Open Letter: the Lesson of Imprisoned Teachers

Posted on: September 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The September 23rd kickoff to this new Iranian school year underlines the absence of a number of Iranian teachers from the classroom, who instead of welcoming a new cohort of students are waiting for their judicial reckoning in prison.

Teachers across the country are serving long sentences or getting lashings for their political and union activism, case developments of which were previously reported by HRANA.

In an open letter titled “The Sound of Freedom,” political prisoner Majid Asadi of Ward 10 in Rajai Shahr Prison, located in Karaj, a northwest suburb of Tehran, pays tribute to these educators, taking from their plight a lesson for the country at large.

The full text of Asadi’s letter is below, translated into English by HRANA:

The Sound of Freedom

The bell rings on September 23rd, announcing the first day of classes. It resonates over empty classroom benches. Sara and Fatemeh are selling flowers at the crossroads. A week ago, they saw Ali and Kamran selling fortunes at the park. The class is quiet. No word from the teacher. The teacher is absent.

“Where is Narges?” somebody asks.

“Her father is in prison, so she won’t come to school this year,” a friend responds.

What proper class can go on without its teacher and students?

“Kids belong in the classroom; nothing should stop them from attending school,” the teacher used to say. When those kids couldn’t afford books and supplies: “They didn’t decide to stop coming one day. No, they didn’t choose poverty and misfortune.” That’s what the teachers would say, back then.

The bell rings on September 24th, the second day of classes. The bell summons kids to a class with no teacher. He has not yet returned. He never will. He won’t be teaching a single class period, because this year, the school bell rings in prison. The teacher transforms his cell into a classroom. He did not want the classroom benches to be empty. He will despair when he learns that Narges, Sara, and Fatemeh aren’t coming to school this year. He will be tormented when he understands that Ali and Kamran can no longer attend.

He will be upset to hear that his colleague nods off in his classes each day, because he stays up late working as the night janitor. Talk of his imprisoned fellow teachers upsets him even further.

“With the teacher in prison and the students wandering the streets, what of learning, of lessons, of school?”

The teachers and students ask these questions of each other.

A third bell rings. The sound of freedom: its reverberations bring the classroom to a frenzy.

Why is the teacher in prison? Why aren’t the students at school? Who put the teacher in jail? Could it be that they imprisoned the teacher so that the students wouldn’t come to school?

If that’s the case, maybe they should imprison the students too; or convert the school into a prison so that the students are not left without a teacher, and so they won’t have to fret over the cost of school supplies.

Neither the teacher nor the student chose poverty; neither the teacher nor the student chose prison.

The hand that wants to erect a prison in the place of a school — the one ready to exchange education and happiness for poverty — must be cut. And the teacher who set out to do so never returned. In that moment, he gave us a lesson.

The teacher told the students, “We shouldn’t have to live in fear all the time. Once we set about our mission, our fear will leave us.”

And so the teacher set about his mission — so that his fear would leave him, he left to put an end to poverty and prison, to set the school free. The homework for all classes this year is freedom.

This is the lesson the teacher has taught.

Majid Asadi
Gohardasht [Rajai Shahr] Prison
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Nationalist-Religious Activist Reza Aghakhani Denied Conditional Release

Posted on: September 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Despite his eligibility for conditional release for already having served a third of his sentence, authorities have said “no” to Evin Prisoner Reza Aghakhani, a nationalist-religious activist.

An informed source told HRANA, “The assistant prosecutor of the prison cited an objection from the interrogator as the reason for the negative response, despite the fact that his wife recently just had a kidney transplant and his child is dealing with a physical disability.”

Aghakhani was sentenced to three years in prison by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on a charge of “acting against national security.” In its processing of the case, Branch 35 of the Supreme Court did not assent the charges. They were nonetheless confirmed later in Branch 54 of Appeals Court.

Aghakhani was previously detained for 45 days in May 2013 and served a few years in prison in the eighties for his political activities. Along with some of his fellow prisoners, Aghakhani previously went on hunger strike for three days in protest of human rights violations across the country.

