Increase in Arrests of Baha’i Citizens in Shiraz

Posted on: August 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Friday, August 17, 2018, Baha’i citizens Pezhman Shahriari, Dorna Esmaili, Hooman Esmaili, Kourosh Rouhani, Negar Misaghian and Mahboob Habibi were arrested by security forces and transferred to the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in the city of Shiraz.

An informed source told HRANA: “Negar Misaghian and Dorna Esmaili were released hours after [their arrest].”

Unconfirmed reports from sources close to the security apparatus say at least 40 Baha’i citizens in Shiraz were arrested today, during a planned operation. HRANA is in the process of investigating this claim.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private.

Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Kerman Authorities Prevent Burial of Local Baha’i Resident

Posted on: August 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Kerman security forces prevented the burial of local Baha’i resident Abbas Kholousi, who passed away on August 7, 2018, forcing the deceased’s family to bury him in the faraway city of Rafsanjan.

“Mr Khoulousi passed away August 7th,” a source close to the matter revealed to HRANA, “and despite his family’s insistence on a burial in Kerman where he lived, local security forces prevented them from doing so, forcing them to bury him in Rafsanjan four days later. The security forces had summoned and pressured Khoulousi’s son, saying that if the family did not comply with the order, security forces would transport Mr Kholousi and bury him in Rafsanjan themselves.”

The source added, “Authorities made this demand in spite of Baha’i Law, which says that the journey between the deceased’s residence and burial place should not exceed an hour, and the distance between Kerman and Rafsanjan is greater than that. Regardless, the funeral was held today, with a great number of Kerman and Rafsanjan locals in attendance.”

Last March, HRANA reported on the shutting down of the Baha’is Golestan-e-Javid cemetery by the Kerman municipality.

Kerman’s judicial authorities ordered the shutdown of the cemetery on March 15, 2018, and Baha’i burials on the cemetery grounds have been forbidden since. This shutdown followed a 2015 judiciary order mandating that each province designate at least one city for Baha’i burials. On the morning of March 16, 2018, Baha’i visitors to the Golestan-e-Javid cemetery learned of its shutdown by arriving there to find its gates locked and a written notice of its closure. The visitors were prevented from entering the cemetery.

The notice outlined the graveyard’s closing and a ban on further burials within it, reading: “By the order of judicial authorities, adherent to article 688 of the Islamic Penal Code, due to environmental and sanitation issues, and observing clause 6, article 96 of Municipal Law, interment here is forbidden, effective March 15, 2018.”

Reports by HRANA in recent years have documented a consistent pattern of institutional and judicial orders that have resulted in the shutdown or demolition of Baha’i cemeteries across the country.

The Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private.

Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Baha’i Couple From Shiraz Arrested

Posted on: August 17th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Friday, August 17, 2018, Negar Misaghian and Mahboob Habibi, a Baha’i couple from Shiraz, were arrested by security forces and transferred to the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in the same city.

Earlier this month, HRANA also reported on the court verdict for Rouhieh Nariman and Farzad Delaram, another Baha’i couple in Shiraz. Rouhieh Nariman was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, and her husband, Farzad Delaram, was sentenced to one year in prison by Branch 17 of the Shiraz Appeals Court.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice either individually, in public or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and denies recognizing the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Appeals Court Date Set for Imprisoned Evangelical Activist

Posted on: August 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Majid Reza Souzanchi, 34, Christian convert detained in Evin Prison, has received a summons order to appear before Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals court on December 11, 2018.

He was tried on April 25, 2018, along with Fatemeh Mohammadi for “Membership in Evangelical Groups and Evangelical Activities”, presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh. Mr Souzanchi was sentenced to five years in prison and Ms Mohammadi received a six-month prison sentence on charges of “Engaging in Evangelical activities” and “Acting against national security through propaganda against the regime”.

A source close to the defendants told HRANA that Mr Souzanchi suffered from broken ribs as a result of being beaten up twice during his interrogation by Intelligence Ministry agents. Souzanchi is also worried that his home was searched while he was in prison and some of his personal belongings and family photos were confiscated. He has written several letters [to the authorities] on the matter but has not received any response. In June, his prison cell was raided by agents who confiscated his personal belonging including a notebook in which he had written excerpts from the Bible.

