Iranian Parliament Deputy Immune from Prosecution Despite Accusations of Sexual Assault

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Based on evidence, documents and testimonials HRANA has obtained from reliable sources, there are at least two new allegations of multiple counts of sexual harassment and assault against Salman Khodadadi, a current Member of Iran’s Parliament and the Chair of the Parliament’s Social Committee. Mr. Khodadadi was previously accused of sexual harassment and assault and was detained on the charge of raping his secretary and a visitor to his office. Mr. Khodadadi held the position of MP and was a member of the Parliament’s National Security Committee and Health Committee from 1996 to 2012. However, in 2012, Iran’s Ministry of Interior barred Mr. Khodadadi from running for Parliament. The Guardian Council reversed the ban in 2016 and allowed him to return as a member of Parliament the same year. In 2014, while Mr. Khodadadi was barred from the Parliament, he was appointed an adviser to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.  

A 28-year-old woman who has asked to be identified as “Z.N.” broke her silence to HRANA. She claims to be a victim of Mr. Khodadadi and that he abused his position of power. Ms. Z.N. claims Mr. Khodadadi sexually assaulted and harassed her for four years. She tells HRANA that she knew Mr. Khodadadi through her father who was Mr. Khodadadi’s colleague in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). After her father’s death, Ms. Z.N. says she was searching for a job due to her mother’s illness and their difficult financial situation.

“One day, I went to the Governor’s office to seek help. I was informed that Mr. Khodadadi would be coming there to listen to the people’s problems. Mr. Khodadadi received my letter and told me to contact him. When I did, he said that he would help me gain a position with the Audit Court.”  

According to Ms. Z.N., she followed up with that promise and Mr. Khodadadi invited her to Tehran. Ms. Z.N. says she went with her mother on her first visit but they left without receiving any results. Ms. Z.N. says Mr. Khodadadi contacted her again and advised her to return to Tehran but alone this time. Once in Tehran, Ms. Z.N. allegedly attempted to track Mr. Khodadadi down until she was finally instructed to meet him at his office.

“Once in his office, he locked the door and raped me. He warned me to not tell anyone. I will never forget that day. It was as though the whole world came crashing down on me. My muscles were locked up and I felt paralyzed. He told me I had to leave immediately because a few of his colleagues were coming to see him. I asked him whether his intention was just to rape me, instead of helping me and my family. He replied that he wanted to help and have sex with me too. I left his office and headed to the train station to return home. On the way back, all kinds of thoughts crossed my mind and I even contemplated suicide, but because of my family and their situation, I decided to keep silent…He contacted me after the incident under different pretexts and managed to get me to come to his residential home in Tabriz where he raped me again.”

“After a long period of intimidation and enticement by Mr. Khodadadi, I finally called him to tell him that I didn’t want the job anymore. I told him to leave me alone or else I would file a complaint against him. He replied that I could not do a damn thing to him and hung up the phone on me. After a while he called me back and said that he likes me and wants to talk to me. I did not accept and didn’t go see him. He was even sending me threatening messages that if I didn’t go see him, he would hurt me. I still did not go, and out of fear for my life, I constantly moved residences.”

Ms. Z.N. claims that Mr. Khodadadi had more than one victim. “Some time later, I was with friends when I heard from one of them that Mr. Khodadadi had promised her a job as well and then raped her. This friend wanted to commit suicide on several occasions. That is when I understood that I was not the only victim, but none of the victims are prepared to file a complaint out of fear for their lives.”

“I waited for some time so that he would stop his harassment, but to no avail. I finally called him and begged him to leave me alone or I would tell everyone about what happened. He replied that if I say anything he would have me killed. I was very afraid. I took a train to Tehran and decided to go to the committee responsible for the supervision of MPs. I did not know how to access this committee so I went to the Parliament’ security and told them. First, they did not listen to me until I threatened to go to the Guardian Council. Finally, they accepted to consider my story but said that I would need to provide proof. I told them that I have voice and SMS messages containing threats.”

Mr. Khodadadi allegedly contacted Ms. Z.N. several times after the complaint was filed and said that if she did not withdraw her complaint that he would harm her.

“I told him that I will go through with my complaint because it was my right. He contacted me several more times and told me to visit him to resolve the problem. Again, he promised me a job and pledged to make everything right if I withdraw my complaint. I refused…Since April 2018, when I filed my complaint, I have contacted the Parliament’s security department multiple times, but each time they tell me that they need more time to investigate.”  