Alcohol Charges Evolve into Death Sentence for Urmia Political Prisoner

Posted on: September 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Forty-two-year-old political prisoner Mohyeddin Ebrahimi has been convicted of cooperating with a Kurdish opposition party and sentenced to death by Judge Ali Sheikhloo in Branch 2 of Urmia’s Revolutionary Court. He is currently being held in Section 12 of Urmia Prison in northwestern Iran.

A close source told HRANA that Ebrahimi has been recovering from three gunshot wounds for the better part of a year in the Urmia Prison clinic. He was shot during his arrest on October 23, 2017, at the Iran-Iraq border, where he was found to be carrying a walkie-talkie and accused of alcohol possession.

HRANA’s source indicated the court was flippant in its verdict on Ebrahimi’s case, verbally presenting the charge of “cooperating with a Kurdish opposition party” — punishable by death — while skipping over portions of the judicial process provisioned by law, e.g. formal questioning, providing him with a hard copy of his charge sheet, or the hearing of any statements in his defense.

Ebrahimi’s record shows a history of alcohol charges: a 2010 arrest for which he spent 11 months in Urmia prison before being acquitted, and a 2014 charge that was eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.

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

Mohyeddin Ebrahimi is from the village Alkaw, near the city of Oshnavieh, West Azerbaijan Province.

Afrin Battles Detainees Condemned to 11 Years in Prison

Posted on: September 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- The verdict of Mostafa Ghader Zeinab and Rahim Mahmoudi Azar–two Urmia residents who were sent back to Iran from Syrian Kurdistan after being wounded in the Turkish offensives on Afrin–was upheld by Branch 1 of the Appeals Court of Urmia.

Per their original sentencing by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia on July 6, 2018, Zeinab and Azar face five years in prison on charges of “Membership in anti-regime groups,” five years in prison for “collusion and conspiracy,” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.”

Zeinab has been released on bail, and Azar remains in detention at Urmia.

A source close to both men previously told HRANA that Zeinab and Azar were members of a Kurdish military group fighting in Syria. After sustaining injuries during a Turkish attack on Afrin, they were transferred to a hospital in Aleppo. “Upon realizing their nationalities, Syrian authorities handed them over to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” the source said.

According to the source, they were interrogated at Evin Detention Center for a week in March 2018 before being transferred to Urmia’s Intelligence Office, where they were interrogated for a month.

Both men have been denied the right to appoint lawyers of their choice and attended their court session with a public defender.

Misagh Aghsani Becomes Latest Baha’i to be Denied Educational Opportunity

Posted on: September 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Misagh Aghsani, a Baha’i student at Payam Noor University in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia, has become the latest member of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority to be denied access to education due to his faith.

An informed source confirmed the news to HRANA, adding that Aghsani, who is currently enrolled, “was barred from receiving his degree or advancing his studies.”

The source added that Aghsani’s father Fardin, who fought and was taken prisoner in the Iran-Iraq war, has suffered financial losses due to his faith.

“His business, along with that of Misagh’s 83-year-old grandfather Fereydoun Aghsani, was forcibly closed for the second time 14 months ago, because they are Baha’is,” the source said. “To make ends meet, the father and grandfather are forced to peddle in front of the sealed door of their store, in the cold of winter and heat of summer.”

In July, HRANA reported on the continued closure of Aghsani family businesses and those of 21 other Baha’is in cities across the country.

In direct violation of the law, Baha’is are prevented from pursuing degrees or employment in government offices, per under-the-table directives from the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. Every year, a new cohort of Baha’is is either barred from higher education altogether or thwarted before culminating their degrees.

Baha’i students can be prevented from enrolling in college during the processing stage of results from the nationally-competitive college entrance exam known as “Concours.” Over the past few weeks, more than 51 Baha’i students were stopped short of applying to universities, purportedly due to “deficiencies” in their admissions files, announced via flags on their e-dossiers when checking their test results online. In its close coverage of these most recent cases, HRANA published specimens of the documentation used to block these Baha’i student files from further processing.

