Ardabil Prisoner Hanged to Death

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Twenty-seven-year-old Meysam Saber, a prisoner in the Health Ward of Ardabil Prison, was executed in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 21, 2018.

Saber had been detained on murder charges since 2013. He was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on the eve of his execution.

Saber was the subject of a HRANA report on prisoner abuse last year when he was chained to the bars of the Quarantine Ward for 24 straight hours for complaining about mistreatment by prison guards.

By carrying out Saber’s hanging in silence, authorities — particularly the Judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of prisoner sentencing and executions, in spite of their responsibilities of informing the public.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. On the World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10th), the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) published its annual report, indicating that at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Urmia Prisoners of Conscience End Weeklong Hunger Strike

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – A mass hunger strike of Urmia Central prisoners of conscience ended on its fifth day after prison authorities engaged to addressing prisoner complaints of rampant abuse.

Strikes were underway as of October 16th, when prisoners launched a protest against a violent raid of the Political Ward (Ward 12) by special forces that left a number of prisoners wounded.

Divided between Ward 12 and the Youth Ward’s prisoners of conscience, protesters declared that the restoration of their legal rights would put an end to the strike.

In a recently-issued statement, strikers asked inmates’ families to appear at the front gate of Urmia Central on October 21st to demand justice for those inside. The statement impelled the head of the prison to invite groups of strikers for a sit-down in the prosecutor’s’ office– an invitation they declined, a close source said.

During the hunger strike, at least one prisoner, Habib Amini, was sent to the prison clinic for treatment following a decline in his health.

Below is a translation of the aforementioned statement. Its signatories asked to remain anonymous. :

“Pursuant to the hunger strike of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at Urmia Central Prison that began October 16, 2018, the families of these and other prisoners are asked to appear before the Central Prison of Urmia on Sunday, October 21st to demand restoration of the legal and Shari’a-granted rights of their children, in a show of support for their legal and judicial demands.

This protest is a declaration of dissent with the extraordinary oppression and discrimination faced by prisoners and their families in this city. In a state of material and psychological insecurity, prisoners here live under surmounting pressures. We hope that officials have the compassion to reduce this targeted oppression.

Finally, we ask that all sensible minds be moved by this news, and react with the same power they displayed over the three recently executed Kurdish political prisoners and the missile offensive on Kurdistan.”

*

The Ward-12 raid occurred on the evening of October 15th, when political prisoners came to the defense of one of their comrades who had been physically assaulted for arguing with prison personnel. In response to their objections, authorities and special forces, numbering more than 50 and armed with with batons, tasers, and tear gas, stormed the political ward and laid into the inmates there. That same night, authorities assaulted and injured a number of prisoners of conscience in the Youth Ward.

Kamal Hassan Ramazan, Ahmad Tamooie, Osman Mostafapour, and Touraj Esmaili were among the first prisoners beaten in response to their objections of a group assault on their wardmate Hamid Rahimi. Personnel identified only as “Eskandar” and “Rezaie” reportedly commandeered additional Urmia prisoners to deal blows to the four men, breaking bones and teeth, and cutting one of them with a sharp object.

Ramezan, Tamoo’i, Mostafapoor, and two more Ward-12 bystanders, Hassan Rastegari and Kamran Darvishi, were among those injured in the onslaught that followed. The latter two were transferred to solitary confinement; Rastegari has since been returned to Ward 12. “Hassan Rastegari was badly bruised all over,” the source said, adding that prison authorities then sicced fellow prisoners on political detainees for a second time.

Urmia Central Prison authorities have a history of ruling my corporal punishment. On October 8, 2018, prisoner Morteza Zohrali’s right arm was broken in a beating by prison officials; On September 23rd, Youth Ward inmate Javad “Arash” Shirzad was sent to an outside hospital for treatment of a concussion sustained at the hands of “Bayramzadeh,” the prison’s internal director; in July, Saeed Seyed Abbasi was beaten and sent to solitary confinement without treatment of his injuries, all for arriving late to the prison yard for recreation time; and in May, according to HRANA reports, prisoner Saeed Nouri, a former IRGC lieutenant, was beaten by two personnel in the internal director’s office.

