According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, political prisoner Babak Dadbakhsh, who is currently being held in Ardabil Prison, recently wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General of Iran asking that his case be re-examined.
In regard to the way his trial was conducted, Dadbakhsh wrote, “Just to receive the verdict letter, I accepted not to appeal. However, after three years, I don’t have any indictment letter to know on what charges and based on what evidences I have been condemned. No one responds to me.”
In part of this letter received to HRANA, Babak Dadbakhsh writes, “The prosecutor-general! I am writing to you as a victim of injustice, a prisoner who has been tortured and sentenced to 25 years without having a trial. Just to receive the verdict letter, I accepted not to appeal. However, after three years, I don’t have any indictment letter to know on what charges and based on what evidences I have been condemned. No one responds to me. I hope that the law does not close its eyes and give me my legal right. I have been convicted within one minute without having an attorney. I request re-examining my case, receiving the indictment letter and using retrial. While I’m suffering stress, as forensic medicine and coroners have diagnosed, I am waiting for justice.”
In November 2017, Babak Dadbakhsh was arrested by security police of NAJA and handed to the Ministry of intelligence officials. Since then, he has been spending in various detention facilities and prisons. He was once hospitalized in Razi Educational and Therapeutic Psychiatric Center.
In February 2020, he was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment on the charges of “spreading corruption on earth” and “enmity against God” (Moharebeh). However, in April 2021, on the excuse that not all charges have been considered, his sentence was prolonged to 25 years.
It is said that he is suffering from MDD, bipolar disorder and psychotic symptoms based on the diagnosis of Razi Educational and Therapeutic Psychiatric Center.
On Tuesday, October 5, Azerbaijani Turk activist Ali Vaseghi was released on bail for a one week leave from Ardabil Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Vaseghi was granted the leave on a bail of 50 million tomans.
On June 10, 2020, Ali Vaseghi and his brother Reza Vaseghi were arrested violently at their workplace and kept in detention until June 17 when they were released on bail. Intelligence forces inspected their business location on the day after the arrest and confiscated their personal computers and some other belongings.
Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Ardabil sentenced Reza and Ali to 2 and 3 years imprisonment respectively. Images that were published on Telegram of the injuries on the activists’ bodies from beatings by intelligence forces, along with slogans such as “long live those who fight for freedom”, were invoked in the trial.
Ultimately, this sentence for Ali Vaseghi was reduced to two years on appeal.
On June 13, along with six other Azerbaijani Turk activists, Ali Vaseghi went on a hunger strike in protest against the housing of political prisoners and prisoners of violent crimes in the same prison wards. They ended their hunger strike after prison officials promised to address their demands.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 30-year-old Mohammad Sadeghzadeh was executed in Ardabil Prison on the morning of this Wednesday, September 1.
Sadeghzadeh, whose identity has been verified by HRANA, had previously been sentenced to death for murder. Mr. Sadeghzadeh was arrested about four years ago and had since been held in Ardabil Prison.
Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.
One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.
Mr. Sadeghzadeh’s execution has not been announced by Iranian media or official sources as of this writing.
On June 14, eight Azerbaijani Turk activists ended their hunger strike in Ardabil and Evin Prisons after the authorities’ favorable promise that their demands would be met.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, June 13, Abbas Lesani went on a hunger strike to protest the non-observance of the principle of separation of prisoners based on crime and the punitive transfer of political prisoners to wards with prisoners of violent crimes.
Seven other prisoners had gone on hunger strikes in support of Lesani’s endeavor.
The prisoners involved were Abbas Lesani, Yousef Kari, Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi, Reza Vaseghi, Siamak Mirzaei, Behnam Sheikhi, and Kianoosh Aslani.
On Saturday, June 12, Ali Arjangifard ghujeh Beiglou, a juvenile offender on death row, attempted suicide in Ardabil Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Iran Human Rights (IHR), prison officials transferred him to the nearest hospital in Ardabil after the attempt. Beiglou is currently in critical condition in Fatemi hospital.
An informed source said, “Ali Arjangi attempted suicide by cutting part of his neck veins with the motive of ending his life before the execution.”
Ali Arjangi was arrested at the age of 17 on murder charges and has been held in the youth prison of Ardabil Central Prison since.
He was previously sentenced to death by Branch 3 of the Special Juvenile Court for murder, and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court. The verdict is said to have been issued following a forensic examination confirming his mental development.
According to the HRANA annual report for the year 2020, at least 4 juvenile offenders were executed in Iran last year, and 2 other juvenile offenders have been sentenced to death.
Azerbaijani Turk activists Yousef Kari, Abbas Lesani, Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi, and Reza Vaseghi have gone on hunger strike to protest prison authorities failing to comply with their demands.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the prisoners were transferred to the quarantine center of Ardabil Prison for isolation on Sunday, June 13, and have been barred from phone calls.
Mehrdad Sheikhi, Ali Vaseghi and Reza Vaseghi have been on a hunger strike since June 13 to protest the non-observance of the principle of separation of crimes and the transfer of political prisoners to wards with prisoners of violent crimes. Abbas Lesani and Yousef Kari have been on strike since Saturday, June 12th.
Despite the long term physical and mental harm that hunger strikes can cause, many prisoners in Iran are resorting to this mode of protest, as it is one of the only tools of expression available to them. Many of these strikes take place in protest of the lack of attention to problems in prisoners’ cases, non-observance of inmates’ rights, and prolonged uncertainty about the status of their detention.
Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Lesani has been denied transfer to a hospital outside Ardabil prison, despite numerous serious medical ailments.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Lesani suffers from high blood pressure, lumbar disc, and heart problems.
According to an informed source, Mr. Lesani had a dangerously-high blood pressure of 190 on June 9, and despite the doctors’ order to send him to the hospital, he remained ignored by prison authorities.
Lesani was previously sentenced by the Ardabil Revolutionary Court to eight years in prison and two years in exile. The sentence was increased to 15 years in prison and 2 years in exile on charges of “forming a group with the intention of disrupting the country’s security” by the Court of Appeals. Under Article 134, a maximum sentence of 10 years is enforceable.
In another case, Branch 26 of the East Azarbaijan Court of Appeals sentenced him to 10 months in prison on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime and in favor of opposition groups”.
Abbas Lesani has a history of arrests and numerous convictions for his activist work.
Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Twenty-seven-year-old Meysam Saber, a prisoner in the Health Ward of Ardabil Prison, was executed in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 21, 2018.
Saber had been detained on murder charges since 2013. He was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on the eve of his execution.
Saber was the subject of a HRANA report on prisoner abuse last year when he was chained to the bars of the Quarantine Ward for 24 straight hours for complaining about mistreatment by prison guards.
By carrying out Saber’s hanging in silence, authorities — particularly the Judiciary — demonstrate a continued pattern of obfuscation on the topic of prisoner sentencing and executions, in spite of their responsibilities of informing the public.
According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. On the World Day against the Death Penalty (October 10th), the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) published its annual report, indicating that at least 256 citizens were executed in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, 15 of which were public hangings. Sixty-eight percent of executions, referred to as “secret executions,” are not announced by the state or Judiciary.
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Prisoner Shahram Mohammadi-Vahed, a prisoner in Ward 1 of Ardabil Central Prison, was executed on the morning of Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Mohammadi-Vahed had been detained on murder charges since 2015. He was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on the eve of his execution.
According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita.
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 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 were the execution of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.