November Protests; the details of the case of three prisoners who were sentenced to death

Posted on: March 5th, 2020

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Mojgan Eskandari, and Shima R. who were arrested for their attendance in the last November protests were tried on the same case.

Mr. Moradi, Mr. Tamjidi, and Mr. Rajabi were sentenced to execution, imprisonment, and lashes.

They asked for an appeal request. But their lawyers have not yet filed an appeal request, so the court date and place are not scheduled. In addition, Mr. Tamjidi and Mr. Rajabi are going to find another lawyer.

 

Attending protest

On November 16, 2019, Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi were attending protests on Sattar Khan street in Tehran where they accidentally met Mojgan Eskandari for the first time during the protests. According to a source close to Ms. Eskandari’s family, she met Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi during the last November protests in one of the streets in Tehran for the first time. She did not know them prior to that date. They were arrested together after they have been together briefly.

There is a fifth convict in this case named Shima R. (the family name is not revealed by HRANA for security reasons) who was not present at the protests but with a good deed and through helping and acting as an interpreter, happened to meet and know the convicts of this case.

 

Arrest

On November 19, Amir Hossein Moradi was identified and arrested by the security services (through observing the CCTV footage). Mr. Moradi was kept in a solidarity confinement cell in ward 240 and 209 of Evin Prison for a month. He was beaten by the security agents during his arrest and interrogation. He was then transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary.

Mojgan Eskandari was also identified by the help of CCTV footage and was arrested on December 10, 2019, by the security forces. She was eventually transferred to Qarchak Prison from the detention center of an intelligence organization upon completion of her interrogation.

Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi, and Shima R. entered Turkey illegally on November 20, 2019. They first went to Van and then went to Ankara. On their way from Ankara to Antalya, they were arrested and were transferred to the security police station in Antalya where they explained their situations and provided documents about their friend Amir Hossein Moradi’s arrest and requested to file for asylum. Turkish Police introduced them to a woman who was claimed to be a representative of the United Nation. They gave her all their documents such as proof of their attendance in protests and explained their cases to her with the help of an interpreter.

Although they were told by the police that if they want their asylum case processed, they should stay in asylum camp for a year, they were arrested by the Turkish police before being extradited to the officials of the Islamic Republic. on December 26, 2019, the police transferred them to the city of Agri close to the Iranian border by a bus without any food or water for two days.

On December 28, 2019, the police officers deported them along with 30 other people including Adel Bahrami. At the border, they were told that their names have been listed as “escaped from Evin Prison”. Then, they were transferred to the security police in Maku and since their warrant was issued on behalf of Tehran security police, officers from Tehran came and transferred them to the Gisha security police detention center and then Evin Prison. On January 4, 2020, Mr, Rajabi was released from Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary on 500 million Toman bail. On January 19, 2020, he was summoned to Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and was arrested. On the same day, judge Abolghasem Salavati canceled his set bail and issued an arrest warrant for him. Then, he was arrested and transferred to Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary.

 

Interrogation

Mr. Moradi was kept in a solidarity confinement cell in ward 240 of Evin Prison for a month. He was beaten by the security agents during his arrest and interrogation. A source close to his family told HRANA that Mr. Moradi told his family that he was attacked by stun gun, threatened to spend more time in solidarity confinement, and was promised to have medical treatment (he suffers from a kind of nervous system disease) to put pressure on him to do a forced confession. He added that during one of his 13 interrogation sessions, a security agent stood on Mr. Moradi’s chest which caused injury to his ribs. Moreover, Amir Hossein Moradi was threatened and beaten by the officers at Gisha security detention center and Evin Prison and eventually, he was forced to have videotaped forced confessions. Because he was assuming Mr. Rajabi and Mr. Tamjidi had left Iran and are safe, in his forced confessions, he said that he did the alleged crimes with them.

Mr. Rjabai, Mr, Tamjidi, and Shima R, were severely beaten at Gisha security detention center and were forced to confess against each other. Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi also said that they were beaten by the security police to pressure them to do a forced confession. A source close to them who wanted to stay anonymous told HRANA that they told their families that “We confessed under torture and most of the accusations are false such as cooperating with People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mojahedin-e Khalq) which is an excuse to execute us. we attended the protests, but we did not set any bank or any properties ablaze. They added that “we were tired of the injustice in the country and we went to the street to protest that”.

 

Trial

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, Mojgan Eskandari, Shima R. were tried and have two hearings on January 25-26, 2020 at Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Abolghasem Salavati.