Reports indicate that political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience are more vulnerable than others to the gamut of inmate abuses. HRANA previously reported on a September 18th raid on Ward 12 by special forces, where guards pilfered and destroyed the prisoners’ personal belongings, including food they had purchased themselves.

Zahedan Prisoner Attempts Pill Overdose

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the morning of October 20, 2018, Zahedan prisoner Saeed Baravi, 26, attempted a pill overdose after authorities refused to address alleged mistreatment of his family by Zahedan personnel.

An unconscious Baravi was transferred to the prison clinic after ingesting the pills.

An informed source told HRANA that Baravi’s family had been met with verbal aggression when they pressed the supervising judge for an update on his request for furlough.

“The judge’s secretary Mr. Nouri insulted the family and had them removed from the office,” the source said. “Mr. Baravi then met with Mr. Khosravi, the Zahedan prison director, to deliver a letter objecting to the secretary’s conduct.”

Baravi has been serving a 15-year sentence on drug-related charges since 2016.

Multiple inmate suicides have been attributed to Zahedan prison’s oppressive and unhygienic living conditions, not least of which include patterns of abuse and neglect by prison authorities. Anguished by authorities’ continued neglect of his case, death-row prisoner Saeed Saberi completed suicide by pill overdose in mid-August of this year when he saw his name removed from a list of prisoners scheduled for a sit-down with the prison prosecutor. On August 5th, 42-year-old Mansour Mohammad Zehi, also on death row, took his own life by swallowing razor blades, having claimed that prison personnel had confiscated his dieh, or “blood money” [a price set by families of murder victims by which some defendants can buy their way out of a death sentence]. In May, HRANA reported on the suicide of Mehdi Kouhkan, who had reportedly been distressed by a transfer order to the quarantine section.

Zahedan Prison is located on the southeastern border city of Zahedan.

Bandar Abbas Authorities Break Fingers of Prisoner Pleading for Furlough

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- A Bandar Abbas prisoner has been held in a solitary cell incommunicado since authorities assaulted him October 11, 2018, breaking two fingers on his right hand.

Prison authorities reportedly struck the victim Mohammad Hajizadeh after his visit to the prison social assistance office, where he was protesting the prison’s continued denial of his furlough requests.

A close source told HRANA that Hajizadeh was still yowling in pain long after the assault, adding that his transfer to solitary confinement was likely the prison’s way of blocking attempts to obtain any evidence of the injury that could substantiate a formal complaint.

Hajizadeh, 41, is a married father of one. He has been serving a prison sentence on drug-related charges since 2016.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sloganeered against civil rights repressions, publishing a Civil Rights Charter and verbally pushing for the comprehensive implementation of its provisions. Article 64 of the charter reads, “anyone arrested, convicted, or imprisoned is entitled to their civil rights, including proper nutrition, clothing, health and medical care, educational and cultural services, religious worship and practices.” Thus far, though, Rouhani’s rhetoric has yet to materialize into concrete initiatives.

Bandar Abbas Prison is located in Bandar Abbas on Iran’s southern coast.

Zahedan Prisoner Hanged to Death

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Thirty-one-year-old Mehdi Mirshekar from Zabol, eastern Iran was executed on the morning of Saturday, October 20, 2018.

A prisoner of Zahedan’s Ward 7, Mirshekar had been in prison for six years on a rape charge. Per protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent, he was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on the evening of Monday, October 15th.

By carrying out this hanging in silence, authorities — particularly the Judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of prisoner sentencing and executions, in spite of their responsibilities of informing the public.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. On the World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10th), the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) published its annual report, indicating that at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Civil Activists Petition for Political Prisoner Payam Shakiba

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Dozens of civil activists issued a statement October 18th advocating for due process in the case of political prisoner Payam Shakiba.

Held in Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj since his arrest in February 2018, Shakiba was sentenced to 11 years in prison by Judge Ahmadzadeh. The sentence was later upheld in an appeals court.