HRANA reported on circumstances similar to Aghsani’s on September 18th, when another Baha’i student, Nikan Shaydan Shidi, was expelled while pursuing an associate’s degree in industrial mold making from Tehran Technical University. On September 15th, HRANA reported on the expulsion of Baha’i architectural drafting student Shaghayegh Zabihi Amrie from a university in Karaj.

Since the 1979 revolution, the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran has repeatedly protested the Iranian government’s animosity towards its Baha’i population, particularly in preventing these citizens from furthering their studies. According to the UN, such directives demonstrate a blatant disregard of multiple international treaties.

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 freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, 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 does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.

Three More Deaths in Urmia Prison Attributed to Medical Neglect

Posted on: September 13th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Urmia central prisoners Gholamreza Tubaragh Ghaleh, Reza Malek Rezaie, and Sajjad Jamali Fard have died due to authorities’ refusal to arrange for appropriate medical treatment, joining a dismal trend of detainee deaths related to medical neglect.

Fard died on Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 after his transfer to an outside hospital. Rezaie and Ghaleh passed away inside the prison.

Ghaleh was being held on alcohol-related charges; the charges of the other victims have yet to be confirmed.

Prisoner deaths related to detention-related disease and restrictions on hospital transfers have reached a total of five since March 2018, the beginning of the Iranian year. Moloud Vanousheh of Mahabad died of a long-neglected colon condition while being held on alcohol-related offenses. Ghorbanali Mir Esmaeili also died of unattended conditions while in Urmia’s psychiatric ward 2.

Prisoners at Urmia Central Prison continue to be exposed to the elevated health risks of a short-staffed prison clinic without a resident physician. On June 12, 2018, Bahaoldin and Davood Ghassemi, two brothers on Urmia’s death row, requested to be executed as soon as possible when prison authorities refused their transfer to an outside clinic for treatment. Both are suffering from foot infections secondary to spinal injuries which have been further exacerbated by the sanitary conditions of their quarters.

Tensions Mount over Unlawful Execution of Three Kurdish Political Prisoners

Posted on: September 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Shock, sorrow, and censure over the executions of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi continue to pour in from both international institutions and Iranian citizens in-country, further straining relations between Iranian authorities and the human rights activist community at large.

A number of Kurdish opposition groups have sounded the call to strike to Kurdish regions of Iran, inviting fellow Kurds to protest their comrades’ executions.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has stated, “I deeply deplore the executions last week of three Iranian Kurdish prisoners despite the serious concerns raised by Special Procedures mandate holders that they were not afforded fair trials, and were subjected to torture.” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, has also condemned these executions.

Imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi was among a number of imprisoned civil rights activists publishing separate letters expressing sorrow and outrage over the men’s deaths. Golrokh Iraee and Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, two more imprisoned activists, wrote and published their own messages of protest and sympathy, with Sotoudeh likening their executions to the *political massacres of 1988.

Some of these letters have reportedly incited blowback from prison authorities, who have subjected Daemi and Iraee to repeated non-routine body searches after their letters were published. When these women inquired about the reason for the searches, they learned the order for frisking had been issued by the Prison’s Director. A Prosecutor Assistant has since promised to investigate.

Excerpts from the letters of Sotoudeh and Iraee, translated into English by HRANA, are below.

Nasrin Sotoudeh:

“The judicial system has executed three Kurdish compatriots. Our Kurdish compatriots have been plagued by oppression for decades. The verdict and sentences of the Revolutionary Court, condemning these three compatriots to die, was the product of an unlawful process that runs counter to Human Rights principles and the laws of the Islamic Republic. In at least one of these trials, had due process been respected, the defendant may very well have been acquitted.

Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were on hunger strike when they were hanged, another testament to the inherent brutality of the judicial system, who itself is supposed to protect us from violence.

