After attempting suicide; A report on the latest situation of Siamak Moghimi in Great Tehran Penitentiary

Posted on: March 15th, 2021

HRANA – Siamak Moghimi, Political Prisoner imprisoned at Great Tehran Penitentiary who was arrested during the nationwide November 2019 Movements was transferred from quarantine to the public ward, today Monday March 15, 2021. Earlier on Wednesday 24th February 2021, Siamak Moghimi had attempted Suicide by Cutting his Wrist and abdomen. Although he was saved from bleeding and dying after being sent to the hospital where he recieved numerous internal and external sutures, yet he spent the last 18 days in prison quarantine in poor conditions. Despite suffering from a mental illness and a long hospital stay before his arrest, with the negligence of Authorities Mr. Moghimi is still serving his sentence in Great Tehran Penitentiary.

According to Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Today Monday March 15, 2021, Siamak Moghimi, Political Prisoner imprisoned at Great Tehran Penitentiary who was arrested during the nationwide November 2019 Movements was transferred from quarantine to the public ward.

According to a source close to Mr. Moghimi’s Family, despite that the wrist and abodman of Mr. Moghimi had received multiple internal and external sutures after his attempted suicide, yet he has been transferred from hospital to the Quarantine Ward of Great Tehran Penitentiary, and without any facilities and medical care he has been imprisoned in harsh conditions. It is said that Mirza-Aghai the head of a division, has not signed his papers and therefore he has been kept in the quarantine.

It is said that since Mr. Mirza-Aghaei, the head of the division 9 and 10 of the Great Tehran Prison, took office, every administrative correspondence of the prisoners lasts for 20 days. This used to be done on a daily basis.

Siamak Moghimi was taken to the hospital late night on Wednesday, 24th February, following a suicide attempt by cutting his wrist and abdomen. Despite Mr. Moghimi suffering from a mental illness and his long hospitalization before his arrest, yet by the negligence of the authorities, he is still serving his sentence in the Greater Tehran Prison.

According to an informed source, Mr. Moghimi had attempted suicide being influenced by Mirza-Aghai’s Words, who had told those arrested in relation to November 2019 protests “you have no rights”. By forming a disciplinary council in the prison and disciplinary cases for these prisoners, Prison officials are threatening them with deprivation from furlough, and Not being entitled to parole. This action has created additional psychological problems for some prisoners.

Siamak Moghimi was arrested by the agents of Sarallah Base of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) during the November 2019 protests in Parand city and was transferred to the detention center of this organization. After the interrogation process, he was transferred to Great Tehran Prison.

Mr. Moghimi’s charges were delivered to him at Parand, and after his case was sent to the 24th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran headed by Judge Amouzadeh, he received 10 years of imprisonment for charges such as “gathering and collusion”, “propaganda against the regime”, “insulting the supreme leader”, and “insulting the president”.  According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe punishment, i.e. 5 years in prison, will be applicable to him.

Mr. Moghimi had previously on 25th January 2020, had attempted suicide after coming to know of the verdict of 10 years of imprisonment for him.

The arrest, conviction, and continuation of Mr. Moghimi’s detention took place while, a week before his detention he was hospitalized for a long time in a psychiatric hospital, and his imprisonment exacerbated his condition.

It should be noted that the November protests are a series of nationwide protests that began on Friday, November 15, 2019, with the announcement of an unprecedented increase in gas prices in dozens of cities in Iran with the unprecedented presence of protesters in the streets which continued for several days. Mohammad Javad Koulivand, a Karaj MP, said the protests took place in 719 locations across the country. Seyyed Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, the then spokesman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the parliament, also announced that the number of detainees in the protests was about 7,000. And according to various human rights groups, hundreds of people were killed during these protests.

Rouhani 8 Years On: The Situation of Women’s Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Posted on: March 5th, 2021

HRANA – On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Human Rights Activists in Iran highlights the situation of women’s rights in Iran during the 8 year term of President Hassan Rouhani. The following report includes an 8-year statistical overview of the most pressing human rights issues women are facing in the country. The report also introduces the brave women’s rights activists that are currently imprisoned or are facing imprisonment.

Women and girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran face widespread and systematic discrimination in areas touching nearly all corners of their lives. Discrimination against women is abundantly present in matters of family law, criminal law, education, employment, and social and cultural life. However, in the face of state-sanctioned discrimination, women in Iran are leading the charge, playing a primary role in defending their rights, standing up and demanding change; unfortunately, this is not without consequence.

Although many were hopeful, 8 years on, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has done little to improve the lives of women in Iran. In fact, from August 2013 to March 2021, there have been 72 cases of self-immolation, 3,048 suicides, 20 claims of workplace discrimination, 2 reported cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), 553 honor killings, 33,210 child marriages (girls under the age of 18), and 460 reported acid attacks against women. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021, Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) highlights some of the most pressing women’s rights issues today and throughout the 8-year Rouhani presidency, as well as the 22 Iranian women’s rights activists targeted over the past 8 years, who have faced harassment, torture, ill-treatment, arrest and arbitrary imprisonment for speaking out against the instruments of oppression working against them every day.

 

International Framework

 

The situation of women’s rights in Iran falls short of nearly all international human rights standards and obligations. While Iran is not a State party to The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), they remain obligated as a State party to other international mechanisms which protect against gender inequality and discrimination, including: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Despite these obligations, women and girls remain unequal in both law and practice and according to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, Iran ranked 148 out of 153 countries, only coming in ahead of The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

 

Women’s Rights in Iran

 

Compulsory Veiling

Amidst wider social upheaval, compulsory veiling is one of the more well-known women’s rights issues in Iran. The Human Rights Council has stated that any laws regulating what women wear ‘violate [a] State’s obligation under the ICCPR’. Yet, in both law and practice women who choose not to abide by compulsory veiling laws face unrelenting punishment. Under law, women can be fined up to 500,000 rials and/or face up to 2 months in prison. In practice however, they are increasingly charged with crimes such as ‘moral corruption on Earth’, a charge which carries up to 10 years imprisonment. Imprisonment in any regard relating to compulsory garments is a violation of article 9 of the ICCPR.

Cultural Rights

 Article 15 of the ICESCR recognizes the ‘right of everyone to take part in cultural life’. Nonetheless, Iranian women are banned from both singing and dancing in public and although it is not written into the law it is customary that women are also prohibited from attending sporting events. While there have been few occurrences which allow for women’s access to sporting events, access remains segregated and largely unequal.  From 2013 to 2021, at least 147 women were denied entry to sports stadiums. Additionally, 4 female athletes were deprived of traveling outside of the country to compete due to unequal and discriminatory marriage and family laws. The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights has stated that ensuring the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of cultural rights is a mandatory and immediate obligation of State parties (general comment No.16 (2005), para. 16).

Marriage and Family

Inconsistent with obligations under the ICCPR, Iranian women face discrimination in almost all aspects of family life including in marriage, divorce, custody, and guardianship. The ICCPR also protects the freedom of movement, yet women in Iran face widespread limitations. While women under the age of 40 require the permission of their husbands to travel outside of the country, married women require permission from their husbands; in fact, married women are not permitted to apply for a passport without their husbands’ prior approval—they’ve also no say in their place of residence.

Under Iranian law women are viewed as subordinates to both their spouses and male family members. This affects a woman’s right to obtain her desired employment, as husbands have the right to prevent their wives from taking up certain employment should they deem it inappropriate (against “family values”). Additionally, wives are required, under law, to provide for a husband’s sexual needs; if they should not, a husband in all cases has the exclusive right to a divorce, without question, while women face unconscionable hurdles in the same respect. Should a divorce occur, the father becomes the lawful guardian of a child; in the case of a fathers passing, guardianship is passed to the paternal grandfather as stated in Iranian Civil Code.  The Human Rights Council has stated that inequality in marriage is a violation of Article 23.4 of the ICCPR. (HRC general comment no.  28) including in the dissolution of such and with regard to the issue of custody.

