Monthly Report – A Review of the Human Rights Situation in Iran

HRANA News Agency – The following is a monthly report summarizing the human rights status in Iran in October / November (Solar calendar, month of Aban), 2014. This report has been prepared by the office of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists Association of Iran. Considering the ongoing suppression and ban on independent human rights activist organizations in Iran, this report may not be considered a comprehensive and complete reflection of the current situation of human rights in Iran. It should be noted that the department of Statistics also publishes an annual report about the human rights conditions in Iran in the form analytical and statistical report.

An overview of the human rights situation in Iran in October /November

During months of October /November 2014, systematic Human rights violations in Iran continued with a quick pace just like before. The first couple of days of this month started with executions. 12 people were executed in Shiraz, Kerman, Amol and Karaj and they were indications of a bad month to human right societies in Iran. Some of the boldest executions in this month were the execution of 5 people at Uromiyeh Prison and the public executions in the cities of Bandar-e-Abbas and Mashhad. These executions carried out without clear explanation from Judicial and Security organisations.

One of the most noted and controversial occasions of human rights violation was the execution of Reyhane Jabbari. She was convicted of homicide at the age of 19 and despite of the massive efforts made internationally by many Social and Political Activists and Artists to prevent the sentence being carried out, she was executed at Rajaee Shahr Prison when the family of the victim refused to forgive her.

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran commented about the critical position and approach of Iranian Government with regards to his professional practice and said: “acts made by Iranian authorities on him will not affect his duty and will not disturb him”.  On Monday 27 October 2014,  Ahmed Shaheed said that Mohammad Javad Larijani , Secretary of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic, “Loves to creates prohibitions” for Mr Shaheed but considers Mr Larijani’s attacks ineffective on his work. It is interesting that these comments were made only days before the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights Council.  Prior to these comments , on Sunday 26 October 2014 , in his interview with two Iranian state news channels,  Mohammad Javad Larijani entioned :” Ahmad Shaheed extremely supports terrorism whereas he should be supporting human rights and detest terrorism!” .

Also in the month of Aban, the Iranian human rights delegation led by Mohammad Javad Larijani, travelled to Geneva to participate in the twentieth session of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights (U.P.R).  UPR mechanism is the most important United Nation’s human rights mechanisms which takes place every four years. During this summit, the situation of the human rights in all countries will be assessed and recommendations will be made to countries to improve their human rights situation.

There were two significant points worth mentioning in this summit. Along with this summit, International Amnesty called for more pressure on Iran as Iranian Government failed to meet its obligations. International Amnesty demanded that all members of this council to use the opportunity of summit and ask Iranian delegation to respect basic human rights of Iranian people and to provide tangible promises. Another ingesting point was the strange comments made by Mohammad Javad Larijani. In his interview with CNN, Secretary of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic in regards to the high number of executions in Iran said: “most of these executions relates to the narcotics trafficking and western societies benefited from Iran’s war on drugs. These countries should thank Iran for its unrest, single sided war against narcotics related crimes.”

During the last month, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights expressed its concerns over the high number of executions and violation of human rights in Iran. Canada also put the draft text on the violation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran into vote.

After a decade, Iran agreed with the travel of special human right reporters to Iran. Islamic Republic announced that they have agreed with the travel of two “specialised” human rights reporters to the country while at the same time refused to allow Ahmad Shaheed –the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran- to travel to Iran. Iranian Regime accused him of “taking side” and “unfairness”.

This month also saw the ongoing violation of basic human rights for the National and Religious minorities in Iran. Ali Heydari, an Ahwazi Arab Activist was arrested by security forces and transferred to an unknown location.   Also Najib Raeesi , son of Molavi Dost Mohammad Raeesi – the Sunni Friday prayer Imam-was arrested by security forces in NasirAbad.