I extend my condolences to our Kurdish compatriots, who have had a steadfast, crucial presence in the cultural promotion of Iran; to all Iranians; and, in particular, to the families of Moradi, Moradi, and Panahi. I hope that in heeding the diverse manifestations of Iran’s judicial violence, the urgent need to renounce all forms of it will become clear.”

Golrokh Iraee

“[Their death] invites the wrath of Kurdistan’s Children […] Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi, freedom fighters, Kurdistan’s immortal resistance, teachers of patience and persistence, have left behind a lesson in determination. They were hanged while on hunger strike, in protest of their mistreatment at the hands of authorities; they stood up to the monsters of despotism and reactionarism.

They unmasked those traitors who call themselves statesmen and rulers. Let it be known that the time for lip service has passed. To hold them accountable, we must act.”

****

After being hanged to death in an undisclosed location in Tehran on September 8th without notice to their lawyers, the bodies of the Moradis and Hossein Panahi were *confiscated by the Iranian authorities. The Ministry of Intelligence has since threatened the men’s surviving family members.

Ahmad Amouee, journalist and former prisoner of conscience, published an account of the Moradi and Moradi families’ visit to Tehran’s main cemetery, Behesht-e Zahra, where officials had summoned them to bid farewell to their sons’ bodies. Their final resting place remains unknown.

* In the summer of 1988, on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran at the time, thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners were executed after inquisition-style interrogation sessions. Almost all of these prisoners had already been tried and were either serving their sentence or, having completed their sentence, were awaiting release. All were buried in unmarked, often secret, mass graves.

Mother of Narges Mohammadi Pleads with Prison Officials: “Give her one hour at her father’s side”

Posted on: September 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Currently imprisoned at Evin, civil rights activist and Vice President of Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) Narges Mohammadi is being championed by her mother, Ozra Bazargan. Worried that her daughter might never see her ailing father again, Bazargan pleads Mohammadi’s case for temporary release in a letter addressed to Tehran’s Prosecutor General.

The text of Bazargan’s letter, sourced from DHRC and translated into English by HRANA, is below:

Dear Mr. Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran Prosecutor General,

Why won’t you agree to Narges’s furlough? How far will you take this injustice against my daughter?

We are in the fourth autumn of our family’s separation. Narges’s father, who is 85 years old, suffers from a cardiac disease and high blood pressure. We have seen Narges four times in as many as years, as our poor health prevents us from traveling to Tehran where our beloved daughter is held. The Evin Prison officials can attest to this.

Last year, Narges’s father suffered from three horrific heart attacks. Fearing she would never again see her father alive, Narges was ready to make the trip to see her him in the ICU–with guards present–for only an hour. And officials wouldn’t even grant her that.

Narges is being kept from her two children, her husband, and her father, all while looters, embezzlers, and society’s high crooks walk free, sit comfortably at home, or– if they’re in prison– enjoy perks from the Judiciary and security forces. An intolerable discrimination underlies this.

We have witnessed the temporary release of prisoners whose lives were affected by tragic events. The last of these was Abdolfatta Soltani [who was only granted furlough in the wake of his daughter’s sudden death]. I fear that my daughter will have to wait for a tragedy, too.

My daughter did not deserve a ruthless 22-year prison sentence at the age of 44. I cannot bear to think of it, let alone of the conditions she’s in: bereft of seeing her loved ones, deprived of medical care, cut off from the cures to her many ailments. I hear that my daughter struggles with aches and pains that she is keeping from us, to spare us the worry. You and your assistants, on the other hand–you know about her pain firsthand. I am told that she suffers through days without getting care. In tears–in cries–I lift my grief to heaven and I ask God for justice.

As a mother and a member of a family of activists, I am weary of the fight against oppression. I condemn this injustice and cruelty oppressing my daughter. I request that authorities consider the length of my daughter’s long sentence, and grant her this furlough. And if you still are resolute on restricting my daughter, send guards along. Give her one hour at her father’s side, so that he might find peace at the sight of his beloved daughter.
Ozra Bazargan
Narges Mohammadi’s mother

* According to her lawyer Mohamoud Behzadirad, Narges Mohammadi has served 6 years and 4 months of her prison sentence, and has 3 years, 8 months left ahead. “She is eligible for conditional release, but the request for that release has yet to be approved,” Behzadirad said.