 The Right to Education

 According to the CEO of the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child (SPRC), approximately 1 million children living in underdeveloped and impoverished neighborhoods of Iran are deprived of receiving an education. In addition to being left out of school for societal reasons such as poverty, the lack of a birth certificate and the need to work in lieu of attending school are among contributing factors. Girls, in certain cases, are deliberately deprived of receiving an education. From 2013 to 2021, 4,142 female students were reportedly deprived of receiving an education due to early marriages, in certain cases as early as age 9, as well as a lack of permission from their male guardians to attend school. These numbers fly in the face of international standards as well as obligations under the CRC.

 

Women’s Rights Activists 

 

An overview

 Between August 3, 2013, and March 2, 2021, a total of 84 women’s rights activists were arrested, 8 of whom were men. Additionally, 22 were sentenced to a total of 1,627 months of imprisonment, 8,800,000 Tomans in fines, and 148 floggings. The courts in this regard, carry out sentencing in ways that fail to meet international fair trial standards.

The charges placed upon them by the judicial authorities include:

➡️ 11 charges of “assembly and collusion against the national security”

➡️ 12 Charges of “propaganda against the regime”

➡️ 6 charges of “Performing the ‘Haram’ (Forbidden) act of not wearing headscarf”

➡️ 3 charges of “inciting moral corruption through unveiling”

➡️ 3 charges of “inciting and providing the means for moral corruption”

➡️ 1 charge of “publishing vulgar content on the internet and being present in public without headscarf”

➡️ 1 charge of “spreading moral corruption through unveiling and taking a walk without headscarf”

➡️ 2 charges of “Cooperating with the Hostile Government of United States against the Islamic Republic in the field of family and women’s rights”

➡️ 1 charge of “disrupting public order, on the basis of participating in protest following the death of Farinaz Khosravani”

➡️ 1 charge of “publishing false information online with the aim of disturbing the public mind”

➡️ 1 charge of “disturbing public peace and order”

➡️ 1 charge of “assembly and collusion against national security through cooperation with dissident media.”

➡️ 1 charge of “Insulting Sanctities”

➡️ 1 charge of “being an effective member of the unlawful group the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), LEGAM (Step by Step to Abolition Death Penalty) and the National Peace Council”

 

Image 1. A Breakdown of the Charges Placed Upon Iranian Women’s Rights Activists Image 1. A Breakdown of the Charges Placed Upon Iranian Women’s Rights Activists from 2013-2021 from 2013-2021
Click on the image to enlarge the chart

 

Imprisoned Women’s Rights Activists

Yasaman Ariyani and Monireh Arabshahi (mother and daughter)

Latest Arrest Dates:

Yasaman Ariyani: 10 April 2019

Monireh Arabshahi: 11 April 2019

Charges and Sentence:

“Gathering and collusion against national security”

“Propaganda against the regime”

“Inciting and providing the means for moral corruption”

Both mother and daughter were Initially sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. Upon appeal, the sentence was reduced to 9 years and 7 months each. Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code allows for 5 years and 6 months imprisonment in this regard.

Condition: Doctors have indicated that Monire Arabshahi requires a lumbar disc surgery and thyroid biopsy; she has been denied access to medical care.

Prison: After arrest held at Gharchak Prison of Karaj on 13 August 2019 both women were transferred to Evin prisons Female’s Ward. On 21 October 2020 they were transferred to Kachoui of Karaj.

Yasmin Ariyani was transferred to solitary cell on Friday 13 November 2020, following a positive COVID-19 test.

 

Saba Kordafshari and Raheleh Ahmadi (mother and daughter) 

Latest Arrest Dates:

Saba Kordafshari: 1 June 2019

Raheleh Ahmadi: 10 July 2019

Charges and Sentence:

Saba Kordafshari:

“spreading moral corruption through unveiling and taking a walk without headscarf”

“Propaganda against the Regime”

“Gathering and colluding against national security”

Raheleh Ahmadi:

“assembly and collusion against national security through cooperation with dissident media”

“propaganda against the regime”

“inciting moral corruption through unveiling and posting it online” (acquitted)

Saba Kordafshari: – sentenced to a total of 24 years of imprisonment for the above-mentioned charges

Raheleh Ahmadi – sentenced to a total of 4 years and 2 months for the above-mentioned charges

Condition: On 24 December 2020, Ms. Ahmadi was transferred to a hospital to receive an MRI test, which indicated her spinal cord had been damaged due to stress and shock of the news that her daughter (Saba Kordafshari) was exiled to Gharchak prison of Varamin.

Prison: On Tuesday 26 January 2021 Saba Kordafshari was transferred from ward 8 of Gharchak Prison of Varamin to Ward 6, where she was beaten. She is currently housed alongside “violent crimes” prisoners.

 

Mojgan Keshavarz

Civil rights activists opposing compulsory veiling

Latest Arrest: Thursday 25 April 2019. She was arrested at her home.

Charges and Sentence:

Sentenced by Branch 54 of the Appeals Court of Tehran

“Assembly and collusion against national security” 3 years and 6 months imprisonment

“Propaganda against the regime” 7 months imprisonment.

“inciting and providing the means for moral corruption” 5 years and 6 months imprisonment

“insulting the sanctities” received 3 years imprisonment.

Prison: On Saturday December 5th, 2020 she was transferred from the Women’s Political Prisoners Ward of Evin Prison to Gharchak Prison of Varamin.

 

Alieh Motalebzadeh

Photographer and women’s rights activist

Arrest and Prison: Ms. Motalebzadeh was initially arrested on November 26th, 2016 through a phone call by the intelligence ministry. She was interrogated at Ward 209 of Evin Prison (under the control of the intelligence ministry) she was temporarily released on bail of 300 million Toman on December 19, 2016. On October 11th, 2020 she was arrested at the Sentence Execution Unit of Evin Prison to begin serving her sentence.

Charges:

“Gathering and collusion against national security”

“propaganda against the regime”.

Sentence: Tried at the Revolutionary Court of Tehran in 2017 and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. The sentence was upheld by Branch 36 of the Appeals Court of Tehran headed by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar.

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Human rights activists and lawyer

Latest arrest: June 13, 2018 at her home

Trial: Tried on December 30th, 2018, in absentia, by Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court

Charges:

“gathering and collusion against national security”

“Propaganda against the regime”

“inciting and providing the means for moral corruption”

“appearing at an interrogation branch without proper Islamic Hijab”

“disturbing public peace and order”

“publishing false information with the aim of disturbing public opinion”

being an effective member of the unlawful group the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), LEGAM (Step by Step to Abolition Death Penalty) and the National Peace Council”

Sentence: 33 years imprisonment and 148 floggings

Condition:

– On Tuesday August 11, 2020, through a letter demanding the release of political prisoners Ms. Sotoudeh announced she was going on hunger strike.

– On September 19, 2020, following a heart condition she was transferred from Evin Prison to CCU units at Taleghani Hospital of Tehran.

– On Wednesday September 23rd, she returned to Evin Prison from the hospital.

Mr. Khandan (Ms. Sotoudeh’s husband) has stated that Ms. Sotoudeh did not receive the proper medical care during this time.

– On September 25th Ms. Sotoudeh ended her hunger strike.

* she was transferred from Evin Prison to Gharchak Prison of Varamin on October 20th, 2020

Women’s rights activists at risk of imprisonment  

  1. cases awaiting review

Nahid Shaghaghi, Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi, and Asrin Darkaleh

Arrests

Akram Nasirian: April 29, 2019

Nahid Shaghayeghi: May 15, 2019

Maryam Mohammadi: July 8, 2019

Asrin Darkaleh: July 28, 2019

All four women were summoned to prison to begin serving their sentence on March 14, 2020

Charges and Sentence: Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Iman Afshari, sentenced each woman to 4 years and 2 months imprisonment.

