First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Posted on: September 13th, 2019

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha Faramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

Seven Labor Activists of Haft Tappeh’s Case Sentenced to 110 Years in Prison and 74 Lashes, Combined

Posted on: September 9th, 2019

On September 7, 2019, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Esmail Bakhshi to a 14-year prison term and 74 lashes and Mohammad Khanifar to six years imprisonment. In addition, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadifard, Sanaz Allahyari, and Asal Mohammadi were sentenced to 18 years in prison, each. Their trial was held in the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, in August. Ali Nejati’s case is still open.

The collective court session for the detained labor activists of Haft Tappeh’s case was initially scheduled for August 3, 2019 at the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran led by judge Moghiseh. However, the session was postponed to a later date and was held one-by-one.

According to the verdict issued by the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by judge Moghiseh, Esmail Bakhshi was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion aimed to act against national security”, two years imprisonment for “insulting the Supreme Leader”, two years imprisonment for the charge of “spreading falsehood”, one years and half in prison for the charge of “propaganda against the state”, and 1.5 years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of “disrupting the public order”.

Sepideh Gholian, Amir (Ali) Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadfard, Sanaz Allahyari, and Asal Mohammadi, each were sentenced to seven years in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion aimed to act against national security”,  another seven years in prison for the charge of “membership in Gam group”, one year and a half in prison for the charge of “propaganda against the state”, and two years and a half for “spreading falsehood”. According to the article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, each should serve the sentence for the charge with the highest penalty which is seven years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion aimed to act against national security”.

Mohammad Khanifar was sentenced to five years in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion aimed to act against national security” and a one-year prison term for the charge of “propaganda against the state”. According to the article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, Mohammad Khanifar should serve the sentence for the charge with the highest penalty which is five years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion aimed to act against national security”.

The protests of the workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane industrial complex started on March 28, 2018 in front of the Shush governor compound. Subsequently, the prosecutor’s office of Shush summoned several workers. The workers went to the prosecutor’s office three days later but were informed that their session was rescheduled.  On the same day, 10 protester workers were arrested. The Haft Tappeh Sugarcane industrial complex union reported the strike of more than five hundred workers of this company from July 29, 2018 and these protests periodical continued till August 2018. The protesters demanded an end to the privatization of the company and alleged houses to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, firing the executive board members of the company, and sustain the current director of the company. In November 2018 these protests were accompanied by protests of the workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) and continued till late December.  Esmail Bakhshi and Ali Nejati are two prominent labor activists of Haft Tappeh Complex who have been arrested during the protests.

Esmail Bakhshi was arrested in November and was released on bail in December 2018. He was charged with “disruption of public order”, “assembly and collusion against national security”, and “participation in forming a group”, “intended to disrupt public security”. On December 2, 2018 he reported his return to his workplace. On January 4, 2019, Esmail Bakhshi wrote an open letter and spoke out about abuse and torture he suffered in detention from the Intelligence Department authorities during his detention. After that, Sepideh Gholian, a civil rights activist who was arrested during workers protests supported him. Bakhshi and Gholian have been rearrested after the broadcast of their under-torture confessions on the national television. They have been transferred from Sheiban and Sepidar prison in Ahvaz to Evin prison in Tehran on April 28, 2018 for their court hearing.

On August 10, 2019, the trial of Sepideh Gholian was held at the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. In this session Sepideh Gholian claimed that she was subjected to abuse during her interrogation and was forced to confess therefore she does not approve her accusation. Sepideh Gholians attorney, Jamal Heydari Manesh, stated that his client was under pressure during her arrest and interrogation and she was falsely accused. He emphasized that defending the workers’ right is not a crime but one the rights of his client.

Ali Nejati, who is a labor activist and a member of the managing board of the labor union representing employees of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company, was arrested by the security forces on November 29, 2018 on the charges of “disrupting public order”, “collusion and assembly against national security” and “cooperation in establishing a group intended to disrupt peace and security”. He was transferred to the Shush prison on December 24, 2018. He was taken to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Baghaei Hospital due to the deteriorating health for his heart. He is suffering from heart disease and a prolonged detention had a dire health consequence and even endangered his life. In January, his family reported about his inappropriate detention condition. Nevertheless, his verdict was changed to release on bail, and he was temporary released on January 28, 2019.

The members of “Gam”, a labor right defendant magazine was arrested by the security forces. On January 16, 2019, Amir Amirgholi was arrested in city of Babolsar and was transferred to the ward 209 of Evin Prison. He was transferred to Ahvaz’s Intelligence department on February 18, 2019 and then transferred to quarantine ward of Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz. Currently, he is in ward four of Evin Prison. Sanaz Allahyari and her husband Amir Hossein Mohammadifar, were arrested on January 9, 2019. Mohammadifar was transferred from the ward 209 in Evin Prison to the ward 4 and Allahyari was transferred to the woman ward of Evin Prison.

