An update on arrestees of last November’s protests

Posted on: February 18th, 2020

The nationwide protests of last November are the most significant events of 2019. During the November protests that lasted more than 10 days simultaneously in 719 spots in the country, at least 7133 people were arrested, hundreds died on the streets, and many protesters got gunshot wounds.

1. The trial of four residents of Kermanshah was on February 10, 2020. Three of them were sentenced by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah as the following:

Sohbatollah Omidi: He was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “membership in an opposition group” and five years of imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that he should serve five years in prison.

Khalil Asadi Bouzhani: He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the charge of “membership in an opposition group” and three and half years of imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion against the national security”. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that he should serve three and a half years in prison.

Mehdi Ebdali: He was sentenced to one-year imprisonment.

Mohieldin Asghari: the court announced that it does not have the eligibility to try him for his charge of “assembly and collusion”.

It should be noted that Mohieldin Ashghari and Sohbatollah Omidi were released on a 200 million Tomans bail in January 2020.

 

Sohbat Omidi                    Khalil Asadi

 

2. Ali Nanvaei: was sentenced to six months imprisonment and 74 lashes (this sentence is suspended for two years). He is also sentenced to hand copy three books. He was initially charged with “assembly and collusion” but his charge was later changed to “disrupting public order”. He was arrested when he was leaving Tehran University on November 18, 2019. He is a student of Tehran University.

Ali Nanvaei

 

3.Mohammad Eghbali Golhin: On February 16, 2020, he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, 74 lashes, and one-year exile to Rask by Branch 10 of Shahriar’s Criminal Court. He was sentenced to ten years for vandalism and one year for the charge of “disturbing public order”, and 74 lashes and one year exile for the charge of “fight with Basij militia”. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that he should serve 10 years in prison. He was arrested on November 19, 2019, in Karaj.

 

4.Gita Hor: Ms. Hor, 30-years old, was sentenced to six years imprisonment by Branch 24 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. She was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “assembly in collusion against the national security” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “propaganda against the state”. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that she should spend five years in prison. She was arrested on November 21, 2019. She is currently in Qarchak prison. Her trial was presided by judge Mohammad Reza Amouzadeh.

 

Arrests:

Tehran University students, Bahareh Hedayat, Amir Mohammad Sharifi, and Moin Zareian were arrested by the national security police because of attending last November’s protests. They were arrested on the following days:

Amir Mohammad Sharifi on February 9, Bahareh Hedayat on February 10, and Moin Zareian on January 22, 2020.

It should be noted that Bahareh Hedayat was arrested at Tehran University and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin. She went on a hunger strike after her arrest. Her health condition is deteriorating due to the hunger strike and prison condition. Amir Mohammad Sharifi and Moin Zareian are in Evin Prison.

 

Seven prisoners are on hunger strikes in Urmia and Evin prisons

Posted on: February 14th, 2020

Evin Prison

Amir Salar Davoudi, attorney detained in Evin Prison, has been on hunger strike from February 9, 2020, protesting not being granted a furlough. In a note published on February 12, 2020, Amir Salar Davoudi explained his motives to go on hunger strike protesting authorities who refused to grant him a furlough and added “I have been incarcerated for 15 months of which I spend 190 days in a solitary confinement cell but my request for a furlough has been denied. I am going on hunger strike to protest this decision. I hold the judicial authorities responsible.” He has been detained in Evin Prison since November 20, 2018. On June 1, 2018, he was sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran 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”. His other charges are “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”.

Four other political prisoners of Evin Prison, Barzan Mohammadi, Reza Mohammad Hosseini, Mehdi Meskinnavaz, and Khaled Pirzadeh have been on hunger strike from February 1, 2020, protesting denial of their request for parole, neglecting political prisoners requests, not conforming to the prison classification regulation, lengthy prosecutions, receiving unreasonable prison sentences, and finalizing the primary courts verdicts without an opportunity to appeal.

Barzan Mohammadi was arrested in August 2017 because of his activities on social media. He was sentenced to six years in prison for the charges of “assembly and collusion with an intention to disrupt the public order”, and “propaganda against the state” by the primary court. His appeal court was in session in March 2019 where his sentence was reduced to 3.5 years imprisonment

Reza Mohammad Hosseini’s was sentenced to 16.5 years imprisonment; he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”, two years imprisonment for the charge of “unlawful entry to the country” and 1.5 years imprisonment for the charge of “disobeying the officers’ orders”. He was arrested in May 2019 by the IRGC intelligence officers and was taken to the IRGC’s detention center in Evin Prison. He was later transferred to the Ward 4 of Evin Prison. Reza Mohammad Hosseini was taken to the hospital on February 11, 2020, after experiencing asthenia. His situation is unknown after the transfer.

