On World Day Against Death Penalty, Women in Evin Prison Urge UN Special Rapporteur to Visit Iran

Posted on: October 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – From the walls of Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward, political prisoners Maryam Akbari Monfared, Golrokh Irayee, and Atena Daemi wrote a letter dated October 10th — the World Day Against the Death Penalty — urging the United Nations Special Rapporteur Javaid Rehman to come and witness Iranian human rights violations in person.

In observance of the same occasion, Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) recently published its annual report on the death penalty, pending, and carried out since October 2017. According to this report, 256 executions were carried out in Iran between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018, a 50% decrease from last year due likely to newly-ratified laws precluding death-sentence rulings on drug-related cases. Due process is glaringly absent from the judicial processes leading up to executions in Iran.

Recently, another group of prisoners from Rajai Shahr in Karaj wrote to Rehman, requesting that members of the United Nations place on their dealings with Iranian authorities a condition: demonstrate further respect for human rights by abolishing the death penalty, which the prisoners called a “weapon of terror.”

The complete text of Akbari, Irayee, and Daemi’s letter, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

“To Mr. Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran,

As the World Day Against the Death Penalty approaches, we decided to report to you a summary of the countless instances of human rights violations that took place over the last decade in our country.

News agencies announced the elimination of the death penalty for drug-related offenses some time ago, yet killings on such accounts are still happening outside of the media spotlight. Drug dealing and homicide remain the judicial justification for a majority of the executions in Iran.

Current statistics — which you most certainly have seen — indicate that defendants, men & women alike, are sentenced to death every year on homicide and manslaughter charges, and lose their lives very soon after their convictions are delivered.

Alongside prisoners convicted on criminal charges, many prisoners of conscience and political prisoners have been executed by firing squad or in the gallows over the last four decades.

According to available documentation, these executions were at their peak in the first decade of the Islamic Republic (1978-1988). People were often executed without trial, their bodies piled in unmarked mass graves on the fringe of the city. (Meanwhile, those who oppose capital punishment have no license to speak, and are currently behind bars because of their dissent).

As the World Day Against the Death Penalty drew near, authorities carried out the execution sentence of Zaynab Sakavand, a 24-year-old woman who had spent many years in prison since being convicted as a minor. This was but one example among the thousands carried out over the past few years on charges of smuggling, theft, killing, […]. As long as the death sentence can be meted, its pool of victims will be populated by alleged offenders of this type, many of whom are victims of poverty and socioeconomic class struggle, or political and ideological activists who are victims of a corrupt system whose policies are rigged against them.

The current administration began selling in 2013 the well-known figurative promise to provide keys to unlock problems and free prisoners of politics and conscience. Yet executions [on these grounds] have pressed on. Sherko Moarefi, Ehsan Fattahian, and Gholamreza Khosravi were all executed shortly after the administration undertook its [“key”] project.

The summer of 2016 conjured memories of the 1980s. Prisoners of conscience (Sunni Kurds) were executed en masse, leading to the overnight evacuation of a Rajai Shahr Prison hall. Exactly one month before the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Ramin Hossein Panahi, Zanyar Moradi, and Loghman Moradi were executed without the slightest shred of evidence to support their conviction. Their bodies, like the bodies of Farzad Kamangar (the hanged teacher), were buried in an unknown location. They suffered the same fate as Roghiyeh Akbari Monfared, Mojtaba Mohseni, Mehrzad Pakzad, Abdolreza Akbari Monfared, the Behkish Family, and thousands of others who lost their lives in the mass executions of the 1980’s, many of whose names have been documented by the Committee for Enforced Disappearance of the United Nations.

Over the past few years, many Kurdish and Arab activists, as well as a number of ideological activists, have been arrested for subscribing to beliefs that countered those of the ruling body. They were accused of baseless crimes, and — with the ultimate intention of creating fear and repressing public unrest — were tortured, forced to implicate themselves by false confession, and hanged. Mohammad Salas was the most recent of these victims.

The Islamic Republic’s apology for the death sentence is its [supposed] role in preventing criminal recidivism and in setting an example for others. While experience has proven that execution is not and never will be an effective preventative measure, the Islamic Republic continues to argue for its necessity and consonance with Sharia law. This fact alone demonstrates their abuse of the religious spirit of Iranian society, with the intention of oppressing and deceiving the public mind. If Iranian authorities can actually produce reliable documentation in support of their position on these cases, which are only a few among countless cases like them in Iran, they should certainly welcome you in Tehran.