“Gathering and Collusion against national security” each received 3 years imprisonment

“Propaganda against the Regime” each received 6 months imprisonment.

“Performing ‘Haram’ (Forbidden) act of not wearing headscarf” each received 8 months imprisonment.

 

  1. cases where the initial verdict has been issued

 

Banafsheh Jamali

Women’s rights activist

Arrest: In 2017 Ms. Jamali was arrested along with others during the 8th March, International Women’s Day Rally in Tehran, she was released sometime after the arrest.

Charges: “Propaganda against the Regime”

Sentence: 1 year of imprisonment, 4 million Toman fine

Banned from using smart electrical devices (smartphones)

Mandatory attendance at MAVA Counselling in Qom City

* the imprisonment has been suspended for 5 years

 

  1. cases awaiting sentence to be executed

Raha (Raheleh) Askari-Zadeh

Journalist, photographer, and women’s rights activist

Arrest: Raha was arrested on November 29th, 2018, at the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) while attempting to depart.

Charges: “assembly and collusion against the national security”

Sentence: Initially issued by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran and later upheld by the Appeals Court. 2 years imprisonment

2-year ban from exiting the country

2-year ban from Internet activities

2-year ban from activity in political or journalist groups

 

Najme Vahedi and Hoda Amid

Women’s rights activists

Arrest: On September 1, 2018, both women were arrested separately at their homes.

Charges: “Cooperating with the hostile government of United States against the Islamic Republic in the field of family and women’s rights”

Sentence: Hoda Amid: 8 years imprisonment

2-year ban from joining political parties and groups

2-year ban from being active on the Internet, social media, and in the press

2-year ban from exiting the country

2-year ban from working as a lawyer

Najmeh Vahedi:7 years imprisonment

2-year ban from joining political parties and groups

2-year ban from being active on the internet, social media, and in the press

2-year ban from exiting the country

 

For media inquiries please contact Senior Advocacy Coordinator, Skylar Thompson at [email protected]

 

HRANA has identified Revolutionary Guard intelligence members, “Raouf” and “Sattar”

Posted on: December 14th, 2020

HRANA – Earlier this week, HRANA, the news body of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), detailed the identification of a man known by a number of names, most notably, Raouf. Raouf is a notorious security force member involved in a number of human rights violations in Iran. Operating in Ward 2A of Evin Prison, which belongs to the IRGC, Raouf is said to have participated in the interrogation and mistreatment of a large number of civil and political activists. 

Although his main place of work is believed to be in Ward 2A of Evin Prison, a number of political-civil activists or family members of prisoners have faced interrogations at the hands of Raouf at other locations, such as offices affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran. 

He is responsible for interrogating a large number of political and civil activists, including Arash Sadeghi, Golrokh Erayi, Mahdieh Golroo, Soheil Arabi, Nastaran Naimi, and Athena Daemi. Most of these people are currently serving long prison sentences.

HRANA has spoken to a number of former political prisoners [whose names could not be mentioned for security reasons] personally interrogated by Raouf to confirm the identity and role of this security agent. Some of their statements are detailed below. 

One witness stated,  “Raouf slapped me so much during my interrogation that twice I bled after returning to my cell.” 

A former political prisoner, speaking anonymously, told HRANA, detailing his interrogation with Raouf,  “He hit me so hard that it caused one of my bones to break. He used a leather belt to beat me often for upwards of ten minutes. He did this while he verbally insulted my family and I.”

A human rights activist who served his sentence in Evin Prison told HRANA,  “He was present at all stages of my trial in the Revolutionary Court and repeatedly threatened my peers and I with new cases. He continued, “I still remember his face. I still remember how it bothered my wife…”

Mahdieh Golroo, a former student activist, confirmed Raouf’s role in interrogating her throughout her detention, posting a note on her personal page: “I have complained about his recent threats in Sweden by name, phone, and photo – to no avail.  It is my duty to expose the interrogators and those who destroy the lives of many with impunity.”

Since the original report was released, HRANA received information that Raouf is a pseudonym for the name Ali Hemmatian. We are not yet able to independently confirm and will continue to investigate further.

The below image displays Raouf sitting in the first row of Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech in 2015.

The information about Raouf drew public attention which led to additional witnesses coming forward to identify a number of other security figures within the country. Notably, these witness statements have led to the identification of an IRGC interrogator known as “Sattar.” Sattar is said to have played a role in detaining political prisoners involved in the 2019–20 Iranian protests (also known as Bloody November). 

The following image, which shows a meeting of the directors and researchers of the Islamic Revolutionary Documentation Organization with Ayatollah Khamenei on April 11, 2011, shows Sattar in color.

A group of witnesses, all of whom were detained during the November 2019 protests in Tehran, testified that after being arrested, they were taken to unknown locations where they were beaten and interrogated.

One of the victims told HRANA, “From the beginning of our detention [November 2019], we were blindfolded and then taken to an interrogation facility where we were beaten for several days.”  When asked about the man in question, the victim continued, “His colleagues called him Sattar; this name was perhaps because of the beard style he wore. However, when I saw him in those days,  he had a longer beard and shorter hair than in the 2011  picture [provided above].”

Another witness told HRANA, “While I was closing my business, located on Enghelab Street,  I was arrested by plainclothes men (November 2019). From the beginning of my arrest, I was beaten. In addition to myself, two or three other people were arrested and transported in the same vehicle, to an unknown location. After being transported, we were threatened and interrogated. The plainclothes man violently forced us to admit wrongdoing. This went on for two days before ultimately being handed over to the IRGC detention center in Evin Prison.”

A witness, detained at the same time, confirmed these witness statements and also stated, “There were a combination of forces present at the scene of the arrest that day and during the interrogation. Involved were plainclothes forces, Basij forces, and the IRGC. The person in question, Sattar, was in plain clothes, according to the case file and interrogation documents.” He continued, “When we were finally handed over to the IRGC, it was clear Sattar was affiliated with them.”

Sattar, in addition to the above-mentioned unknown places of interrogation, was also seen at the Yad Yaran Basij Resistance Base located on Argentina Street in Tehran.

Following HRANAs request for information, a number of other victims of Sattar’s interrogations contacted the news agency with information, including a court document discovered by HRANA and which named Sattar as “Massoud Safdari.”

A former prisoner who has experience dealing with the security forces detailed Sattar as the person who was present at the time of his televised forced confession. He told HRANA, “I remember his face very well, he was a rude person who, along with his colleagues, managed the video recording by threatening and intimidating me.” 

Another witness, whose identity is withheld for security reasons, told HRANA, “I was interrogated at an IRGC intelligence base in Tehran Afsariyeh district known as 1Alef. They recorded my televised confession. Sattar didn’t leave me alone even after they recorded their video. He abused me and harassed my family by threatening them over the phone.” 

Some sources also informed HRANA that Sattar, along with a number of other security forces, is living in the district of Shahrak Shahid Mahallati in Tehran.

From the summary of information received and based on the credibility of the sources, it seems that there is a team of young intelligence forces of the Revolutionary Guards in the internal security sector in the Tehran region; their traces can be seen in numerous cases. Sattar (likely Massoud Safdari), Majid Koushki (known as Majid Buffalo), and Massoud Hemmati, known to be on the Raouf team, all likely operating under the leadership of Raouf (likely Ali Hemmatian).

In an effort to complete information about this human rights abuser, HRANA News Agency is calling on victims and those aware of their status to assist in completing these investigations.