Prison officials refer to Mr Souzanchi as “impure” and “Daeshi” (a member or ISIS). Mr Rostami, the Prosecutor’s representative, had told Mr Souzachi and Ms Mohammadi that “if we were in you Christians’ hands, you would have executed us”. Samad Hadipour, the investigator of Evin court’s Branch 3, referred to the church as a “casino”.

According to the Iranian Constitution, Christianity is a recognized religion. However, security apparatus in Iran are extremely sensitive toward Muslims converting to Christianity, and aggressively pursue evangelist activists.

Article 26 of the Iranian constitution guarantees religious minorities’ rights: “….recognized religious minorities’ associations are free [to exist]…and no one can be forced to participate in these associations or prevented from participating in one of them”.

Hassan Rouhani, Iranian President, during last year’s presidential election campaign stressed the importance of civil rights, and published a “Civil Rights Charter”. However, these promises have not been carried out.

Article 99 of the Charter states: “Citizens have the right to access facilities to participate in cultural life [of their choice], including the right to found associations, perform religious, cultural, and ethnic ceremonies as long as they respect the laws”.

Sunni Prisoner of Conscience Namegh Deldel on Hunger Strike

Posted on: August 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Namegh Deldel, a Sunni prisoner of conscience detained in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison (Hall 21 of Ward 7), has been on hunger strike since August 1, 2018, in protest to the lack of attention from authorities to his medical needs.

An informed source told HRANA: ”Mr Namegh Deldel has suffered from pain in his right thigh bone during the past seven months and was prevented from being sent to a hospital out of prison, which led him to begin a hunger strike.”

In July 2015, HRANA had reported on a 10-year prison sentence term which was issued by Irans Judiciary to Mr Deldel.

Namegh Deldel was previously imprisoned for three years in Rajai Shahr. After his release on April 18, 2014, he was arrested again in Bukan and eventually transferred to Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison, a section of the prison under the control of Ian’s Ministry of Intelligence, and then to Hall 21 of Ward 7 in Rajai Shahr Prison.

Summary Report: Recent Arrests, Imprisonment and Executions

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A summary report on the most recent news of arrests, imprisonment, and executions in Iran from the the last week of July 2018 to August 7, 2018.

Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi Released from Tabriz Prison

Iraj Mohammadi (left) and Mohammad Amin Agoushi (right)

Political prisoners Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi were released from Tabriz Prison on Sunday, August 5, 2018, following the end of their judicial sentence. In September 2007, Mr Mohammadi and Mr Amin Agoushi were sentenced to a 10-year prison exile term each on the charge of “Acting against national security”.

Last week, HRANA reported on a hunger strike launched by Iraj Mohammadi in objection to the Iranian authorities preventing his release from prison despite reaching the end of his conviction.

Iranian authorities arrested Mohammad Amin Agoushi on September 23, 2007, on the charges of “Espionage” and “Cooperation with Iraqi Kurdistan”. In May 2008, branch 2 of the military court in Urmia charged him with “Moharebeh” (enmity against God) and transferred him to Urmia’s central prison. Four months later, Judge Hafiz Ghaffari sentenced him to death by a firing squad.

In 2010 the retrial request was approved and the case was sent to branch 31 of Iran’s Supreme Court where the sentence was reduced to ten years in prison exile. Iraj Mohammadi and Mohammad Amin Agoushi were transferred to Tabriz Prison from Zahedan in March.

In February 2017 Iraj Mohammadi explained some points in an open letter about rejecting his request for amnesty. Mr Mohammadi emphasized that the mentioned reasons were false, stating that he suffered from nervous and mental illnesses as a result of being held in solitary confinement for eight months and tortured at the onset of his arrest.

Sunni Prisoner Yasser Sharafipour Suffers from Medical Neglect

On Friday, August 3, 2018, the chest, abdomen and back of Yaser Sharafipoor, a Sunni prisoner in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison, was burned with hot water.

An informed source told HRANA: “The burn was so severe that he had difficulty breathing. Prison authorities transferred him to the clinic but they only used burn ointment and returned him to the ward. When the prisoner protested, they sent him to the hospital with handcuffs and shackles. Despite the recommendation of the doctors to hospitalize him, he was returned to the prison.

