Judiciary Bodies Withhold News of at Least Eight Executions

Posted on: September 7th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – At least eight death row prisoners in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison were executed in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 5, 2018.

HRANA was able to confirm the identities of the executed prisoners as Reza Ghasemi; a man identified only as “Zolalzadeh”; Amir Amindokht; Seyed Mahmoud Hosseini; Mehdi Tajik; Akbar Salimi; Kazem Ebrahimkhani; and Shahab Taghizadeh. Most had been sentenced to death on murder charges and were granted a final visit with their families before being put to death.

Two more prisoners who were slated to be executed on the 5th–Aidin Shariatmadari and Gheble Ali Pazouki–were returned to their wards in the eleventh hour when the families of the victims agreed to *absolve them of their alleged crimes.

On September 4th, HRANA reported on the transfer of all ten of these prisoners to solitary confinement, the typical terminus for those facing imminent execution.

True to form, the judiciary bodies responsible for disseminating news on prisoner executions and terms thereof have yet to release information about this morning’s events.

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 referred to as “secret executions.”

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. Registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of HRAI indicates that 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 were the executions of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.

* In the Islamic Penal Code, families of murder victims have the option of Qesas (an-eye-for-an-eye), the receipt of blood money in return for sparing the life of the accused.

Three Retribution Execution Sentences Carried Out in Zahedan

Posted on: September 3rd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three prisoners held at Zahedan Prison were executed in the early morning hours of September 3, 2018 — sooner than expected — allegedly in a vindictive response to recent skirmishes between security forces and Jundullah, an armed opposition group based in the Sistan & Baluchestan province.

Though all three prisoners were already on death row, the carrying out of their sentence so soon after the clash gives reason to read the timing as a retaliatory gesture.

Indeed, on September 1, 2017, one day following the skirmishes, all three were transferred to solitary confinement per protocol for prisoners whose execution is imminent. The executed prisoners were identified as Dormohammad Shahbakhsh, 21, a resident of Zahedan, held in Ward 5; Ismaeil Shahbakhsh (pictured above), known as Beheshti, age 23, held in Ward 4; and Hayatullah Nutizehi (Ayatollah Nikzehi), known as Akbar, age 24, a resident of Pakistan.

Sistan & Baluchestan has a history of politically-motivated executions. At least 16 prisoners were put to death in similar circumstances in October of 2013. At that time, Zahedan Prosecutor Mohammad Marziyeh stated that those executed were “terrorist groups who were enemies of the regime”, adding, “they were executed Saturday morning in response to terrorist activities in Saravan the night before.” He did not reveal the names of the prisoners.

Shahbakhsh, Beheshti, and Nutizehi were sentenced to death by Branch 2 of the Zahedan Revolutionary Court back in November of 2017. Their conviction and sentence were upheld in Iran’s Supreme Court one month later. They stood accused of participating in a firefight with police forces on July 7, 2015, which led to the death of a police officer. Although all three denied having a hand in the officer’s death, they were charged as accessories to murder. At the time of their arrest, Ismaeil Shahbakhsh and Hayatullah Nutizehi had also sustained gunshot wounds.

The three wrote an open letter last autumn detailing mistreatment and torture at the hands of their interrogators. They wrote of having surrendered during the 2015 clash when security forces promised them immunity, only to then arrest, torture, and arrange for the three to be put to death. The letter also details instances of their torture by interrogators, such as having pepper rubbed into their wounds or their genitalia pricked by needles.

News of their execution has yet to be announced by the Iranian authorities.

Dervish Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike Following Transfer to Solitary Confinement

Posted on: September 3rd, 2018

Update: As of Tuesday, September 4th, five other Dervish prisoners have joined the hunger strike. Their names are Babak Taghian, Ehsan Malekmohammadi, Salemi Salemi, Reza Bavi, and Akbar Dadashi.

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Twelve of the Dervish prisoners at Great Tehran Penitentiary who were violently disbanded and sent to solitary confinement on August 29th after staging a sit-in have started a hunger strike, while at least 20 of those attacked are reportedly in poor health.

Prison guards used batons, electrical shock, and tear gas on the prisoners to break up their peaceful protest, which had been in effect in Ward 3 since June 13th. The Twitter account of Majzooban Noor — a news agency publishing a feed on Dervishes, a religious minority — described the prison officials’ plan of attack, which involved filtering non-Dervish detainees from the quarantine area before charging those involved in the protest.