COVID-19 Fear in Iran’s Prisons: Iran Must Do More to Protect Prisoners

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020

HRANA – Nearly half a year has passed since Iranian officials acknowledged the grave threat posed by the novel coronavirus to the country’s prison population. In late February 2020, high-ranking officials in the prison and judicial systems announced new protocols to head off a health catastrophe in the country’s chronically overcrowded and underfunded penal system, including furloughs for certain classes of prisoners, a reduction in intake of new prisoners, daily rounds of disinfection, hygiene training for prisoners and prison staff, distribution of hygienic supplies, and the formation of full-time task forces to monitor prisoners’ health.

In April of 2020, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) released a report, COVID-19, Fear in Iran’s Prisons, detailing the scope of a COVID-19 crisis that was spreading across multiple prisons despite administrative measures taken to prevent it — including the release of thousands of prisoners — as well as the unrest sparked in late March by heightening fears of the virus and the subsequent violent crackdown by security forces.

In its analysis of key risk factors such as overcrowding, which makes social distancing next to impossible, the report identified shortcomings and inconsistencies in the implementation of Judiciary directives. It pointed to persistent overcrowding in some prisons; an unjustifiable insufficiency of fundamental necessities, such as cost-free cleaning products and hot water to ensure prisoners’ personal hygiene and to the glaring absence of systematic disinfection procedures in prison wards and common areas. In view of addressing these problems, the report also set forth recommendations that were in line with best practices formulated by international health and human rights authorities.

In conjunction with the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA), ABC conducted a follow-up investigation into the evolution of these problems since April. The findings of this report indicate that the hygienic conditions in Iranian prisons, rather than improving, have significantly deteriorated. The research sheds light on Iranian officials’ failure to adequately decrowd prisons and implement prevention protocols, which led to a proliferation of COVID-19 cases in several prisons. Disinfections by prison officials have stopped across several investigated prisons, apparently due to a lack of budget. Some prisons were found to have reduced supplies of free food, basic hygiene products, and personal protective equipment to prisoners, and the steep price markups in prison shops render these items inaccessible to less-affluent prisoners, who can then not afford to ensure their own protection.

Quarantine procedures were shown in many cases to be self-defeating, due in part to a constant flow of newcomers and continued commingling in common areas such as bathrooms, hallways, and kitchens (ex: Zanjan, Greater Tehran). Initial efforts across several prisons to reduce the prison population in March and April seem to have been abandoned by May, coinciding with the return of prisoners who had initially been sent on furlough. Avoidable arrests and detentions for petty crimes and for crimes not recognized under international law, including for social media posts, religious activities and drug use, have countervailed releases and pardons that were issued in an attempt to keep inmate numbers low. These problems are compounded by a systematic and long-standing tradition of opaque governance and heavy-handed securitization. Consequently, Iran remains secretive about COVID-19 cases within prisons and the number of prisoners who were hospitalized or died, generating anxiety among incarcerated people and preventing an actionable assessment of the problem.

The human cost of this neglect continues to mount: confirmed or suspected cases of the novel coronavirus — some resulting in death — are cropping up in increasing numbers across the country, including Mashhad Central Prison (where three halls, with a cumulative capacity of around 600 people, have been designated as holding spaces for both confirmed and suspected cases), Evin (where at least eight people in the political prisoners’ ward have recently tested positive), Orumieh (where medical staff went on strike to protest a lack of preventative measures after prison personnel, including one doctor, fell ill and eight prisoners were transferred to the hospital with high fever and seizures), Greater Tehran (where two men exhibiting severe symptoms were held in a prayer room of Building 5 when the overwhelmed prison clinic couldn’t accommodate them, and a ward of Building 5 was placed under quarantine after an outbreak caused by the introduction of sick newcomers into a previously health ward), and Shahr-e Rey women’s penitentiary (known also as Qarchak, where scores of prisoners who tested positive have languished without much medical care).

Iranian officials have sung the praises of their coronavirus response in prisons, which they tout as exemplary for the region, if not for the world, yet the credibility of their claims is undermined by their blatant under-reporting of cases, their denial of prison access to independent human rights observers, and the persecution of citizens who disseminate accurate information about the virus. Documents recently leaked to Amnesty International indicate that Iran’s Ministry of Health has repeatedly ignored urgent appeals from the Prisons Organization to remedy the widespread shortages of the protective equipment, disinfectant products, and medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic.

Sanctions have indeed proven crippling to the economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and its leaders are facing hard choices in terms of resource allocation. But this adversity cannot account for the continued shortages of certain vital products such as soap, which has been produced in Iran for close to a century. Ordinary citizens, Iranian officials, hospital staff, and sources with knowledge of medical supply chains have told ABC and HRANA that domestically produced masks and disinfectants, hard to come by at the beginning of the outbreak, are now available in adequate supply.

The dire state of Iran’s prisons is a long-standing systemic problem that stems from policy choices of Iran’s leaders. Responsibility for the failures highlighted in this report rests with the Judiciary, parliamentarians, and successive governments who have, for four decades, failed to reform a draconian criminal code — as repeatedly recommended by experts and prison officials — or resource the carceral system while continuing to overload it with hundreds of thousands more people each year. In normal times, prisoners are more vulnerable to disease than the general population; in a time of pandemic, when an increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths have been reported in several prisons, it is reckless to disregard prisoner’s rights to health and life, rights which Iran is obligate under international law. If Iranian prisons become hotspots for COVID-19, thousands of prisoners will get infected, constituting a real threat for the prison population and the communities outside prison walls.

Iran has ratified several UN Conventions, which bar it from arresting individuals for crimes not recognized under international law and obligate it to protect the health and life of individuals deprived of liberty. The International community must hold Iran accountable for violating prisoners’ human rights, the lack of administrative transparency, and denying access to independent human rights monitors. It is imperative to distinguish Iran’s systemic failures of resource allocation from current international tensions and the hardships they have placed on trade. Iran does have the resources it needs to improve prison conditions and save lives, but decision makers have simply chosen to allocate precious resources to non-essential causes instead, such as the rebuilding of golden shrines in Iraq or the funding of religious studies for foreign students. Releasing prisoners who do not belong in jail is also a budget-neutral measure that, if implemented, would reduce the strain on prison resources while helping prisons’ staff who are themselves at risk and under tremendous pressure in the fight against the pandemic.

Iran must immediately allocate the resources prison officials have repeatedly asked for. It must allow implementation of the preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization, as well as the Judiciary’s own directives, including but not limited to:

  • daily and thorough disinfection of prison facilities,
  • ensuring that essential personal hygiene items such as soap and sanitizer are made available at no cost and in sufficient quantities to all prisoners,
  • systematic testing and monitoring of prisoners,
  • provision of proper medical care inside and outside prisons to prisoners who are infected
  • allowing independent monitoring and health assessments by human rights groups and civil society.

It is imperative to note that the measures above will fail to curb the spread of the pandemic if they are not paired with a significant reduction in the number of incarcerated people to enable prisoners to respect sufficient social distance and avoid mass infections. The vital decision to release prisoners –including prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders, individuals accused of petty crimes, and those guilty of crimes not recognized under international law– is in the hands of Iranian leaders alone. They must not allow lifesaving measures to be hindered by administrative and political obstacles.

To read the full report, please download the file:

PDF document (in English)

The Greater Tehran Penitentiary; The Corona Virus Crisis, And The Deprivation of Hundreds Of Prisoners Of Drinking Water

Posted on: June 27th, 2020

HRANA News Agency: The water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5 since last night, and hundreds of prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water. Furthermore, 52 prisoners at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 1 have fallen ill with COVID-19. Additionally, a prisoner at the Prison’s Wing 5, Hall 4, has been vomiting blood and showing symptoms similar to those of the Corona virus. The return of prisoners from leave [into the general prison population] without first being quarantined is among the most significant reasons for the spread of the Corona virus in the country’s prisons, including the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.

According to a report by HRANA News Agency, the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, the water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5 since last night, and hundreds of prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water.