Khaled Pirzadeh was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, and to two years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

Mehdi Meskinnavaz tried at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran in August 2019 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state”. He was also exiled to Fahraj in Kerman Province and ban from membership in political parties and groups.

 

Urmia Prison

Siamak Ashrafi Ashgasou, a political prisoner of Urmia Prison, is on hunger strike from January 21, 2020, protesting the denial of his request to parole and his family being disrespectfully treated by the court employees. He was arrested in June 2016 by the security forces and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “membership in an opposition group” and to eight months imprisonment for “draft evasion” by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia. He requested parole after serving more than three years of his sentence.

Bashir Pirmawaneh has been on hunger strike from January 25, 2020, protesting his request for parole not being processed. He was arrested in March 2016 and was tried in April 2016 at Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “membership in an opposition group”. The sentence was later reduced to four years. He has served more than a third of his sentence at the time of his request.

14 civil rights activists received long-term prison sentences

Posted on: February 14th, 2020

A letter of 14 civil rights activists

A letter signed by 14 civil rights activists was published in July-August of 2019 demanding resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei.  After this letter was published, some of the signees were arrested and some were under pressure. Currently, Abdolrasoul Mortazavi, Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, Mohammad Nourizad, Javad Laal Mohammadi, Seyed Hashem Khastar, and Fatemeh Sepehri who signed this letter are still in detention and some were released on bail.

On February 1, 2020, eight arrestees who signed the letter requesting Ayatollah Khamenei’s resignation, were sentenced to a total of 90 years imprisonment, six years ban from leaving the country, and six years of exile by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad. Their detailed sentences are as the following:

Seyed Hashem Khastar: 16 years imprisonment, three years exile to Nikshahr, and three years ban from leaving the country

Mohammad Nourizad: 15 years imprisonment, three years exile to Izeh, and three years ban from leaving the country.

Abdolrasoul Mortazavi: 26 years imprisonment

Mohammad Hossein Sepehri: 6 years imprisonment

Fatemeh Sepehri: 6 years imprisonment

Hashem Rajai, Morteza Ghasemi, and Mohammad Hosseinpour: each was sentenced to a one-year prison term

In addition, Javad Laal Mohammadi was sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment on February 4, 2019.

Moreover, on February 5, 2020, Mohammad Mahdavifar, civil rights activist and a signee of the letter was sentenced to 9 years in prison by Branch 102 of the Penal Court 2 Aran and Bidgol.

These sentences were issued for the charges of “establishing an unlawful group and propaganda against the state”. The sentences for “insulting the Supreme Leader and the Founder of the Islamic Republic” are still in process.

On February 3, 2020, Abdolrasoul Mortazavi and on February 4, Javad Laal Mohammadi were arrested.

It should be noted that they were arrested together on August 11, 2019, in front of a courthouse in Mashhad.

 

A letter of 14 women civil rights activists

In August 2019, another letter was published under the title of 14 women civil rights with content similar to the aforementioned letter, requesting Ayatollah Khamenei’s resignation. After this letter was published, the security forces arrested Zahra Jamali on August 24, Giti Pourfazel on August 19, Shahla Entesari on August 22, and Shahla Jahanbin on August 21.

Eventually, Shahla Jahanbin on November 13, Shahla Entesari on November 10, and Giti Pourfazel on November 13 were each temporarily released on a 500 million Toman bail before completion of the prosecution from Evin Prison.

Four civil rights activists, Shahla Jahanbin, Zahra Jamali, Giti Pourfazel, and Shahla Entesari, who wrote an open letter in summer of 2019 and requested Ayatollah Khamenei’s resignation, were sentenced each to six years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court for the charges of “assembly and collusion against the national security” and “propaganda against the state”.

Among them, Ms. Giti Pourfazel who is an attorney and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was also sentenced to two years ban from membership in parties and social/political groups.

A report on Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi

Posted on: February 14th, 2020

Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, is a detained Christian convert and the former prisoner. She was studying English translation at Islamic Azad University North Tehran Branch but on December 21, 2019, she was banned from entering the university and was told that she has been banned from studying there.

 

First arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested on November 18, 2017, for the first time. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at that time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months imprisonment for the charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against the national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward in spring 2018 after completing her sentence.

 

Second Arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested by the NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead. The attacker claimed that she was “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts. A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting on the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood. The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but the police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10, 2019.