According to Majzooban Noor, prison officials then welded shut the gate of the prison yard to surround a number of Dervishes, using tear gas on those who attempted to come to their aid. The prisoners involved in the sit-in, along with 18 Dervishes from Ward 4, were subsequently taken to solitary confinement.

The August 29th raid occurred during a visit to the prison by Mostafa Mohebbi, the Director General of the organization Prisons of Tehran, who had come to inspect the Great Tehran Penitentiary following reports of deplorable conditions there.

Mohebbi reportedly watched as the heads of the prison — identified only as Director Farzadi and his deputy, “Farrokhnejad” — personally inflicted skull and arm fractures, among other injuries, on the confined Dervish prisoners.

Alireza Roshan, the director of Majzooban Noor, told HRANA that while many Dervishes were transferred to solitary confinement, others were individually dispersed among other Wards of the prison. He identified nine solitary confinement prisoners who started hunger strike upon their transfer: Ali Bolboli, Salehodin Moradi, Mohammad Reza Darvishi, Abbas Dehghan, Ali Mohammad Shahi, Mojtaba Biranvand, Ali Karimi, Jafar Ahmadi, and Ibrahim Allahbakhshi.

“Their demands[…]are the reunification of the [Dervish] prisoners to one ward, the release of the female Dervishes [held in Gharchak Prison], and the lifting of the house arrest of Noor Ali Tabandeh, the group’s leader, who has been under house arrest since February 2018,” Roshan revealed.

Three other Dervishes have since followed suit, according to Majzooban Noor, making for a total of twelve Dervishes currently starving themselves in protest. These three were identified as Heydar Teymouri, Majid Yarahmadi, and Saeed Soltanpour.

Roshan said prison regulations stipulate that certain prisoners be kept apart depending on their offenses and beliefs, and that prison officials are responsible for ensuring the collective safety of their detainees.

“Nevertheless,” said Roshan, “Great Tehran Penitentiary officials hold the Dervishes, [who are political prisoners], in a general ward alongside prisoners who have allegedly committed common crimes.”

The following is a bulletin from Majzooban Noor on Dervish prisoners whose health is now at risk:

  1. Kasra Nouri 2. Reza Entesari 3. Pouria Nouri 4. Mehdi Eskandari 5. Saeed Soltanpour 6. Mehrdad Rezaei 7. Alborz Eskandari 8. Ali Abidavi 9. Hasan Shahreza 10. Sekhavat Salimi 11. Amir Nouri 12. Jafar Ahmadi 13. Babak Moradi 14. Majid Moradi 15. Mohammad Reza Darvishi 16. Heydar Teymouri 17. Ali Mohammad Shahi 18. Amin Soleimani 19. Sajjad Baradaran 20. Akbar Dadashi

Prison guards reportedly pulled out some of the Dervishes’ hair, including their facial hair, during the August 29th raid.

Human rights activists and families of the victims have recently raised concerns over a lack of transparency from prison authorities on the current condition of the Dervishes.

The families of the affected Dervishes have written a letter to judicial authorities to demand immediate face-to-face visits with their imprisoned loved ones. The families are reportedly suspicious that authorities have enforced solitary confinement and delays on family visits in order that wounds and traces of violence have ample time to fade from the Dervishes’ bodies.

Six of the dervishes who were beaten – Salehodin Moradi, Ali Bolboli, Mohammad Reza Darvishi, Sekhavat Salimi, Ali Karimi, and Ibrahim Allahbakhshi – have been transferred to Ward 1 of the Great Tehran Penitentiary, quarters for those convicted of common crimes.

Others — including Reza Entesari, Sina Entezari, Kasra Nouri, Mehdi Eskandari, Reza Bavi, Amir Nouri, and Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam — are being held in solitary confinement.

*There are various divisions among Dervish religious groups in Iran. The use of Dervish in this article refers to Nematollahi Gonabadis, who in recent years have declared themselves followers of Twelver Shia Islam, Iran’s official state religion.

HRANA previously reported on how the sit-in was violently broken up

Iran: No End in Sight for Oppressed Attorneys

Posted on: September 2nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Attorneys Farrokh Foruzan and Payam Dorafshan were detained at the home of imprisoned attorney Arash Kaykhosravi on Friday, August 31st. No further information is available on Kaykhosravi’s condition or the reasons behind Foruzan’s and Dorafshan’s arrest.