We the undersigned, political activists held at the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, on this World Day Against the Death Penalty, express our abhorrence of the executions that have already taken place in Iran, and request that you — Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Mr. Javaid Rehman — travel to Iran to investigate violations of human rights, and advocate for a wholesale abolition of the death sentence, regardless of the crimes it aims to punish, be they political, ideological, or criminal. Your arrival in Iran and plea for accountability from authorities will clarify many ambiguities. The Islamic Republic’s refusal to welcome you would demonstrate their determination to eliminate human beings in their death machine and would confirm the criminal scope of their actions. While we harbor no delusions that things will improve, since we view the current administration as beyond reform, we nevertheless wish for an immediate halt on capital-punishment verdicts, and for a change to Iran’s oppressive penal law.

Signed:

Maryam Akbari Monfared, Golrokh Irayee, and Atena Daemi
Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, October 2018”

About the authors: Maryam Akbari Monfared was detained on December 31, 2009 following a widespread Ashura demonstration during the holy month of Muharram. In June 2010, Judge Salavati sentenced her to 15 years’ imprisonment in Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court. She was convicted of enmity against god, gathering and colluding against national security, and propagating against the regime through working with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). She has denied these charges.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Irayee was arrested along with her husband on September 6, 2014. She was first held at an IRGC safe house for two days and then spent 20 days in the solitary cells of Evin’s Section 2A, which is under IRGC jurisdiction. She was released on a bail of 800 million rials. On October 24, 2016, the IRGC arrested Irayee again, without a warrant. Her husband Arash Sadeghi, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison, is currently in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison, and has undergone operations for cancer. Irayee was sentenced to six years in prison, which was reduced to 2.5 years based on amnesty and Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code. She was convicted of insulting the sacred and gathering and collusion against the regime.

Atena Daemi was detained October 21, 2014, and was transferred to Evin’s Women’s Ward January 14, 2015 after spending 86 days in a solitary cell of Ward 2-A. On May 15, 2015, she was sentenced by Judge Moghiseh of Revolutionary Court Branch 28 to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the regime, and Insulting the supreme leader. On February 15, 2016, she was released on a bail of 5500 million rials. Her appeals court convened in July of 2016, and reduced her sentence to seven years. She learned of the appeals decision two months later. After being arrested again in her parents home on November 26, 2016, her sentence was reduced to five years, pursuant to article 134 of Islamic Penal Code.

Earlier this month, HRANA reported on verbal orders from an Evin Warden that barred these women from having visitors for three weeks.

Governance by Deprivation in Evin Prison: 3 in Women’s Ward Denied Visits for 3 Weeks

Posted on: October 9th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On October 2nd, Evin authorities punished three prisoners with a 3-week ban on visitation.

The head of the Evin Women’s Ward dictated the disciplinary measure to prisoners Maryam Akbari Monfared, Golrokh Iraee, and Atena Daemi, reportedly after the three chanted slogans and got involved in a verbal altercation last September in the prison’s visitation room when they had resisted authorities’ attempts to unlawfully interrogate them. The prison’s disciplinary council condemned them to the three-week ban in absentia.

A source told HRANA that Monfared, Iraee, and Daemi got a “no” when they asked to be shown the ban order in writing. The warden offered the pretext that authorities were acting on a verbal order from Prison Chief Chaharmahali and the prosecutors.

Akbari Monfared is a mother of three daughters, two of whom are currently in college and one of whom is school-age. Though her visitation hours were recently slated to change in accordance with her children’s academic schedules, Prosecution Representative Rostami put a stop to the change. She hasn’t had a furlough day in all of her nine years in prison.

Daemi and Iraee got their own backlash from authorities when the prison chief ordered their bodies to be searched multiple times without cause, presumably in reprisal for their public reaction to the September 8th executions of political prisoners Hossein Panahi, Zanyar Moradi, and Loghman Moradi.

Profiles: the Women’s Section of Evin Prison

Posted on: September 30th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The 17 prisoners held on political or security-related charges in the Women’s Ward of Tehran’s Evin Prison live with deplorable conditions, compromised hygiene, and paltry nutrition. The following is a brief exposé of their quality of life, followed by a snapshot of their individual case files.

Many of these prisoners are mothers pained by the distance from their children, a pain that is only exacerbated by the prison chief’s refusal to grant them access to the phone on days of the week that their children are home from school. While the prisoners were granted permission from prosecutors to open the Saturday-to-Wednesday phone schedule to any day of the week, the chief, who goes by “Chaharmahali,” has refused to loosen up the former protocol.

In another blatant disregard of court orders, prison authorities refuse to send prisoners to outside medical clinics even when prosecutors and deputy prosecutors order or grant permission for the transfers. Prison authorities justify their refusal by saying that the prison clinic has its own doctors, or will recruit them as necessary; yet prisoners needing help from a psychologist, eye doctor, or internal specialist wait months to be seen.