Arraignment of Kamal Abdollahi in Urmia Court

Kamal Abdollahi, a citizen from Piranshahr who is held in Urmia’s central prison, was charged with “Acting against national security” by branch 6 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. No information was given to Mr Abdollahi regarding the reason for the charge.

Iranian authorities arrested Mr Abdollahi on May 5, 2018, and held him for three months in a detention center operated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Urmia.

Five members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Arrested

On the morning of August 5, 2018, drivers of the United Bus Company of Tehran went to the company’s offices to track their housing situation in connection with issues such as the lack of delivery of housing to members despite paying all the agreed amounts in the contract. When they arrived, they were not allowed to enter, which sparked a protest that was cracked down by police forces. During the crackdown, five members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company were arrested. The individuals are Hassan Saeedi, Davood Razavi, Atta Babakhani, Ali Ghorbanian and an unidentified person.

A close source tells HRANA: “Their detention was a result of a request by Mr Sanandaji, the President of the company. Members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company gathered in front of branch 4 of Tehran’s security offices to support their detained colleagues until their release.”

The five workers were reportedly released hours after they were detained.

Intelligence Agents Arrest Young Man from Zarabad

According to HRANA’s sources and the Baloch Activists Campaign, a 35-year-old man by the name of Abdul Latif Miran Zehi was arrested by Intelligence agents on August 2, 2018, and transferred to Chabahar Prison.

An informed source said: “Abdul Latif Miran Zehi was getting his hair cut at a salon in Zarabad when he was arrested, handcuffed and taken by Intelligence agents who did not present an arrest warrant.”

No information about the reason for his arrest is available at this time and Mr Miran Zehi’s family is unaware of his condition following his arrest.

On May 25, 2018, a 23-year-old man by the name of Abdul Ghani Miran Zehi was arrested by Intelligence agents.

Gonabadi Dervish Maryam Farsiyabi Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

According to close sources and the Sufi news website Majzooban-e Noor, Maryam Farsiyabi, a Gonabadi Dervish, who is detained in Charchak Prison in Varamin, was sentenced to six months in prison and a two-year travel ban by branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Ms Farsiyabi was arrested on February 20, 2018, during the “Golestan 7th Avenue Event” which she attended with her husband, Mohammad Karimayee, and hundreds of other Gonabadi Dervishes.

Ms Farsiyabi was beaten by Iranian authorities to the point that she suffered from a fracture to her hand and her jaw was dislocated.

Mr Karimayee was recently sentenced to seven years in prison by the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Maryam Farsiyabi, along with other women Dervish prisoners, launched a hunger strike on June 15, 2018, in protest of a violent attack by the guards. They ended their hunger strike on June 30, 2018.

Mohammad Mozaffari lashed 74 times in Evin Prison

The 74 lashings sentence for Mohammad Mozaffari was reportedly carried out in Evin Prison on Sunday, August 5, 2018. Mr Mozaffari is a political activist who was sentenced to two years in prison, 74 lashes and a 20,000,000 Rial [approximately $200 USD] fine on the charge of “Propaganda against the regime”. The sentence was issued by Abolqasem Salavati, a judge in branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

On June 18, 2018, Mohammad Mozaffari was sent to Evin Prison to serve his two-year sentence.

Mr Mozaffari’s lawyers objected to his judicial sentence and the case was referred to the appeals court. Mr Mozaffari’s sentence was upheld by branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court.

Four prisoners were executed in Minab and Bandar Abbas

Iranian official sources have reported on the execution of three prisoners in Minab Prison on rape charges. The executions were reportedly carried out on the morning of Wednesday, August 8, 2018. According to an Iranian state-run news agency, the unidentified prisoners were accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in 2016 in the city of Minab.

Minab is one of the eastern cities of the Hormozgan province in southern Iran.

Prisoner at Bandar Abbas Central Prison Executed

On the morning of Tuesday, August 7, 2018, a prisoner convicted of “Murder” was reportedly executed in Bandar Abbas’s central prison. The prisoner, who has been identified as 46-year-old Amir Ali Kolivand, was arrested in June 2014.

Mr Kolivand was transferred from Haji Abad Prison to Bandar Abbas’s central prison on Monday, August 6. Haji Abad is the northernmost city of the Hormozgan province and is located near the Kerman province.