Asal Mohammadi, labor activist, was arrested at her home by security forces on the charge of supporting workers’ protests on November 22. On January 5, 2019, she was released on 400 million Tomans [4000 dollars] bail. She was rearrested on August 4, 2019 by judge Moghiseh order. Reportedly, she could not afford the updated set bail of two billion Tomans [200 thousand dollars].

Mohammad Khanifar was arrested during the mass arrest on November 19, 2019 during the protest of workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane and he was released on January 26, 2019. On January 29, he was summoned to Shush’s Intelligence department and was rearrested there. He was released on bail on January 29, 2019. His trial session for another part of this case was held on February 12, 2019 in the Shush Court. In this session his incitement was about the charge of” unauthorized demonstration demanding the change of management of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcan Agro-Industry and the release of Esmail Bakhshi”.

Haft Tappeh was founded in the 1960s in the city of Shush, in Khuzestan Province. It is the oldest sugar factory in Iran. Since 2015 due to the privatization deal based on article 44 of the constitution was transferred to the present owners. It has four thousand workers and employees and is located 15 kilometers south of the Shush city.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 5, 2019

Posted on: January 5th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 5th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Four protests were organized nationwide on January 5, 2019. Residents of Sistan and Baluchestan province, residents of Rabat county in West Azerbaijan province, Customers of Iran Khodro, SAIPA, SAIPA Citroen, and Bahman Motor companies organized protests to request their demands. In addition, another protest gone violent in Sarbaz county after a few protesters were wounded by the police shots. The protesters were angry about repeated confiscation of their vehicles by the police.

(2) A school bus had an accident in Tehran in which four teenage students
Mehdi Azizi, Reza Sajjadi, Mohammad Sadegh Najafi, and Ali Shayesteh Mehr, and a 45-year-old man, Seyed Mohsen Mirshojaei were injured. They have been transferred to a local hospital.

(3) More than 142 thousand children have been deprived from public education this year. The majority of these children are boys and are in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, Tehran, Razavi Khorasan, Kerman,and Khuzestan. .

(4) Abbas Lesani, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, was arrested today and his whereabouts is unknown. He was tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment earlier. He was charged with ‘propaganda against the state’.

(5) Four Baha’i citizens in Isfahan have been arrested for unknown reasons. Mohsen Mehregani, Manouchehr Rahmani, Farzad Homayouni, and Sohrab Naghipour. They had been arrested before and released on bail.

(6) Alireza Tavakoli, a detained cyber activist, ended his hunger strike after prison authorities promise his demands will be met and his fellow inmates requested him to end his strike due to his deteriorating health. He was protesting the lack of medical care in prison. He was transferred to quarantine due to his contagious illness, but the prison officials denied transferring him to hospital.

(7) Asal Mohammadi, a labor activist, was released on bail. She was arrested at her home, on November 22 charged with supporting workers’ protests in Iran. She is a student pharmacist at Islamic Azad University Pharmaceutical Science.

(8) Hasan Beit Abdollah, a prisoner in the Masjed Soleyman prison, was beaten and has been tied to a pole in open air since Thursday. He was reportedly in an argument with the prison officials. He is accused of Enmity with God (Moharebeh).

(9) Shirzad Karimi who was arrested by the Sepah Intelligence forces two months ago and his whereabouts was unknown, was transferred to Urmia prison on Thursday. He is accused of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘cooperation with opposition groups’.

(11) Farhad Mohammadi, a lawyer and secretary of the National Unity Party in Kurdistan, has been arrested by security forces. He was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence office and was transferred to the Intelligence Detention Centre in Sanandaj.

(12) 320 seasonal workers of Aq Darreh gold mine in West Azerbaijan province were laid off. Also, the workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Mill have two months of unpaid wages.

(13) 34 student associations invited the minister of intelligence, Mahmoud Alavi, to debate with Esmail Bakhshi. He is a detained trade unionist who was released on bail, and wrote about physical and psychological abuse, interrogation, and torture in prison.

(14) A prisoner who was accused of murdering his wife was sentenced to death in Tehran. Another prisoner charged with murder in Borujerd was saved from gallows by victim’s family’s consent. 12 prisoners have been saved from execution in North Khorasan province during the last year.

(15) The Forensic Medicine Organization announced that 12,261 people died in traffic accidents in the last eight months. This shows an increase of 0.9 percent from last year. Most of the accidents happened in Fars, Tehran and Isfahan provinces.

(16) After 18 months of forced closure of Baha’i-owned businesses in Urmia, the closure order has been lifted. The bussiness-owners names are as following: Firooz Latifi, Erfan Samandari، Arman Norouzi, Elham Abdi, Ali Latifi, Naser Panahi, Mr. Dargahi, Mohammadali Derakhti, Vahhab Moghaddam, Navid Morghi, Siavash and Siamak Abdi, Fardin and Fereydoun Aghsani,  Einollah Ghodsi, Changiz Shahmohammadi, Sasan Karimi, Bonyan Maghsoudi, Ghorban and Shahab Najafzadeh, Keykavous Dargahi, and Mr. Suleimani. Baha’i citizens are having difficulty running their businesses in Iran.