These women are effectively hindered from providing even the most basic care to themselves, as clinic authorities refuse to distribute basic medicine or first aid kits to inmates. Many–insulted by the stipulations from Khani, the clinic head, that they take all of their nightly medication in one supervised sitting–have quit their medications in protest, and are experiencing aggravated symptoms as a result.

Evin Prison dentistry operates in less-than-sterile conditions and exposes patients to remarkably high risk for infections. Cavity fillings are expensive there, putting patients out as much as 20 million rials (approximately $114 USD) or preventing them, for lack of means, from getting the fillings they need. Many of the Evin women have trouble footing the bill, as the now-unemployed breadwinners of their households or as the wives of men who are also behind bars.

Prison food rations are growing more pitiful by the day. Forty-day rations of dry food items that are distributed to prisoners are depleted without fail within half that time. In the last six months, meat and vegetables have been cut from the prisoners’ diets.

Hygiene and cleaning items are also in short supply. Most prisoners run out, and those who can’t afford the pricey prison shop simply do without.

Deputy prosecutor Rostami oversees political and security prisoners and recently took up his position in Evin’s prosecutorial office. While he has verbally engaged to welcome prisoner families into his office on Sundays and Tuesdays, complaints from these families suggest that he is chronically unavailable, impassive to their requests, and generally unaccountable. Complaints lead nowhere, families say; requests for furlough or conditional release are routinely ignored.

Prison authorities rarely visit the Women Section, and tend to either lose or ignore any letters from its inmates.

Who are the women of Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward?

1- Maryam Akbari Monfared (born 1975)

Convicted of enmity against god, gathering and colluding against national security and propagating against the regime through working with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), Monfared is serving a suspended sentence of 15 years.

Monfared was arrested December 31, 2009, following a widespread Ashura demonstration during the holy month of Muharram. She was tried the following May and sentenced by Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Salavati. She denied the accusations against her.

Monfared has been shuffled around different penitentiaries over the course of her imprisonment, inducing the solitary cells of Ward 209, the Methadone Ward, the Women’s Ward, Rajai Shahr Prison, and Qarchak Prison in Varamin. After writing several letters to clerics, prison authorities, and Ahmad Shaheed, then the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, she was returned to Evin’s Women’s Ward and has remained there since.

Two of Maryam’s brothers were executed in 1981 and 1984 for their connections to the MEK. Another younger brother and a sister were also executed during the 1988 massacre.

Maryam, a mother of two, has been barred from conditional release and has not received a single day of furlough since she began her sentence in 2009.

2- Zahra Zahtabchi (born 1969)

Zahra Zahtabchi was issued a 10-year suspended sentence for Baqi (violation) and enmity against god through support of the MEK.

Zahtabchi was arrested with her husband and daughter on October 16, 2013. She came to Evin’s Women’s Ward after spending 14 months in the solitary cells of Ward 209. On December 8, 2014, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts sentenced her to 12 years in prison. The sentence was reduced to 10 years in appeals court.

Her two daughters are Narges, 22 and Mina, 15.

In 2016, three years after her arrest, she went on furlough for three days.

3- Fatemeh Mosana (born 1967)

Fatemeh Mosana was sentenced to 15 years for Baqi and enmity against god through support of the MEK in Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Ahmadzadeh. Her husband Hassan Sadeghi received the same sentence.

Mosana, Sadeghi, and their child were arrested January 28, 2013, by Intelligence Ministry forces. The child was released after six weeks.

Mosana spent 75 days in the solitary cells of Ward 209 before her transfer to the Women’s Ward.

On January 13, 2014, she was temporarily released on bail. Some of her family’s property, including Sadeghi’s shop and their personal house, was seized by the authorities.

On September 30, 2015, she was re-arrested and taken to the Women’s Ward. She has two children who currently live with their ailing grandmothers.

Mosana, who suffers from ulcerative colitis and severe nervous migraines, has never been granted furlough.

4- Narges Mohammadi (born 1972)

Narges Mohammadi is serving a 16-year sentence, compounded by a six-year sentence on a previous case.

Narges was first arrested in 2002 and then released on bail after a week. For that case, she received a one-year sentence.

In May 2010, she was arrested and held for weeks in the solitary cells of Evin’s Ward 209 before being released on a bail of 1 billion rials. In 2011, she was convicted of gathering and collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime, which carried a sentence of 11 years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to six years in appeals court.