Regarding Mr Kolivand’s case, an informed told HRANA: “Amir Ali Kolivand was also charged with trafficking 5 kilograms of crystal meth, but he was executed on the charge of killing a bus driver.”

Mr Kolivand’s execution has not been announced by Iranian official sources.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran, in proportion to population per capita and executions, ranks first in the world in executions.

An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are considered “secret executions”.

According to registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications and Achievements Division of HRAI, in the past year (from March 21, 2017, to March 18, 2018), at least 322 citizens were executed and 236 others were sentenced to death in Iran. Among these, there was the execution of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.

Baha’i Citizen in Yazd Arrested

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi, a Bahai citizen, was arrested without a warrant by security forces on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, in the city of Yazd (conservative religious capital of the Yazd province).

A close source confirmed the news and told HRANA: “At noon, security forces arrested Mehran Bandi Amirabadi at his workplace.”

Mr Amirabadi was tried with six other Bahai citizens in branch 3 of the Yazd Appeals Court. Mr Amirabadi was sentenced to one and a half years in prison and one year in exile in Divandareh (a remote city in the Kurdistan province).

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice either individually, in public or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and denies recognizing the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Political Activist Mokhtar Zarei Temporarily Released from Prison

According to close sources and the Kurdistan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, political prisoner Mokhtar Zarei was temporarily released on bail from Sanandaj Prison on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, after 17 days of detention.

Mr Zarei was reportedly arrested on Saturday, July 23, 2018, and summoned to court.

A few days before his arrest, Mr Zarei claimed the reason for his arrest is his criticisms against Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and the human rights violations in Iran.

Environmental Activist Yousef Farhadi Babadi Summoned to Court

Environmental activist Yousef Farhadi Babadi was reportedly summoned to branch 118 of the Isfahan Criminal Court regarding Dr Abedi’s (parliament representative of Isfahan) lawsuit. Mr Babadi was released on bail from Isfahan prison on March 12, 2018.

On March 5, 2018, Mr Babadi received a subpoena and a call from the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province’s prosecutor’s office regarding his publication in a social media channel called “Sound of Water”, which mainly criticized the water situation in Iran. This subpoena was issued to him based on the charge of “Disseminating lies and disturbing public opinion in cyberspace”.

A Civil Rights Activist in Marivan and Two Others in Oshnavieh Arrested by Intelligence Agents, Transferred to Unknown Location

According to close sources and the Kurdistan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, in the last week of July 2018, Marivan intelligence agents arrested Arman Ghafouri, civil rights and environmental activist, and transferred him to an undisclosed location. Mr Ghafouri’s family has not been able to obtain any precise information about the reason for his arrest or the location where he is being held.

Previously, Armin Ghafouri and eight other civil rights activists were arrested on March 12, 2018, and interrogated by Iranian authorities regarding their participation in a gathering condemning the “Turkish military operation of Afrin”. army’s attack on the Afrin city”. They were subsequently released on bail.

During the past few days, Kamel Ahmadi and Tayyeb Bamorovat were arrested by Intelligence agents for the charge of “Cooperation with a Kurdish opposition party” and transferred to an unknown location. A total of seven citizens from Oshnavieh have been arrested for the same charge and the identity of only five of them has been identified thus far.

Immoral treatment of Women Prisoners of Conscience by Iranian Authorities

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Fatemeh Mohammadi, 19, is a new Christian convert who was arrested in November 2017 and subsequently sentenced to six months in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Ms. Mohammadi was recently released after serving her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison. In an open letter, she talks about the pains and suffering she had to endure during the interrogation period. Ms. Mohammadi explains in her letter the ways she was insulted, mistreated, and felt unsafe due to her gender.

HRANA has received the full text of Fatemeh Mohammadi’s letter:

In all the interrogation sessions the interrogators asked me [whether I have had] sexual relations. In the second interrogation session, one of them said: “We have asked Haj Agha(1) to come and speak to you.” [I was blindfolded, but] from the speaking manner of Haj Agha, I believe he was a cleric. The first question he asked me was: “Have you ever had any relations with anyone?” “What kind of relations?” I replied. “Bad, immoral relations,” He said. I got very frustrated and said: “I have never been involved in any relationship; you are slandering me. What you are doing is not right or moral.” The man replied: “There is evidence that you have done so.” He was speaking in a calm and emotionless manner.  I told him while crying: “How could there be evidence when I haven’t done anything? I don’t know what type of evidence you have forged against me.”