HRANA reported August 13th, 2018 on Mohammadi’s transfer to Imam Khomeini hospital following a deterioration in her health condition, one week after prison officials had barred her from seeing a neurologist. Earlier, on June 30th, she spent almost a week away from prison while undergoing eye surgery.

Mohammadi was issued a 16-year prison sentence in 2016, 10 years of which were for her role in LAGAM (the Step-by-Step Campaign to Abolish Death Penalty in Iran). The court equated her LAGAM affiliations with “association with the aim to threaten national security.”  Mohammadi later stated that her trial judge had displayed an openly hostile attitude towards her, and seemed adamant about backing the charges against her from the Ministry of Intelligence. She also stated that the judge likened her campaigns against the death penalty as attempts to warp divine law.

The other 6 years of Mohammadi’s sentence were on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “disseminating propaganda against the regime,” both in connection to her peaceful civic activities, including: interviews with the media about human rights violations, participating in peaceful assemblies before prisons, supporting the families of death row detainees, contacting fellow human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, participation in peaceful assemblies in protest of acid attacks, and meeting with Catherine Ashton (at the time the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security policy) in 2014.

Branch 26 of Appeals Court upheld Mohammadi sentence in October 2016. In May 2017, her request for a retrial in the Supreme Court was denied.

Urban Exposé: the lost voices of Iran’s foragers

Posted on: September 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – For years, piles of giant parcels could be seen on the street corners of almost every Iranian metropolis, each representing the bounty of a few hours of foraging. A morning stroll in the city reveals “dumpster divers” hunched over almost every visible waste bin, toiling in the day at what used to be a moonlight gig. Now, this mainstay of urban culture is coming under fire for its poor regulation, safety hazards, incorporation of child labor, and–in the current economic crisis– its rapid expansion into smaller cities.

Many of Iran’s municipalities have on payroll designated foragers of recyclable goods, who often work in deplorable conditions and have been known to outsource this work to young children. In cities like Abadan and Khorramshahr, dumpster divers have become enmeshed in the fabric of the city, all while a creeping trend of privatization has heightened both its precarity for workers and its appeal for would-be entrepreneurs that are hiring them.

Labor activist *Mehrdad spoke to HRANA about the society’s low bar on working conditions for child foragers who aren’t even of age. “All of them suffer from a host of skin, digestive, and respiratory conditions,” Mehrdad said, identifying basic gear like gloves, masks, or protective uniforms as virtually-unheard-of commodities. “What’s worse, instead of telling our municipalities that these children should not be employed– that we need to abolish child labor and think about their welfare–we’re fighting for improved sanitary conditions, and to protect them from sexual harassment.”

Off-the-rolls workers–especially children–are not entitled to complain about their conditions, let alone expect better. Mehrdad said that many of these foragers make do, and even spend the night, in factories and storage spaces used for waste separation. “Obviously, these children work in a contaminated environment.”

Journalists, along with children’s’ rights and civil rights activists, have drawn attention to a burgeoning “garbage mafia” that exploits those willing to accept paltry wages, such as freelance dumpster divers and children.

While waste management officials in some cities have maintained management of the foraging sector and verbally committed to refining the rights and status of these workers–like the waste management office supervisor of the city of Zanjan, who has promised them ID cards and more organized labor administration–such supports have a low chance of survival in an environment of economic downturn and unregulated outsourcing.

Indeed, Mehrdad attributes the recent spike in dumpster diving to Iran’s new wave of economic crisis. “Within the last year, the hard-working class of society has become poorer […] the unemployed have have taken to dumpster diving, while the employed recruit their own kids to do it. Dumpster diving is the last resort of a working class struggling to stay afloat.”

