Workers’ Rights Activist Reza Shahabi Arrested  in Tehran

On Thursday, May 12, 2022, RezaShahabi, workers’ rights activist and a member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company was arrested at his house.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, security forces arrested Reza Shahabi at his house in Tehran.

The reason for the arrest, charges and his whereabouts are still unknown. Reza Shahabi has been arrested on previous occasions for his civil activities.

Inmate Executed in Sabzevar Prison

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, an inmate who was convicted of murder was executed in Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Sabzevar Payam news outlet, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the execution of an unidentified inmate in Sabzevar prison was carried out.

The public revolutionary prosecutor, Ja’afar Tayar Saberi made the following comment about this execution: “This prisoner had been arrested for murder in 2018. His case went through all legal courses and the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence. Subsequently, the execution was carried out this morning.”

The report did not reveal the inmate’s identity.

The most recent report from the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between January 1 of 2021 and December 20 of 2021, at least 299 citizens, including four juvenile offenders, were executed. In addition, 85 citizens were sentenced to death in this period.

Baha’i Citizen Sahba Farnoush to Serve Two Years Sentence

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, Sahba Farnoush, a Baha’i citizen and resident of Tehran, started to serve his two-year prison sentence at Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Baha’i citizen Sahba Farnoush started his sentencing at Tehran’s Evin Prison.

On November 15, 2015, on the day of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i faith, security forces raided Farnoush’s house in Tehran and transferred him to Evin prison. During the arrest, the agents confiscated some of his personal belongings such as his laptop and cell phone. On December 23, 2015,  he was released on a 200 million tomans bail.

In January of 2020, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Mr. Farnoush to 10 years in prison on the charge of “running a Baha’i organization”,  5 years on the charge of “membership in an anti-regime group” and 1 year on the charge of “propaganda against the regime through promoting the Baha’i faith”, to total 16 years of imprisonment. Subsequently, following the acceptance of his request for a retrial, Farnoush was acquitted of the last two charges and received six years imprisonment for “running a Baha’i organization”. This verdict was upheld on appeal.

Ultimately, Iran’s Supreme Court accepted his request for retrial and the sentence was reduced to two years.

Freedom of religion is a breach of 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 practice religion freely, freedom of converting to a religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Christian Convert Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari Arrested in Rasht

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Christian convert Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari was arrested after an appearance at the Courthouse of Rasht City and transferred to Lakan Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, following a failed attempt to arrest Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari last Sunday, the security forces summoned him to appear at the Courthouse of Rasht City. Subsequently, Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari was arrested and transferred to Lakan Prison.

Attorney Iman Soleimani told HRANA, “the authorities informed Mr. Mashhoud-Kari that he would be arrested if he failed to come to the IRGC Intelligence Office. When he appeared there, he found out that a new legal case  had been opened against him and several other Christian converts.”

Last Sunday, the security forces arrested four other Christian converts, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh, Ayoub Pourreza-Zadeh, and Ahmad Sarparast in Rasht City.

Earlier, in April of 2022, the Revolutionary Court of Rasht sentenced Mashhoud-Kari to five years imprisonment and 180 million tomans fine on the charges of “forming church home, propaganda against the regime and association with Zionism and Branhamist sect.”  On May 23 of this year, Branch 18 of the Court of Appeal of Gilan Province will hold the first session to re-examine his case.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

  

Two European Nationals Arrested in Iran

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of two European nationals for alleged espionage and “association with foreign intelligence services.”

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Ensaf News, this claim was released in a statement by the public relations office of The Ministry of Intelligence. 

Without revealing the identities and nationalities of those arrested, the Ministry of Intelligence claimed: “These two European individuals, who had entered the country with the purpose of taking advantage of the people’s will to cause unrest, chaos, and social disorder, were detected and apprehended by security forces.”

The statement also claimed that the two individuals are related to ” foreign intelligence services” and were in contact with the Coordination Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association. 

Earlier also, on May 6, 2022, Iran’s regime arrested a Swedish tourist who was visiting Iran through a tour agency.

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Two Documentary Filmmakers Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosravani Arrested

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, security forces arrested two documentary filmmakers Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosravani.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, two documentary filmmakers Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosravani were arrested in their homes in Tehran. The agents searched their houses and confiscated their personal belongings.

