Three Days of Iran Protests Over Fuel Price Raise

Posted on: November 18th, 2019

Protests have erupted across Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it is rationing petrol and increasing its price. The protests took place across the country following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight of November 14, 2019, to cut petrol subsidies to raise funds for social assistance to the poor. Petrol price was increased to a minimum of 15,000 Rials per liter, 50% increase from the day before.

Nationwide protests in the last three days were in at least 48 cities such as: Ahvaz, Shooshtar, Dezful, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khorramshahr, Bandar Mahshahr, Rasht, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Khorramabad, Qom, Ilam, Karaj, Sanandaj, Dorud, Qazvin, Arak, Mahdi Shahr, Garmsar, Shahroud, Najafabad, Mariwan, Tehran, Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Saveh, Pasargadae, Qods (Qal’eh Hasan Khan), Varamin, Sari, Yasuj, Qaemshahr, Shahrekord, Malek Shahr, Parand, Damavand, Pol Dokhtar, Neyshabur, Sarepol Zahab, Kahnooj, Yazd, Bandar Bushehr, Bahmai, Shahriar, etc. They are still ongoing in several cities.

Peaceful demonstrations turned violent in Sanandaj, Mahshahr, and Shiraz, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing teargas at protesters and mobs setting fires. Several people were injured or killed in the first three days of protests as a result of the police’s direct shots. On November 17, 2019, students of Tehran University and Tabriz University protested inside the university. Shops at Tehran Grand Bazaar went on strike on November 17, 2019.

The protests started on November 15, 2019, and are still ongoing. The arrest of more than 1000 people across the country was confirmed. More than 150 banks and supermarkets were set on fire and a police officer was killed. Two Hawzas -a seminary where Shi’a Muslim clerics are educated- were set on fire in Shiraz and Kazerun. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 36 people were killed in Sirjan, Shiraz, Behbahan, Marivan, Khoramshahr, Isfahan, and Shahriar.

According to Fars News, protests were held in 100 cities and at least 100 banks and 57 supermarkets were set on fire. Based on this report, the number of protesters were 87400 from which 82200 are men and 5200 women. At least 1000 people were arrested. Yazd prosecutor confirmed the arrest of 40 people in the city of Yazd. Bam Prosecutor also confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the city of Bam. The prosecutor of Robat Karim confirmed the arrest of 34 protesters for vandalism. According to Mohammad Reza Amoui, Kermanshah’s chief of Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on November 16, Major Iraj Javaheri was killed fighting with protesters in Kermanshah. A journalist resided in Mariwan, Adnan Hasanpour, reported that security forces shot people directly and at least seven people were killed in Javanrud, one person was killed in Sanandaj, and several people were injured. According to unconfirmed reports, 15 of the killed people are identified as following:

Meisam Adgipour, Khaled Maniat, Ali Ghazlavy, Milad Hamidavi, Ali Boghlani, Hamzeh Savari, Mohammad Asafi Zargani, Ehsan Abdollahnejad, Mehdi Nikouei, Osman Naderi, Mehran Tak, Shahou Validi, Javad Nazari Fathabadi, Mehrdad Dashtizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati.

Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country. On November 16, 2019, by the approval of the National Security Supreme Council, the government has completely blocked Internet access in Iran to stymie protests. Due to the internet shut down and the lack of access to freelance reporters and citizen journalists, confirming news about demonstrations and deaths is difficult. It also caused difficulty for Iranian citizens to have access to news agencies websites. On Monday, November 18, schools are closed in 17 cities across Iran:

Shiraz, Kazerun, Alborz, Fereydun, Fereydun Shahr, Farsan, Kuhrang, Laran, Taleqan, Astara, and Najafabad. In addition, universities are closed in Shiraz.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed petrol price increases claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage and not ordinary people. According to Khabar Online, Mojtaba Zonnour, a parliament member representing Qom, is collecting parliament members signatures to impeach Ali Larijani, the head of parliament. He gathered 50 signatures so far. Mohammad Qasim Osmani, a parliament member representing Bukan, filed his resignation and added that he resigned to announce that he was not involved in this decision [raising petrol price]. Today, with respect to Ayatollah Khamenei’s views, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that the protesters will face harsh punishments. Reportedly, people received threatening text messages in Khuzestan and Karaj from the prosecutor’s offices of their province. People were warned about attending protests and not to disturb public order and facilitate the abuse of opposition groups.

Video reports of the first day protests:

Video reports of the second-day protests

Video reports of the third day of protests:

Arak HEPCO Strikers Sentenced to Suspended Imprisonment and Lashings

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Fifteen workers from the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) in Arak who staged rallies in protest of delayed wages in May 2018 have been sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashings each for “disrupting the public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

Judge Akbar Rezvani of Arak Criminal Court No. 2 Branch 106 recently issued the sentences, which will be suspended over five years.

HRANA previously reported the identities of the defendants: Majid Latifi, Behrouz Hassanvand, Hamidreza Ahmadi, Amir Hooshang Poorfarzanegan, Morteza Azizi, Hadi Fazeli, Abolfazl Karimi, Farid Koodani, Majid Yahyaei, Amir Fattahpour, Yaser Gholi, Amir Farid Afshar, Mehdi Abedi, Ali Maleki, and Behrouz Velashjerdi.