The cutting off of hot water at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5, Ward 2, Hall 1, since nearly two weeks ago, has caused problems in cleaning and maintaining hygiene at the Hall. Furthermore, since 11 o’clock last night, the water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5, and prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water there. The Hall’s emergency supply of water was also depleted on the morning of June 19, and prison authorities have locked the Halls’ doors at this Wing in order to prevent prisoners from protesting.

A source close to the family of a prisoner incarcerated at the Penitentiary stated to HRANA: “Initially, the cutting off of hot water created problems for prisoners, and especially affected older individuals, who have subsequently caught colds or pneumonia due to bathing with that same [cold] water. Additionally, the drinking water supply has been depleted in Wing 5 and the conditions have gotten much worse than before for prisoners.”

Water conditions have never been that good in this Prison [to begin with]. The water supply for bathing is shut off for sometimes 17 to 18 hours a day. Based on the experience of past years, it seems that these shut-offs will become even more intense gradually and as it gets warmer. In the past week, two emergency water faucets have been installed for handwashing. Showers can only be used 4 to 6 hours a day, as a result of which, many prisoners do not get a chance to use the showers for between 2 to 5 months. Prisoners can only use hot water after 12 midnight. Water pressure is also not sufficient, and it is not possible to supply the Prison with adequate amounts of hot water due to persistent problems between the Prison authorities and the Shahriar region Municipality. As the weather has gotten warmer since last week, some days the Prison’s water supply is available for only 2 hours and the water is completely shut off most of the time.

Furthermore, the number of Prisoners infected with the Corona virus at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary is on the rise. 52 prisoners at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 1 have fallen ill with COVID-19. Additionally, a prisoner at the Prison’s Wing 5, Hall 4, has been vomiting blood and showing symptoms similar to those of the Corona virus.

The overcrowding in the Penitentiary has resulted in the spread of contagious illnesses like COVID-19.

The return of prisoners from leave without spending time in quarantine is among the most significant reasons for the spread of the Corona virus in prisons all across the country, and especially in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.

HRANA had previously addressed the health and hygiene conditions at this Prison in a comprehensive report. There is an infirmary in each wing of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, but the prisoners are deprived of access to a doctor or a nurse most of the day, and only a single prisoner (with or without any specialty) has been selected as the person in charge of the infirmary. Every few days, three prisoners are chosen from among individuals in a twenty-person cell to go to the infirmary, and even these people, [as few in numbers as they are], get minimal examination by the doctor or the nurse and are simply given a pill by the person in charge of the infirmary before they are taken back to the ward.

Prisoners suffering from illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis are kept in a separate cell in Wards 1 and 2 of Wing 2, without being given any special privileges or facilities, especially during the spread of the Corona virus, and they use the same toilets and showers as the rest of the prison population. This can put these individuals’ lives at greater risk compared to other prisoners.

Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to extra 15 years of imprisonment despite being acquitted

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020

Saba Kord Afshari, a civil activist who is currently imprisoned in Evin Prison, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for “promoting corruption”, a charge of which she was previously acquitted. Her lawyer has expressed his concerns regarding her acquittal which was communicated to her in prison, emphasizing the unlawful proceedings of her case. Should this error in judgment fail to be remedied Ms. Kord Afshari, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence can face up to 24 years of imprisonment in total.

According to HRANA Saba Kord Afshari, a civil activist imprisoned in Evin Prison was informed of her acquittal from a 15-year sentenced on the charge of “spreading corruption”. Hossein Taj, Ms. Kord Afshari’s lawyer states: “On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Saba Kord Afshari contacted me from Evin Prison and informed me that she was informed of re-announcement of her previous sentence of 15 years, from which she was acquitted in the appeals court. According to her, this was done through a letter issued by the execution division, although I was informed of her acquittal in person following her court at Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal. I was informed today that the content of her verdict of the appeals court (from which she was acquitted) has changed, and I intend to follow up with the intelligence department of the Judiciary system.”

Ms. Kord Afshari received this new verdict after she was issued an acquittal in writing on March 17, 2018, by the Evin Prosecutor’s Office on the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public.” On May 26, 2020, she received another notice by the Ershad Prosecutor’s Office in which she is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public” 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment for “propaganda against the regime.” As well as “assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security.”

 

Arrest

Saba Kord Afshari was arrested for the first time on August 2, 2018, alongside 50 others, during a series of protests that occurred July-August 2018 against the deterioration of Iran’s economy as well as the corruption within the government. She was first transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and later, in October 2018, to Evin prison’s women’s ward. In August 2018, she was sentenced to one year in prison on the charge of “disrupting the public order” at Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by Judge Moghiseh. She was released on 14 February 2019 when Iran’s Supreme Leader pardoned a large number of prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

On June 2, 2019, Ms. Kord Afshari was rearrested by security forces at her home and was transferred to the Vozara Detention Center in Tehran. Her house was searched during this raid, and several items of her personal belongings including her mobile phone and laptop were also confiscated. This civil activist was charged only one day after her arrest in Branch 1 of the General and Revolutionary Court of Tehran’s 21st District Court (Ershad Prosecutor’s Office) and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin for interrogation for 11 days, on June 21st she was transferred from Qarchak to the IRGC Intelligence center of Evin Prison’s Ward 2-A and was once again returned to Qarchak Prison on July 2, 2019.

 

Trial

Saba Kord Afshari was transferred to Evin Prison on August 13, 2019, and her trial was held on August 19, 2018. Finally, on September 26, 2019, she was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. Her sentences included 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public” 1 year and 6 months in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state” and 7 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of ” assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security”, which adds up to a total of 24 years in prison along with other social deprivations. Due to the number of crimes and previous records, each charge was added by one-half. This sentence was reduced to nine years in prison in December 2019 at Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ahmad Zargar.

In accordance with Court of Appeals, Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and 7 years and 6 months in prison on charges of ” assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against national security.”Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Ms. Kord Afshari should serve 7 years and six months in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion to commit a crime against the security of the country”. Hossein Taj, Ms. Kord Afshari’s lawyer, has previously stated: “The Court of Appeals acquitted Saba Kordafsari of a part of her charges and as a result, her sentence was reduced to 9 years, 7.5 of which are imposable by law. We also remain hopeful that the Judiciary system mitigates the sentences of Ms. Kord Afshari and other political prisoners.” Now, if the penal system fails to correct their violations, Ms. Kord Afshari, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Evin Prison, could face up to 24 years in prison.

It should be noted that Raheleh Ahmadi, a civil activist and Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, is also serving a 31-month prison term at Evin Prison alongside her daughter.

Saba Kord Afshari was born on July 7, 1998.

Soheil Arabi’s letter from prison

Posted on: May 30th, 2020

Soheil Arabi was on hunger strike for a month protesting prison conditions and denied medical treatment. He finished serving his 7 years imprisonment sentence when another case was opened for him and he was sentenced to another 8 years of imprisonment. He ended his hunger strike and wrote an open letter about his conditions and questioned prison’s budgets which was not spent on prisoners’ medical needs. He needs medical treatment for his deteriorating health conditions which part of it was caused by torture in prison.

 

Letter

In his open letter, he said “thanks to your support, my voice is heard. Some of the unresolved points in my case are clear and my treatments have started. Of course, the hunger strike is the last way to achieve our legal demands and now, with your efforts and support, the conditions are better. Although I still can’t eat or drink nothing but water with a little sugar and salt after the surgery, I want to draw our attention to more important issues. For example, what happened to 2.5 billion Tomans as the budget of the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary? What is the reason behind budget deficit and who is responsible for the embezzlement?  Why this prison owes 1.8 billion Tomans to the hospital? How did meat disappear from prisoners’ meals during the three years of Ali Chaharmahali serving as the prison manager? What happened to the budget that was supposed to be spent on purchasing fresh vegetables and dairy for the prisoners, but prisoners don’t get to eat fresh vegetables and dairy, like meat, health care, and oil rigs that were disappeared! And finally, why stuff disappear in this country?  How do so many glass pipes are smuggled into the prison and there is no control over drugs smuggling into the prison? Why did the IRIB reporter refuse to drink the prison’s water while reporting from the prison?  How do you expect the prisoners to stay healthy under these conditions? For now, respecting the will of my mother and my friends who are worried about my conditions, I break my hunger strike and continue the treatment.