She started serving her sentence in 2012, which began with one month in solitary confinement and four months in exile in Zanjan. She was released due to health conditions before being re-arrested in 2015 to resume her sentence. At that point, authorities opened up a new case file against her, convicting her anew of gathering and collusion, and of propaganda against the regime, with the additional charge of establishing LEGAM, a campaign to abolish the death penalty. Collectively her charges earned her 16 years in prison, but by Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code, she should only serve 10 [i.e. the sentence corresponding to the heaviest among her multiple charges].

She has two children, and on the prosecutor’s orders is barred from having contact with her husband.

She suffers from pulmonary embolism and was granted a three-day furlough on September 29th.

5- Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabagh

Born in 1982, Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabagh is serving a 15-year exile imprisonment sentence, ruled by Judge Salavati in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on charges of enmity against god through support of the MEK, gathering and colluding, and propaganda against the regime.

Ebrahim Dabagh has been in prison since early 2010. She suffers from ulcerative colitis and has served exile time in Qarchak and Rajai Shahr prisons. Her husband Ahmad Daneshpour and her father-in-law Mohsen Daneshpour are awaiting trial in Evin’s Section 350. They are both said to have been sentenced to capital punishment.

After seven years in prison, Ebrahim Dabagh went on furlough for the first time in December 2016, and was briefly freed on bail. On August 15, 2018, she was sent back to Women’s Ward to serve the rest of her sentence.

6- Azita Rafizadeh (born 1980)

As part of a 2011 crackdown on the Baha’i academic community, security agents raided the homes of managers and professors at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), including Azita Rafizadeh’s. In the raid, her religious books, personal writings, and electronic devices were confiscated.

Rafizadeh was sentenced in 2014 to four years in prison on charges of acting against national security and membership in “the illegal Baha’i organization.” Her husband Peyman Kooshkbaghi was sentenced to five years in prison at the same time.

She presented hersef to Evin’s prosecutors in 2015 to begin her sentence. On February 28, 2018, her husband was detained without reason in Evin’s section 8 while trying to arrange a visit with her. Rafizade and Kooshkbaghi have a 10-year-old son name Bashir who in absence of his parents has been trusted to the care of another family.

7- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (born 1979)

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year suspended sentence on charges of gathering and collusion against national security.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at the airport while visiting Iran on holiday in 2016. After a day in IRGC’s detention center, she was transferred to Kerman prison, and two months later to Tehran, where Judge Salavati issued her prison sentence in July of that year. A few months later, she was sent to the Women’s Ward.

On August 23rd, she was granted a three-day furlough after two and a half years in prison. She has a four-year-old daughter.

8- Aras Amiri (born in 1986)

A student of London’s Kingston University, Amiri was arrested by Intelligence Ministry forces on March 14, 2018, and released two months later after posting a 5000 million rial bail. On September 7, 2018, she was summoned and subsequently arrested by Evin prosecutors, after which she was sent to the prison’s Women’s Ward. She has denied the “gathering and collusion against national security” accusations against her and is still awaiting trial.

9- Golrokh Ebrahimi Irayi (born 1980)

Irayi was sentenced to six years in prison, which was reduced to 2.5 years based on amnesty and Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code. She was convicted of insulting the sacred and gathering and collusion against the regime. Earlier this year, she was exiled to Varamin’s Qarchak prison, and was brought back to Evin after going on hunger strike.

On September 6, 2014, Golrokh was arrested along with her husband, Arash Sadeghi. She spent two days in an IRGC safe house and then 20 days in the solitary cells of Evin’s Section 2A, which is under IRGC jurisdiction. She was released on a bail of 800 million rials.

Judge Salavati sentenced her to six year in prison while she was undergoing surgery in the hospital.

On October 24, 2016, the IRGC arrested her without a warrant. Her husband Arash Sadeghi was also arrested and sentenced to 19 years in prison. He is currently in Karaj’s Rajai Shahr prison and has undergone operations for cancer.

Arash and Golrokh have been forbidden from seeing each other for the past 8 months.

10- Nasrin Sotoudeh (born 1963)

According to Sotoudeh’s lawyer, she has been sentenced to five years in prison for espionage (a charge that does not figure on her charge sheet), a complaint from Kashan prosecutorial interrogators, and an arrest order from Branch Two of Evin’s interrogators. She currently awaits trial.

Sotoudeh was first arrested September 2010 and sentenced to 11 year in prison, a 20-year ban from the bar association, and 20-year travel ban. Appeals court reduced these sentences to six years in prison and a 10-year ban from the bar. She was in Evin prison from 2010 to 2013 on charges of “acting against national security.” Upon her release, lawyer’s court banned her from the bar for three years, which she protested in 2014 by organizing a sit-in in front of the Bar Association. Because of her sit-in, her attorney privileges were reinstated.