During the trial, Amir Hossein Moradi repeatedly mentioned that he confessed and was forced to have videotaped confession under pressure, torture, and threats and he denied all the charges. He added that he was assuming Mr. Rajabi and Mr. Tamjidi had left Iran and are safe, in his forced confessions, he said that he did the alleged crimes with them, but they did not do anything.

Also, Mohammad Rajabi told the judge that during interrogations he accepted things that he had never done, and he denied all the accusations.

According to a source close to the matter, Saeed Tamjidi and Mr. Rajabi were not allowed to choose a lawyer and their public defenders (Mr. Daryabeygi for Mr. Tamjidi) did not defend them properly and even told the judge that we are sad about his client’s actions.

The prosecutor’s representative, Amin Vaziri, accused them of planning the assembly and collusion since they attended protests on the other side of the city although they resided in the south side of Tehran. They responded that “we did not plan to be there, we were returning home from work, and on our way home we saw people chanting to protest the rise in fuel prices. We are humans and we got emotional because we were under financial pressure. We did not set any place on fire, you said that we set a gas station on fire but there is no gas station in a five kilometers radius of the place that we were at”.

Amin Vaziri (prosecutor’s representative)

Verdict

Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati on February 19, 2020, sentenced Amir Hossein Moradi to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 15 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi: They were each sentenced to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 10 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

The reason for sentencing him to execution was mentioned as instructing protesters, the leadership of the protests, and armed fight with the agents. He was accused of instructing protesters on Telegram to seize the camera while the security agents are filming protesters to protect protesters’ identities.

Mojgan Eskandari was sentenced to three years in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion”. She was arrested on December 10, 2019.

 

Bio

Amir Hossein Moradi was born on August 6, 1994, in Tehran. He finished high school in computer science and was working as a cell phone, computer, and software seller in Tehran. He has two sisters.

Saeed Tamjidi was born on May 22, 1992, and he is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering. He is suffering from a nervous system disease. He immigrated to Germany, but he returned to Iran because of a family issue. He has a brother.

Mohammad Rajabi was born on August 12, 1994, and holds a high school diploma. He was working as a real estate agent. He has four brothers.

Mr, Moradi, Mr.Tamjidi, and Mr. Rajabi are residing in Khazaneh on the south side of Tehran. Their workplaces are in Ponak. They were providing for their families. They are now in section five of the Great Tehran Penitentiary.

Mojgan Eskandari was born in 1969. Ms. Eskandari is now in ward 1 (Mother’s ward) of Qarchak Prison in Varamin.

Shima R was born in 1969 and she was arrested because she helped Mr.Tamjid and Mr, Rajabi in Turkey.

Coronavirus outbreak in Iranian prisons

Posted on: March 4th, 2020

On February 29, 2020, Ebrahim Raisi, the Chief Justice of Iran, issued a circular laying out policies to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in prisons.  This order mandates giving 15 -30 days furlough to prisoners with sentences less than five years. Another part of this order is about reducing entries into prisons, temporary releases, and public activities in prisons. In addition, this order mandates to increase alternative sentences and suspended prison terms instead of imprisonments.

Although the Chief Justice of Iran announced that the prisoners with less than five years prison term will be granted furlough, the prison authorities are not cooperative with political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to implement this regulation. As an example, Esmaeil Abdi and Negin Ghadamian were sentenced to five years imprisonment and after spending four and three years in prison respectively, they were not granted any furlough. Nazanin Zaghari’s husband reported that she is suspected to have Coronavirus. She is serving the 4th year of her five-year imprisonment sentence. Reportedly, three women were diagnosed with Coronavirus in Evin Prison.

The number of prisoners suspected of having coronavirus is increasing. Several prisoners suspected of having coronavirus were identified in Urmia, Khorramabad, Gorgan, Sanandaj, Qom, and other prisons.

 

A letter from political prisoner’s families

With the current spread of Coronavirus in prisons in Iran, some of the families of the political and security prisoners have written a letter to the judicial authorities on February 26, 2020, requesting furlough for prisoners until this crisis (Coronavirus) is over in the prisons. Considering the closed environment of the prison, malnutrition of the prisoners, shortage of medical care and facilities, high density of prisoners, and the occurrence of some cases suspected to be related to coronavirus has raised concerns of the families of prisoners.