In other questioning sessions, they asked me: “What were you and the other person doing exactly in your sexual relations?” No matter how much I insisted that I have never had a sexual relationship, they would not accept it. While asking these questions they instructed me: “Remove your blindfold, turn to us and answer our questions in detail.” I told them: “It is difficult for me to speak about such topics.” They responded: “Then write it down.” Without waiting for my reply, they placed interrogation papers in front of me. “Writing is even harder than speaking,” I said. They stood up next to me and kicked my chair so that I would get scared and give in. I was under duress until the last moment of interrogation to write down what they asked me to.

Another interrogator, whose voice was different than the previous interrogators and who was the only one who did not instruct me to remove my blindfold, asked his colleague to hand me the paper in order for me to write down an explanation. I could not take it anymore and started to scream. They kicked me out of the questioning room and returned me to solitary confinement. I have to point out that in all the interrogation sessions, an interrogator would always sit very close to me.

A few days before my arrest, one of my close friends asked me to read her favourite prayer poem to her. I sent her the poem as a voice file. This was one of my last chats. As a result, when the interrogators were inspecting my Telegram account, they found this chat very quickly, and played the audio file in the small room filled with interrogators. One of them laughed and imitated my reading of the poem. They all laughed at me. They called me by my first name in a very improper and offensive manner, laughing loudly each time. The sound of the laughter of one of them made me think he was choking. I was feeling very sick during that session, and felt an excruciating pain in my chest; I could barely breathe and started to cough incessantly.

They attempted to force me to [falsely] confess to illicit sexual relations with men. At times, they pursued a line of questioning that would lead them to that conclusion. Their entire objective was to make this accusation stick and force me to make up a story about sexual relations for them to read and enjoy. I could not imagine any other motivation for their actions, because sexual relations had nothing to do with my case.  

They had told Mr. Davood Souzanchi, who was also arrested as a new Christian convert: “Did you know that Fatemeh had illicit sexual relations?” And then they would tell me: “Did you know Davood has had illicit relations with women?”

These harassments were not limited to us. They stopped at nothing, even accusing my mother of sexual affairs. They mentioned [my mother] to Mr. Souzanchi as well. When my mother discovered this, she was extremely upset.

On the first night of my arrest, I was taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison where the women prison guards forced me to undress completely while they watched me. I successfully resisted. They even took my elastic hair band, and as a result, my hair was unruly. When they were taking me for interrogation, I was forced to wear loose pants, an overcoat, a large headcover (2), a chador, slippers, and blindfolds. The headcover they had given me was too large for my head, and my hair kept sticking out in an unruly manner. When I exited the car, an interrogator yelled at me: “Tuck your hair back in. You are making me mad. You don’t want to see me angry.” However, the headcover was too large, and my hair kept falling out. The [interrogators] screamed at me repeatedly. It was frustrating to see them so sensitive about my hair sticking out of my headcover when they had asked me to remove my blindfold and stare at them while they asked me about illicit sexual relations. I was bewildered.

When the sleeves of my overcoat would pull up and my hands & arms were exposed, the interrogator would ask me to pull my sleeves down. Since I had delicate hands, he kept staring at them.

In another session, they asked me about Christianity’s view on relationships between men and women: “Did you know such and such person [from the Christian community] had relations with other members of the community?” They were constantly resorting to character assassination against the Christian community.  

When I was in prison, I launched a dry hunger strike, despite my weak physical condition, in order to object to the insults against me and my written request for a copy of the [Bible] being rejected. On the second day of my hunger strike, my heart was in poor condition. Upon my and my inmates’ insistence, the prison officials agreed to take me to the prison’s clinic. They decided to perform ECG (electrocardiography).  When I entered the room, a man came toward me, but I did not cooperate, because it was difficult for me to accept that a man was going to perform the test on me. The shift doctor, Mr. Mortazavi, argued with me and kicked me out of the clinic. He then wrote a false report depicting me as immoral and responsible for this ordeal. A woman agent signed the report despite witnessing the entire incident.