Shakiba is a former member of the University of Zanjan’s Islamic Student Association, and prior to his persecution by authorities was a graduate student of political science at Allameh Tabatabai University.

The full text of the activists’ statement, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

Payam Shakiba, a former member of the Islamic Student Association at the University of Zanjan, was first arrested in July 2008 along with several other students protesting against the [sexual] assault of a female student by a university vice-president. All of the protesters were convicted. Payam was released on bail after 40 days and sentenced one year later to a year in prison.

Upon completion of his compulsory military service, he was hired as a teacher in September 2010 at a semi-private school in Tehran. In November of that year, he went to prison to serve his sentence. After his release, the Ministry of Education halted his employment proceedings.

Mr. Shakiba passed the entrance exam for master’s programs in applied science at both a public institution and Azad University. However, the public university barred him from enrolling in the program, given his status as a “starred” student [i.e. a student whose file is marked with an asterisk to indicate previous disciplinary action for political activity]. He had no choice but to enroll in the Sciences and Research Branch at Azad University. In the final days of his first semester, however, he was expelled and banned from returning to his studies.

Payam, however, didn’t stop there: he took the entrance exam again in 2013 and was accepted to the political science program at Allameh Tabatabai University. He had spent years in the meantime earning his living in industrial workshops.

Payam Shakiba was arrested for a second time on February 19, 2017, on charges of “acting against national security by assembling and colluding against the regime.” After a search of his workplace in the industrial park of Golgoun, in Shahriar, he was transferred to solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Intelligence. During this time he was denied access to a lawyer or visitation from family members. When his interrogation period had finished, he was illegally exiled to Rajai Shahr prison where he spent 17 months in legal limbo. It was then that he was faced with a judicial conundrum: first the appeals court informed one of his lawyers that Shakiba’s 11-year sentence had been reduced to six; a week later, another one of his lawyers was summoned to court, where he learned that the 11-year sentence had been upheld, and that the five-year reduction was no longer valid.

A glance at the processing of Mr. Shakiba’s cases, and at his sentence as it stands, reveals a flagrant injustice and lack of due process. What kind of judicial system takes employment opportunity away from a student and future teacher because they protested a sexual assault? In what kind of fair process can an interrogator rule in lieu of a judge to reverse an already-appealed sentence? Why are the basic minimums of amenities and living space withheld from Payam Shakiba and from other political prisoners? Why don’t they have access to adequate hygiene and nutrition, or even to a cooling system in the summer?

It is common knowledge nowadays that these deprivations serve to break a prisoner’s spirit and resolve. Yet as we also know, our grand and unflappable Payam cannot be broken. Anyone close to him knows him as an altogether reasonable, kind, humble, generous person, courageous and defiant in the face of injustice.

We the undersigned protest the illegal arrest and incarceration of this student activist. We consider the trial unfair and believe that his human and civil rights have been disregarded at all stages of the legal process, through the interrogation and investigation to the preliminary and appeals court proceedings.

Blindfolding, solitary confinement, and denial of access to a lawyer are violations of a defendant’s rights. Furthermore, the objectivity of the preliminary trial was compromised by the interference of a Ministry of Intelligence representative. By a flagrant act of interference [by non-judiciary authorities], his sentence was increased on appeal.

As friends, civil activists, and fellow students of Payam Shakiba, we object to his sentence and the unfair process to which he was subjected.

We ask for the immediate, unconditional release of Payam Shakiba so that he may defend himself in a fair trial before a jury. This self-evident legal and human right cannot be denied and ignored for perpetuity.

We ask human rights organizations and activists to carry out their duty, regardless of their political allegiances. The writing off of certain political prisoners is tantamount to abetting the suppression of their voices, and those guilty of it should be held accountable before history.