 

Third arrest

On January 12, 2020, Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested during the wave of protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 11, after Iran admitted that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. She was arrested in Azadi square and was transferred to Vozara detention center. She was severely beaten both in Azadi square and at Vozara detention center. She had bruises for more than three weeks after her arrest. Women guards humiliated her by forcing her to get naked and sitting and standing a few times in front of them and then uncommonly inspected her body twice. According to a close source, she was mistreated by the prison wardens; she was forced to stay outside in the cold weather without any food for 24 hours. After a day, she was transferred to Branch 6 of Evin Prosecutor’s office and was eventually transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and she is currently at the new ward of this prison (Bashgah). She was mistreated and humiliated in this prison.

She was charged with “disturbing public order through attending an unlawful protest”. Her trial is not scheduled yet. Although her bail was set for 30 million Tomans [approx. $3000], the prosecutor did not accept her bail. She was being kept in a limbo state for a month.

Seven Civil Rights Activists Were Imprisoned

Posted on: January 9th, 2020

On December 26, 2019, seven civil rights activists, Mahrokh Rousta, Kaveh Mozaffari, Faraz Roshan, Jelveh Javaheri, Forough Saminia, Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi, and Houman Tahriri were arrested during the commemoration ceremony held 40 days after the killing of Navid Behboudi, one of the victims of last November’s protests. The arrestees had a brief phone conversation with their families. However, their accusations are not yet confirmed. On January 1st, 2020, Forough Saminia, Jelveh Javaheri, Mahrokh Rousta were transferred to Lakan Prison in Rasht upon completion of their interrogation from the Rasht’s Intelligence Department’s detention center. On the same day, Kaveh Mozaffari, Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi, Houman Tahriri, and Faraz Roshan were transferred to Ziabar Prison in Gilan Province. They were transferred to the aforementioned prisons although the prosecutor’s office announced earlier that all the arrestees can be released on bail.

Forugh Saminia, Jelveh Javaheri, and Kaveh Mozaffari are women’s rights activists while Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi is a journalist and a member of the Iranian Writer’s Association. They were arrested along with several others, namely Amir Eslami, Sara Zaher Kerdar, Fahimeh Kameli, and Azar Jafari who were also attending this commemoration ceremony but were later released.

Navid Behboudi was a 23-year old model originally from Gilan residing in Qods city. On November 17, 2019, he was fatally shot during last November’s protest in Qods city. On November 20, 2019, his body was received by his family and was buried in Mahvizan, a village in the rural district of Sowme’eh Sara County, Gilan Province. The nation-wide protests of November are one of the most significant events of 2019. During the November protests that lasted more than 10 days simultaneously in 719 parts of the country. At least 7133 people were arrested, and hundreds died on the streets.

Seven Civil Rights Activists Were Sentenced to 29 Years Imprisonment

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

On December 4, 2019, Moin Hajizadeh, Raha Ahmadi, Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, Saman Zandian, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh were sentenced to 29 years imprisonment, combined. On November 10, 2019, they were tried at the Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court headed by judge Abolghasem Salavati.

Saman Zandian and Moin Hajizadeh were sentenced to eight years in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state”, “insulting the Supreme Leader”, and “assembly and collusion”. Raha Ahmadi, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh were sentenced to two years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion”.

Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Saman Zandian and Moin Hajizadeh should serve five years and six months in prison, Armin Sourani, Mohammad Abolhasani, and Vahid Ghadirzadeh should serve two years in prison, and Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari should serve five years in prison.

Moin Hajizadeh was arrested on August 8, 2019 by security forces and was transferred to an unknown location. He is now in the Ward 4 of Evin Prison. Raha Ahmadi was arrested on August 4, 2019 by security forces and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin in late August. She was initially charged with “propaganda against the state”, “assembly and collusion”, “cooperation with enemy states”, and “promoting corruption and prostitution” in her incitement at the prosecution office of Evin Prison. Although her bail was set after two months, her 600 million Toman [approximately 55 thousand dollars] bail has never been accepted.

Leila Mirghafari was arrested in September 2018 by security forces and was transferred to Qarchak Prison. Mohammad Abolhasani was arrested on August 14, 2019 based on a verdict by the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court.

Saman Zandian was arrested amid the demonstrations against the economic hardship in August 2018. He completed his sentence in prison but was notified about his new charges in August 2019. Vahid Ghadirzadeh was arrested in August 1, 2019 by security forces in Ardabil and is still in a limbo state.

A video was published earlier that shows some of these activists handing out flowers and talking to people in the subway.