On Thursday 6 November 2014, trial for former Friday prayer Imam of Rask and his son were held with new charges. These two prisoners were trialled before on the charges of destruction of the vehicle of “Molavi jangi Zahi”. However, a document was published, the sons of “Molavi jangi Zahi” through official channels which announced “Molavi Naqshbandi” and his son “Rumi” had no role in the assassination of their father. In this statement they demanded that authorities search for the real guilty individuals of this crime.

In addition to what have been mentioned, on Monday 10 November 2014, sixteen Cultural Activists and newly converted Ahwazi Sunnis were arrested while attending Quran class in Shekareh area of Ahwaz.

This section continues with the mention of heavy sentence given to “Marivan Abdulkarim Reza” who is a Kurdish Sunni citizen and is originally from Iraq. He travelled to Tehran in search for a job but was arrested as a suspect of a crime.  When officers at Criminal Investigation Department of NAJA (Police Agahi) realised he has an Iraqi nationality, he was handed over to the custody of Intelligent Services. He was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment at Rajaee Shahr Prison on the charges of “waging war against state” and his sentence is approved at the Supreme Court.

“Maulana Abdul Hamid”, Friday Prayer Imam of Zahedan wrote to the new head of IRIB and called to refrain from insulting culture and religious beliefs of the ethnic minority groups. After the appointment of “Dr Mohammed Sarafraz “ as the head of IRIB, he sent a letter to “Dr Sarafraz” and described the  mission of Television and other media on the current situation of the Muslim world as “extremely  difficult” .

As the ongoing harassment and pressure of dissidents continued in Iran, on 1 November 2014, “Jahangir Salimi” and “Vahid Forodi”, two members of “Yaresan” faith ( Ahl-e-Hagh)  along with another Student Activist  were kidnapped in front of Kermanshah Razi University  by several plain cloth security officers.

Also “Reza Ferdous Moghaddam”, a Sufi (Darvish) citizen of “Darreh Shahr” in “Ilam”, was arrested by two plain-clothes officers at a Sufis ceremony, without any explanation. He was arrested and put into a private car using force and violence and transferred to Sepah (IRGC) and interrogated for several hours.

Iranian Baha’i community also saw the violation of fundamental rights of its members like previous years, such as the closure of 50 Bahais’ stores on 26 October 2014,  in the cities of “Bandar Abbas”, “Jiroft”, “Rafsanjan”, “Kerman” ; burial of the bodies of two Bahais from Tabriz called “Mohanna Samandari” and “Narges Khatoon Barghi”  without informing their families by officers in Miandoab village.

One of the most obvious violations of the Bahais’ right was the reports of burning the houses of two Bahai citizens in Hamedan rural area.  On the evening of 3 November 2014, unidentified people in the village of “Uch Tepe” (Hamedan Rural district) raided the house of a Bahai follower called “Hemmati”. Attackers broke all windows and used engine oil to damage the yard and balcony of the house. They left after setting the house on fire and writing slogans -against the Bahai faith and its followers- on the walls of the house.

On 7 November 2014, another village from Hamedan district called “Amzajerd”, household and agricultural equipments of a Bahai family called “Aqdasi” were set on fire by unknown people. The fire burned and destroyed lots of furniture, deeds of the farmland and some cash. The cause of the fire was described as intentional base on investigation and report from Fire and Safety Services of Hamedan.

With regards to human right violation of Christian citizens and especially newly converted Christians, Masoud Rezaee a newly converted Christian and the manager of the Shiraz Church started his imprisonment sentence as one of boldest news in this domain. On 20 October 2014, he along with another member of this church “ Afsar Bahmani” were summoned to the Shiraz Intelligence organization and were arrested there. On Sunday 9 November 2014, he presented himself to Shiraz Adel Abad Prison so his sentence could be carried out.

Several reports were published in the domain of children’s rights and the news of the deaths of three students during highway patrol police chase was one of the saddest of them. Based on a report published on Thursday 23 October 2014, while returning home on 20 October 2014, seven students of a secondary school mounted into a Pickup van as passengers. However, “Ghale Ganj” highway police in Kerman State started chasing the van because he picked up passengers. During the chase, the pickup van overturned and killed 3 students: 15 years old “Yonus Chalipa”, 16 years old “Alireza Chalipa” and 15 years old “Denial Gholami”.

