Retrial Denied to Imprisoned Couple Struggling with Health Problems

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- A request for retrial for a married couple imprisoned on political grounds has been denied for the second time by Branch 33 of Iran’s Supreme Court.

Hassan Sadeghi and Fatemeh Mosana, who have been tortured and incarcerated multiple times over the past four decades since the Revolution, are currently serving 15-year prison sentences; Sadeghi in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison, and Mosana in Tehran’s Evin prison.

After being tortured by intelligence agents during an arrest, Sadeghi sustained eye injuries that have developed into secondary ailments, including glaucoma. His glaucoma-afflicted right eye may soon require surgery, but the advancement of his disease informs a poor prognosis. Though he has made an appointment with an ophthalmologist, he won’t be able to honor it: the prosecutor’s office refuses to issue Sadeghi the permit he needs to go there.

Sadeghi was first arrested in 1981 at the age of 16, and was tortured over the course of his six-year detention; the impact of multiple lashings ground a dent into his skull. Under psychological and physical duress, Sadeghi also developed an ulcer and gastrointestinal infection. Years later, gel insoles and orthopedic shoes help relieve the chronic foot pain caused by his torturers, who fractured his heel bone with repeated whips of a cable to the soles of his feet — yet the prosecutor’s office bars Sadeghi from even buying them himself.

Mosana, 41, was first arrested in 1980 at the age of 13. With her mother, she was charged with “Moharebeh” [enmity against God] and “Baqi” [rebellion] for membership in the opposition group MEK. Both served three years in prison; meanwhile, three of her brothers and a sister-in-law were executed for opposition activities.

Mosana suffered a leg injury while incarcerated in 2016 that required the application of a cast, a treatment that authorities delayed for two and a half months. After her complaints of chronic pain were ignored by prison staff, she was transferred to an outside medical facility where doctors diagnosed her with permanent tendon rupture.

Sadeghi was again arrested along with Mosana and his two children in February 2013 for commemorating his late father, an anti-regime activist. Authorities sealed Sadeghi’s home after the arrest and detained their 10-year-old daughter Fatemeh for three days. Their son Iman, 19 years old at the time, was in custody for a month and a half.

Sadeghi and Mosana spent a year behind bars before going free on bail. Judge Ahmadzadeh of Revolutionary Court Branch 26 would later order the couple to serve 15 years in prison and surrender their property, including their home and their shop. This sentence was later upheld in appeals court.

Mosana was detained September 30, 2015, to begin serving the 15-year sentence. Her husband was arrested in turn while visiting her in Evin prison on February 7, 2016. Their children, now aged 26 and 19, are in the care of their elderly grandmother.

Motaleb Ahmadian, Political Prisoner Ailing with 22 Years to Go

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- A prisoner in his eighth year of a 30-year sentence is in urgent need of medical care.

Evin prisoner Motaleb Ahmadian, 31, suffers from orchitis [infection and inflammation of the testes]. The infection recently spread to his bladder, a close source revealed, adding that the diagnosis was confirmed during ultrasonography tests Ahmadian underwent while on transfer to Telaghani hospital. His illness requires treatments that would drain excess fluid from the infection sites; uncontrolled, an infection of this type could lead to cancer. He is currently on the prison doctor’s waiting list for a medical transfer to undergo surgery, which he must pay out of his own pocket at an estimated 20 million tomans [approximately $1,500 USD].

Ahmadian was convicted on multiple counts: Moharebeh [enmity against God] through membership in a Kurdish opposition group; illegal entry into the country while armed and supporting a military group; and aiding and abetting murder. The charges stem from armed clashes in Saghez in 2010 that resulted in the death of a policeman and a civilian.

In August 2018, Branch 1 of Kurdistan provincial criminal court sentenced Ahmadian to eight years in prison for “aiding and abetting murder” and ordered him to pay half of the murder victims’ “blood money” [a designated sum owed to the families of homicide victims]. He was given an additional year and fined 20 million tomans [approximately $1,500] USD] on assault charges. Initially ordered to serve his sentence in exile in the southern city of Minab, he was instead transferred from Sanandaj to Tehran’s Evin Prison for reasons that were not disclosed.

Ahmadian, a Baneh native, was originally arrested October 5, 2010, after which he spent 230 days in solitary confinement. On May 3, 201,6 he was transferred to Saghez Prison after another prisoner made statements linking him to a weapon that was found there. This charge held water for some time, despite the material implausibility of smuggling a weapon from Sanandaj, where Ahmadian was held, to Saghez, more than 120 miles away. He was eventually acquitted and transferred back to Sanandaj.

Further back, Ahmadian was fined 100,000 tomans [approximately $300 USD] and sentenced to a year in prison for illegal border crossings in 2008 and 2011.

Saghez, Sanandaj, and Baneh are located in the province of Kurdistan on Iran’s border with Iraq. It is home to Iran’s Kurdish minority.

