Iran: Prisoner Updates as of November 14, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Iranian citizens and legal residents, once placed behind bars or accused of a crime, have seen their lawful rights and dignities abruptly revoked. Below are a few of their stories.

Sunni Kurdish Prisoner Slapped with “Propaganda” Charge Whilst Behind Bars

Sardar Osman Bakr, a Sunni Kurdish prisoner serving a five-year sentence in Urmia Central, has been charged with “propaganda against the regime” and will now be serving six.
An Iraqi national who has held legal residence in Iran for the past 10 years, Bakr was arrested, charged, and sentenced in 2016 on charges of “membership in anti-regime groups with religious ideologies.” He was held in solitary confinement for 10 days in a Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center earlier this year, before being transferred back to Urmia Central Prison to be interrogated on the “propaganda against the regime” charge.
Branch 3 of Urmia Revolutionary Court convicted Bakr of the new charge in September 2018, compounding his prison term by an additional year. He is currently being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central.

Ulduz Ghasemi (Center)

Azerbaijani Activist Sentenced in Absentia

On November 10th, Azerbaijani activist Ulduz Ghasemi was sentenced in absentia to one year in prison by Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 1.
Ghasemi is from Urmia, in Iran’s northwest. Read more about Ghasemi’s activism and legal ordeals here.

Sentence Upheld for Sunni Prisoner

West Azerbaijan Appeals Court Branch 13 has upheld a five-year prison sentence for Sunni prisoner Eslam Mostafaie, of Mirabad. He has been in Urmia Central Prison for the past three months.
Charged with “membership in Salafi groups,” a close source said, Mostafaie was denied a lawyer throughout judicial proceedings that ended with his August 2018 conviction in Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 2.
According to the source, he was held in solitary confinement in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center for 17 days after his arrest and is now being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central.
Mirabad is a city in West Azerbaijan Province.

Conditional Release Denied to Urmia Prisoner

Judge Ali Sheikhloo of Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 2 has denied the conditional release request of political prisoner Azad Mohammadi, currently being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central prison. The court’s decision was dictated to Mohammadi on Tuesday, November 13th.
Mohammadi had previously stopped hunger striking when prison authorities verbally engaged to negotiate with the Judiciary for his conditional release. Mohammadi was among a group of prisoners swayed to end their coordinated hunger strike on October 23rd by similar promises from prison authorities.
Upon his arrest in 2015, Mohammadi spent three months in an IRGC Intelligence detention center. Without ever having access to a lawyer, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “Cooperation with the Kurdistan Democratic Party.” He was subsequently transferred to Urmia Prison.
Mohammadi’s sentence was reduced by 15 months when he chose to not protest the charges. He is scheduled to be released in seven months.

Three Reports of Misconduct toward Political Prisoners in Urmia

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Last week, HRANA received three confirmed reports of misconduct to three political prisoners in Urmia’s central prison. Azad Mohammadi and Hassan Peyghami were transferred from Ward 12 to the psychotherapy ward after reportedly engaging in a verbal dispute with a prison authority by the name of “Medadi”. Political prisoner Abdolrahman Fattahi was reportedly beaten by a prison guard by the name of Rasoul Ghanizadeh and two other prisoners. As a result of the attack, Mr Fattahi reportedly began a hunger strike in addition to filing a complaint against his attackers.

Azad Mohammadi was arrested in May 2016 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Hassan Peyghami is reportedly facing a new charge of “Insulting the Supreme Leader”. A source close to Mr Peyghami told HRANA: “Hassan Peyghami got involved in a verbal dispute with a former IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) agent who is imprisoned for embezzlement and other financial offenses. [Mr Peyghami] may face new charges as a result of this.” On September 19, 2016, Mr Peyghami was sentenced to 30 months in prison by Branch 1 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Chabok, for the charge of “Acting against national security”. Mr Peyghami was reportedly arrested two years ago for the same charge and served a two-year prison exile sentence Urmia and Tabriz.

The misconduct of the authorities in Urmia’s central prison toward prisoners is not unprecedented. Prisoner Saeed Seyed Abbasi was also attacked and beaten by the head of the prison and transferred to solitary confinement and denied medical care. In April 2018, HRANA reported on an attack against Saeed Nouri, a former IRGC lieutenant, by two prison authorities.