The families of the following prisoners have signed this letter:

Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi, Esmaeil Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Narges Mohammadi, Amir Salar Davoudi, Farhad Meisami, Roeen Otoufat, Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahnaz Akmali, Majid Azarpey, Atena Daemi, Sam Rajabi, Morad Tahbaz, Niloufar Bayani, Abdolreza Kouhpaieh, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Taher Ghadirian, Neda Naji, Mehrdad Mohammadnejad, Mohammad Abolhasani, Peyman Koushkbaghi, Aras Amiri, Jafar Fazel, and Alireza Golipour.

In some of the prisons, such as Khorramabad or Sanandaj Prisons, the prisoners asked the authorities to provide them with medical and hygiene necessities and to quarantine the prisoners who are suspected to be infected and have threatened that if this negligence is continuous, they will go on hunger strike. Other prisons such as Karaj, Tabriz, Evin and many other prisons across the country are also demanding similar precautions.

 

A death in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary

It should be noted that on the same day, a prisoner of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who had symptoms similar to that of Coronavirus passed away after the prison authorities delayed in transferring him to the hospital to receive proper medical care. His name was Hamid Reza and he was 44 years old. He was convicted of a financial felony who was serving his sentence in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. He was initially diagnosed with symptoms of flu but after a few days, he started to cough and eventually passed away in the prion.

In addition, 60 prisoners of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who were working in the kitchen or service sector, were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison. Moreover, 7 other prisoners in section 5 ward 2 have Coronavirus symptoms; they were kept in the medical ward without receiving medical care and were not transferred to the hospital.

 

Evin Prison and the violation of the Prisoners Classification Regulation

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, Milad Arsanjani, Jamil Ghahremani, and 15 other arrestees of the last November’s protests who were kept in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, were moved from their cell after an inmate was diagnosed with Coronavirus in their cell. Amir Hossein Moradi returned to prison on February 29, 2020, after spending a week in the hospital for another disease. He returned to his cell but after an hour he was transferred to the medical ward for his positive test results of Coronavirus. Although they were told that they will be transferred to Yaft Abad Hospital, they were transferred to ward 1 of this prison, which belongs to the prisoners who committed violent crimes. In June 2019, Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a political prisoner, was fatally stabbed in this ward by two other inmates of this ward who were charged with a drug felony. After this incident, the prison authorities moved other political prisoners from this ward to avoid future incidents. This is against prisoners’ segregation rule. According to a close source “section, 1 of the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary has 10 wards and one suite which had been used as an exile to punish the prisoners who get in the fight or carry drugs. Since 2018, the political prisoners have been transferred to this suite. This suite has limited facilities and does not even have access to prison commissaries. Their door should be locked all the time however, in the case of Mr. Shir Mohammadi, the warden intentionally did not lock the door which was illegal.

Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a 21-year-old political prisoner at the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary was murdered in prison on June 10, 2019. He was attacked by two other prisoners, who were later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The prisoner in question was stabbed in the neck and stomach and died before arriving at the hospital. Shir Mohammad Ali was arrested on July 14, 2018, and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “blasphemy”, “insulting the former and current Supreme Leaders”, and “propaganda against the state”.  He was detained in a solitary confinement cell for 36 days after being arrested. His bail was set at 80 million Tomans but the Revolutionary Court illegally rejected his release on bail. Throughout his prosecution process, he did not have access to an attorney because of his financial conditions. He was waiting for the decision of the appeal’s court when he was murdered. He protested his detention along with non-political prisoners and went on a hunger strike on March 14, 2019, which ended on April 16 after prison authorities accepted his demands. He also wrote open letters criticizing the “unsafe” and “inhumane” conditions of Greater Tehran’s Penitentiary Prison. He wrote an open letter five days into his hunger strike on March 18, 2019. In this letter, he explained the awful condition he was experiencing in prison. In addition, he claimed that he was denied regular social rights that any prisoner is entitled to have. However, his main request, reflected in this letter, was to be transferred to another prison (Evin prison). No judicial authorities or prison officials reacted to his open letter. 

A prisoner of ward 4 of Evin Prison was transferred to an unknown place for his positive test results of Coronavirus. He kept with several other prisoners and political prisoners of this ward who are on hunger strike and are more vulnerable to this disease.

 

Khorramabad and Ghezel Hesar Prisons

On March 1, 2020, the prisoners of Khorramabad Prison have started a sit-in to protest not being sent to furlough although Coronavirus has spread in this prison. There is a shortage of access to medical care and hygiene products for the diagnosis and treatment of Coronavirus. Several prisoners who have symptoms of this disease did not receive any treatment and were kept with other prisoners. Several prisoners who went on furlough were returned to prison. A close source to a family of a prisoner in this prison told HRANA that a sick inmate with severe coughs received neither medical care nor disinfecting substances and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.