Three Prisoners Were Executed in Urmia and Zahedan

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

In the morning of December 3, 2019, two prisoners were executed in Urmia Prison. They were transferred to solidarity confinement cells a day before to get prepared for the execution. Morteza Ashrafi and Ali Mahmoudpour, prisoners of Urmia Prison, were sentenced to death earlier on the charge of murder. On the same day, a prisoner was executed in Zahedan Prison. Elyas Nooti Zehi, 27-year-old, was sentenced to death on the charge of murder three years ago. The news of these executions has not been published by the Iranian media yet.

According to the international organizations, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. From October 10, 2018, to October 8, 2019, the Iranian authorities issued death penalty sentence to 134 individuals and have already carried out 242 executions including 16 public executions.  At least five of the executed were juvenile offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the crime. Secret executions of prisoners reported by the independent sources and the human rights association indicate that 72% of executions are carried out in secret or without any public notice.

Neda Naji Was Sentenced to Five Years and Six Months Imprisonment

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

On December 4, 2019, the Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court headed by judge Mohammad Moghiseh sentenced Neda Naji to five years and six months in prison. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Neda Naji should serve five years in prison.

The final trial of Neda Naji was on July 08, 2019. She was arrested in the demonstration for the International Workers’ Day on May 1, 2019 along with 10 others. On June 15, 2019 she was transferred from Evin Prison’s Ward 209 to Qarchak Prison in Varamin. She is charged with “assembly and collusion”, “propaganda against the state”, “disturbing the public order”, and “disobeying the order of government officials”.

On July 6, her husband, Jamal Ameli, wrote on his personal Twitter account that Naji was beaten twice in the prison by a prisoner and a prison official and she was transferred to the health ward in the prison because of her blurred vision after the attack. 

Although anyone who had been arrested in the demonstration for the International Workers’ Day on May 1, 2019 has been released on bail during the past few months, Neda Naji is still in prison.

After Two Decades, Two Political Prisoners Were Released on Parole

Posted on: November 25th, 2019

On November 21, 2019, Osman Mostafapour and Mohammad Nazari were released on parole. They are two of the longest-serving political prisoners who were released on parole after spending more than 25 years in Tabriz, Rajai Shahr, and Urmia Prisons without having any furlough.

Osman Mostafapour (born in 1967) was arrested on July 14, 1991 and was tried in the same year. He was first sentenced to death by Judge Javaheri, in the Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia, on the charge of “assistant in murder”. Then, this verdict was reduced to 10 years of imprisonment at the appeals court in 2000. In the same year, he was summoned to the Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court for his second case and he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on the charge of “cooperating with one of the Kurdish Opposition groups”. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison for both cases. Osman Mostafapour had not had any furlough in the past 28 years of imprisonment since 1991.

Mohammad Nazari, born in 1971, was arrested on the charge of “cooperating with one of the Kurdish opposition groups” in 1994, in Bukan. He was sentenced to death while he refused the charges and claimed that the he had confessed under torture. That sentence was reduced to life imprisonment five years later. Mohammad Nazari had not had any furlough in the past 25 years of his imprisonment since 1994.

They were supposedly released by the Supreme Leader pardon to mark the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. According to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Iran’s Supreme Leader pardoned 3,552 prisoners, including 32 “security prisoners”, followed the Islamic holiday marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Three Baha’is were sentenced to 23 years imprisonment

Posted on: November 15th, 2019

Behnam Eskandari, Yalda Firouzian, and Ardeshir Fanaiyan, three Baha’i citizens residing in Semnan, were sentenced to 23 years in prison and live in exile.

They were arrested on April 30, 2019 by the security forces, their personal belongings were confiscated, and they were transferred to Semnan Prison. The Revolutionary Court of Semnan put hold on their temporary releases. They are banned from having any visitor and contact with outside of prison. Behnam Eskandari was under pressure in the course of his interrogation for forced confession. He was resilient and was transferred to the quarantine ward where he was beaten by two other prisoners.

According to the verdict issued by the Semnan Revolutionary Court headed by judge Mohammad Ali Rostami, Ardeshir Fanaiyan was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and one year live in exile in Khash on the charge of “cooperation in establishing an illegal group inside the country with the aim of acting against the national security”. Yalda Firouzian and Behnam Eskandarian were sentenced to five years imprisonment and two years ban from living in Semnan, each on the charge of “membership in establishing an illegal group inside the country with the aim of acting against national security”. Also, each of them were sentenced to a one-year prison term for the charge of “cooperation in acting against national security in favor of opposition groups”. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Ardeshir Fanaiyan should spend 10 years in prison, Yalda Firouzian, and Behnam Eskandaian should spend five years in prison, each.

Ardeshir Fanaiyan’s first arrest was on January 8, 2019 and was sentenced to an eight-month prison term. Although the law of arresting the eligible ones for military service has been cancelled.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.