Internal Prisoner Transfer Leads to Bloody Brawl in Rajai Shahr

Posted on: October 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On Monday, October 22, 2018, a bloody brawl that broke out in Rajai Shahr Prison led to the hospitalization of two prisoners who sustained serious injuries.

The victims were identified as Amir Akbari and Moslem Karimpour, both from hall 19 of Ward 7, and both incarcerated on murder charges.

Akbari suffered from massive blood loss after sustaining multiple lacerations with a sharp object and slipped into critical condition when his transfer to the hospital was delayed. Karimpour returned to Rajai Shahr on Wednesday, October 24th after getting treatment for wounds sustained his abdomen and chest.

Well aware that ward transfers in Rajai Shahr — primarily a holding facility for violent crimes  — have the potential to devolve into violent clashes, authorities there initiated the skirmish when they attempted to transfer Akbari to a different ward. Prison personnel, namely Gholamreza Ziaei, the Rajai Shahr director, and Vali Alimohammadi, president of the prison’s internal affairs, were met with protests from a group of prisoners when they continued to push for the transfer.

Akbari was subsequently transferred to a “suite,” while Ziaei insisted that he intended the transfer to prevent prisoner-on-prisoner violence, citing the example of Vahid Moradi, a prisoner killed in gang conflicts in July of this year. “What happened when Vahid Moradi died?” he reportedly said. “If you die, it’s on me.”

Prison security has been known to fan flames of division among prison gangs by conducting its business with the help of incarcerated violent offenders. Such meddling by security personnel was reportedly a factor in Moradi’s death.

A notorious point of exile for political and common criminals, Rajai Shahr’s reputation precedes it as one of the most cutthroat environments for prisoners in Iran. Human rights organizations have published numerous reports of Rajai Shahr managers’ misconduct, including arbitrary and inhumane punishments, participation in organized crime, mafia activity, and smuggling, and the premeditated murders of prisoners.

HRANA reports indicate that Gholamreza Ziaei and Vali Alimohammadi are the most oft-cited and seasoned perpetrators of human rights violations in Rajai Shahr. Valimohammadi, who is also the Ward-4 Warden, is reportedly in cahoots with prison gangs facilitating intra-prison drug trafficking.

Ziaei headed the Kahrizak camp, where several political prisoners were tortured and killed during his tenure.

Earlier this year, the US Department of the Treasury designated Gholamreza Ziaei as an individual “acting on behalf of the Government of Iran who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents.”

Karaj is located 30 miles west of Tehran and is the capital of Alborz province.

Tyranny on Prisoners of Conscience at Rajai Shahr

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- This past August, Rajai Shahr Prison authorities ordered the transfer of political prisoners to Ward 10, where prisoners’ already-tight rations on climate control, fresh air, and nutrition have reportedly been cut even slimmer.

It is a running suspicion that prison authorities seek to dismantle the political ward, breaking down these prisoners’ spirits so that they will be more amenable to being dispersed among different wards.

Ward 10 currently houses 18 prisoners charged with political and security-related crimes. Four more political prisoners are being held in lateral sections. Of these 22, seven are in need of medical care.

A cold chill is already creeping through the walls of the hillside prison, boding the incoming flu season from which political prisoners stand unprotected, a close source told HRANA. “The need for heating equipment is felt all across the prison, but on [Prison Head] Gholamreza Ziayi’s orders, the political prisoners can’t have access to heaters. While prisoners pay for heaters out of their own pockets, the director has forbidden their delivery or use in the political ward.” Prison authorities have reportedly even gone as far as banning heaters in common areas that political prisoners might flock to for refuge, i.e. the prison library, gym, or store.

A letter underlining the dire need for climate control addressed to Ziyai from a previous prosecution assistant responsible for overseeing prison affairs, did nothing to change his mind, the source said.

Political prisoners got the brunt of the opposite heat extreme this past summer when they were denied access to any form of a cooling system. While their repeated requests managed to obtain three refrigerators for the ward, Ziyai underlined that they would have access to more equipment and amenities if they requested to be transferred to different wards.

Political detainees have thus far held fast to regulations requiring prisoners charged with different offenses to be housed in separate wards. Their resistance against integrating with prisoners accused of petty theft, drug-related crimes, or violent offenses has contributed to continued daily frictions between authorities and their cohort.

Meanwhile, the assessment of food provided to these political prisoners is even more scathing than the Rajai Shahr usual. Sources say that prisoners eat vegetarian by default, limited to plain rice with soy or lentils at lunchtime. Though the dinner menu promises to be more substantial — bean or lentil stew, or Ash [a thick Iranian soup] — sources say that the dishes hardly live up to their names, and prisoners in the cohort are rarely, if ever, served produce.

