A Report of Detained Activists in Mashhad

Posted on: October 9th, 2019

14 civil rights activists were arrested on August 11, 2019 in front of a courthouse in Mashhad. They were protesting the 13-years imprisonment sentence for a university professor, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, by his appeals court when they were arrested. Three of them were released on bail and the other 11 people are still in prison.

According to the written judgment published on October 2, 2019, the name of the 14 detained activists are as following:

Abdolrasoul Mortazavi, Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, Hashem Rajai, Gholam-Hossein Boroujerdi, Mohammad Nourizad, Reza Jangi, Javad Laal Mohammadi, Morteza Ghasemi, Pooran Nazemi Moezabadi, Houriyeh Farajzadeh Tarani, Zahra Soleymanian, Seyed Hashem Khastar, Gholam-Ali Hosseinpour, and Fatemeh Sepehri.

Houriyeh Farajzadeh was released on bail on September 27, 2019 while Gholam-Hossein Boroujerdi and Pooran Nazemi were temporary released on bail earlier.

Kamal Jafari Yazdi is a university professor residing in Mashhad who was sentenced to 13 years in prison by the Branch 4 of the Mashhad Revolutionary Court in mid-April 2019. He was initially sentenced to ten years in prison for “forming an illegal group against national security,” two years for “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime”. The Appeals Court has upheld a preliminary court verdict against him on August 19, 2019. He was arrested to serve his sentence on August 30, 2019. On the verdict of the appeals court, it was mentioned that his sentenced was not reduced because of his interviews and the demonstration of his friends in front of the court.

On August 11, several civil rights activists showed up at his appeals court in Mashhad to express solidarity with him and they were arrested. Men were transferred to the ward 1-6 and women were transferred to the women ward of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad. They were transferred to the Intelligence Department Detention Center after three days. Fars News Agency also confirmed their arrest. Their case was transferred from Sorkhrud’s Branch 3 of Public Court to the Branch 903 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad. They were charged with “disturbance in public order” through demonstration, and “propaganda in favor of opposition groups”.

Mohsen Asadi University Professor Was Arrested

Posted on: September 22nd, 2019

Mohsen Asadi, a Yazd University professor, who was released on July 31, 2019 after finishing his sentence of a one-month prison term, was rearrested on September 14, 2019. Reportedly, the arrest is for a new case but the reason of the arrest is still unknown. He was transferred to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detention center in Yazd on September 15, 2019. Earlier this year, he was arrested by security forces on May 26, 2019. He was transferred to Yazd Prison and was sentenced to one month imprisonment.

His brother, Majid Asadi, is a political prisoner in Rajai Shahr Prison. He is serving his sentence of six years  imprisonment since February 18, 2017 . He was charged with “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state”.

First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Posted on: September 13th, 2019

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha aramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

The Book “Human Rights and Pure Reason” Was Published

Posted on: August 8th, 2019

Human Rights and Pure Reason was published by Human Rights Activists in Iran. This book analyzes fundamental concepts in human rights and proposes a theory on human rights. The book is available for download at the end of this text.

Base on what reasons a government should give its citizens the freedom of speech, freedom of political parties and organizations? This is the question which the author of the book, Amin Ghazaei, asks in the beginning of the book. He then presents the common answers to this question and explains that none of the answers provide a rational reasoning for the governments to abide by the human rights.

The author presents rational and theoretical reasoning against sentimental and emotional reasonings for human rights issues. He also believes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although convincing, provides no rational reasoning to prove human rights claims.

Thus, there is only one way to disarm violators of human rights and that is using theoretical and philosophical reasoning. The method that uses definitions and fundamentals of pure rational, proves the human rights as an unconditional, universal, and a priori discourse and disarms human rights violators. The author introduces theory of “Priori Rights” and presents a precise criterion to define its limitations: “a person is allowed to do anything unless his actions obstruct others’ actions”. However, since the author believes that human rights are not merely a claim but an absolute resultant of undeniable rational principles, he feels the necessity to present a system where not only the deducted rights are stemmed from rational principles, but there is  possibility to infer any of these rights from the other rights.

This way, any of the basic rights like the right to life, right to expression, and the right to own are inferred from the simplest rational and humane principles as well as “positive law” , other rights can be inferred and proven considering the relations between these rights with other basic principles. In general, reading this book is a guide for human rights activists to proceed from “Human Rights Convention” to “Comprehensive Principles of Human Rights”.

The book can be downloaded here.

A Ukrainian citizen was arrested in Yazd

Posted on: July 13th, 2019

A Ukrainian citizen was arrested by security forces in Ardakan on July 13, 2019. Behrouz Shahabizadeh, Ardakan governor confirmed and added that this person had been in a sensitive area by mistake and took pictures by heli shot in Kharanaq village in Ardakan. Some local sources claimed that he was filming by drone in Kharanaq village in Ardakan, which is 85 kilometers northwest of Yazd, when he got arrested.

This place is important because of the mines and natural resources. The city of Ardakan is located in Yazd province.

