Journalist Vahid Ashtari Starts Serving 14-Month Sentence

On Thursday, June 20, Vahid Ashtari, a journalist, was arrested and transferred to prison to serve his fourteen-month sentence, according to Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency.

Vahid Ashtari was initially sentenced to 24 months in prison, which was later reduced to 14 months by the Court of Appeals. This case was referred to another branch in the Court of Appeals of Tehran Province in November-December 2023 following the Supreme Court’s order for retrial. However, the judges of that branch rejected the retrial and confirmed the verdict issued by the Tehran Court of Appeals.

Mizan reported that this conviction is related to a case initiated after Mr. Ashtari reported the assault against him by a soldier in Babol, Mazandaran province.

This journalist has faced several other charges and convictions due to his activities as a journalist. He is also known for exposing the trip of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s family, the current Speaker of the Parliament of Iran, to Turkey, leading to a scandal known as the “baby layette Gate” for Ghalibaf.

Protest Rapper Toomaj Salehi Acquitted of Disseminating False Information and Inciting Violence

Toomaj Salehi, the protest singer, has been acquitted by the Criminal Court of Isfahan of charges related to “disseminating false information” and “inciting people to violence.” His lawyer, Amir Raisian, confirmed this development, clarifying that these charges stemmed from a video Salehi published in November 2023.

Presently held in Dastgerd Prison, Isfahan, Salehi faces a one-year prison sentence imposed by the Revolutionary Court for allegedly “spreading propaganda against the regime.” Alongside this verdict comes a two-year travel ban, revocation of his passport, and mandatory enrollment in behavior management and knowledge skills programs. This sentence was upheld on appeal.

Salehi’s legal saga began in late October 2022 when he was initially detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Subsequently, the Isfahan Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years and three months in prison, among other penalties. However, he secured release on bail after the Supreme Court overturned the verdict.

Nevertheless, Salehi’s freedom was short-lived as he was re-arrested in Babol on November 30, just twelve days after being bailed out from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan. The Judiciary spokesperson cited Salehi’s post-release statement as grounds for this subsequent arrest.

It’s worth noting that Salehi has a prior conviction from January 12, 2022, where he received a six-month prison term and a fine, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.

Protest Rapper Toomaj Salehi Receives One-Year Sentence and Additional Penalties

In the latest development, Toomaj Salehi, the renowned Iranian protest rapper, has been sentenced to one year by the Revolutionary Court. Additionally, he faces a two-year travel ban, the annulment of his passport, and is required to participate in behavior management and knowledge skills programs.

Revealing the verdict publicly, Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, expressed concern over the due process, labeling it as “unusual,” “illegal,” and “peculiar.” Raisian asserted that the court session concluded without prior notice to Salehi and in the absence of his attorney.

Salehi was re-arrested in Babol on November 30, twelve days after his release on bail from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan. The Judiciary spokesperson cited Salehi’s statement after his release as the grounds for this subsequent arrest.

In late October 2022, Salehi was initially detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Subsequently, the Isfahan Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years and three months in prison along with additional penalties. However, he was released on bail after the Supreme Court overturned the verdict.

It is worth noting that the protest singer already has a prior conviction in a separate legal case. On January 12, 2022, he was sentenced to a six-month prison term and fined, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.

Protest Singer Toomaj Salehi Faces Re-Arrest

On November 30, 2023, protest rapper Toomaj Salehi experienced a renewed arrest in Babol by security forces, taken to an undisclosed location despite his recent release on bail from Dastgerd Prison, Isfahan, on November 18.

The apprehension unfolded on a Babol street using violence by the agents, leaving the grounds for his arrest and his current location shrouded in uncertainty.

This influential protest rapper was granted bail on November 18 from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan, after the Supreme Court overturned his verdict. According to Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, Branch 39 of the Supreme Court reviewed Salehi’s case, identified defects in the indictment, and subsequently annulled the previous verdict. Consequently, the case was returned to the Isfahan Revolutionary Court. “Salehi, benefiting from a general pardon, should have been released without the need for bail,” his lawyer asserted.