HRANA has obtained a copy of the documents in Ms. Z.N.’s case, including the threatening remarks made by Mr. Khodadadi. HRANA will consider releasing the documents publicly, but will first consider the victim’s safety and the progress made with the legal proceedings.

Salman Khodadadi’s Background:

Salman Khodadadi was born in 1962 and was recruited by the Islamic Republic’s security apparatus in his youth. During the 1980s purge of political dissidents he was working in the East Azerbaijan Intelligence office. He made an unsuccessful run for Parliament in the early 1990s but was appointed as Director of Ardabil’s Intelligence Bureau and later as the IRGC commander in Malekan.

In the sixth Parliament (2000-2004), Mr. Khodadadi was a member of the Parliament’s Health Committee, despite having no background in that field. Toward the end of his third term in Parliament, he was summoned to court on charges of moral corruption and engaging in illicit relationships, after two women pressed charges against him. He was released on bail. Since he had been elected for a fourth term to the Parliament and was sworn in as a Parliament Deputy, his case was closed.

When two women MPs raised objections regarding Mr. Khodadadi’s credentials, his case was sent to the Parliament for further investigation. Although some of the people of Malekan had gathered in front of the Parliament demanding Khodadai’s ousting, the Parliament voted to approve his credentials and allowed him to serve his term. Mr. Khodadadi refused to comment on his case citing ongoing investigation and his reluctance to provide material for enemies and foreign media.

In the parliamentary election that followed, Mr. Khodadadi was barred from running. However, due to his membership in the 1990s in the National Security Committee, he had a close relationship with Hassan Rouhani, the current President of Iran, and other current members of Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet. Mr. Khodadadi supported Mr. Rouhani in the 2013 Presidential election and was being considered for the position of Governor of Bushehr (Iranian southern province). Mr. Rouhani later changed his mind and Mr. Khodadadi was appointed an advisor to Javad Zarif.

In the most recent parliamentary elections, Mr. Khodadadi was once again barred from running for Parliament by the Supervisory Council (operated by the Executive Branch), but the Guardian Council lobbied on his behalf and he was elected one more time.  Mr. Khodadadi had the support of the “Omid List”, a list of candidates aligned with Mr. Rouhani. Once in Parliament, Mr. Khodadadi became the Chair of the Parliament’s Social Committee.

When he first began to serve in the Parliament, Salman Khodadadi was a management studies student. During his many terms in the Parliament, he received a Master’s degree in Political Science and a PhD in International Relations.

Iran Annual Human Rights Report, 2017

Posted on: January 1st, 2018

This leaflet contains the 2017’s analytical and statistical annual report on the human rights in Iran, prepared by the Department of Statistics and Publications of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI). This statistic analysis report presented by HRAI is the result of the daily efforts of this organization and its dedicated members as part of a daily statistic and census project that started in 2009 by this organization.

This annual report on human rights violations in Iran ( Jan 1 2017 – Dec 15 2017) is the collection, analysis, and documentation of 2889 reports concerning human rights, gathered from various news sources during 2017.

The following 41-pages includes statistical overviews and related charts on various sections regarding women’s rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights and etc. based on this report, despite the 10% decrease in human rights violations reports in provinces other than Tehran, compared to the last year’s annual report, there is still a major concern on lack of proper reporting and monitoring of the human rights situation by the civil society in the smaller cities.

This report is the result of endeavours made by courageous human rights activists in Iran who pay a very high cost for the realization of their humanitarian believes. However for obvious reasons (i.e. existing governmental limitations and ban on the free exchange of information and government preventing the existence of human right organizations in the country), this report by no means is free of errors and cannot alone be a reflection on the actual status of human right in Iran. However, it should be emphasized that this report is considered as one of the most accurate, comprehensive and authentic reports on the human rights conditions in Iran and it can serve as a very informative source of information for human rights activists and organizations working on Iran, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they may face.

Download the report

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Department of Statistics and Publications

December 30 2017

[email protected]

‘With Empty Hands But Deep Beliefs,’ Jamal Hosseini Lost His Life Fighting for Human Rights in Iran

Posted on: August 5th, 2017

Activism against repressive governments can often come with life-changing risks. Prison, torture, censorship and exile. Leaving behind your family and the country you call home, only to face the alienation and loneliness of life as a political refugee.