Behzad Homayouni Was Arrested in Aran o Bidgol

Posted on: July 2nd, 2019

Behzad Homayouni, civil rights activist, was arrested after visiting Mohammad Mahdavifar in Aran o Bidgol on June 30, 2019. His whereabouts and the reason of his arrest are still unknown. Mahdavifar was visiting his hometown while on a furlough from life in exile in Sistan and Baluchestan province. Homayouni was arrested at Mahdavifar’s house without any warrant.

In September 2018, Homayouni was sentenced to one-year prison term and he was also been banned from leaving the country or any activity in media or cyber space for two years. He was arrested with his son earlier in February 11, 2017 when holding a banner in support of Narges Mohammadi and Mohammad Mahdavifar. He was released in February 19, 2018. Homayouni is a disabled veteran of Iran-Iraq war.

Javad Lari was Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

Javad Lari, former political prisoner, was sentenced to six years in prison by the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on February 12, 2019 led by Judge Moghiseh. He was arrested on July 6, 2017 by security agents and was released on bail two month later from Even prison. For the charge of “Assembly and collusion against the national security”, he was sentenced to five years in prison; and for the charge of “propaganda against the state”, he was sentenced to one year in prison. According to the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, he has to serve the charge with the highest penalty which is 5 years of imprisonment.

Lari was arrested earlier in September 2009 and was sentenced to death by the Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran led by Judge Salavati. His case was referred later to the Supreme Court and was returned to the Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran led by Judge PirAbbasi for further investigations. His death sentenced was reduced to two years imprisonment. Upon finishing his term, he was released in 2011. He was also imprisoned for 10 years in the 1980’s.

Amir Salar Davoudi was sentenced to 30 years in prison

Posted on: June 3rd, 2019

The wife of Amir Salar Davoudi confirmed that he was sentenced to 30 years in prison of which the highest penalty is 15 years imprisonment for the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram app”. Davoudi has been detained since November 2018 on the charges of “insulting officials”, “propaganda against the state”, “cooperating with enemy states through interviewing with Voice Of America (VOA) television channel”, and “forming a group to overthrow the state”. Tannaz Kolahchian, Davoudi’s wife, wrote on her personal page that he has been sentenced at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court to 30 years in prison for several charges which according to the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, he should serve the sentence for the charge with the highest penalty which is 15 years in prison on the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram group app”. He has decided not to appeal this sentence.

Agents of the judiciary’s security and intelligence center arrested Davoudi—a 27-year-old lawyer and civil rights activist who has been retained as counsel by several detainees held on politically motivated charges in Iran—in his office on November 20, 2018. The security agents also searched Davoudi’s home and office and took away some of his personal belongings. He had been taken in for questioning on previous occasions and had been warned not to inform the public about his clients’ politically sensitive cases. The second session of his trial was held on May 4, 2018 at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.

Iranian Medical Insurances Do not Cover the Charges Related to “Gender Reassignment Surgery”

Posted on: May 22nd, 2019

Vice president of social relations of the state’s Welfare Organization stated that gender reassignment surgeries are considered a cosmetic operation and thus are not covered by medical insurances. He added that his organization helps the patients with some charges of the surgery but are not significant compared with the actual costs of the surgery.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for February 10, 2019

Posted on: February 10th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on February 10th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) More than three protests were organized across the country on February 10, 2019. The depositors of Caspian Finance and Credit Institution in Rasht, the workers of Kermanshah municipality, and peddlers in Abadan held separate protest demanding their requests to be fulfilled.

(2) The Department of Environment of Golestan province announced that a poacher was arrested in Aliabad-e Katul city. Meanwhile, according to the head of the Department of Environment of Amol, two poachers were arrested in Mazandaran. In a similar incident, two others were Arrested in the Kerman province, as confirmed by the head of the Environment Department of Jiroft.

(3) Abbas Lesani, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, has been in limbo after being transferred to the quarantine in the Ardabil prison. He is on hunger strike and is banned from visiting his family. He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment.

(4) After being arrested for three weeks, the whereabouts of Atousa Ahmadaei, Baha’i citizen, is still unknown. She is allegedly being kept in a solitary confinement the ward 241 of the Evin prison and has not had any family visits.

(5) The attorney of Amir Hossein Miresmaili, a reporter with the Jahane Sanat daily who is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on the charged of “insulting the sacred”, confirmed that an appeal was filed but the appeal court’s date has not been set yet.

(6) Shahin Barzegar, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, who began his three-months imprisonment sentence in the Tabriz prison on January 31st, was pardoned and released ahead of his term.

(7) The residences and workplaces of five Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activists have been searched by the security forces in Ardabil with ties to banners and slogans written on the walls of this city supporting Abbas Lesani. These activists are identified as Morteza Parvin, Mehdi Doostdar, Rahim Norouzi, Ali Vaseghi, and Mazaher Mali.

(8) A mine worker died in the Mazandaran province because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions in their workplaces. Iran ranked 102 in the workplace safety among other countries.