Firoozeh Khosravani was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence agents and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison in Tehran. The entity which is responsible for the arrest of Mina Keshavarz remains unknown.

Workers’ Rights Activists Anisha Asadaollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi Arrested

On Monday, May 9, 2022, security forces arrested two workers’ rights activists Anisha Asadaollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi at their house and transferred them to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Monday, May 9, 2022, two workers’ rights activists Anisha Asadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi were arrested by security forces in their house.

The reasons for the arrest, charges and their whereabouts are still unknown.

Anisha Asadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi had been arrested and convicted before for their civil activities. On May 1, 2019, with many other workers and worker’s rights activists, Anisha Asadaollahi was arrested at a gathering for the celebration of international workers’ day. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to one year imprisonment (of which six months were suspended) and 74 lashes on the charge of “disturbing the public order”. She was jailed in Evin prison for sentencing on January 4, 2020, and was freed on January 21 of that year.

Anisha Asadollahi is an electrical engineer and a  graduate of K. N. Toosi University of Technology. She works as an English teacher.

Videographer Reihane Taravati Arrested

On Monday, May 9, 2022, security forces arrested photographer and videographer Reihane Taravati and transferred her to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Monday, May 9, 2022, photographer and Videographer Reihane Taravati was arrested by security forces.

The reason for this arrest, the charges and her whereabouts are still unknown.

In 2015, Ms. Taravati was arrested with five other individuals for making and publishing a tribute video to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy. The video was a compilation of Iranian youth dancing, which was considered against the Islamic norms and values by the Iranian regime. She was released after a few weeks and subsequently sentenced to one year imprisonment. The sentence was suspended for three years.

At Least Ten Citizens Arrested During Protests in Khuzestan

In Khuzestan Province, the officials have attempted to quell the ongoing unrest through tightening security measures, disrupting the internet and telephones, and blackouts. Following the call for protests in the media, at least ten individuals were arrested by security forces and transferred to an unidentified location.

Those individuals who were arrested in Susangerd have been identified as Saeed Dahimi, age 35, Ali Moghinmi, age 40, Hossein Maghinami, age 22, Jasem Bohrani, Hashem Bohrani, Mohammad Tarfi who have been arrested. Also, Adel Hamadi, Mostafa Chalavi, Abbas Chaldavi and Emad Savari were arrested in Ahvaz.

The reports indicate the tightening of security measures and the constant presence of police and security forces in the streets in high numbers. Reportedly, the police used tear gas to crack down on the protests in Izeh City.

One of the civil activists described the unrest: “on last Friday evening, the protests were sparked in Susangerd and a lot of people poured into the streets chanting slogans against the high level of inflation and difficult economic conditions. In the Arab regions of Ahvaz, we witnessed street protests and burning tires.”

In recent days, increased prices and rationing of bread have ignited protests and widespread backlash in Iran.

Four Christian Converts Arrested by IRGC Intelligence Agents

On Sunday, May 8, 2022, IRGC intelligence agents arrested four Christian converts, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh, Ayoub Pourreza-Zadeh, and Ahmad Sarparast in Rasht City, and transferred them to an unidentified location. Security agents’ attempt to arrest Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud failed as he was not at his home.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Sunday, May 8, 2022, four Christian converts were arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in Rasht.

Attorney Iman Soleimani told HRANA, “the authorities informed Mr. Hajeb Mashhoud that he would be arrested if he failed to come to the IRGC Intelligence’s Office. When he appeared at the office, he found out that a new legal case  had been opened against all the individuals.”

Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh had faced other arrests and convictions. Earlier, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced them to five years imprisonment on the charge of “acting against national security and promotion of Evangelical Christianity and Zionism”.  In March of 2022, the Branch 34 of the Court of Appeals acquitted them of the charges.

In April of 2022, Ahmad Sarparast, Ayoub Pourrezazadeh and Morteza Hajeb Mashhood-Kari were sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charges of “holding home church services, propaganda against the regime, association with Zionism and Branhamist sect”. They have also been fined in the amount of 18 million tomans. On May 23 of this year, Branch 18 of the Court of Appeal of Gilan Province will hold the first session to re-examine their case.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.