Monthly Report – May 2024: Human Rights Situation in Iran

HRANA – HRA’s Statistics Department has released its monthly report for May 2024, revealing a concerning surge in human rights violations throughout Iran. This month witnessed the execution of 64 individuals, comprising 57 men and 3 women and includes 1 juvenile offender.. Shockingly, only 6 of these executions were reported by official sources, indicating a severe lack of transparency. Furthermore, 7 individuals were sentenced to death, reflecting a persistent trend of capital punishment in Iran.

Freedom of expression continues to be suppressed, with 363 cases related to this issue reported this month. Arrests of journalists and individuals critical of the regime persist, with 4 journalists detained and prominent figures like Mehrshad Kalini arrested for protesting against death sentences. Additionally, the recent death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash led to arbitrary arrests and interrogations of citizens posting about the incident on social media.

Prison conditions remain dire, with reports of medical neglect, prolonged judicial processes, and lack of legal representation. Recent incidents, including solitary confinement of political prisoners like Zartasht Ahmadi Ragheb and Hamzeh Darwish’s attempted suicide, highlight the urgent need for improved conditions and fair treatment within Iran’s prison system.

Women’s rights continue to be violated, with increased surveillance and arrests for non-compliance with hijab regulations under “Operation Noor.” Aida Shakarami and Zhina Modarresi Gorji are among those facing charges related to their activism, demonstrating ongoing crackdowns on dissent and stringent enforcement of hijab laws.

Workers face hazardous conditions and economic strain, with numerous fatalities and injuries resulting from work-related accidents. Additionally, trade activists like Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi face legal persecution for their activism.

 

Executions

This month in Iran, the execution of 64 individuals took place, comprising 57 men and 3 women. Additionally, of the 64 executions only 6 were reported by official sources A total of 7 individuals were sentenced to death. Iran persists in executing individuals for offenses falling short of the standards outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Notably, there remains a consistent trend of individuals being executed for drug-related crimes, a practice in clear contravention of the right to life as stipulated by the ICCPR. This month, 38 people were executed for drug-related offenses.

It is deeply concerning that Iran continues to sentence and execute juvenile offenders. Ramin Sa’adat, who was only 16 at the time of his arrest, was executed on May 18, 2024. International human rights law explicitly prohibits the execution of juvenile offenders, yet Iran persists in this practice.

Hatem Ozdemir, a Turkish national, has been sentenced to death for the second time. After his initial death sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court, he was re-sentenced to death. Furthermore, Iran has recently executed two more Sunni religious prisoners, Anwar Khazari and Khosrow Basharat, following a highly controversial trial. The trial, which involved the alleged murder of a man, was marred by significant human rights violations, including the lack of effective legal representation for the defendants.

Additionally, Iran continues to execute political prisoners. Mahmoud Mehrabi was sentenced to death on the charge of “corruption in the world” based on allegations that he published falsehoods on his Instagram page. This situation highlights ongoing concerns about the fairness and impartiality of Iran’s judicial system and its adherence to international human rights standards.

 

 

Freedom of Thought and Expression 

Iran continues to crackdown on anyone who protests or criticizes the regime, and continues to violate the right to freedom of expression and thought. This month there have been 363 cases related  to freedom of expression. This includes Wafa Ahmadpour and Daniyal Moghadam, who were arrested for producing a protest music video. Since the 2022 protests, many artists who have used creative outlets to call attention to the protests have been arrested. On the 18th of May, Mehrshad Kalini, a pediatric specialist living in Lordegan city, was arrested by the security forces while he was holding a banner protesting the death sentences in one of the streets of this city.

Additionally, journalists continue to be arrested, mainly on charges of propaganda against the regime. This month 4 journalists were arrested. Journalist Ali Moslehi was summoned and imprisoned for this exact charge. Recently, Shirin Saidi was sentenced to five years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Saidi’s travels abroad to South Africa and Lebanon for journalism were used against her in the case.

This month, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, died in a helicopter crash, causing a significant media stir. As a result, several citizens were summoned, arrested, and interrogated for their posts about the incident. In Amlash city, 10 individuals were arrested for publishing material related to the crash, with the police claiming that the content was intended to disturb the public’s mind. Hayman Mam Khosravi, the brother of Hajar Mam Khosravi, one of the victims of the nationwide protests of 2022, was summoned to the Bukan Intelligence Department for publishing information related to the crash. Maryam Daulatabadi, a resident of Sabzevar, who was arrested after publishing material about the helicopter crash, is still in custody despite the passage of three days, and her family is unaware of her condition.

 

Prison Conditions

In Iran, there have been 16 cases of prisoners lacking medical care and 92 cases of uncertainty due to excessive prolongation of the judicial process and delays in determining the individuals’ status. Additionally, there are 45 cases where no information about the person has been available after their arrest, leaving families in the dark about the prisoners’ fates due to a lack of contact. Meanwhile, 8 political prisoners have been granted medical leave, and there have been 2 cases of suicide among the incarcerated. Furthermore, 26 prisoners have been transferred to solitary confinement, 6 have had no access to a lawyer, and 4 have gone on hunger strikes in protest of their conditions. 