Ahmad Barani, Ahmad Biglari, Ahmad Jabbari, Ahmad Zahedi Langroudi, Ahmad Mohammadi, Ahmad Madadi, Ahmad Mirzaei, Ahmad Yazdi, Arsalan Beigi, Esmaeil Sarahandi, Asghar Dehghan, Asghar, Bahram Mahmoudi, Abolfazl Samadi, Aboozar Beheshti, Ehsan Rezaei, Ahmad Ebrahimi, Ahmad Barani, Ahmad Biglari, Ahmad Jabbari, Aazam Yari, Afshin Pourjam, Afshin Hyrtyan, Akbar Amini Armaki, Akbar Naseri, Akbar Hashemi, Mohammad Ebrahimi, A. Nasirian, Elham Motalebi, Omid Madani, Amir Bagheri, Anwar Farajzadeh, Ulduz Hashemi, Ivaz Hashemi, Adindeh Beigi, Azar Gilani , Amanj Amini, Avat Razavi, Bahera Alamdari, Bahram Aghdasi, Behzad Delshad, Feshdeh Fereydouni, Bahman Golali, Bahman Nouri, Behnam Farzaneh, Bijan Najafi, Parsa Krmanjyan, Parvaneh Ghasemian, Parvun Tavakoli, Parvin Mohammadi, Parvin Nokhostin, Parisa Sarai, Soraya Ghobadi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Jafar Hosseinzadeh, Javad Lal Mohammad, Jahangir Kas Nzany, Habib Beigi, Hassan Elmi, Hassan Noorzad, Hossein Ramezani Sarajari, Hossein Shah Pari, Hossein Sadeghi, Hossein Mousavi, Hamid Reza Kamayebarf, Hamid Zanganeh, Hamid Shabani, Hamid Shabani, Hamid Azimi, Hamid Noori, Hooria Farajzadeh, Dariush Rezaei, Dariush Faraji, Rahele Farajzadeh Tarani , Raheleh Ghodsi, Rahman Beigi, Rahim Hosniyatabar, Rahim Zakeri, Rahim Shams, Rasoul Heshmati, Reza Ahmadi, Reza Hosseini, Reza Abbasi, Rouhollah Hedayati, Ruzbeh Ekradi, Roshan Hashemi, Romina Mohseni Rajai, Zahra Rahimi, Ziba Omidi, Zainab Sepehri, Zhaleh Rouhzad, Sarah Beheshti, Sarah Siahpour, Sarah Barakat, Saeed Rezaei, Saeed Naimi, Saeedeh Maasoumi, Samaneh Abedini, Sorna Hashemi, Soheil Siri, Soheila Dalwand, Siamak Farid, Siavash Montazeri, Sima Salmani, Simin Javandideh, Sharareh Aram, Shahrzad Ghadiri, Shahnaz Akmali, Shadi Mohammadi Shiva, Ameli Rad, Saber Molaei, Sadegh Rezaie, Sedighe Zeitouni, Soghari Noor, Salah Sorkhi, Taher Hamedi, Tahere Ghobadi, Abed Tavancheh, Aliyeh Aghdoost, Abbas Shahbazi, Abbas Safari, Abdul Rahman Azim, Aziz Qasemzadeh, Esmat Taa Ali Ebrahimi, Ali Ahmadi, Ali Asghar Zolghodar, Ali Bagheri, Ali Rangipour, Ali Zarei, Ali Samad, Ali Azimi, Ali Masoumi, Ali Mirfatah, Alireza Behdarvand, Alireza Firoozi, Alireza Ghadiri, Enayat Vosoughi, Gholamreza Maleki, Gholamreza Hezaveh, Fatehmeh Ahmadi, Faezeh Almasi, Farzin Rezaei Roshan, Forough Sami Nia, Forough Fereydouni, Farhad Salamatkhah, Farideh Moradkhani, Fahimeh Badkoobehi, Kaveh Mozaffari, Kiandokht Nikbakht, Keyvan Rezaei, Laleh Abbasi, Madeh Alavi, Mojtaba Asadi, Majid Hassani, Majid Rahmati, Majid Masoumi, Mahboobeh Farahzadi, Mohsen Omrani, Mohammad Azami, Mohammad Hossein Rafiei, Mohammad Saeed Ahmadi, Mohammad Karim Beigi, M Hamad Karimi, Mohammad Ali Rostami, Mahmoud Didani, Mahmoud Mojdehi, Morteza Asadi, Morteza Nazari, Marzieh Dorood, Marzieh Mahmoudi, Maryam Haghighi, Maryam Mohammadi, Masoud Hosseini, Masoud Heydariyan, Masoud Saki, Masoud Kouhi, Masoud Hashemi, Masoumeh Dehghan, Mansour Soleimani , Mansoureh Farahzadi, Manijeh Foruzandeh, Mehdi Rahmati, Mehdi Arabshahi, Mehrnoush Heidarzadeh, Mahshid Rouhani, Milad Janat, Minoo Keykhosrowi, Naser Rashidi, Nahid Ebrahimi, Narges Ahmadi, Narges Zafari, Nasrin Ahmadi, Nasrin Amiri, Nasrin Saifodini, Niloofar Kadokhodayi, Vahid Zandi, Vahsa Safi, Hagar Karami, Homayoun Panahi, Salah Azadi, Ali Jafari, Roozbeh Rezaei, Amir Hossein Sa’ad , Ali Abu Torabi, Maryam Qalychyha, Humayun Madani, Mir Hamid Salek, Azita Rezvan, Amir Hossein Saadat, Naveed Kamran, Jelveh Javaheri, Sepideh Saghafian, Forough Azizi, Sarah Hemmati, Laleh Mohammadi, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Nastaran Eshghi, Ali Reza Tarkashvand, Zohreh Asadpour, Abbas Shahbazi, Reza Ansari, Masoumeh Abbasian, Abbas Shahrabi, Alireza Kaviani, Morteza Zarrin, Mahsa Yazdani, Zahra Ghaeninejad, Ahmad Rezaei, Afshan Davari.

