Rouya Sabet Arrested in Shiraz

On February 15, Baha’i citizen Rouya Sabet was arbitrarily arrested in Shiraz by IRGC Intelligence agents and transferred to an undisclosed facility.

A source close to her family confirmed Sabet’s arrest, revealing to HRANA that IRGC Intelligence is responsible for the apprehension. The source disclosed that Sabet, who had traveled to Shiraz from the UAE on January 4 to care for her elderly parent, was scheduled to return on January 25. However, two days before her planned departure, IRGC Intelligence agents executed a search warrant at her parent’s residence.

During the raid, the agents conducted a thorough search, interrogated Mrs. Sabet, and questioned two other family members. Subsequently, the agents also searched the residences of these two family members without presenting a warrant. The confiscated items reportedly include the family’s cell phones, as well as Mrs. Sabet’s passport, driver’s license, and ID card. Furthermore, Sabet was informed that she is prohibited from leaving the country.

The motive behind Sabet’s arrest and the nature of the allegations against her remain unknown at this time.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Samad Pourshah Sentenced to Six Months in Yasuj

Samad Pourshah, a detainee from the 2022 nationwide protests, has been handed a six-month prison term by Judge Ghahremani of Branch 1, Revolutionary Court of Yasuj.

On February 14, the court issued the verdict, convicting Pourshah on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran.” Additionally, the following day, a separate legal case was addressed by the Yasuj criminal court, involving charges such as “insulting the prophet of Islam, insulting the Supreme Leader, blasphemy, propaganda against the regime, disseminating false information, and disturbing public opinions” against Pourshah.
It is important to highlight that charges such as insulting the Prophet of Islam may lead to severe punishment, even the death penalty, under Iran’s legal system.

Pourshah’s arrest by security forces in Yasuj dates back to September 16, 2022, coinciding with the death of Mahsa Amini.