On June 13th of this year she was arrested in her home and taken to Evin prison. Her husband Reza Khandan is being held in Evin’s Section Four. Two of her children, Mehrave and Nima, are currently in the care of family friends.

11- Negin Ghadamian (born 1983)

Ghadamian was sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence on a conviction of against national security through membership in “the illegal Baha’i organization.”

On May 24, 2011, Negin was arrested by security forces and released on a bail of 500 million rials. In February 2013, along with eight other Baha’i citizens, she was convicted in absentia of working with the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education and sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Moghise. On December 16, 2017, she was arrested at the airport and sent to the Women’s Ward of Evin prison to serve her sentence.

12 – Masoumeh (Mino) Ghasemzade Malakshah (born 1976)

Malakshah and her ex-husband, Amir-Mehdi Tabasi were arrested in 2011 by the Intelligence Ministry agents. Both were detained and later released on bail on espionage charges after travelling to the Israeli embassy in Turkey and applying for residency in Israel. Both Malakshah and Tabasi were sentenced to 10 years, a sentence which was confirmed in appeals court in 2017.

Malakshah was taken to the Women’s Ward of Evin prison. Tabasi is detained in a different ward of same prison.

13- Ruqayya Haji Mashallah (born 1981)

Mashallah is awaiting trial on charges that are currently unclear.

Of Iranian origin, Mashallah is a citizen of Bahrain. She was arrested in May 2018 in Mashhad and taken to Evin’s Women’s Ward on June 27th of the same year. Her Bahraini husband has only been able to meet with her once since her arrest. She a mother to three children.

14- Leila Tajik (born 1973)

Tajik was arrested by IRGC’s Intelligence Department on September 5, 2017. She was taken to the Women’s Ward earlier this year after spending seven months in an IRGC safe house. Her husband, who is said to be a retired employee of IRGC’s Intelligence Department, is also under arrest. She awaits trial on charges of espionage.

Tajik and her spouse have two children aged 16 and 19.

15 – Atena (Fateme) Daemi (born 1988)

Daemi was arrested on October 21, 2014.

On May 15, 2015, Judge Moghise of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced her to 14 year in prison on charges of collusion and gathering against national security, propaganda against the regime, and insulting the Supreme Leader. Her sentence was reduced to five years with application of Article 134 of Islamic Penal Code.

After her arrest and before her trial, she spent 86 days in the solitary cells of Section 2-A. On February 15, 2016, she was released on a bail of 5500 million rials. Her sentenced was reduced to seven years in appeals court in August of 2016.

Daemi was arrested in her father’s house that November, and cases against her two sisters and one of her brother-in-laws immediately followed. She went on hunger strike for 54 days until the charges against them were dropped. So far she has been acquitted of two case files that have been opened against her.

In January of this year, she was taken to Varamin’s Qarchak prison after being assaulted. On May 9th, she was taken back to Evin’s Women’s Ward. She has thus far been denied furlough and has yet to request parole.

16- Elham Barmaki (born 1968)

On December 28, 2011, Barmarki was arrested on the street and spent three months in the solitary cells of Section 209. She was then released on bail and was later acquitted.

On July 23, 2012, she was arrested again, this time spending 14 months Section 209 solitary cells. On September 29, 2013, she was transferred to the Women’s Ward.

In Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Moghise, Barmaki was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fines of 25,000 Euros, 70,000 USD, and 400 million rials. She has two children, Amir-Parviz and Anita, who both live abroad. She was released once on furlough in March 2017 for the Persian New Year. Her request for parole has been rejected.

17 – Sotoudeh Fazeli (born 1953)

Fazeli was arrested in early 2011 by the Intelligence Ministry. She spent 31 days in Evin’s Section 209 before being released on bail in 2011. Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Salavati, sentenced her to three years in prison on charges of “enmity against god by supporting the MEK.” She has been held in the Women’s Ward since June 29, 2016.

Fazeli suffers from eye and muscle problems, among other health conditions. She was released on a short furlough in 2016. Her requests for parole have been repeatedly rejected.

Since the beginning of the new Persian calendar year in 2018, 15 new prisoners have entered the Women’s Ward, including Zahra Zare, Negar Zarei, Mandana Azarmah, Akram Gholami, Aliyah Eghdamdoost, Akram Mirsane, Raha Fasayi, Parisa Rahmati, Batool Ezati and Arefe Aziz. A number of these women have been already released.

Tensions Mount over Unlawful Execution of Three Kurdish Political Prisoners

Posted on: September 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Shock, sorrow, and censure over the executions of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi continue to pour in from both international institutions and Iranian citizens in-country, further straining relations between Iranian authorities and the human rights activist community at large.