Two prisoners of Qezelhesar Prison, Basat Ali Khazaei, and Gholamhossein Abolfavaei were moved to the quarantine section in the health ward due to having positive test results of Coronavirus. They were charged with drug felony and kept in a ward with 500 other inmates.

 

Rajai Shahr and Urmia Prisons

The prisoners are deprived of medical care, disinfecting substances, and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.  Payam Shakiba, Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, and Majid Asadi are serving their third year in prison. Arash Sadeghi, who is diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma (bone cancer), has had an infection in his right hand, digestion issues, and because of his weak immune system should be prioritized to be granted a furlough. Saeed Shirzad is spending the last months of his prison sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Mohammad Ghanbardoost, a political prisoner, was transferred to the hospital due to having symptoms of coronavirus disease. He kept with other political prisoners and may infected others. He was arrested on August 16, 2017, and was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “cooperating with Takfiri groups”.

Several Coronavirus suspected patients in Urmia Prison were transferred to hospitals outside the prison. One Urmia prisoner died in hospital, but prison authorities claimed that he was infected outside the prison.

 

Update on political prisoners temporary releases

On March 3, 2020, Mohammad Karimi granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. Mr. Karimi was sentenced to one-year imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state” which was upheld by the appeals court. on July 3, 2020, he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Shahnaz Akmali, political prisoner, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. She was arrested on January 15, 2020. She was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was banned from having any social media account, membership in any group, and leaving the country on the charge of “propaganda against the state”. An appeals court upheld her sentence without hearing either Ms. Akmali or her attorney. She is the mother of Mostafa Karim Beygi one of the people who was killed by security forces during green movement uprising in 2009.

On February 29, 2020, Reza Gholamhosseini, a political prisoner of Bandar Abbas Prison, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. He was arrested on September 25, 2019, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment on the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “insulting supreme leader”. His sentence was reduced to 18 months later because he did not request an appeal.

Three arrestees of November protests were sentenced to death

Posted on: February 22nd, 2020

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi who were arrested during the last November’s protests were tried on January 25-26, 2020 at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Abolghasem Salavati. Their sentences are as the following:

Amir Hossein Moradi was sentenced to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 15 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi: They were each sentenced to death on the charge of “cooperating in vandalism and arson with an intent to act against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 10 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “cooperation in aggravated armed robbery at night” and one-year imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”.

According to their verdict, they will have another trial on March 3, 2019, but according to their attorneys, their verdict is finalized.

Arrest, torture, and forced confession

On November 16, 2019, Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi were attending protests on Sattar Khan street in Tehran.

Amir Hossein Moradi was born on August 6, 1994, in Tehran. He finished high school in computer science and was working as a cell phone, computer, and software seller in Tehran. On November 19, Amir Hossein Moradi was identified and arrested by the security services (through observing the CCTV footage). Mr. Moradi was kept in a solidarity confinement cell in ward 240 of Evin Prison for a month. He was beaten by the security agents during his arrest and interrogation. A source close to his family told HRANA that Mr. Moradi told his family that he was attacked by stun gun, threatened to spend more time in solidarity confinement, and was promised to have medical treatment to pressure him to do a forced confession. He added that during one of his 13 interrogation sessions, a security agent stood on Mr. Moradi’s chest which caused injury to his ribs.

The reason for sentencing him to execution was mentioned as instructing protesters, the leadership of the protests, and armed fight with the agents. He was accused of instructing protesters on Telegram to seize the camera while the security agents are filming protesters to protect protesters’ identities.

 

Saeed Tamjidi was born on May 22, 1992, and he is an undergraduate student in electrical engineering and Mohammad Rajabi was born on August 12, 1994, and holds a high school diploma.

On November 20, 2019, Mr. Tamjidi and Mr. Rajabi sought asylum to a neighboring country but on December 28, 2019, they were deported to Iran upon Iran’s request. They were arrested and transferred to Evin Prison.

Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi also said that they were beaten by the security police to pressure them to do a forced confession. A source close to their family who wanted to stay anonymous told HRANA that they told their families that most of the accusations are false and they confessed under torture. They added that “we were tired of the injustice in the country and we went to the street to protest that”.