Four Political Detainees Face Armed Rebellion Charges

Pouya Ghobadi, Babak Alipour, Abolhassan Montazer, and Seyed-Mohammad Taghavi have been recently indicted of armed rebellion (Baghi) by the Public and Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This charge which carries the potential for severe penalties, including the death penalty, raises concerns.

On May 14, 2024, these individuals were indicted of “armed rebellion” for allegations of their involvement with an anti-regime group” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”

Earlier HRANA reported that another political detainee Vahid Bani-Amerian has also faced the same charges. He has been reportedly moved from Ward 209 of Evin prison to the quarantine section of this prison, following his indictment.

Under the Islamic penal code, Baghi is a grievous offense that can lead to severe punishments, including execution, amputation of the right hand and left foot, and exile.

Abolhassan Montazer and Babak Alipour were arrested separately in Tehran on December 22, 2023. Pouya Ghobadi was detained by security forces in Chaldoran, West Azerbaijan province, on February 23, 2024, and subsequently transferred to Maku and then Evin prison. Seyed Mohammad Taqavi was also detained by security forces late last year.

Prior Arrest and Conviction:

Montazer, 65, a political prisoner from the 1980s, was arrested in 2018, sentenced to five years, and released from Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj under a pardon directive after serving three years of his prison term.

Babak Alipour was also previously arrested with his brother Roozbeh while working at a market in Rasht on November 4, 2018. Sentenced to seven years for “membership in anti-regime groups and insulting the Supreme Leader,” he began his sentence at Lakan Prison in Rasht and was released from Evin Prison last spring.

Pouya Ghobadi, an electrical engineering graduate from the University of Sanandaj, was initially arrested in May 2018, sentenced to eighteen years and exile, and was released in 2022 under a pardon directive.

Seyed Mohammad Taqavi, 57, also a former political detainee from the 1980s, holds a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Tehran University and has previously served a prison sentence.

Vahid Bani-Amerian Charged with “Armed Rebellion”

Political detainee Vahid Bani-Amerian has been indicted on charges of “armed rebellion (Baghi),” which carries the potential for severe penalties, including the death penalty.

Bani-Amerian was arrested in Tehran on December 22, 2023, by security forces. The Public and Revolutionary Court of Tehran has now formally charged him with “armed rebellion” for allegations of his involvement with an anti-regime group. He is additionally accused of “assembly and collusion against national security.”

According to reports from HRANA, Bani-Amerian is currently held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which the Ministry of Intelligence manages. Since his arrest, he has been denied legal representation.

HRANA sources also report that Bani-Amerian suffers from several health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, a compromised immune system, and an acute respiratory tract infection. These health concerns have significantly heightened his family’s worries about his health.

Previously, Bani-Amerian was arrested and convicted in Tehran during April-May 2018. The Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 18 years in prison and exile across two separate cases. However, he was released in March 2023 from Rajai Shahr Prison under a general amnesty.

Turkish National Hatem Ozdemir Receives Death Sentence in Retrial

The Revolutionary Court in Urmia has once again sentenced Turkish national Hatem Ozdemir to death for “enmity against God (Moharebeh)” after his initial death sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The verdict was delivered by Branch 3 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court and communicated to Ozdemir on May 19, 2024, who is currently detained in Urmia Prison.

Ozdemir was arrested by security forces in early summer 2019 in Maku City. After two months of interrogation in a detention center, he was transferred to Urmia Prison. He was briefly moved to another detention center on September 19, 2019, before being returned to Urmia Prison.

Originally in March 2022, the Revolutionary Court in Khoy, under Judge Najafzadeh, convicted Ozdemir of “armed rebellion (Baghi).” However, this sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court, leading to a retrial in a different branch.

Death-Row Political Prisoner Nayeb Askari Moved to Solitary Confinement, Heightening Fear of Imminent Execution

Nayeb Askari, a political prisoner on death row in Urmia Prison, was transferred to solitary confinement at Urmia prison on March 27, 2024, sparking fears among his family that his execution may be imminent.

A source with close ties to Askari’s family has confirmed his relocation. While the exact reason for the transfer remains unclear, it is customary for prison authorities to move death-row inmates to solitary confinement before executing them.