A number of Kurdish opposition groups have sounded the call to strike to Kurdish regions of Iran, inviting fellow Kurds to protest their comrades’ executions.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has stated, “I deeply deplore the executions last week of three Iranian Kurdish prisoners despite the serious concerns raised by Special Procedures mandate holders that they were not afforded fair trials, and were subjected to torture.” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, has also condemned these executions.

Imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi was among a number of imprisoned civil rights activists publishing separate letters expressing sorrow and outrage over the men’s deaths. Golrokh Iraee and Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, two more imprisoned activists, wrote and published their own messages of protest and sympathy, with Sotoudeh likening their executions to the *political massacres of 1988.

Some of these letters have reportedly incited blowback from prison authorities, who have subjected Daemi and Iraee to repeated non-routine body searches after their letters were published. When these women inquired about the reason for the searches, they learned the order for frisking had been issued by the Prison’s Director. A Prosecutor Assistant has since promised to investigate.

Excerpts from the letters of Sotoudeh and Iraee, translated into English by HRANA, are below.

Nasrin Sotoudeh:

“The judicial system has executed three Kurdish compatriots. Our Kurdish compatriots have been plagued by oppression for decades. The verdict and sentences of the Revolutionary Court, condemning these three compatriots to die, was the product of an unlawful process that runs counter to Human Rights principles and the laws of the Islamic Republic. In at least one of these trials, had due process been respected, the defendant may very well have been acquitted.

Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were on hunger strike when they were hanged, another testament to the inherent brutality of the judicial system, who itself is supposed to protect us from violence.

I extend my condolences to our Kurdish compatriots, who have had a steadfast, crucial presence in the cultural promotion of Iran; to all Iranians; and, in particular, to the families of Moradi, Moradi, and Panahi. I hope that in heeding the diverse manifestations of Iran’s judicial violence, the urgent need to renounce all forms of it will become clear.”

Golrokh Iraee

“[Their death] invites the wrath of Kurdistan’s Children […] Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi, freedom fighters, Kurdistan’s immortal resistance, teachers of patience and persistence, have left behind a lesson in determination. They were hanged while on hunger strike, in protest of their mistreatment at the hands of authorities; they stood up to the monsters of despotism and reactionarism.

They unmasked those traitors who call themselves statesmen and rulers. Let it be known that the time for lip service has passed. To hold them accountable, we must act.”

****

After being hanged to death in an undisclosed location in Tehran on September 8th without notice to their lawyers, the bodies of the Moradis and Hossein Panahi were *confiscated by the Iranian authorities. The Ministry of Intelligence has since threatened the men’s surviving family members.

Ahmad Amouee, journalist and former prisoner of conscience, published an account of the Moradi and Moradi families’ visit to Tehran’s main cemetery, Behesht-e Zahra, where officials had summoned them to bid farewell to their sons’ bodies. Their final resting place remains unknown.

* In the summer of 1988, on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran at the time, thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners were executed after inquisition-style interrogation sessions. Almost all of these prisoners had already been tried and were either serving their sentence or, having completed their sentence, were awaiting release. All were buried in unmarked, often secret, mass graves.

Prisoner of Conscience Atena Daemi Rebukes Authorities, Eulogizes Executed Kurds

Posted on: September 12th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – From the walls of Evin Prison, detained civil rights activist Atena Daemi has written a letter in response to the executions of Ramin Hossein Panahi, Loghman Moradi, and Zanyar Moradi, three Iranian Kurdish political prisoners who were hanged to death in secret on Saturday, September 8th.

The executions of the Moradis and Panahi drew outrcry from human rights institutions internationally. The attorneys representing them called their convictions and executions — the latter which took place without the mandatory notice to, or presence of, their lawyers — legally ambiguous under both Iranian and international law. Caught unawares, none of the families were present during their sons’ final moments, as the executions were carried out at an undisclosed location in Tehran. The Ministry of Intelligence has since issued detention threats to the family members of the deceased men.

Condemning Iranian authorities for their treatment of the three men, and extending her condolences to their families, Atena Daemi’s letter joins the many voices of outrage over the course of the young mens’ fate. Daemi, imprisoned since 2014, is serving a seven-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime,” “assembly and collusion to act against national security,” and “insulting the supreme leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] as well as the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.”

The text of Atena Daemi’s eulogy, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

They killed our loved ones, and claim with pride that in doing so they have administered justice.