On August 21, 2018, Kaykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, in prison garb and fully shackled, were transferred to the court branch of Evin Prison, where they were read their charges and sentenced to one month’s detention before being transferred back to prison.

Following the detention of Kaykhosravi and Sholeh-Saadi, public attention has turned to the increasing political pressures being placed on Iranian legal practitioners, sparking widespread demonstrations across the country.

The International Federation for Human Rights recently demanded that authorities cease the judicial harassment of attorney and legal practitioner Zaynab Taheri, as well as that of other human rights defenders who have faced increased hostility from authorities.

On June 19, 2018, the day after the execution of Mohamad Reza Salas Babajani, Taheri was detained by the Culture and Media Court for charges of “spreading misinformation with intent to disturb public opinion and campaign against the regime.” She was released on bail on August 8, 2017.

Imprisoned “Teacher of Civil Disobedience” Enters 26th Day of Hunger Strike

Posted on: August 27th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – The health condition of Farhad Meysami — who declared hunger strike the day after his arrest on July 31st in protest of his detention and the denial of his right to a lawyer of his choice — is in decline.

As of the 26th day of his hunger strike, Meysami was suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and severe weight loss. He was transferred from prison quarantine to the general ward (Ward 4, Hall 3) yesterday.

A source close to Meysami confirmed his health condition to HRANA, adding, “He has lost 11 kilograms since the start of his hunger strike, and intends to continue striking despite his frail condition and insistence from his family and friends to put an end to it.”

The source went on to elucidate the events surrounding Meysami’s arrest: ”He was in his personal library with Zia Nabavi when an individual buzzed in, saying that they wished to submit a book to the publication house located one floor below Mr. Meysami’s flat. When Meysami opened the door for him, four Ministry of Intelligence agents came in and presented an arrest warrant for both Meysami and Nabavi. After a search of his library in which they confiscated pin-back buttons reading “I protest mandatory veiling” along with 30 copies of the book titled “Small Acts of Resistance” and 40 copies of “Human Rights: Questions & Answers,” they arrested both Meysami and Nabavi and transferred them to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Mr Nabavi was released the next day as he was not implicated in the case.”

The source added that Meysami was called a “teacher of civil disobedience” during his interrogation. He faces charges of “Collusion and conspiracy to threaten national security”, “Disseminating propaganda against the regime”, and “Insulting the hijab, an essential sacrament of Islam” from Branch 7 of the Evin Court. Based on the content of his interrogation sheets, these charges stem from “provoking women to appear without hijab in the street,” as well as a speech he gave on the topic of “social nonviolence” at the University of Isfahan.

Meysami’s hunger strike is motivated in part by his wish to appoint Arash Keikhosravi as his lawyer. Keikhosravi, who has been detained in the Great Tehran Penitentiary for the past 11 days, previously explained to HRANA, “On Sunday, August 12th, Mr. Meysami’s mother and I went to Branch 7 of Evin court to follow up on his case and to see how he was doing. I planned to register as his lawyer, but the officials at the branch told me that section 48 of the Criminal Procedure Code bars me from doing so.”
Section 48 of the recently-amended Criminal Procedure Code states that those accused of national security crimes must choose their lawyer from a list approved by the Iranian judiciary.

Letter: Political Prisoner Calls UN Envoy’s Attention to “Hostage” Prisoners

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- From the walls of a prison in Ardabil, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi recounts the agony of becoming a pawn of the Iranian authorities, in a testimony that sheds light on the authorities’ use of political activists’ family members as coercion.

Malek Raisi is being held hostage himself by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in a pressure tactic against his brother, a political activist operating outside of Iran. Currently serving an indefinite sentence in Ardabil, northwestern Iran, he has penned a letter to Javaid Rehman, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, imploring Rehman to help raise public awareness of hostage prisoners.

His letter is especially emphatic in its request to spare Abdollah Bozorgzadeh, a fellow prisoner, from the same fate. Bozorgzadeh is one of seven individuals arrested for demonstrating outrage over news of the rape of 41 women in the southeastern province of Sistan & Baluchestan, home to Iran’s Baluchi ethnic minority. Molaana Molazehi, the Friday prayer Imam of Iranshahr, had spread news of the rape after delivering the Eid-e Fitr prayer sermon at the conclusion of Ramadan on June 15, 2018, adding that the culprits were “individual(s) who had access to “power & money.”