Deprivation of fresh air is also being leveraged against them, sources say. The regular 2-to-5:30 recreation period previously enjoyed by political prisoners in mixed groups has been eliminated entirely since their transfer to Ward 10. “Fresh airtime has been denied [to them] on direct orders from Ziayi, despite the fact that the recreation area is empty between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”, an anonymous source said.

Warden and Internal Director Vali Ali Mohammadi has abdicated from addressing prisoners’ complaints, stating that he defers to the authority of Ziayi and his secretary/chauffeur. “In other words,” a source said, “the slightest request, like for food or stationary, has to pass by Ziayi and his secretary.”

Though seasoned in-group attrition tactics, authorities at Rajai Shahr have not shied away from more targeted brutality to get their point across. Multiple sources have reported aggressive body searches, harassment and verbal abuse of prisoners’ families, and the placement of arbitrary, extreme restrictions to wear down individual inmates. In one such instance, Supervising Prosecution Assistant Rostami placed a long-term prohibition on visits between Hassan Sadeghi and his imprisoned wife; in another, medical attention to the bone cancer and infected surgery site of Arash Sadeghi were repeatedly postponed and denied. Deprivations like Sadeghi’s may become more widespread: two weeks ago, an official prison order came into effect, invalidating all approved transfers of ailing prisoners to [outside] medical facilities.

The respective situations of a number of Rajai Shahr prisoners of conscience are compiled in the lists below

1. Majid Assadi, accused of assembly and collusion [against national security]. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 6 years. Anticipated release date: 2021. Has been incarcerated for two years without furlough.

2. Afshin Baimani, accused of Moharebeh [enmity against God] through cooperation with the MEK. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

3. Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, accused of being a MEK sympathizer, and of assembly and collusion against the regime. Arrested on 2016, sentenced to 11 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Has been incarcerated for two years without furlough.

4. Ebrahim Firouzi, accused of assembly and collusion and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 7 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

5. Abolghassem Fouladvand, accused of Moharebeh through supporting the MEK. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 15 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

6. Gol Mohammad Jonbeshi, accused of cooperation with the Taliban. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 3 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

7. Latif Hassani, accused of forming an illegal group to act against national security. Arrested in 2012, sentenced to 8 years. Anticipated release date: 2020.

8. Saeed Massouri, accused of Moharebeh through membership in the MEK. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

9. Mohammad Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri, accused of Moharebeh through support of the MEK. Arrested on 2007, sentenced to 22 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 11th year of incarceration without furlough.

10. Asghar Pashayi, accused of espionage. Arrested in 2008, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2018. Release pending his payment of a fine. Currently in 10th year of incarceration without furlough.

11. Farhang Pourmansouri, accused of hijacking a plane. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

12. Shahram Pourmansouri, accused of hijacking a plane. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

13. Houshang Rezaei, accused of Moharabeh through membership in Komele [Kurdish opposition group]. Arrested in 2010, sentenced to death. Currently in 8th year of incarceration without furlough.

14. Arash Sadeghi, accused of propaganda against the regime, assembly and collusion, insulting the supreme leader, and disseminating lies. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 11.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

15. Hassan Sadeghi, accused of Moharebeh through cooperation with the MEK. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 11.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

16. Hamzeh Savari, accused of moharebeh and acting against national security. Arrested in 2005, sentenced to life. Currently in 13th year of incarceration without furlough.

17. Payam Shakiba, accused of assembly and collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 11 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

18. Saeed Shirzad, accused of assembly and collusion against national security, damaging prison property, and disrupting prison order. Arrested in 2014, sentenced to 6.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2020. Currently in 4th year of incarceration without furlough.

Baha’is incarcerated in Ward 11:

1. Vahed Kholousi, accused of assembly and collusion against national security, Baha’i membership, activism, and proselytizing, propaganda against the regime, and activism in defense of Baha’i student rights. Arrested in 2015, sentenced to 5 years. Anticipated release date: 2020. Currently in 3rd year of incarceration without furlough.

2. Afshin Seyyed Ahmad, accused of assembly and collusion and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 3 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

3. Farhad Fahandoj, accused of Baha’i proselytizing and involvement in Baha’i associations. Arrested in 2012, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2022. Currently in 6th year of incarceration without furlough.

4. Afif Naimi, accused of assembly and collusion, blasphemy, and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2008, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2018.

Ailing prisoners deprived of medical care:

1. Majid Assadi: gastrointestinal disease, duodenal ulcers
2. Shahram Pourmansouri: herniated disc, syringomyelia requiring immediate surgery (per doctor)
3. Mohammad Banazadeh Amir Khizi: joint pain
4. Hassan Sadeghi: joint pain
5. Aboulghassem Fouldadvand: arterial plaque requiring hospitalization (per doctor)
6. Arash Sadeghi: chondrosarcoma, surgical site infection in the right arm
7. Saeed Shirzad: herniated disk, lower back spasm

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.

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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.