 

Background

Soheil Arabi was transferred to Imam Khomeini Hospital on March 18, 2020, but because the hospital refused to admit him, he was returned to the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. It was said that the reason the hospital refused to admit him was that the Prison Organizations owes money to this hospital and the Great Tehran Central Penitentiary is not covering the medical charges. He was earlier transferred to the IRGC Intelligence Office’s detention center on April 14, 2020, but was returned to the Greater Tehran Central penitentiary on April 19, 2020.

Soheil Arabi left the ward on April 22, 2020, and was transferred to the detention center of a security organization in Tehran and a few days later, because of his severe health conditions that occurred during interrogations, ileus and stomach bleedings, was transferred from the IRGC intelligence office’s detention center to the hospital and underwent surgery. On April 28, 2020, because of severe pain, Mr. Arabi was transferred to Firouzabadi Hospital in Tehran but because there was no prior coordination and because there was no empty bed in the hospital, he was released after a preliminary visit and was returned to the prison. He was eventually returned to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary on April 29, 2020, without completing the treatment.

Mr. Arabi was also denied transfer to the hospital in November 2019 after he refused to wear a prison uniform, handcuffs, and foot shackles. Also, earlier last year, Mr. Arabi was taken to a security organization’s detention center and was interrogated with beating. Because of beatings, he was severely injured in his testicles and experience Blunt trauma. He has been suffering from the pain of this injury because of the negligence of the prison officials and not receive any kind of medical attention. Also, in contrast to the prison laws, he was told that he has to pay for the surgery of Blunt Trauma that is 60 million Tomans although, according to protocol issued by the Prison Organization, this organization is responsible for medical treatment of its prisoners.

Soheil Arabi was arrested and imprisoned on November 7, 2013, and has been denied furlough throughout the time he is serving his sentence. He is serving a 7 and a half years of the sentence in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. However, for two new cases that are recently opened against him in the prison, he was sentenced to imprisonment, exile, and paying fines by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. In the first case, Mr. Arabi was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the religious beliefs, propaganda against the state and insulting the Supreme Leader” and for the other case “ distributing lies with intent to disturb public opinion and propaganda against the state” was sentenced to two years imprisonment, two years exile to Borazjan, and four million Tomans fine and for the charge of “damaging governmental assets” was sentenced to one year and eight months of imprisonment.  He is set to be released in May 2025.

November protesters sentences; execution, imprisonment, and lashes

Posted on: April 9th, 2020

The nationwide 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, hundreds died on the streets, and many protesters got gunshot wounds. HRANA has earlier published reports about the sentences of some of the arrestees of the late November Protests. The following is an update on the sentences and conditions of several individuals who were arrested during the last November’s protests:

 

1. Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Mojgan Eskandari: Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati on February 19, 2020, sentenced Amir Hossein Moradi to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 15 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi: they were each sentenced to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 10 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

The reason for sentencing Mr. Moradi to execution was mentioned as instructing protesters, the leadership of the protests, and armed fight with the agents. He was accused of instructing protesters on Telegram to seize the camera while the security agents are filming protesters to protect protesters’ identities.

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

3. Mohammad Eghbali Golhin was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, 74 lashes, and one-year exile to Rask by Branch 10 of Shahriar’s Criminal Court on February 16, 2020. He was sentenced to ten years for vandalism and one year for the charge of “disrupting the 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, 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 and 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.

5. Mohammad Hejazifar was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the charges of “assembly and collusion” and “insulting the President” by Branch 10 of Malard’s Criminal Court and Shahriar’s Revolutionary Court. He was arrested on November 23, 2019, by the security forces of Islamshahr and was transferred to a detention center that belongs to a security organization. After a while, he was again transferred to the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. Mr. Hejazifar, 35 years old, is studying business at Islamshahr University and working in a publishing store. His 33 years old brother, Omid Hejazifar, is still in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary and his status is unknown.

6. Mojgan Eskandari, a political prisoner of Qarchak Prison, was sentenced to three years in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion” by Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati on February 19, 2020. She was arrested on December 10, 2019. She is in the same case as Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi who were sentenced to death, imprisonment, and lashes. Ms. Eskandari is 51 years old and is now in ward 1 (Mothers ward) of Qarchak Prison in Varamin. Ms. Eskandari said that she met Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi during the protests, and they were arrested after that. Eventually, Mojgan Eskandari along with Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Shima (unknown family name) were tried for the same case. Shima (unknown family name) was released on bail. They were tried on 25-26 January 2020 presided by Judge Abolghasem Salavati.

7. Samira Hadian, a political prisoner, was sentenced to eight years in prison by Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Iman Afshari. Some of her charges are: “assembly and collusion”, insulting agents”, and “disobeying governmental agents’ orders”. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that she should serve five years in prison. She was arrested on November 21, 2019, and was transferred from a detention center that belongs to a security organization to Qarchak Prison on December 1, 2019. She is now in ward 1 (mothers’ ward) of Qarchak Prison.

8. Melika Gharagozlou, student of journalism at Allameh Tabatabaei University, was sentenced to a six-month prison term for the charge of “assembly and collusion against the national security” on February 26, 2020, by Branch 29 of the Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Mazloum. She was arrested on November 17, 2019. and was released on a 60 million Tomans bail on December 1, 2019.

9. Maryam Alishahi and her son, Mahyar Mansouri were arrested on November 16, 2019. Branch 36 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Mohammadreza Amozadeh sentenced Ms. Alishahi to nine years in prison and Mr. Mansouri to six years in prison. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that they should each serve five years in prison. On February 25, 2020, they requested an appeal and their case was transferred to Branch 36 of Tehran’s appeals court presided by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar. The details of their sentences are as follows:

Maryam Alishahi was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, two years of imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, one-year imprisonment for the charge of “propaganda against the state”, and one year in prison for the charge of “disturbing public order”. Mahyar Mansouri was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “propaganda against the state”.

It should be noted that Mahyar Mansouri was released on 300 million Tomans bail. Maryam Alishahi was transferred from a detention center that belongs to a security organization to Qarchak Prison on December 1, 2019. She is now in ward 1 (mothers’ ward) of Qarchak Prison.

10. The Branch 101 of Urmia’s criminal court headed by Judge Hamid Golinejad sentenced Ali Azizi, Amin Zare, Salar Taher Afshar, Ilyar Hosseinzadeh, and Yasin Hasanpour, to pay one and half million Tomans fine instead of eight months imprisonment and 20 lashes. This sentence is suspended for three years for Keyvan Pashaei, Amin Zare, and Salar Taher Afshar. They were charged with “disturbing public order through attending protests”.

11. Milad Arsanjani, 32 years old, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. One of his accusations is housing a person who was injured during the November 2019 protests and staying with him during his treatment. He was arrested in Shahriar and was transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary after interrogations.

12. Ali Bikas, 32 years old, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and three months service in Basij militia (as a completing sentence) by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on March 16, 2020. Mr. Bikas was charged with “assembly and collusion”, “disturbing public order”, and “shouting”. He is in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary and started a hunger strike after receiving his sentence and said, “I was only protesting and did not commit a crime”.

