Announcing Spreading Justice: A database of human rights abusers in Iran

Posted on: March 24th, 2021

HRANA – For fifteen years HRA has maintained a victim-centric approach to documenting and reporting on human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI); The primary focus has been to document rights abuses and highlight the crimes perpetrated against victims. Through the years, while perpetrators have enjoyed widespread impunity, victims have endlessly struggled for justice. 

On the occasion of the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, and alongside the adoption of the resolution on the situation of human rights in the IRI at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, HRA launches Spreading Justice, a database of human rights violators in Iran. 

At Tuesday’s closing of the Human Rights Council, organizations, member States, and activists alike called for an end to impunity in Iran.  Spreading Justice was created to equip the international community with a tool to work towards holding perpetrators accountable, increasing both social and political pressure, and ending the widespread impunity that is currently enjoyed throughout the country.

The database, housed at www.spreadingjustice.org, includes unique profiles of both individual and institutional violators; those well known as well as those that seemingly fly under the radar. 

Who is included in the database?

While all known violators will be included, Spreading Justice is primarily focused on new human rights violations. While many individuals or institutions included in the database have been committing violations for several years, there are oftentimes recent events that have contributed to their place in the database. By placing a focus on recent events, researchers are better positioned to collect, document, and fact-check information on the violations in question. 

Along with profiles of individual violators, such as Masoud Safdari, there are also profiles for institutional violators like the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court. Profiles of institutional violators are linked to the profiles of affiliated individuals, both individual violators, as well as individual and group victims. This feature aims to aid in establishing connections for research purposes. Similarly, when users click on a victim’s name, they are directed to a list of any violators within the database that may also be affiliated.  

While the existing profiles are complete, users are able to aid in the development of profiles by anonymously submitting additional information. Informed users are encouraged to submit both missing information and information on violators not currently included through an anonymous, easy to use and secure form. All information submitted through this form is verified for authenticity before being added to the database. Utilizing a tool created by a German University, users are also able to submit information on a wide array of physical appearance indicators. Facemaker, the tool mentioned above, mocks a virtual drawing of the violator based on user submissions. These submissions are compiled for internal comparative analyses. 

HRA researchers have spent countless hours collecting, documenting, and verifying the information within the database. All of the information included has been through a strenuous fact-checking process and is verified for authenticity prior to being added. New profiles will continue to be added to the database in real-time as information is collected and verified. 

All of the information, documents, and reports collected on violators are both online and stored internally via PDF. Requests for documents can be made through the Contact Us page. 

How are the violators profiled?

Over the years, HRA has learned what information is most necessary for stakeholders when working towards holding violators accountable. The lessons learned were taken into consideration when building out the database. The individual violator profiles, where available, include a photo or photos of the violator, evidentiary documents (including witness or victim testimony and/or relevant multimedia), verified articles written by reputable media outlets that have mentioned the violator by name, and a detailed legal review written by Brian Currin, a leading expert in international human rights. One can also find information on work history, current residency, travel history, and educational background. 

The profiles include basic information such as full name and any alternative spellings, date of birth, place of birth, and any current institutional affiliation. If a violator has known family members, such as a spouse or child, they are listed by name. Additionally, there is information on physical appearance including, eye color, hair color, height, and weight. Certain aspects of the basic and physical information are categorized into one of three levels of certainty: exact, partial, and approximated. Information categorized as exact is verified and precise. Partial is listed when some part of the information provided is unknown at the time of writing. The approximation category is used when HRA researchers have used approximating techniques with available information to offer a range. Institutional Violators are profiled similarly. Users also have the ability to toggle between both unit and date conversions. 

Violators are tagged and searchable by documented victims, identified rights violations, and any relevant institutional affiliation. All of the profiles are available in a downloadable PDF format. Download links are located at the bottom of all violator profiles alongside a form to submit any missing information. 

How does one use the database?

Spreading Justice is available in both English and Farsi. Users can search the database utilizing a variety of tagged violation indicators including torture, the right to life, labor rights, women’s rights, social rights, prisoner’s rights, the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and thought, and more. These searches enable those focused on specific violation types to filter. One can also search tags by institutional affiliation such as the Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court or the Iranian Cyber Police among others. The database is also searchable by victim name to assist lawyers or researchers working on specific cases. There is additionally an option to search by keyword. Users can find the main search tool on the Spreading Justice homepage

Not simply a database

Spreading Justice is not simply a database, it also offers resources on Iranian power structures and judicial systems, unique reports and analyses on human rights violators in Iran, as well as statistical overviews including a breakdown of the situation of human rights in Iran by province and violation type. 