The “justice” they refer to is not the one represented by Lady Justice holding a fair and balanced scale. It is instead a man — a man with a turban on his head [a cleric], whose forehead bears the mark of the clay which grazes his head during prayers. He is blindfolded, not as a sign of impartiality, but of blindness to the truth. In one hand is a rosary. In the other, a scale suspended by a noose.

These scales are so unbalanced that one tray is a speck in the heavens, while the other is laden with dead bodies dragging it deep into the ground. This “justice” they invoke has been neither seen nor heard in *40 years.

In this troubled time – a time of economic turbulence, poverty, and unemployment – what problem was solved by murdering these three beloved men? Has their killing soothed any of the ailments suffered by the Iranian people?

Your majesties– where is this mania taking you? By deceit and without warning, you led our loved ones to the killing fields. Even in the short lives granted them, you wouldn’t offer them peace. While they were still **hungry and thirsty, you cut their lives short. How it must have incensed you to your core to never see them falter. As you, dry-eyed, pitied them in their walk to the gallows to die for the ideals, their heads were held high, their steps steady…

How insolently you watch our loved ones draw their last breaths! It must burn you to hold them hostage from their families and brand them as terrorists, only to see them rise as steadfast symbols of democracy for the rest of us. For nine years, they showed friendship to inmates of different creeds and beliefs; they were endeared to their fellow prisoners, loved by us, and cherished by the Iranian people.

Before the start of religious months of Moharram and Safar(1) each year, you prepare yourself for mourning with a savage display. Drunk and armed with handguns, you launch into a monologue about Imam Hussein, who, lips dry from thirst, was beheaded by Yazid. What a repugnant contradiction–what abhorrent hypocrisy! You mirror Yazid’s troops, and for the past 40 years, you have tightened ropes around resolute throats, pulled the stool from beneath the feet of persistent and patient youth. You instigate sectarian war between Sunni and Shiites. Then, your pockets brimming with billions, you pretend to be mourning Hussain.

I am sure that you know your savage acts only dig you deeper into public contempt. Your path is one of self-annihilation. Today, you only dug your graves deeper. You did not kill Zanyar, Loghman, and Ramin. You have only endeared them in our hearts, inspiring the world into mourning the true martyrs of our time.

You have tarnished Iran’s standing and dignity in the world. They see us as a terrorist country for the cutthroat, blood-thirsty, and rapacious actions of a select and powerful few. How long and how far will you continue on this road? Dream on about imposing war on your people: they will rise to the challenge again and again. Stop your killing machine. Lift your lead boots from the throats of Iran and Kurdistan.

How tightly you cling to your towering throne, oblivious to the fact that you could tumble from your high horses at any moment to the miry earth below. Throughout history, many who rode high thought of themselves as invincible, only to take refuge in sewage tunnels, where they were tracked down and punished for their crimes.

Iran is a pile of live embers cloaked in a thin layer of ash. Lest your actions arouse the flames that lie beneath.

We congratulate the steadfast families of these martyrs.

Atena Daemi – Evin Prison Women Ward
September 8th, 2018

(1) Months in the Islamic lunar calendar commemorated by Shiite Muslims in mourning of Imam Hussein, the 3rd Shiite Imam, who was killed in battle against Yazid (Imam Hussain has come to symbolize the force of Good while Yazid stands for Evil).

* The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded after the Iranian Revolution approximately 40 years ago
** Zanyar and Loghman Moradi and Ramin Hossein Panahi were all reportedly on hunger strike before they were executed.

Women Prisoners of Conscience Respond to Executions of Ramin Hossein Panahi, Loghman & Zanyar Moradi

Posted on: September 11th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Political and civil rights activists detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison in Tehran have released a statement in response to the execution of political prisoners Ramin Hossein Panahi, Loghman Moradi, and Zanyar Moradi.

In a letter, Narges Mohammadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Golrokh Ibrahim Iraee, Maryam Akbari Monfared, Atena Daemi, Azita Rafizadeh, and Negin Ghademian expressed condolences to the families of the three Iranian Kurdish prisoners, who were hung to death September 8th amid dubious legal proceedings and international protest.

Barring the families from interring their sons’ bodies themselves, authorities commandeered the remains to be buried in an undisclosed location. According to Ramin’s brother Amjad Hossein Panahi, the Ministry of Intelligence has threatened the Moradis and Panahi families with detention. To the surprise of all families involved, the executions were carried out in an undisclosed location in Tehran province.

Amnesty International, one of the human rights organizations who were aghast at the course of the young men’s case, called the executions an “outrage.” Voices of the Evin Prison Women’s Ward now join the wave of dissent against the outcome of their case.