The decision to speak out may have cost Iranian human rights activist Seyed Jamal Hosseini his life. (more…)

Comprehensive 2016 Iran Human Rights Report

Posted on: February 6th, 2017

This leaflet contains the 2016’s analytical and statistical annual report on the human rights in Iran, prepared by the Department of Statistics and Publications of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI). This statistic analysis report presented by HRAI is the result of the daily efforts of this organization and its dedicated members as part of a daily statistic and census project that started in 2009 by this organization.

Download report in PDF format

This annual report on human rights violations in Iran (2016) is the collection, analysis, and documentation of 3439 reports concerning human rights, gathered from various news sources during 2016. Human Right Activists News Agency (HRANA) has gathered and reported 28%, official or close to the Iranian government sources 63% and other human rights news agencies 9% of all the reports analyzed in this Annual Report.

The following 31-pages includes statistical overviews and related charts on various sections regarding women’s rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights and etc. based on this report, despite the 4% increase in human rights violations reports in provinces other than Tehran, compared to the last year’s annual report, there is still a major concern on lack of proper reporting and monitoring of the human rights situation by the civil society in the smaller cities.

This report is the result of endeavors made by courageous human rights activists in Iran who pay a very high cost for the realization of their humanitarian beliefs. However, for obvious reasons (i.e. existing governmental limitations and ban on the free exchange of information and government preventing the existence of human right organizations in the country), this report by no means is free of errors and cannot alone be a reflection on the actual status of human right in Iran. However, it should be emphasized that this report is considered as one of the most accurate, comprehensive and authentic reports on the human rights conditions in Iran and it can serve as a very informative source of information for human rights activists and organizations working on Iran, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they may face.

Download the report

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Department of Statistics and Publications

January 2017

[email protected]

Human Rights Situation in Iran – Annual Report 1393

Posted on: October 15th, 2015
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Click for Download the full report in PDF version

Human Rights Situation in Iran – Annual Report 1393 (Persian Calendar)

The Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) of Iran has published its sixth annual report on the human rights situation in Iran. This report concerns the events and human rights incidents occurred in Iran over the course of one-year period (2014-2015). These reports have been collected by the HRAI reporters and associated organizations in addition to the reports published by the state media, unofficial media, and international resources. This report highlights some of the most important human rights incidents in Iran in 2014, which could be useful for the human rights activists and researchers. The names of the executed political prisoners or those awaiting the execution decree as well as arrested individuals in different categories are also included in this report.

Click here for donwload the full report in PDF format

Video Footage of Clashes between the People and Police in Fars Province

Posted on: July 11th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – The following video reports the clashed between the citizens and police force in the commercial market of Dehsheikh, in Lamerd, Fars province.

According to a number of businessmen of Dehsheikh, Police Special Forces attacked the commercial market of Dehsheikh to collect smuggled goods, on Saturday 4th July. Witnesses say police’s behavior scared shopkeepers and passers-by, which eventually led to clashes between police and a group of people. Witnesses say tear gases were used in the clashes with protesters and protesters also attacked by throwing stones at the security forces. (more…)

Human Rights Situation in Iran – Annual Report 2014

Posted on: April 6th, 2015

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HRANA News Agency – The Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran has published an analytical report on the human rights situation in Iran during the one-year period (2014-2015). This report is the result of daily efforts of the organization and its dedicated members in the past few years based on a survey-based project started in 2009 and indicated as statistical analysis on this report.

The report consists of statistics in different areas of human rights violations in Iran e.g. ethnic rights, religious rights, freedom of expression, executions etc.

It also includes the statistics of human rights violations in different provinces in Iran as well as a general comparison with the statistics of the last year.

The Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran has included different monthly comparative figures in the report, through which you can have an overview of the whole situation in different time frames.

The report can be downloaded here.

 

Abdolkarim Lahiji became the president of FIDH

Posted on: June 5th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – Abdolkarim Lahiji, an Iranian attorney living in France, has been elected to serve as the president of the International Federation for Human Rights.  The election was made on May 23, 2013 during FIDH’s 38th congress in Istanbul, Turkey.

Lahiji has also served as the vice president of the federation for five consecutive terms totaling 15 years.  After being elected as the president, Lahiji said that his first priority will be to free all human rights defenders who have been imprisoned unjustly around the world. (more…)