Similarly to the profiles, all of the information found at spreadingjustice.org including statistics, resources, and reports will be updated regularly. 

 

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HRA encourages readers to share the database with their networks. For any additional information on Spreading Justice please contact Skylar Thompson, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator at [email protected]

 

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

Posted on: March 5th, 2021

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

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

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

 

International Framework

 

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

 

Women’s Rights in Iran

 

Compulsory Veiling

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

Cultural Rights

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

Marriage and Family

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

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

 The Right to Education

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

 

Women’s Rights Activists 

 

An overview

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

The charges placed upon them by the judicial authorities include:

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

➡️ 12 Charges of “propaganda against the regime”

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

➡️ 3 charges of “inciting moral corruption through unveiling”

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

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

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

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

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

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

➡️ 1 charge of “disturbing public peace and order”

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

➡️ 1 charge of “Insulting Sanctities”

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

 

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

 

Imprisoned Women’s Rights Activists

Yasaman Ariyani and Monireh Arabshahi (mother and daughter)

Latest Arrest Dates:

Yasaman Ariyani: 10 April 2019

Monireh Arabshahi: 11 April 2019

Charges and Sentence:

“Gathering and collusion against national security”

“Propaganda against the regime”

“Inciting and providing the means for moral corruption”

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

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

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

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

 

Saba Kordafshari and Raheleh Ahmadi (mother and daughter) 

Latest Arrest Dates:

Saba Kordafshari: 1 June 2019

Raheleh Ahmadi: 10 July 2019

Charges and Sentence:

Saba Kordafshari:

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

“Propaganda against the Regime”

“Gathering and colluding against national security”

Raheleh Ahmadi:

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

“propaganda against the regime”

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mojgan Keshavarz

Civil rights activists opposing compulsory veiling

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

Charges and Sentence:

Sentenced by Branch 54 of the Appeals Court of Tehran

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

“Propaganda against the regime” 7 months imprisonment.

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

“insulting the sanctities” received 3 years imprisonment.

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

 

Alieh Motalebzadeh

Photographer and women’s rights activist

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

Charges:

“Gathering and collusion against national security”

“propaganda against the regime”.

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

 

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Human rights activists and lawyer

Latest arrest: June 13, 2018 at her home

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

Charges:

“gathering and collusion against national security”

“Propaganda against the regime”

“inciting and providing the means for moral corruption”

“appearing at an interrogation branch without proper Islamic Hijab”

“disturbing public peace and order”

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

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

Sentence: 33 years imprisonment and 148 floggings

Condition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s rights activists at risk of imprisonment  

  1. cases awaiting review

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

Arrests

Akram Nasirian: April 29, 2019

Nahid Shaghayeghi: May 15, 2019

Maryam Mohammadi: July 8, 2019

Asrin Darkaleh: July 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

 

  1. cases where the initial verdict has been issued

 

Banafsheh Jamali

Women’s rights activist

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

Charges: “Propaganda against the Regime”

Sentence: 1 year of imprisonment, 4 million Toman fine

Banned from using smart electrical devices (smartphones)

Mandatory attendance at MAVA Counselling in Qom City

* the imprisonment has been suspended for 5 years

 

  1. cases awaiting sentence to be executed

Raha (Raheleh) Askari-Zadeh

Journalist, photographer, and women’s rights activist

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

Charges: “assembly and collusion against the national security”

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

2-year ban from exiting the country

2-year ban from Internet activities

2-year ban from activity in political or journalist groups

 

Najme Vahedi and Hoda Amid

Women’s rights activists

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

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

Sentence: Hoda Amid: 8 years imprisonment

2-year ban from joining political parties and groups

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

2-year ban from exiting the country

2-year ban from working as a lawyer

Najmeh Vahedi:7 years imprisonment

2-year ban from joining political parties and groups

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

2-year ban from exiting the country

 

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

 

Saba Kord-Afshari was arrested

Posted on: June 3rd, 2019

Saba Kord-Afshari, former political prisoner, was arrested at her home by security forces and was transferred to Vozara detention Center. Her house was searched by security forces and some of her belongings such as her cell phone and her laptop were confiscated. There has been no information on the reason of her arrested and the arresting authorities.

She was arrested along 50 others during last July-August uprising protesting the current economic deterioration and corruption on August 2, 2018 and was transferred to Varamin’s Gharachak prison. She was transferred to Evin prison’s women’s ward in October 2018 and was charged with “disrupting the public order” and was sentenced to one year in prison at the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by Judge Moghiseh.