During a visitation on Sunday, the authors of the statement, many of whom are being held as political prisoners themselves, joined the families in singing “Ode to the Bleeding Tulip” and “O Iran” to commemorate and honor the memories of Ramin Hossein-Panahi, Loghman Moradi, and Zanyar Moradi.

The full text of their message, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

No words could contain the crushing weight of our sorrow.

These brave children of our country leave us a legacy of patience, freedom, and perseverance.

Their names are affixed to the helms of those fighting for freedom, and for those that seek it, the path has been laid by their resistance.

We wish solace for the families and cellmates of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein-Panahi. We wish solace for all the afflicted citizens of our land.

We bear your pain in our chests and we stand with you.

Narges Mohammadi, Nasrin Sotudeh, Golrokh Ibrahimi, Maryam Akbari Monfared, Atena Daemi, Azita Rafizadeh, and Negin Ghadamian

Women’s Ward of Evin Prison

Women Prisoners of Conscience Write Letter of Condolence to Human Rights Lawyer

Posted on: August 9th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Following the sudden death of Homa Soltani, the 27-year-old daughter of imprisoned human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, a group of women prisoners of conscience in Tehran’s Evin Prison wrote a joint open letter to convey their condolences.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION
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Dear Mr Abdolfattah Soltani and Ms [Masoumeh] Dehghan [spouse of Mr Soltani and mother of Homa Soltani],

It is with great regret and sadness that we hear from our prison cells the heartbreaking news of your beloved daughter’s passing.

Enduring the pain of this loss while serving your eighth year of imprisonment will not be easy, Mr Soltani, as a bereft father and one of the most steadfast defenders of human rights and one of the most compassionate figures in this land – or for you, Ms Dehghan, a kind mother and companion and an aid to Iranian civil society.

We appreciate the scale of your suffering and bereavement. We wish patience and better days for you and your children, and demand Mr Soltani’s freedom from prison.

The list of signatories is as follows:

Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi, Atena Daemi, Maryam Akbari Monfared, Azita Rafizadeh, Sima Kiani, Nazanin Zaghari and Negin Ghadamian.

***********************************

Abdolfatah Soltani was granted furlough to attend the funeral of his daughter, Homa Soltani, who died on August 3, 2018, at the age of 27 as a result of a heart attack.

Amnesty International issued a statement on Twitter in reaction to Homa Soltani’s death, and citing the human rights activities of Mr Soltani, asked “How much longer will Abdolfattah Soltani and his family be punished for defending human rights? The Iranian authorities must put an end to this injustice and release Abdolfattah Soltani immediately”.

On Sunday, August 5, 2018, Saeed Dehghan, Mr Soltani’s lawyer, wrote a letter to Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, citing the reason behind the arrest of his client was politically motivated and orchestrated by individuals such as Saeed Mortazavi (former Tehran Prosecutor General and Iran’s Prosecutor General Assistant who has been convicted of abetting the murder of a jailed protestor during the 2009 popular unrest. He has been sentenced to two years in prison). Mr Dehghan requested from Mr Rouhani to observe the law regarding the conditional release of his client.

Atena Daemi Ended Her Hunger Strike, Golrokh Iraei Continues with Drinking Water

Posted on: April 17th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – At the request of a number of human rights defenders, Atena Daemi has stopped her hunger strike after 13 days, 6 days of which were dry hunger strike. However, Glorokh Iraei has announced that she would stop her dry hunger strike (not drinking fluids), but would continue her hunger strike by drinking water.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), In addition to the individual requests of human rights activists, particularly a group of women human rights defenders published an open letter titled “For the suppressed people and your goals, you should stay alive”, addressed to Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraei, and called them to end their strike. (more…)

Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi Beaten and Exiled to Garchak Prison

Posted on: April 4th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Arash Sadeghi, human rights activist in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, has gone on hunger strike on January 27, 2018, following his wife, Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi were beaten and exiled. He has gone on hunger strike while he is suffering from severe illness and physical weakness.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi were beaten in Evin prison and exiled to Garchak prison in Varamin on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. The two detainees, who are currently detained in quarantine of ward 3, do not have suitable situation. (more…)

Atena Daemi Received Medical Treatment after a Long Delay

Posted on: January 21st, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Atena Daemi civic activist in Evin prison was eventually hospitalized and underwent a surgery in Tehran with a long delay after several cancellations of medical programs on October 8, 2017. The previous deportation was canceled by the authorities because of her refusal to close the bracelets and pendants in the surgery room.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), after a long period of misery at clinic of Evin Prison, Atena Daemi was able to be sent to the hospital and be under the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Her previous surgery appointment on September 25, 2017 was canceled due to her refusal to close the bracelets and pendants in the surgery room. (more…)