****

Rajai Shahr Prison is located in Karaj, approximately 30 miles west of Tehran.

The University of Zanjan is located in Zanjan, approximately 180 miles northwest of Tehran.

Once-Buried Case Pulls Abdolreza Ghanbari Back to Evin Prison

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Teacher and former political prisoner Abdolreza Ghanbari was arrested Saturday, October 13th, and transferred to Ward 8 of Evin Prison to serve the remainder of a recently-resurrected prison term.

Amid re-reviews and permutations of his case under a changing penal code, Ghanbari has been pulled through the judicial wringer since his initial arrest in 2009, when he was detained in his workplace amid widespread “Ashura” demonstrations following the contentious Iranian election cycle of that year.

In February 2010, after two months of interrogation, Judge Salavati of Revolutionary Court Branch 15 sentenced him to death for “Moharebeh” [enmity against God],” through his alleged ties to the opposition group People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).

Four years later, in June 2013, Ghanbari’s death sentence was reversed in Supreme Court and commuted to 15 years’ imprisonment by Revolutionary Court Branch 1.

When Article 186 of the Islamic Penal Code was eliminated, Ghanbari requested and obtained a retrial, which resulted in the suspension of his sentence. He was released March 16, 2016 after having served more than six years in prison.

The return to normal life was relatively short-lived, as a close source explained to HRANA: “In September 2017, his prison sentence was reviewed again by Branch 28 of [Tehran’s] Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh, and increased from 10 years to 15 years in prison.”

Ghanbari’s new scheduled release date has yet to be confirmed by HRANA.

Prisoner in Shirvan Sentenced to Death

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)– Branch 2 of the Shirvan Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday, October 16th that Taleb Govahi, a defendant on a murder case who has been detained in Shirvan Prison since the crime, has been sentenced to death.

An informed source told to HRANA that Gohavi, a 40-year old married resident of Shirvan county, North Khorasan province, was convicted of killing a car dealer in a 2016 skirmish. “He has denied at all stages of his trial that the murder was premeditated, and claimed he was defending himself against the victim, who also had a cold weapon.”

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. According to registered data from the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.