HRAI Iran Annual Human Rights Report – 2018

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019

This leaflet contains the 2018’s analytical and statistical annual report on the human rights in Iran, prepared by the Department of Statistics and Publications of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI). This statistic analysis report presented by HRAI, is the result of the daily efforts of this organization and its dedicated members as part of a daily statistic and census project that started in 2009 by this organization. 

This annual report on human rights violations in Iran (2018) is the collection, analysis, and documentation of 3677 reports concerning human rights, gathered from various news sources during 2018. Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) has gathered and reported 35%, official or close to the Iranian government sources 58% and other human rights news agencies 7% of all the reports analysed in this Annual Report.

Download PDF file

The following 42-pages includes statistical overviews and related charts on various sections regarding women’s rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, etc. Based on this report, despite the 6% increase in human rights violations reports in provinces other than Tehran, compared to the last year’s annual report, there is still a major concern on lack of proper reporting and monitoring of the human rights by the civil society in the smaller cities.

This report is the result of endeavors made by courageous human rights activists in Iran who pay a very high cost for the realization of their humanitarian believes. However, for obvious reasons (i.e. existing governmental limitations and ban on the free exchange of information and government preventing the existence of human right organizations in the country), this report by no means is free of errors and cannot alone be a reflection on the actual status of human right in Iran. Having said that, it should be emphasized that this report is considered as one of the most accurate, comprehensive, and authentic reports on the human rights conditions in Iran and it can serve as a very informative source of information for human rights activists and organizations working on Iran, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they may face.

Download the full report in PDF format

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Department of Statistics and Publications

January 2019

[email protected]

Elderly Turkish Citizen Declares Hunger Strike in Urmia Prison

Posted on: November 13th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA)- Dejected at the Judiciary’s broken promise to return him to his native Turkey, ailing 70-year-old prisoner Hatam Ertoghlu declared hunger strike November 9th.

Currently held in Urmia’s Ward 4-3, Ertoghlu has been behind bars for the past nine years on drug-related charges. According to a close source, he has had multiple hospital admissions for various ailments, not least of which was a heart attack.

“Last year, per court order, he gave prison authorities 12 million tomans [approximately $2,800 USD] to cover the fees for his transfer back to Turkey,” a close source said. “Yet despite the consent of Turkish authorities, that transfer never took place.”

Undeterred by his physical distress, old age, and cardiac disease, Ertoghlu is now starving himself in protest.

Ertoghlu initially faced a sentence of life in prison, which was commuted to 24 years in 2017.

Zanjan Revolutionary Court Acquits Civil Rights Activist Safiyeh Gharebaghi

Posted on: November 9th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – “I was acquitted!” wrote Safiyeh Gharebaghi, a Zanjan-based civil rights activist, on November 6th. That day, Judge Siyadi of Zanjan Revolutionary Court Branch 1 acquitted her of all charges, namely propaganda against the regime and gathering and conspiring against national security.

Quoting an excerpt of the court’s ruling, Gharebaghi said the verdict legitimized her right to dissent under Iranian law:

“‘[…]This court, considering the criticism of certain laws and procedures, even legal judgments, to be the incontrovertible right of every individual and legal entity, and considering that the crime’s spiritual basis was devoid of criminal intent, rejects the defendant’s charges and hereby announces its ruling to acquit.”

No verdict has yet been issued on Gharebaghi’s separate case in Zanjan General Court, where she faces charges of spreading lies and disrupting the public mind.

Gharebaghi was initially detained by the Zanjan Intelligence Office in 2017 on charges of propaganda against the regime in cyberspace, abetting sedition, and spreading lies. Her cited infractions included protesting gender inequality, voicing support of political prisoners and the sedition movement, and signing a condolence letter for the late father of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Three Writers Slapped With New Charges

Posted on: November 5th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Reza Khandan (Mahabadi) and Keyvan Bazhan, two members of the Iranian PEN Centre, and Bektash Abtin, one of the Centre’s inspectors, are facing new criminal charges which have doubled their bail amount.

Previously held on charges of “propaganda against the regime” with a bail set at 50 million tomans [approximately $3,300 USD], the three were recently summoned to Branch 7 of the Evin Prosecutions Office to be read new charges of “assembly and collusion with intent to act against national security” and “inciting Iranian women to depravity.” An informed source told HRANA that the case investigator has increased their bail amount to 100 million tomans [approximately $6,600 USD].

Of the new charge, Mahabadi said, “From what we’ve gathered from the case investigator, it seems certain officials deemed ‘propaganda against the regime’ to be too light a charge for us, and asked the investigator to recall the case and add more charges.” He added that he and his comrades denied the accusations and demanded proof.