13. On March 1, 2020, Fatemeh Kohanzadeh was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and 50 lashes (both suspended for two years) and two years public service in a hospital (as a completing sentence) by Branch 1 of Karaj’s Revolutionary Court. She was sentenced to one year in prison for the charge of “propaganda against the state for enemy groups” and six months imprisonment and 50 lashes for the charge of “disturbing the public order”. Ms. Kohanzadeh was arrested on December 26, 2019, during the commemoration ceremony held 40 days after the killing of Pouya Bakhtiari, one of the victims of last November’s protests. She was arrested at Behesht Sakineh cemetery and was transferred to Kachoui Prison in Karaj. She is married and has two children.

14. On March 16, 2020, Pardis Criminal Court sentenced Sajad Salarvand to one-year imprisonment and three months of bathing deceased people’s bodies (as a completing sentence). He was charged with “establishing a community with an intention to act against the national security” and “disturbing the public order”. He was arrested on November 16, 2020, in Bumehen and was transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary after interrogations in Evin Prison. He was reportedly severely beaten during interrogations.

15. Kermanshah Revolutionary Court sentenced Amin Kaseb to two years imprisonment for the charge of “promoting an opposition Kurd party”. He was arrested during November 2019 protests in Javanrud and was released on 200 million Tomans bail on December 22, 2019.

16. On March 3, 2020, Branch 24 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced 28 years old, Mehdi Vahidi, to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. This sentence was reduced to four years and four months after he accepted it and did not request an appeal. He was identified by CCTV and was arrested on November 23, 2019, by the IRGC forces at his parents’ house in Andisheh New Town. He was transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary after 34 days of interrogations.

17. Abolfazl Nejadfath, was sentenced to six years imprisonment. Mr.Nejatfath was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion” and one-year prison term for the charge of “propaganda against the state”. According to Article 134, he should spend five years in prison. He is the anthropology student at Tehran University and was arrested during November 2019 nationwide protests and was released on 200 million Tomans bail on December 18, 2020. Mr. Nejadfath trial was on February 2, 2020, at Branch 29 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

18. On March 15, 2020, Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Hamid Khosropoor to one-year imprisonment and three months public service in deprived areas (as a completing sentence) for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. He was arrested on December 2, 2019, in Tehran and was transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary after completion of interrogations in Evin Prison. He was reportedly severely beaten and tortured during interrogations by IRGC such as denailing which caused him speech disorder (stuttering) and shaking hand disorders. He was born in 1973, married and has two kids. He has been working at Refah Bank for 20 years.

19. On March 3, 2020, Maliheh Jafari was sentenced to six months imprisonment and hand-copying religious books and public service (as a completing sentence) for the charge of “assembly and collusion with the intent of acting against the national security”. Her completing sentence is a two-months public service under the supervision of women’s social-cultural committee, 90 pages handwritten research about Islamic veil and its effects, and hand copying three religious books. Ms. Jafari was arrested on November 18, 2019, and was released on bail on December 1, 2019.

20. On January 22, 2020, Mehdi Bagheri, 20 years old, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion” by Branch 24 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. He requested appeal but his appeals court is not scheduled yet. His trial was on January 2, 2020. According to an informed source, during his trial, Judge Mohammadreza Amoozadeh asked about his personal information and then send him out of the court and when Mr.Bagheri wanted to defend himself he was told that “all of you should be executed”. He was identified by CCTV and was arrested by the IRGC forces at his parents’ house in Tehran. He was transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary after interrogations.

21. Branch 101 of Shiraz Revolutionary Court sentences six detained minors protesters to 468 lashes, combined, and public services (as a completing sentence). Their names and sentences are as followings:

Mohammad Reza Heydari was sentenced to 400 hours of public service in Shiraz municipality. One-fourth of this sentence will be reduced because he accepted his sentence and did not request an appeal.

Jabar Fioji and Ali Akbarnejad were sentenced to three months imprisonment and 74 lashes each for “disturbing public order” and 80 lashes for drinking alcoholic drinks. Their sentences are suspended for two years.

Reza Akbarnejad and Salar Fioji were sentenced to pay 500 thousand Tomans fine for “disturbing public order” and 80 lashes for drinking alcoholic beverages each.

Their trial was without the presence of their lawyers.

 

Complementary sentence

In the past few months, the political prisoners (especially protesters of November 2019 and January 2020’s protests) are receiving unusual complementary penalties on top of their imprisonment sentences. Sentences such as bathing a dead person’s body, hand-copying Quran, serving in Basij militia group, reading books about killed soldiers in Syria, reading about hijab, and researching about United States of America’s crimes are some of the complementary sentences that have been issued to the political prisoners.

Complementary penalties are additions to the main sentence. Based on the law, they are not necessary and are added based on the judge’s decision.

Only under these conditions, a judge can issue complementary penalties: convict was sentenced to fine more than two million Tomans, the convict was sentenced to more than 31 lashes, and the convict was sentenced to execution.

Complementary and Consequential Punishments

Article 23– Considering the requirements provided in this law and proportionate to the committed crime and character of the offender, the court can sentence a person who has been sentenced to haddqisas, or ta’zir punishments from sixth to first degree, to one or more punishment(s) from the following complementary punishments:

Compulsory residence in a specified place

Ban from residing in (a) specified place(s)

Ban from holding a specified profession, career or job

Dismissal from governmental and public offices

Ban from driving or operating motor vehicles

Ban from having a checkbook or drawing commercial bills

Ban from carrying a gun

(h)   Ban from leaving the country for Iranian citizens

(i)     Deportation of foreign nationals

(j)     Providing public services

(k)   Ban from membership of political or social parties and groups

(l)     Seizure of the means for commission of the offense or the media or organization involved in commission of the offense

(m)     Compulsory learning of a specified profession, career, or job

(n)       Compulsory education

(o)       Publication of the final judgment

Note 1- The complementary punishment shall not exceed more than two years unless otherwise provided by law.

Note 2- If the complementary punishment and main punishment are of the same type, only the main punishment shall be given.

Note 3- The regulations of the conditions of execution of complementary punishments shall be prepared by the Minister of Justice and approved by the Head of Judiciary within six months after this law is enforceable.

Earlier complementary penalties were used to sentence political prisoners to travel ban, exile, ban from membership in political groups.

Samaneh Norouz Moradi returned to prison

Posted on: April 8th, 2020

Samaneh Norouz Moradi, a political prisoner, returned to Evin Prison on April 5, 2020. Ms. Norouzi is suffering from Lupus and breast infection. Even a doctor prescribed her mastectomy which has not been performed yet. She was granted furlough on March 18, 2020. Her request to extend her furlough was not accepted by Amin Vaziri, the special assistant of the prosecutor regarding political prisoners.

Ms. Moradi was arrested in August 2018 for supporting an opposition group through the internet and was released on bail after two weeks. Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced her to 8 years imprisonment which was reduced to three years and nine months after she accepted the court’s verdict and did not request an appeal. On April 24, 2019, she was rearrested and transferred to Evin Prison to serve her sentence.

A report on Sunni prisoners of Rajai Shahr Prison

Posted on: April 8th, 2020

31 Sunni prisoners are detained in ward 7 of hall 21 of Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj in an unfavorable condition. This report that is gathered by Human Rights Activists (HRANA) examines the conditions in Rajai Shahr Prison and as well, the condition of 31 Sunni political prisoners who were kept in this prison. The information of this report was gathered from the sources inside the prison. Several prisoners contacted HRANA while incarcerated in Rajai Shahr Prison or after they were released.

Prison conditions

Lack of hygiene products and sanitary necessities in the prison during the Coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns among these prisoners. Some of these prisoners, who are serving their rather long imprisonment sentences in exile, suffer from various illnesses such as shortness of breath, neck and knee arthritis, and herniated disc. As a result of the location of this hall and high humidity in the ward, the majority of the prisoners suffer from respiratory diseases. Also, unsafe and unpurified drinking-water caused kidney problems such as kidney stones for many of these prisoners. Moreover, malnutrition has weakened them physically. In addition, many of these prisoners suffer from psychiatric disorders as a result of the tortures they endured during their interrogation or detentions.