Moved by this announcement, community members rallied on June 17, 2018 in front of the governor’s office. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired back with an accusation that the protest was the work of foreign agents and arrested several activists on those grounds, seven of whom were later seen confessing in recordings broadcast by the IRGC. Adollah Bozorgzadeh, who had joined in support of the rape victims, was one of the seven.

Below is the translated text of Mr. Raisi’s letter:

Dear Mr. Javaid Rehman,

My name is Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, and I am from Sarbaz in the Sistan & Baluchestan province. On October 14, 2009, when I was only 18 years old, I was abducted by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. I have been their hostage for nearly nine years now. The Ministry has contrived charges against me while I’ve been in custody, accusing me of belonging to Jundallah [a militant Sunni organization known as the Peoples’ Resistance Movement of Iran, or PRMI]. My case was tried in Zahedan, the Revolutionary Court of the capital of Sistan & Baluchestan. This court accepted the “investigation” conducted by the Zahedan Intelligence Bureau, to the exclusion of all other evidence. The court ignored my protestations of innocence and was unfazed by the torture and duress I experienced at the hands of Intelligence Ministry agents who sought to extract false confessions from me. They were unfazed by the Ministry’s use of threats to intimidate my family, saying they would execute me if my brother, who is a political activist outside Iran, did not turn himself in. The court found me guilty under section 185 of the Islamic Penal Code for my alleged membership in Jundallah, sentencing me to 15 years in prison, to be served in exile in the city of Ardebil. I was given an additional two-year prison sentence under Passport Law section 34 on a charge of crossing the border illegally.

My conviction does even not correspond to the case facts invented by the Ministry of Intelligence. Even if were guilty, [based on my conviction date] I would be subject to Section 186 of the old penal code which defines the crime of Moharebeh (“enmity against God”) as an armed rebellion against the Islamic state, rather than section 185 which now defines it as banditry and plundering. I was sent to the ward of prisoners convicted of armed robberies, an out-of-proportion punishment that doesn’t even reflect the case built against me.

For 21 months, from my arrest in October 2009 until June 4, 2011, I was held in the Zahedan Intelligence Bureau detention center. During this period as well as the period between April 9th and July 11, 2017, while I was in Section 29 of Zahedan Prison (controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence), agents used my captivity to pressure my brother, Abdolraham, to abandon his anti-regime political activities.

When I was first arrested, my family was threatened with my imminent execution if my brother wouldn’t turn himself in.

I was transferred to Evin Prison for three months under the pretext of requiring medical treatment. But I received no treatment while I was there and am still suffering from a disease. During the same period, agents threatened to double my sentence unless my brother abandoned his cause.

It’s now been nine years since I’ve been imprisoned in the worst possible conditions, deprived of civil rights, including:

§ Public medical services
§ Access to religious books
§ The ability to write (unsupervised use of pen and paper are forbidden)
§ The ability to make phone calls
§ The right to learn and take classes
§ Access to other parts of the prison such as the library and store
§ The right to visits, furlough, conditional release, or serving my sentence in my birth city
§ Clemency

On the contrary– I am subject to deplorable and inhumane conditions that are the design of the Intelligence Ministry, including insults, mocking, beatings, extended isolation, being tied up outside in the cold snowy weather, and being handcuffed and shackled for forty days.

Mr. Rahman, with this evidence of my ordeal in hand, and in the name of all prisoners taken hostage by the Ministry of Intelligence, I ask you to launch an investigation and put an end to this unjust tactic, which in the last four decades has become a norm. I urge you to follow up the cases of those who are suffering the same fate as I am and to demand their release.

These individuals are many, and some have even been executed. Prisoners like Mehrollah Reigi Mahernia, who is only 18, Mohammad Saleh Torkamaan Rahi, Ayoub Gahramzayi, and Salman Jadgal, are all being held because of their siblings’ activism. Some like Alyas Ghalandarzehi, aged 18, is on death row for the politics of two of his uncles. There are more whose identities I cannot reveal, who regained freedom only because their activist family member turned themselves in.

The most recent case of brutal hostage tactics unfolded on June 17, 2018. The victim is a 30-year-old Baluchi, a young man named Abdollah Bozorgzadeh. Bozorgzadeh is only beginning the stages of a process which slowly depraves and spoils one’s life. He is being used as a tool to pressure his brother Habibollah.