In another incident school students were sent to hospital instead of school. The event caused by collision of two motorcycles in rural village of Tarj-Ganjabad in the county of Jiroft in Kerman state  and five students were injured .

In this context, in addition to the above, fifty-five students in Zahedan poisoned due to inhalation of toxic gases. Also, doubling the number of undernourished mothers and children in Sistan and Baluchestan in national statistics were among other reports of this month.

In the domain of women basic rights, several attacks took place. After the news of Isfahan Acid attacks published, a peculiar street disturbance become common around the cities in Iran during which motorcyclists splash water at pedestrian women using bottled water. This act took place as a means of entertainment whereas creating fear amongst women.

Moreover, a letter from members of Parliament to the President in which they protest against singing women and women’s activities in the field of music was another event in the field of women’s rights.

Also, in the annual report of “World Economic Forum” about the state of gender equality in the world among 142 countries, Iran took a low place and ranked 137. According to the report, the inequality and the gender gap in comparison to previous years showed no improvement.

In the area of workers, just like other areas, this month was full of incidents and even an increase in the Workers incidents was observed in this month such as workers gatherings and demonstrations and firing workers which will be explained in the following.

9 permanent workers of “Saveh Gas Pipes Company” (Subsidiaries of the social security fund organisation) were fired because of their opposition to the change in their agreement from agreement of the “permanent” to “temporary”.  Also, On 23 October 2014, – the 37th days of trade union protest- the financial manager of “Gylana Tile Company”  fired 20 temporary workers of the factory by the order of main shareholders .

Moreover, the accumulation Tractor workers to protest against the 2 months delay on their wages; gathering in protest to the delay in wages and dismissal of the workers representative at Abfa Abadan; dismissal of five permanent factory workers of “Iran “Zack Company” without providing any reasons for the dismissal; and also preventing   more than hundred workers of “Ilam Petrochemical Plant” from entering the site were just some of the events.

Other workers’ incidents at this month were dismissal of 1100 workers during a week; dismissal of 115 workers of “Madanjoo Coal Company” during the last week of October; 10% increase in the deaths caused by occupational accidents in the “Mazandaran”; and the accumulation of construction workers and dismissed Ilam petrochemical workers in front of Parliament.

It should be noted that on 24 October 2014, 350 of the General Assembly of the Association of Construction workers in the construction trade Union Associations condemned the change in the Law on Insurance of construction workers by the Parliament.

In this month reports were published about the death and injury of workers which will follow.  The death of two Petrochemical workers due to inhalation of Nitrogen gas in “Bushehr”; the death of a miner and the injury of another worker by collapse of  Marble mine’s wall  in the city of “Namin”; and injury of 3 workers when scaffolding collapsed at Qom Jomhori bridge were among the most prominent news.

 

In the field of Trade Union Rights this month was full of events, as on Sunday 26 October 2014, a group of former employees at Ilam Environment Protection Association gathered to protest against their dismissal in front of the Parliament.  In addition, a group of teachers protested against the recent armed attacks in the southern parts of “Sistan va Blouchestan” state in front of the County building of “Sistan va Blouchestan” state.

Moreover, “Omid Karimiyan”, representative of “Marivan” state at Iranian Parliament, criticized what he called “personal decision ”  at Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences and warrant dismissal of 300 employees of the University. He also called this “regrettable” in the view of high unemployment rate which exist in the province.

Reports regarding cultural issues, such as the ongoing destruction of the historical landscapes  of Shiraz in order  to develop “Shahcheragh” shrine; and that after the destruction of 10 historic houses with  “universal value”  in Shiraz, the Supreme Council of Architecture, abolished its former Act from 2010 , were widely reflected.