Two months ago, a Hamedan city councilman announced that 550 dumpster divers were active in that city. Disheveled and dressed in dirty clothes, they roam encumbered by large bags of paper, plastic, and metal cans. According to one children’s rights activist studying the child foragers of Tehran, child dumpster divers are expected to collect an average of 170 pounds of recyclables daily, a quota they must trek miles across the city to meet.

These children may be outsourced by contractors, who themselves are managed–and paid–by the city. “What’s awful about it,” said Mehrdad, “is that the municipality and its contractors are capitalizing on their vulnerability.”

Foragers in larger cities won’t necessarily fare better. “The conditions for such children outside the capital, if not harder than in Tehran, aren’t any better. At least in Tehran there’s some media coverage on dumpster divers. In smaller cities, hardly anyone talks about them.”

While article 7 of Iran’s Declaration of Citizenship Rights mandates that “all citizens enjoy equal access to human dignity and the benefits prescribed in laws and regulations,” city councils and municipal authorities in affected cities have yet to make concrete strides toward the protection of the human dignity of foragers. On the contrary, several municipalities have reportedly evaded accountability for underage citizens working in the workshops and waste separation centers of their cities, repeatedly deferring to the very contractors they hire and supervise. “The root of the issue is that these contractors win the municipality’s bidding process by offering the lowest price, and compensate for this low fare by mining the cheap labor pool of children and poor individuals,” said Mehrdad, who anticipates that dumpster diving will remain on the rise until a labor law makes these issues explicit, and is pushed to implementation with considerable pressure from the Iranian people.

Privatization, according to Mehrdad, is the scourge of the freelance forager. “Conditions for dumpster divers was bad enough in the past, but privatization, and the issuing of permits by contractors, have turned the situation downright deplorable. Where some foragers were able to work independently before, now contractors have monopoly on the market and are free to enforce their own restrictions.” Contractors hired by the municipality currently have no legal responsibility to address these issues.

As this HRANA reporter has observed, as long as municipalities skirt their responsibilities of contractor oversight, the number of dumpster divers–along with their quotas, pressures, and hazards–will steadily climb. The voices of these working citizens, for now, are drowned out by financial crisis and political turmoil.

* Mehrdad’s last name was not published due to safety reasons.

Political Executions: Zanyar & Loghman Moradi and Ramin Hossein-Panahi Hanged to Death

Posted on: September 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi and Ramin Hossein-Panahi, three Iranian political prisoners, were reportedly executed on the morning of Saturday, September 8th in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison.

Iran’s Fars news agency published a report on September 8th claiming these three men were “thugs who took military and terrorist measures in western Iran and brought insecurity and killed the loved ones of a number of families.”

On September 7th, families of Zanyar and Loghman Moradi had met them in solitary confinement cells, as requested by prison authorities.

Families of Zanyar and Loghman were contacted by authorities of Rajai Shahr on September 5th and asked to go to the prison, Zanyar’s brother told Hrana. “Loghman’s father and I were able to meet with them. Zanyar told us that they were sent to solitary confinement three days ago for unknown reasons…but they had guessed that it was for execution which is why they started a hunger strike that morning.”

Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering the son of Marivan’s Friday prayer leader; a charge they have always denied.

On December 22, 2010, the two Kurdish family friends were sentenced to death by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Salavati. They were charged with membership in the banned leftist party Komele and murder of the son of Marivan’s Friday prayer leader on July 5, 2009. Both Zanyar and Loghman have repeatedly said their confessions to the crimes were extracted from them under duress.

Zanyar and Loghman had previously written an open letter, published in May 2017, detailing their case and the torture they had experienced.

Ramin Hossein-Panahi, too, was executed today in Rajai Shahr Prison, according to his lawyer, Hossein Ahmadiniaz.

Ramin’s family had not been contacted for a final visit, Ahmadiniaz told HRANA.

The legal team defending Hossein-Panahi had previously written a letter to the head of the Judiciary, asking for the execution order to stop on national security grounds.

Hossein-Panahi published a video on social media about ten days ago, insisting on his innocence and refuting the charges against him.