Four Inmates Executed in Ardabil, Ilam and Birjand

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, two inmates who were convicted of murder were executed in Ardabil Prison. On the same day, two other inmates, one in Birjand and the other in Ilam were executed.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, two inmates identified as Hojjat Asiabani and Sajjad Takroo, who were convicted of murder, was executed in Ardabil Prison.

Iran Human Rights Organization also reported the execution of an inmate identified as Sattar Arghandeh in Ilam prison, which was convicted of murder.

Lastly, Haal Vsh News reported the execution of an inmate identified as Mohammad-Reza Narroi Ghazagh, a resident of Zahedan, in Birjand Prison. In 2018, he was arrested for drug smuggling and sentenced to death. Reportedly, this prisoner was executed without informing his family and granting the last family visitation.

None of these executions has been reported by official sources and media outlets inside Iran so far. 

The most recent report from the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between January 1 of 2021 and December 20 of 2021, at least 299 citizens, including four juvenile offenders, were executed. In addition, 85 citizens were sentenced to death in this period. 

As the report points out, Iran’s judicial authorities do not publicly announce over 88% of executions. These unreported executions are known as “secret executions” by human rights organizations.

 

Azerbaijani Turk activist Afshar Moheb Arrested and Sent to Ardabil Prison

On December 22, Azerbaijani Turk activist Afshar Moheb was arrested and sent to Ardabil Prison after his appearance at Branch 3 of the Public and Revolutionary Court in Ardabil.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the resident of Ardabil, was indicted with the charge of “propaganda against the regime in favour of anti-regime groups.”

On January 23, 2021, security forces arrested Moheb while he was leaving his workplace in Ardabil City. They released him after a few hours of interrogation from the Press Office of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Azerbaijani Turk Activist Parviz Siabi Sentenced to 16 Years Imprisonment

Recently, Azerbaijani Turk activist Parviz Siabi was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Siabi was arrested amid the protests of July of this year in Tabriz, which was held in support of the nationwide Khuzestan protests.

Branch 1 of Ardabil Revolutionary Court sentenced 75-year-old resident of Ardabil Parviz Siabi Gorjan to 16 years in prison. He received one-year imprisonment on a charge of “propaganda against the regime via interviews with anti-regime media and posts on social media”, 10 years on a charge of “forming unlawful groups as an attempt to disrupt national security”, and finally 5 years on a charge of “membership in unlawful anti-regime groups”. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a severest punishment of 10 years is enforceable for him.

On Sunday, July 25, security forces arrested Siabi and detained him in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center in Ardabil. After 11 days, he was transferred to Ardabil Central Prison. On August 29, he was released on bail of 250 million tomans from Ardabil Prison.

Siabi had been arrested before for his civil activities. On September 29, 2020, security forces arrested him along with 7 other Azerbaijani Turk activists in an assembly in a park in Ardabil. On October 29 of that year, he was released on bail from Ardabil Central prison. In regards to this arrest, he was summoned to appear at Branch 10 of the Public and Revolutionary Court of Ardabil.

Imprisoned Azerbaijani Turk Activist Abbas Lessani Dispatched to Medical Clinic

Yesterday, October 21, due to acute pain in his knees and backbone, Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Lessani was dispatched to a medical clinic outside Ardabil Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Lessani was dispatched to a clinic for an MRI test due to acute pain in knees and backbone. This is the third time that he has been dispatched outside of the prison for treatment.

Lessani has been held in Ardabil Prison since January 2019. In two separate cases, he has been sentenced to ten years and ten months combined.

On May 25, 2021, he was sent off to the hospital for the treatment of painful backbone and knees.

On June 24, 2021, due to a number of medical problems including high blood pressure, he was sent off shortly to a medical clinic in Ardabil for a medical test. After echocardiography, he was diagnosed with stenosis (a widening of the opening of a heart valve). Therefore he requires further treatment outside of the prison.

On January 15, 2019, Abbas Lessani was summoned by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz and, following his appearance at the court, he was arrested and transferred to Ardabil Prison.

Thereafter, the Ardabil Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment and 2 years exile in Yazd City on a charge of “forming a group with the purpose to disrupt national security”.

This verdict was increased to 15 years imprisonment and two years exile on appeal. In July 2020, his appeal against the conviction to the supreme court of Iran was dismissed. Under Article 134, a maximum sentence of 10 years is enforceable. In addition, earlier Branch 1 of the court of appeal in Ardabil had dismissed the request of applying ” Punishment Reduction Law”.

In May 2019, in another case, Branch 26 of the Court of appeal in Eastern Azerbaijan sentenced Lessani to ten months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime and in favour of opposition political groups”.

Abbas Lessani has faced other arrests and convictions due to his civil activities. In the last instance, on July 2, 2018, together with three residents of Ardabil, he was arrested by the county intelligence agents, several days before holding an annual gathering in Babak Fort (a gathering to celebrate the Babak Khorramdin’s birthday).

He was reportedly arrested for publishing a video in which he had encouraged people to attend the gathering. After spending nine days in detention, Lessani was released on bail.

Babak Dadbakhsh Asks Prosecutor-General for Re-Examination of His Case

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.

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Ali Vaseghi Granted Leave on Bail For One Week

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.

Mohammad Sadeghzadeh Executed in Ardabil Prison on Charge of Murder

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.

Eight Azerbaijani Turk Activists End Hunger Strike in Ardabil and Evin Prisons After Officials Promise to Meet Their Demands

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.

Ali Arjangi, a Juvenile Offender on Death Row, Attempted Suicide in Ardabil Prison

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.

Five Azerbaijani Turk Activists on Hunger Strike in Ardabil Prison

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.