In July of this year, Salehi received a six-year and three-month sentence, along with a travel ban, a prohibition on music production, and mandatory participation in behavior management and knowledge skills courses for two years.

In late October 2022, Salehi was detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Despite official media claims of his attempt to leave the country illegally, individuals close to Salehi contested this narrative.

It is noteworthy that the protest singer has a prior conviction in a separate legal case. On January 12, 2022, he was sentenced to a six-month prison term and fined, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.

Baha’i Citizen Suzan Eid Mohammadzadegan Apprehended in Babol

On Tuesday, August 15, Baha’i citizen Suzan Eid Mohammadzadegan was arrested by security forces at her residence in Babol and taken to an undisclosed location.

A family insider disclosed to HRANA that the arresting officers failed to produce an official arrest warrant during the apprehension. The absence of any information pertaining to her current state and location has intensified concerns among her family members.

Furthermore, Niusha Badiei Sabet, another Baha’i individual who happened to be a guest at Mohammadzadegan’s residence, was also taken into custody during the incident.

As of now, the motives behind Mohammadzadegan’s detention, her current whereabouts, and the specific charges levied against her remain shrouded in uncertainty.

HRANA’s annual report has highlighted a concerning trend where, in 2022, 64.63% of reported human rights violations against religious minorities are directed toward the Baha’i community.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

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Baha’i Citizen Niusha Badiei Sabet Arrested

On August 15, 2023, security forces apprehended Niusha Badiei Sabet, a Baha’i citizen, in Babol, Mazandaran province, and subsequently transferred her to an undisclosed facility.

According to a source close to her family who spoke with HRANA, Mrs. Badiei Sabet had traveled from Tehran to Babol. On Tuesday evening, security forces detained her and transported her to an undisclosed location. Her family is yet to receive information about her current state.

Badiei Sabet has recently faced a new legal case opened by the Babol Public and Revolutionary Court, the source added.
Badiei Sabet, 38 years old, is a psychologist, translator, and resident of Tehran. Notably, this is not her first encounter with legal challenges.

HRANA’s annual report has highlighted a concerning trend where, in 2022, 64.63% of reported human rights violations against religious minorities are directed toward the Baha’i community.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Four Inmates Executed in Qom, Babol, Zahedan, and Imminent Execution Awaited in Zabol

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on July 30, an inmate identified as Hamid Asgarinia, convicted of rape, was executed in Qom Prison.

Also, the Chief Justice of Qom province, citing from Fars News Agency, announced the execution of another inmate for rape in this prison took place in the last ten days.

According to Haal Vsh, on July 30, in Zahedan Prison, Baydollah Gorgij, 43, met a tragic fate as he was executed for drug-related crimes. In Babol Prison, Mohammad Arbab, 30, an Afghan national, also was hanged due to the same charges. Both executions took place without prior notice to their families, depriving them of a final visitation.

Adding to the alarming situation, Asadollah Amini, 32, another Afghan national, has been transferred to solitary confinement in Zabol Prison, where he awaits an imminent execution for drug-related crimes.

In 2022, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered 457 reports related to the death penalty. This included 92 death sentences, including the conviction of 6 people to public execution and 565 execution sentences were carried out, 2 of which have been carried out in public. Based on the announced identifications of some of the executed individuals, 501 were male and 11 were female. In addition, 5 juvenile offenders were executed in 2022, meaning they were under the age of 18 at the time they committed the crime.

 

 

 

 

Nationwide Protests in Iran Continue on Day Sixteen

On October 1, 2022, despite the heavy presence of riot police and plainclothes security agents, Iranian people held demonstrations in many cities including Mashhad, Rasht, Dehgolan, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tehran, Shahrekord, Shahin Shahr, Arak, Bukan, Babol, Karaj. Moreover, on at least 27 universities campus, the students held protests. These protests continued in Tehran, Isfahan, Bushehr and at least 25 universities on the following day, October 2.

The map below shows the geographical distribution of protests across Iran during the last 48 hours.