Amidst these alarming trends, recent incidents have highlighted the harsh realities faced by detainees. Zartasht Ahmadi Ragheb, a political prisoner in Qazalhasar prison in Karaj, was transferred to solitary confinement after protesting the treatment of another inmate. In Lakan prison in Rasht, Hamzeh Darwish attempted suicide and was returned to prison despite needing further medical attention. Another case in Qazalhasar prison involved Reza Khazaei, who was beaten by prison officers and transferred to solitary confinement after exposing the prison’s dire conditions in a video. Meanwhile, Varishe Moradi and Paharhan Azizi, political detainees in Evin prison, initiated a hunger strike to protest Moradi’s transfer to Ward 209 and the delay in their court hearing. These incidents underscore the urgent need for improved conditions and fair treatment within Iran’s prison system.

 

 

Women 

The implementation of ‘Operation Noor’ has led to a significant increase in arrests and warnings related to improper hijab wear. In May alone, 602 women were arrested for violating hijab laws, and up until May 30,602 warnings were issued for improper hijab use. A notable incident occurred at Azad University Central Tehran Branch on May 26, where at least 100 students were forcibly detained for not adhering to mandatory hijab laws. They were released only after signing a commitment letter to comply with hijab rules, with some being allowed to leave only after changing their veils.

Aida Shakarami, the sister of deceased protester Nika Shakarami, has been formally charged with “inciting immorality and indecency” and “disobedience to officers.” Additionally, Zhina (Jina) Modarresi Gorji was sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison: ten years for “forming illegal groups aimed at overthrowing the regime,” ten years for “collaborating with hostile countries and groups,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime.” These cases highlight the ongoing crackdown on dissent and the stringent enforcement of hijab laws in Iran.

 

Workers 

Workers in Iran face ongoing challenges and hazardous workplaces. In a tragic turn of events, this month saw 37 fatalities resulting from work-related accidents, with an additional 34 workers left injured. Moreover, 8345 workers reported unpaid wages spanning 67 months, while 4100 others were denied their insurance rights. Additionally, 3 businesses faced closure due to hijab violations, adding to the economic strain. 

Furthermore, workers continue to commit suicide due to dire financial constraints and the pressure placed on them by employers and city officials, which makes both their work and personal situations difficult. Additionally, trade activists continue to be summoned to court and sentenced for their activism. Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, a teachers union activist was summoned on the charge of ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran”. He is being tried based on his instagram posts. 

Lastly, Kulbars (border couriers) continue to be killed and injured due to military activists at the border. Ajvan Kiani, was in a car when military officials, without warning, opened fire on the car. Mohammad Saran, Ghulam Sarani, and  Nabi Sarani, were all killed due to indiscriminate firing of military officials. This killing of border workers continues to be a significant issue in Iran, where border workers are often killed or injured due to military activities. This month 5 Kulbars were killed and 3 were injured.

 

International News Update:

On the 13th of May, Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran along with other UN experts are calling on Iran to revoke the death sentence imposed on anti-corruption activist Mahmoud Mehrabi and to stop sentencing people to death for expressing their opinions. Mehrabi was convicted on vague charges of “corruption on earth” related to his online activism on justice and corruption in Iran. The experts argue that critical views, even if expressed online, do not warrant the death penalty under international law. They express alarm over Iran’s use of severe punishments for freedom of expression, including death sentences and long-term prison terms, citing the recent case of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi. The experts emphasize that freedom of expression is fundamental to a free and democratic society and call for amendments to Iran’s Constitution and penal code to prohibit executions and commute all death sentences. They highlight the chilling effect Mehrabi’s arrest and sentencing have on freedom of expression in Iran, particularly in the wake of nationwide protests in 2022.

Additionally Australia has sanctioned five IRGC individuals and three entities for human rights violations, this includes Amir Hatami, Esmail Qaani, Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani, Rashid Gholam, Mehdi Gogerdchian

 Lastly, On the 30th of  May several UN Experts published a statement  about the violence and threats against journalists in Iran. The statement discusses the condemnation by UN experts of violence, threats, and intimidation against the Persian language news service Iran International and its journalists, staff, and owner, Volant Media UK Limited. The experts express deep concern over the escalation of such acts, culminating in the violent stabbing of journalist Pouria Zeraati outside his home in London. They highlight the broader pattern of repression against Persian language media services and the chilling effect these attacks may have on journalists both inside and outside Iran. The article also outlines instances of transnational repression targeting journalists reporting on Iran, including physical assaults and the imposition of travel and financial sanctions. The experts call on Iran to refrain from violence, threats, and intimidation against Iran International and other journalists reporting on Iran from abroad, urging investigation and prosecution of those responsible for such acts.

 

Download Full Pdf: Monthly Report May

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