Another noteworthy point is that in Ward 209 the shower time is 30 minutes. If an inmate takes even one minute longer than that, a woman prison warden would open the shower door without warning and start arguing and staring at the prisoners. No matter how much I asked them to stop staring, they would continue. When I protested against this practice, they told me: “Since [the prison guards] are women, there is no problem.” They were oblivious to the fact that personal space should be respected regardless if a person is a man, woman, child, or blind.

Fatemeh Mohammadi

————————————————————

HRANA has previously reported that Fatemeh Mohammadi and Majid Reza (Davood) Souzanchi, two new Christian converts, were arrested in Tehran in November 2017 and taken to Evin Prison.

They were first tried in April 2018 by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh. In this court session, Fatemeh Mohammadi was sentenced to six months in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups”, “Engaging in Christian activities” and “Acting against national security through propagating against the regime”. Majid Reza Souzanchi, 34, was sentenced to five years in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups” and “Engaging in evangelical activities”.

A source close to these two individuals told HRANA: “Ms. Mohammadi was only accused of membership in evangelical groups and evangelicalism at the time of arraignment. However, during legal questioning, the investigator, Mr. Samad Hadipour, insulted Ms. Mohammadi’s beliefs, and she defended them in response. That is when Hadipour called her an insurgent against the regime and added the charge of ‘Acting against national security through propagating against the regime’ to her case.”

In April 2018, the second day of their trial was held in the presence of Hossein Taj, Mr. Souzanchi’s lawyer, and Ms. Shadi Halimi and Mr. Behzadi, Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyers. Mr. Souzanchi’s and Ms. Mohammadi’s sentences were issued to their families in May.

Since Ms. Mohammadi did not appeal her sentence, one fourth of her sentence was commuted according to the law. Considering the reduction in her sentence, Ms. Mohammadi spent a month and a half longer than her sentence in prison. Ms. Mohammadi was released from prison on May 13, 2018, the same day her sentence was issued.


1) Haj Agha is a term used to address a religious man especially one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
2) The headcover referred to here, Maghna’a, is a triangular piece covering the hair, the neck and part of the chest.
3) There is a legal questioning/interrogation phase in the Islamic Republic’s legal process which is distinct from the interrogation of prisoners while they are in prison. The former is part of the legal system while the latter is led by self proclaimed “experts” of the Iranian regime’s security apparatus. To differentiate, we used “investigator” as the legal party and “interrogator” as the security agents who engage in interrogation during the detention period.

Two Sunni Prisoners in Critical Health Condition

Posted on: May 27th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Abdul Rahman Sangani and Ghasem Abesteh, two Sunni prisoners of conscience in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, are facing severe health deterioration. However, they have been denied access to health services. Half of Mr. Sangani’s body is numb and his eye is damaged. Ghasem Abesteh who has been in prison since 9 years ago, has been informed that based on his medical tests, he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Despite the confirmation of the prisoner’s condition of cancer, authorities in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj have kept both of these people deprived of access to the necessary medical services.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Ghasem Abesteh, Sunni prisoner in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj who has been in jail for the past 9 years, has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. (more…)

Two Detained Christians Still Held in Evin Prison

Posted on: April 28th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Majid Reza Souzanchi Kashani and Fatemeh Mohammadi, two Iranian Christians living in Tehran, are still in an unknown condition, after several months of detention.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Majid Reza Souzanchi and Fatemeh Mohammadi, two Iranian Christians, who were arrested by the agents of Ministry of Intelligence on November 18, last year, are still being held in Evin Prison. (more…)

Suleiman Pirooti Suffers from Cancer in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj

Posted on: April 25th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – After being transferred to the hospital, Suleiman Pirooti, a Sunni prisoner of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, has been diagnosed with cancer. The prisoner had been suffering from pain and had reported this to prison officials for a long time, but had not received medical treatment. In addition to cancer, this prisoner who has been deprived of health care has recently had two strokes in prison and suffers from other illnesses. His condition requires urgent medical treatment or medical leave, the issue that the prison authorities do not pay any attention to, while he has only 18 months of his imprisonment sentence left.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), while Suleiman Pirooti’s medical condition has been serious since a long time ago, the prison authorities did not take any action in this regard. (more…)