Doctors, Coroner Plead Furlough for Sadeghi’s Chemo

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Prison authorities continue to jeopardize the post-operative course of imprisoned civil rights activist Arash Sadeghi, who was finally transferred to the hospital October 13th. Now his best hope of recovery, doctors say, is the slim chance that those same authorities will consent to a medical furlough.

So far, according to HRANA reports, Sadeghi’s urgent need for specialized care has done little to inspire sympathy from the prison powers that be. When doctors urged that he remain under hospital supervision after his September 12th bone cancer surgery, he was hastily whisked back to Evin Prison only three days later.

Back at the prison, a prosecutor’s assistant, identified only as “Rostami,” delayed Sadeghi’s follow-up for two weeks, during which time an infection took hold in the surgery site on Sadeghi’s right arm. Indeed, Sadeghi’s October 13th transfer was the sole successful among several hospital visits that authorities deliberately thwarted, i.e. postponed until afternoon hours when a qualified team of specialists was no longer available.

Immediately prior to his latest hospital visit, Maghsoud Zolfali, the head of the prison’s security unit, told Sadeghi that prosecutors had ordered all political prisoners on medical transfer to remain in prison garb. Sadeghi’s refusal to do so led to a verbal altercation, after which authorities placed him in a cold room as a punitive measure from 7:00 to 10:30 pm.

The chill followed Sadeghi to the hospital, where guards insulted him, twisted his arm, tightened his handcuffs, and punched him in the arm that had undergone surgery, reportedly because he had returned the greeting of medical personnel. When hospital staff protested the manhandling, agents responded that they were following the orders of the prison director to treat Sadeghi according to his status of a “security prisoner.”

When after his medical exam Sadeghi’s doctor advised he begin chemotherapy, Sadeghi expressed doubt that the treatment would work, citing the physically and mentally abusive dynamics of the prison. To ensure optimal results from this strenuous therapy, medical sources say, chemo patients must undergo treatment in the utmost comfort and calm. Citing this reason, doctors strongly advised against Sadeghi undergoing chemo outside of the hospital.

Upon Sadeghi’s return to Evin, the head of the prison medical clinic noted signs of injury to the surgical wound where he was punched at the hospital, including increased inflammation and discoloration due to bleeding. In the face of documentary evidence of this injury, prison authorities have done nothing to address it in the past five days.

Pursuant to the doctor’s chemotherapy recommendation, prosecutors ordered Sadeghi’s transfer to the coroner’s office. The coroner had no access to Sadeghi’s medical files; from a visual examination alone, they concluded that furlough from prison would be a necessary requisite for his chemo.

Former Death Row Juvenile Offender Saman Naseem Released on Bail

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Saman Naseem, a Kurdish juvenile offender who was arrested seven years ago and was once on death row, was freed on a five billion IRR (approximately $35,000 USD) bail on October 16, 2018.

Naseem’s death sentence was commuted to five years in prison by the Appeals Court of West Azerbaijan Province, located on Iran’s northwestern border with Turkey and Iraq.

Originally scheduled in February, Naseem’s release was delayed by a new lawsuit brought against him in August 2018 by the family of a late agent of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The agent’s surviving family members — along with the family members of three others who were injured in armed clashes in 2011 — demanded “Qesas,” or “eye-for-an-eye” retribution permissible under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Naseem was 17 years old when he participated in the clashes on the side of the Kurdish opposition. His role incurred charges of “Moharebeh [Enmity against God]” and “corruption on earth” in Mahabad Revolutionary Court, which sentenced him to death in 2013. Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence in December of that year.

Naseem’s lawyers appealed the verdict, obtaining a retrial in a parallel appeals court. This court acquitted Naseem, commuting the capital punishment sentence to five years in prison, upholding the charge of “membership in an armed opposition group, namely the Kurdistan Free Life Party [commonly known by its Kurdish-language acronym PJAK].” The Supreme Court upheld his commutation.

Naseem — who had no access to legal representation during the preliminary investigation of his case — alleges that authorities tortured him while he was in custody, pulling nails from his fingers and toes and suspending him upside down from the ceiling.