Perhaps the word “pressure” does not do justice to the true nature of what these victims and their families experience. In reality, the stress permeates the family’s entire existence, brutally destroys the life of the hostage, and paralyzes the family in a state of suspense. The uncertainty is a major psychological blow to every single family member who is awaiting the fate of a loved one held hostage. The families cannot comprehend how such a cruel injustice could exist in our world.

Mr. Javaid Rehman, knowing my family’s and my own dark experience, I do not wish this suffering upon anyone else. That is why my parents, my brother Abdolrahman, and I ask you to persist in elucidating the case of Abdollah Bozorgzadeh, so that he and his family do not have to suffer as we have.

Abdollah’s father has staged sit-ins twice to demand the release of his son, but no organization has been responsive to him.

Abdollah Bozorgzadeh is a student who attended a rally like many other young people in Iranshahr who were demanding justice for victims of a local sexual assault case. No law was broken, no act of desecration took place. He is detained arbitrarily, for the political activities of his brother against the regime. Please act to secure his release!

Mohammad Saber Malek Rayisi
Ward 7 of Ardebil Prison

Azerbaijani Turkic Activists Arrested After Ceremony in Mount Sabalan

Posted on: August 16th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Security forces in Meshginshahr (northwestern Iran) reportedly arrested several Azerbaijani Turkic minority activists on Friday, August 10th after attacking their camp in Mount Sabalan.

The activists, who had reportedly planned to climb Mount Sabalan, were arrested while reading poetry in their camp. There is no information available at this time about their condition or the charges issued against them.

HRANA was able to confirm some of their names: Aidin Zakeri, Tohid Amir Amini, Saleh Pichganloo, Reza Ebrahimi, Rahim Nowrouzi, Mojtaba Parvin, Mostafa Parvin, Yousef Kari, Mehdi Houshmand, Babak Nikzad, Younes Shokri, Javad Shokri, Hossein Salavan, Mohammad Ghohoumzadeh, Rasoul Ghohoumzadeh, Ealman Mohammadpour, Aisouda Mohammadpour and Ahmad Mohammadpour.

According to eyewitnesses, some of the activists were beaten for resisting arrest. One of the detained activists informed his family in a phone call that they were all transferred to a detention center in Lahroud (near Meshginshahr).

Political Activist Majid Azarpey Arrested, Begins Prison Sentence

Posted on: August 16th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Majid Azarpey, a reformist political activist, was arrested on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, and transferred to the quarantine ward of Evin Prison.

Azarpey was sentenced in November 2015 to six and a half years in prison and fined approximately $300 USD (30,000,000 Rial) by branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh. His sentence was reportedly upheld by branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court in November 2017.

When he was arrested on Wednesday, he was complying with a phone call he had received on Monday, summoning him to Evin court to pay the $300 fine.

Azarpey was previously arrested in June 2015 by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence agents and released after eight months on approximately a $70,000 USD (7 billion Rial) bail on February 10, 2016.

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.

Open Letter: Arash Sadeghi Sounds Alarm of Renewed Assassination Campaign

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – From Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison, civil rights activist Arash Sadeghi has written an open letter in response to the assassination of Eqbal Moradi, an Iraqi Kurdistan political activist and the father of political prisoner Zanyar Moradi. In his letter, Sadeghi traces the domestic and foreign assassination campaigns that Iran has been orchestrating since February 1979.

As previously reported by HRANA, the dead body of Eqbal Moradi was found near the Iran-Iraq border in Penjwen, Iraqi Kurdistan. The three bullet wounds on his body marked the last of many attempts on his life.

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

“The campaign to eliminate critics inside and outside the country started in the month of February 1979. It claimed the lives of hundreds of people associated with the previous regime, in addition to Sunnis, Baha’is, dissidents, and members of revolutionary political groups that challenged the new regime’s leadership. It continued during the vast oppression of the 1980’s, and with the mass murder of political prisoners in the Summer of 1988. After the [Iran/Iraq] war ended, it continued with a string of assassinations (known as ‘Chain Murders’) targeting the regime’s detractors and opponents.

Many names can be found on the blacklist: Mohammad Mokhtari, Dariush Forouhar, Parvaneh Eskandari, Mohammad Jafar Pooyandeh, Ali Akbar Sirjani, Pirooz Davani, Hamid and Karoon Hajizadeh, Masoumeh Mossadegh, Zohreh Izadi, and dozens of other dissidents.

But assassinations didn’t reserve themselves for critics and dissidents within Iran. In the past four decades, they followed dozens of opposition figures to European countries.