In most cases, peaceful student protests turned violent by the police as dozens of students were arrested by the security forces. On the University of Isfahan campus, the security agents or the police fired tear gas at the crowd of protesting students.

Last night, the police and security forces surrounded the Sharif University of Technology, chasing and arresting violently the students who left the campus. The police fired tear gas and pellet guns, leading to several students’ injuries. 

According to Iran’s Student Union, several protesting students were trapped in a university building by university security agents and then arrested by the police.

The students chanted slogans such as “Death to the dictator”, “don’t call it protests, it is now a revolution”, and “jailed students should be freed.” They also chanted slogans against the Supreme Leader, Khamenei.

On October 2, in Isfahan and Piranshahr, traders and shopkeepers joined the general strike and closed their shops.

Meanwhile, in recent days, the record-breaking hashtag Mahsa Amini (مهسا_امینی#) reached over 200 million times on Twitter.

Like the previous days, most parts of the country, especially Kurdistan, faced internet and mobile phone disruptions and outages.

Last Friday, September 30, in Zahedan, in Sistan and Baluchistan province, the security forces opened fire at the crowd of protestors coming from the Friday prayer. According to Iranian Sunni cleric Molavi Abdul Hamid, at least 40 people were killed in this incident.

The number of people arrested is increasing day on day. HRANA identified 31 arrests alone for yesterday.

Kurdistan police chief claimed that more than 150 people arrested during the “unrest” have been released.

It is estimated that 30 to 40 students at the Sharif University of Technology were arrested.

Anti-riot police and security forces use live ammunition against the protestors. HRANA has identified 150 death tolls, of which some have been verified by HRANA after fact-checking.

Below is the compilation of the videos from the protests in the past 24 hours.

Nationwide Protests in Iran Continues on Day Nine

On September 25, the nationwide protests continued nine days after the death of Mahsa Amini. Demonstrations continued in at least 19 cities and universities, as the number of arrests and the individuals injured or killed increased. There were disruptions and outages in internet and phone services and social media was filtered. 

On September 24,25, 2022, despite the heavy presence of riot police and plainclothes security agents, people held demonstrations in many cities, including Shahin-Shahr, Karaj, Shiraz, Amol, Babol, Sanandaj, Tehran, Fardis, Isfahan, Tabriz, Zahedan, Fuman, Sabzevar, Qaen, Shahr-e-Rey, and Nowshahr. 

The Sharif University of Technology and the University of Tehran students held protests on campus, chanting slogans  such as “Death to the dictator”, “Jailed student should be freed”, and “We will fight, we will die, but we will take back Iran.”

The two maps below show the geographical distribution and concentrations of the protests until the seventh day of protests. 

On September 25, the Coordination Council of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association issued a statement asking teachers and students all over Iran to join the general strike.

 It is estimated that many individuals have been arrested, as 450 arrests were reported only in the city of Sari. However, HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, is still working on fact-checking and reviewing the reports independently. HRANA has identified and verified 48 individuals arrested so far.

There were also reports of several individuals killed as a result of the brutality of the security apparatus. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported 41 deaths, of which HRANA has identified 38.

The map below shows the distribution of the death toll as of the seventh day of protests.

Below is a compilation of the videos gathered on the eighth and ninth days of protests in Iran.

HRANA’s Daily Review of Protests in Iran

On Wednesday, August 10, at least 10 protests and one labour strike took place in Iran.

The retirees of Iran Air (The National Airline of Iran) gathered before this Airline pension fund in Tehran to protest against the merger of the fund and the Civil Servants Pension Organization.

The pensioners of the Social Security Organization continued their protest in Khorramabad, Kermanshah, Babol, Rasht, Arak and Kerman. During their rally in Kermanshah, three pensioners were arrested but released after a few hours.

 

 

The residents of the village Dariab in Lorestan Province protested against the pollution of their village by the sewage of an industrial town. As a protest, they blocked the road connecting this industrial town to the village.

In Kermanshah, truck drivers went on strike in protest against their poor living conditions, low fares, expensive auto parts and fuel shortage.