All three defendants were read their charges of “propaganda against the regime” back in August. HRANA reported August 2, 2018, on the court summons of Bektash Abtin — poet, filmmaker, and former PEN member — to Branch 7 of the Evin Prosecution Office. Khandan and Bazhan received their respective writs on July 26th, giving them three days’ notice to appear in the same spot.

Reza Khandan (Mahabadi) (left) and Keyvan Bazhan (right), two members of the Iranian PEN Centre, and Bektash Abtin (middle).

In June 2018 and in a separate case, Karaj Revolutionary Court Branch 2 convicted Abtin of propaganda against the regime, sentencing him to three months’ forced labor at the State Welfare Organization of Iran and a fine of 5 million tomans [approximately $700 USD]. An appeals court later lifted the forced labor sentence.

Ministry of Intelligence Agents also detained Abtin was for three consecutive days in 2015, interrogating him about his film-making, membership in the CIW, and participation in the 2009 post-election protests.

The Iranian PEN Centre is a non-governmental organization founded in 1968 with the aim of uniting writers, translators, and editors against censorship. It is a subsidiary of PEN International. Since its foundation, and particularly during the 80s and 90s, Iranian authorities have hounded its members with repression, judicial prosecution, and targeted killings. Members Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh and Mohammad Mokhtari were among those killed by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence in the “chain murders” in the late 80s and early 90s.

Hand Amputation Raises Specter of Cruel and Unusual Punishments

Posted on: November 4th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Morteza Esmaeilian, 37, a married father of two from Urmia, was arrested in 2013 on multiple counts of burglary. In 2015, Urmia General Court Branch 112 sentenced him to 15 years in prison and the amputation of the fingers on his right hand.

The Supreme Court rejected his appeal and upheld the sentence as written in Autumn of 2016. He requested a retrial as a final recourse, but it was denied by the judiciary in Summer of the following year.

An agent from the execution of sentences unit informed Esmaeili last week that his amputation was imminent.

HRANA reported on an Urmia Central prisoner facing a similar fate: Branch 1 of Juvenile Criminal Court ordered the amputation of four fingers off of Kasra Karami’s right hand, set to be carried out in the near future.

Amputation falls under punishments sanctioned by Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Canadian Resident Saeed Malekpour Transferred to Hospital After Heart Attack

Posted on: October 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Evin Prison approved the transfer of prisoner Saeed Malekpour to the cardiology department of Taleqani Hospital last week after he suffered from a heart attack.

A Canadian resident and alumna of the elite Sharif University in Tehran, Malekpour has a growing list of medical complaints that authorities have ignored over the course of 10 years of imprisonment. His requests for medical treatment and furlough have repeatedly been denied.

Now, photographs taken during his recent hospitalization show a worrying mass on Malekpour’s right knee, MRI results on which are pending. Malekpour has also developed kidney stones and prostate issues during his time behind bars.

With an arm and a leg uncomfortably restrained to the gurney, his sister Maryam told HRANA that Malekpour had trouble getting restorative sleep during his three-day stay. Sources indicate he was banned from hospital visits and subjected to mistreatment by security forces.

In 2008, the Cyber Unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), accusing Malekpour of managing Persian-language pornographic websites, arrested him during a trip to Iran to see family. Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death plus seven and a half years in prison, on counts of “propaganda against the regime,” “blasphemy,” “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “insulting the president,” “contacting opposition groups” and “corruption on earth.”

Malekpour’s death penalty sentence, though confirmed by the Supreme Court and sent to the Enforcement Department, was eventually reduced to a life sentence. Throughout his legal proceedings, Malekpour has insisted that case analysis by a computer and internet expert would absolve him of the aforementioned charges.

In a letter written from prison, Malekpour said he was previously isolated in solitary confinement for 320 days, during which time he was subject to torture, and given only a Qur’an, a Turbah [prayer clay tablet], and bottle of water.

Malekpour’s family has also borne the pain of his legal ordeal. Promising him that it would facilitate a bail release, authorities coerced Malekpour to provide a taped confession which was televised shortly after his father’s death in 2009. Malekpour learned of his father’s passing in a five-minute phone call 40 days after the fact.

Prisoner Executed in Sirjan

Posted on: October 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- At dawn on Thursday, October 18th, Hossein Nosrat Abadi, 37, was hanged to death in Sirjan Prison.

Convicted of committing murder during a 2016 home burglary, Abadi was unable to obtain a death row pardon from the family of the victim.

By hanging Abadi in silence, authorities — particularly the judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of executions, in spite of their duties to inform the public.

The research of international human rights organizations indicates that Iran has the world’s highest rate of executions per capita. HRANA published its annual death penalty report on October 10th, the World Day against the Death Penalty.

Sirjan is located 600 miles southeast of Tehran.