Ashraf Pahlavi’s son Shahriar Shafiq was the first to go down, killed in Paris in December of 1979. He had been convicted in absentia of “corruption on earth” [a capital crime in Iran] by Sadeq Khalkhali [a notorious judge of the early revolutionary period].

Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou and Abdollah Ghaderi were assassinated in Vienna, Austria during a negotiation with diplomats of the Islamic Republic.

Gholam Keshavarz was killed in Cyprus; Sedigh Kamangar in Ranya, Iraq; and Kazem Rajavi in Switzerland.

Efat Ghazi [spouse of a prominent Kurdish activist and daughter of the President of Iran’s ephemeral Republic of Mahabad] was assassinated in Vasteras, Sweden.

Abdolrahman Boroumand and Shapour Bakhtiar were killed in France.

Fereydoun Farrokhzad was assassinated in Bonn, Germany.

Mohammad Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan, and Noori Dehkordi were assassinated in a restaurant called Mykonos in Berlin. Then there was the bombing of the Jewish community center in Argentina…

Based on the statements of German prosecutors, the foreign-soil murders — right up to the Mykonos killings — were led by the [Iranian] regime’s top political figures. And it was only after trial, and the diplomatic crisis with European countries, that the assassination campaign came to a brief pause.

The chain murders came right behind the 1988 [mass] executions. It was only in the Khatami era, with its relatively open media atmosphere, that the public was sensitized to these murders. Ultimately it was declared that the assassinations were the work of high-ranking security officials, chiefly Saeed Emami. From the autumn of 1998, the murders carried on into the early 2000’s.

The overseas assassination campaign is back up and running; once again the alarm bell is sounding, and the campaign is accelerating forward.

This time around, they targeted Eqbal Moradi. We heard the shocking and bitter news of Eqbal’s death – he is the father of Zanyar Moradi, a political prisoner sentenced to death. [Eqbal] Moradi was an active human rights defender in the city of Penjwen. He collaborated with several human rights organizations, including the international “No To Executions” campaign, and raised funds for political prisoners and their families.

Rare is the human rights activist who hasn’t heard of Eqbal Moradi. I got to know him years ago, and I saw what he did for his dear son, his nephew (Loghman Moradi), and for all political prisoners. When Zanyar was 19 he was taken hostage with his cousin Loghman, simply because the Iranian security apparatus held a grudge against his father.

Zanyar and Loqman were sentenced to die without a fair trial. It’s now been ten years since they’ve been in prison. A flagrant injustice in the trial of Zanyar (a man I consider to be a symbol of resistance and honor): when witnesses were ready to attest to both [him and his cousin’s] innocence, the judge — who is but a rubber-stamp for the security apparatus — refused to accept their testimonies, without giving any legal reasons.

A flagrant injustice: they are hostages to a sinister plot of the security apparatus. Now the father is gone, and his death sounds the alarm of a renewed assassination campaign through Iraqi Kurdistan.

Make no mistake, the renewal of the assignation campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan would be rooted in the regime’s grudge against the opposition; they see the elimination of critics as legitimate, an expedient protection of the regime and of religious law. In the past year, four more Kurdish activists have been assassinated in Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition to Ahmad Mawlana Abu Nahez — known as Ahmad Neysi — an Ahwazi activist who was assassinated in the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, ever since the establishment of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), it has lacked a strong and independent government and suffered from partisan divisions. This, paired with the political-military presences in neighboring countries — especially the Islamic Republic, whose Hamzeh Base in Urmia [close to the border with Iraq] answers to the Quds Force, an operating arm of the assassination campaign abroad — has made Iraqi Kurdistan an easy target.

The silence of some countries in response to these assassination cases, or other countries’ official or unofficial endorsement of them, will empower Iran, with all of its human rights violations in-country, to eliminate dissidents abroad with greater ease.

This places a heavy burden on the officials of European countries.

In recent years, they’ve sent thousands of their own citizens to countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan to show their commitment to fighting state-sponsored terrorism and human rights violations.

If Western officials are serious about this commitment, they cannot rightly plead economic and trade interests as an excuse to turn a blind eye to operatives of this overseas assassination campaign, the very same people who eliminate dissidents within Iran’s borders. Any kind of silence or cooperation with the Islamic Republic enables domestic oppression and threatens the opposition abroad.

Arash Sadeghi
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Gohardasht [Rajai Shahr] Prison, Karaj