Some of the protestors’ prison terms were compounded by additional charges: Fazeli, Afshar, and Karimi stand threatened by a year and six months’ additional prison time; Hassanvand also faces an additional year in prison [should he re-offend within the five-year suspension period].

Judge Rezvani also added six more months onto the sentences of [Latifi, Ahmadi, Poorfarzanegan, Koodani, Fattahpour, Gholi and Velashjerdi], charging them with “aiding in disrupting public peace.”

The collective verdict acknowledged economic hardship as a motivating factor in the strikers’ offenses, thus justifying a suspended sentence based on Articles 46 [“Suspension and Execution of Punishment”] and 38 [“Mitigating Factors”] of the Islamic Penal Code.

HRANA previously reported on ten striking workers who received subpoenas, quoting one HEPCO worker who saw the irony in the court summons, saying that strikers had already exhausted all other avenues of communicating their needs. “They have previously voiced their guild’s demands in letters to governmental and judiciary establishments such as the provincial governments, the local satellite office of the Supreme Leader, county governments, and security establishments.”

Below is an excerpt of the strikers’ verdict sheet:

1. Majid Latifi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “abetting and inciting workers of HEPCO to assemble and disrupt public peace, inducing propaganda against the regime.”

2. Behrouz Hassanvand, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering, producing sensationalized rhetoric for biased individuals, displaying insolence toward police officers [thereby] inducing conflict and disruption to public peace,” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.”

3. Hamidreza Ahmadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace by participating in rallies and rhetoric for biased individuals” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to propagandize against the regime.”

4. Amir Hooshang Poorfarzanegan, sentenced to six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend the gathering,” one year in prison for “disrupting public peace [thereby] inducing propaganda against the regime,” and 74 lashings for “aiding in disrupting public peace.”

5. Morteza Azizi, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, was sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “leading an illegal gathering of workers inducing propaganda against the regime.”

6. Hadi Fazeli, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in inciting workers to disrupt public peace” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime via voice, video, and text broadcasts.”

7. Abolfazl Karimi, represented by attorneys Seyed Farhad Bathaei and Fatemeh Karimi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing disruption of public peace,” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime through the printing, publishing, and display of protest banners.”

8. Farid Koodani, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disruption of public peace inducing propaganda against the regime.”

9. Majid Yahyaei, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

10. Amir Fattahpour, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing propaganda against the regime.”

11. Yaser Gholi, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through planning worker gatherings in the Tehran Privatization Organization[…] inciting workers to attend a gathering inducing disruption of public peace, and propaganda against the regime.”

12. Amir Farid Afshar, represented by attorney Seyed Saeed Mirmohammadi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace through inciting workers and biased individuals to disrupt public peace” and one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime through the creation of the HEPCO Telegram channel.”

13. Mehdi Abedi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

14. Ali Maleki, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering.”

15. Behrouz Velashjerdi, sentenced to one year and 74 lashings for “disrupting public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” and six months in prison for “aiding in disrupting public peace by inciting workers to a commotion in cyberspace.”

Shohada Square Protestor Dariush Darabi Sentenced to Prison

Posted on: October 11th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Arak resident Dariush Darabi, who was arrested in a protest rally in Shohada Square of Arak, central Iran, has been sentenced to one year in prison and 30 lashings, on charges of disturbing the public order and insulting the Supreme Leader. As evidence against him, the court cited text messages retrieved from his phone.

These charges were brought by Arak Criminal Court No. 2 Branch 103 and Arak Revolutionary Court Branch 2. Darabi’s defense lawyer Mohammad Najafi told HRANA that his client was taken to an Arak IRGC detention center after his arrest on August 2nd of this year, and temporarily released on bail thereafter.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) explicitly prohibits inhumane and degrading punishments like lashings.

At Least 2 Prisoners Executed in Arak

Posted on: January 19th, 2017

On December 25, at least two prisoners were hanged in Arak. Also on December 27, in Tabriz a prisoner who was transferred for execution, was returned to the ward after his sentence was postponed.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), on December 25, at least two prisoners were hanged in Arak. (more…)

4 Prisoners Hanged in Arak Prison

Posted on: May 2nd, 2015

HRANA News Agency – In the morning of Sunday 26th April, 4 prisoners were hanged in Arak city.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), they were executed in the courtyard of Arak prison. There is no information about their identity and charges, also authorities and official institutions have not announced these executions, yet. (more…)

Iran: 12 prisoners Hanged | 70 Executions from the First of 2013

Posted on: February 21st, 2013

HRANA News Agency – 12 prisoners hanged within last two days, one of them publicly.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), 12 prisoners were hanged in Kermanshah, Shiraz and Arak within last two days. One of them was executed in Arak publicly.

Eight prisoners convicted of drug trafficking were hanged in Adel Abad Prison of Shiraz on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Three prisoners convicted of drug trafficking were hanged in Kermanshah on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

One prisoner convicted of rape was hanged publicly in Arak on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

According to the HRA’s statistic department, there have been executed 70 prisoners in Iran from the first of 2013.