In the Field of Health and Environment, most of reports published in this month were around the air and environment pollution. As an example, the Minister of Health and Medical Education described Ahwaz air pollution as a complex and serious issue and asked for actions from the Environment Association to address this problem.  In other reports, Deputy of Health at the Ahwaz University of Medicine announced the increase in respiratory diseases in Khuzestan due to its air pollution. Moreover, Geology researchers warned about Salty dusts of Uromiyeh Salt Lake. These reports published while at least 300 Ahwazi citizens were sent to hospital because of acid rain caused by the environmental pollution.

Particular attention to the special cases of human rights Violation

This section of report pays specific attention to more sensitive cases of human rights violations which were more of interests for public opinion during the month of Aban. Obviously, this specific attention doesn’t mean that these kinds of reports reflect the severity and dimension of the human rights violations.

The first choice for this domain is the execution of “Reyhaneh Jabbary”. As mentioned in the first part of the report, her execution received a lot of attention and sensitivity from public opinion.

On the same domain, the continues strike of “Nasrin Sotoudeh”, “Peyman Aref” and “ Mohammad Nourizad” in front of the Bar Association of Iran; supressing the gathering to protest against  Acid attacks and arrest of several participants such as “Nasrin Sotoudeh” ; the arrest of “ISNA” News Agency photographer; arrest of the “ISNA” News Agency Chief Editor and Social  Secretary in Isfahan ; and Arrests of “Cyberspace” Activists with regards to Acid attacks  can be pointed out.

Issuance of a new six years sentence for “Mohammad Ali Taheri” and his hunger strike was another issue which was highly concerned the public opinion. Also, the arrest of “Maryam Sadat Yahyavi” , a Civil and Pro-Government Activist and her transfer to an unknown location while she was suffering from an advanced Breast Cancer and has been under Chemotherapy ; summoning of “Narges Mohammadi” Deputy Chief and Spokeswoman of Human Right Defence Council to the Branch 2 of Prosecution office at Shahid Moqaddas at Evin Court; and the arrest of several citizens in Mashhad after participation in the commemoration ceremony of Morteza Pashaee a pop singer were among the issues which received public opinion attention .

In addition , accumulation of construction workers and dismissed Ilam petrochemical workers in front of Parliament and refusing permission  for “Abdolfattah Soltani” from seeing his family in person by Public prosecutor for the third consecutive time were highly concerned the public opinion. A Plan submitted by 32 members of the Iranian parliament, which, if approved, will ban the walking dogs and monkeys in public places. Even owning or trading these animals will bring the parties 74 lashes and there is also a fine involved these issues become of interest by media and public opinion.

 

Human rights reports in the shadow of “Little Attention”

In contrast to the previous section of the report, many of the human rights reports faced “little attention” or even no attention by the media including social media activists which are forming a part of public opinion. It is important to note that these neglects are often unintentional but there are also intentional discriminations which could facilitate even further violations of human rights in Iran.

Arrest of the accused person of spreading pornography in cyberspace in “Saveh” in “Arak” province; conviction of Chief Editor of the “Aseman” newspaper to pay a fine instead of imprisonment for publishing articles against Islam and blasphemy; and also the sentence of ten years imprisonment for “Roeen Otofat”, a Cultural Activist from Religious-Nationalist party at appeal court are some of the reports which did not receive much attention in the remained in the shadow of neglect.

Despite of what mentioned  earlier, dismissal of “Dr Michael Azimi”  an Economics professor and a student of “Hoda Saber” at Semnan University; ongoing  detention and uncertainty about “Nahid Gorji” and preventing a lawyer to attend to her case;  arrest of “ Raham Barakchizadeh” a third year Physics student at Shahid Beheshti University   and a former detainee from Ashoora 2009 ; hunger strike of  3 Conscience and Political Prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Prison; “Kianoush Rostami” , “Mohsen Khoda Bandelou” and “Nemat Fathi” 44 years imprisonment verdict  approval at Kermanshah appeal court   on the charges of insulting the Supreme Leader and membership  of opposition parties, were also subjects which received little attention.

 

The office of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists Association in Iran

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