 

Other issues

In addition, most of these prisoners were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj from different towns across Iran, thus, long distances and the costs of transportation to and from their towns has led to fewer family visits for these prisoners.

In recent years, these prisoners have been subject to attacks and violent searches that led to the destruction of their belongings. In the latest attack on February 6, 2019, the security forces including the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and more than 200 of the prison guards attacked ward 7 of hall 21 of this prison, confiscated and distracted belongings of these prisoners, and beat several of these prisoners.

 

31 Sunni prisoners of Rajai Shahr Prison

There are 31 Sunni prisoners with political or security charges in this prison. The latest list of the names of these prisoners and their health condition is complied by HRANA as follows:

 

1.Teymour Naderizadeh – arrest: June 2010 – charges: membership and collaboration with Salafi groups – sentence: 12 years of imprisonment – notes: he was first sentenced to death but after three years, his sentence was reduced to 12 years imprisonment.

2.Saeed Karimi – charges: membership in ISIS, act against the national security, waging war against God (Moharebeh) – sentence: death – health condition: he suffers from Diabetes and shortness of breath – notes: he left the country for a while and was allegedly joined the ISIS but returned and was arrested after two months.

3.Barzan Nasrollahzadeh – arrest: June 2010 – charges: waging war against God (Moharebeh) – sentence: death – health condition: he suffers from kidney stones, gastrointestinal discomfort, and herniated disc. He is physically very weak because of missing spleen – notes: when he was 17 years old, he was arrested by the security forces on the back from school. He was shot 5 times at the time of arrest in which he lost his spleen.

4.Abdolrahman Sangani – arrest: 2010 – charges: waging war against God (Moharebeh) through supporting Salafi groups – sentence: he was initially sentenced to death but his sentence was reduced to life in prison – health condition: he suffers from respiratory disease and due to a severe infection of his eye, he has lost vision in one of his eyes. Also, due to an accident before being arrested, half of his body is numb.

5.Hamzeh Darvish – arrest: 2016 – charges: waging war against God (Moharebeh) through membership in ISIS and leaving the country illegally – sentence: 15 years imprisonment – health condition: he takes psychiatric medication due to psychiatric conditions.

6.Abdollah Shariati – arrest: July 2011 – charges: waging war against God (Moharebeh) through membership in an opposition group – sentence: 10 years imprisonment – health condition: has undergone two operation on his neck discs and suffers from asthma and herniated disc.

7.Farshid Naseri – arrest: 2010 – charges: membership and collaboration with a Salafi group – sentence: 12 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from herniated disc and arthritis in the knee and the neck.

8.Firouz Hamidi – arrest: 2010 – charges: charges: waging war against God (Moharebeh) through membership in a Salafi group – sentence: 20 years imprisonment – health condition: he lost a kidney. He suffers from shortness of breath and stomach disease, so he is physically weak, and he only weighs 45 Kg.

9.Khosro Besharat – arrest: January 2010 – charges: involvement in assasination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina, membership in a Salafi group, corruption on earth, act against the national security and propaganda against the state – sentence: death – health condition: he suffers from psychiatric diseases but the prison authorities refuse to provide him with his medications.

10.Farzad Shahnazari – arrest: 2010 – charges: membership and collaboration with a Salafi group – sentence: 12 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from a heart condition, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal discomfort.

11.Borhan Asgharian – arrest: 2012 – charges: act against the national security and waging war against God (Moharebeh) through membership in a Salafi group – sentence: 10 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from herniated disc and in need of a surgery.

12.Tohid Ghoreishi – arrest: April 2014 – charges: assembly and collusion with an intent to act against the national security, supporting opposition groups, and propaganda against the state – sentence: 16 years imprisonment – notes: he was previously sentenced to 5 years imprisonment which was completed in March 2019 but when he was expecting to be released, a new case was opened for him and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

13.Abdoljabbar Hasani – arrest: 2012 – charges: acting against the national security and waging war against God (Moharebeh) through membership in a Salafi group – sentence: 10 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from neck arthritis and kidney stone.

14.Foad Babaei – arrest: 2012 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 10 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from herniated discs and vision of one of his eyes is severely distorted.

15.Mokhtar Kakaei – arrest: 2014 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 15 years imprisonment – health condition: because of he was severely hit in his head during interrogation, he is having difficulty in his hearings in both ears. He also suffers from foot ache.

16.Abdolaziz Pirabi – arrest: 2016 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 15 years imprisonment – health condition: he suffers from severe headaches and has fainted several times.

17.Omid Sotoudeh – arrest: 2016 – charges: cooperation with ISIS – sentence: 15 years imprisonment.

18.Ahmad Anjezari – arrest: 2014 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 15 years imprisonment

19.Adnan Hosseini – arrest: 2016 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 15 years imprisonment – notes: he was a store owner at Paveh Border Market before being arrested.

20.Yasin Abbas Joubi – arrest: 2014 – his charges and details of his case are not known – sentence: 15 years imprisonment.

21.Kamran Sheikheh – arrest: January 2011 – charges: involvement in assassination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina, membership in Salafi groups, corruption on earth, act against the national security, and propaganda against the state – sentence: death.

22.Farhad Salimi – arrest: January 2011 – charges: involvement in assassination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina, membership in Salafi groups, corruption on earth, act against the national security, and propaganda against the state – sentence: death.

23.Anvar Khezri – arrest: January 2011 – charges: involvement in assassination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina, membership in Salafi groups, corruption on earth, act against the national security, and propaganda against the state – sentence: death – health condition: he suffers from respiratory diseased due to tortures during his detention. The physicians believe that his condition is because he was hit hard on his chest.

24.Ayoub Karimi – arrest: January 2011 – charges: involvement in assassination of Mamusta Abdolrahim Tina, membership in Salafi groups, corruption on earth, act against the national security, and propaganda against the state – sentence: death.

25.Ali Mafakheri – arrest: 2014 – charges: leaving the country illegally and act against the national security – sentence: 1o years imprisonment – notes: his sentence was initially rejected by the Supreme Court but was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by judge Salavati.

26.Ismaeil Rashidi – arrest: August 2016 – charge: act against the national security (unknown details) – sentence: 5 years imprisonment.

27.Hossein Palani – arrest: 2016 – charge: cooperation with ISIS – notes: he has been in a limo state from the time of his arrest. The first and only session to investigate his charges was held five months ago. He and Ahmad Abdolrahman used to sell foreign currencies (Dollars) before being arrested.

28.Yasin Mahmoudian – arrest: 2017 – charges: membership and cooperation with ISIS and waging war against God (Moharebeh) – sentence: death – notes: he was arrested at his residence after the armed attack to the Parliament. He was charged with providing a vehicle for the attackers to the Parliament.

29.Fereidoun Zakeri Nasab – arrest: 2017 – charges: membership and cooperation with ISIS and waging war against God (Moharebeh) – sentence: death – notes: he was arrested at his residence after the armed attack to the Parliament. He was charged with providing a vehicle for the attackers to the Parliament.

30.Mohammad Abdolrahman – arrest: 2014 – charges: leaving the country illegally and act against the national security – sentence: 10 years imprisonment – notes: he is a citizen of Iraq. He claimed that he traveled to Iran to meet his friend, Ali Mafakheri. He was a construction worker before being arrested. Three years ago, the authorities promised to release him earlier, but he has not yet been released.

31.Ahmad Abdolrahman – arrest: 2016 – charge: cooperation with ISIS – notes: he is a citizen of Iraq. He has been in a limo state since he was arrested. The first and only session to investigate his charges was held five months ago. He and Hossein Palani used to sell foreign currencies (Dollars) before being arrested.