Initially sentenced to death for “enmity against God (Moharebeh)” on April 15, 2023, his plea for a retrial was accepted, leading to a charge change to Baghi. In October 2023, the court reaffirmed the death sentence, with the hearings reportedly conducted without his lawyer’s presence. The charge is supported by his alleged membership in a Kurdish political opposition party.

Arrested by IRGC intelligence agents on March 27, 2021, in Urmia, Askari was later moved to a detention facility and, on June 17, 2021, to Urmia Prison.

HRANA’s source reveals another ongoing case accusing Askari of the murder of IRGC member Mostafa Soltani. In 2013-2014, Soltani was injured during a clash with a political opposition party member, passing away six years later from COVID-19. Soltani’s family claims alleged Askari’s involvement in the altercation caused the sustained injury leading to his eventual death.

A new case, opened on July 12, 2021, based on a complaint from the Urmia Prison head, resulted in a three-month imprisonment extension and 50 lashes for “disrupting prison order.”

According to HRA’s annual report, in 2023, Urmia Prison officials executed 29 inmates, positioning this facility as the sixth highest in terms of executions among the ranked prisons.

Shahab Nadali Receives Death Sentence

Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court has handed down a death sentence to Shahab Nadali Joozani for charges related to “Baghi” (Armed rebellion) through membership in Munafiqin (a term used by the regime referring to People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran or Mojahedin-e-Khalq). In addition, Nadali has been sentenced to five years in prison for “assembly and collusion against national security.” He is currently incarcerated in Evin Prison.

Presiding over the court, Judge Iman Afshari personally delivered the verdict to Nadali. Meanwhile, the second-row defendant, Hesamedin Alvani, has been acquitted of the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security.”

As reported by HRANA, Nadali’s lawyer, Mohammad-Saleh Noghrehkar, has filed an appeal against the verdict.

Nadali, a 41-year-old resident of Hamedan and father of a 12-year-old daughter, was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on June 7, 2023.

Reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of HRA in 2023 indicate a total of 193 cases in which Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, has been involved in issuing verdicts that infringe upon the human rights of defendants.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Varisheh Moradi Faces Charges of Alleged Armed Rebellion

According to a report by Kurdpa, Varisheh Moradi, a resident of Sanandaj, has been indicted by Branch 5 of the Public and Revolutionary Court of Tehran on charges of armed rebellion (Baghi), potentially leading to severe punishment, including the death penalty.

The accusation is reportedly linked to her alleged membership in a political opposition party.

The indictment, initiated by Judge Abolghasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Regrettably, Moradi has been denied access to legal representation, and since her arrest, she has only had one family visitation.

Moradi was apprehended by security forces on August 1, 2023, in the suburbs of Sanandaj. Later in August, she was transferred from a detention facility in Sanandaj to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Following the completion of the interrogation process on December 26, 2023, she was relocated to the Women’s Ward within the prison.

Despite the passage of time, the specific reasons for Moradi’s arrest and the charges against her remain undisclosed. It’s noteworthy that under Iran’s laws, the charge of Baghi may carry severe penalties, including execution and amputation of hands and feet.

Update on Six Death-Row Prisoners in Vakilabad Prison

Malek Ali Fadaie-Nasab, Farhad Shakeri, Isa Eyd-Mohammadi, Abdolhakim Azim Gorgij, Abdolrahman Gorgij, and Taj-Mohammad Khormali, currently incarcerated in Ward 1/6 of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, face imminent execution. In late July 2023, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced these defendants, part of the same legal case, to death in a retrial.

These six individuals, along with six others—Abdolbaset Avarsan, Mohammad-Reza Sheikh Ahmadi, Morteza Fakoori, Hamid Rast Bala, Kabir Saadat Jahani, and Mohammad-Ali Arayesh—were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in 2015 and imprisoned in Vakilabad Prison after one year. Except for Fadaie-Nasab, all these prisoners are members of the Sunni minority in Iran.

In 2019, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Ahmadi, Avarsan, and Fakoori to 15 years in prison for “armed rebellion (Baghi) through membership in a Salafi-ISIS group.” The remaining 9 defendants were sentenced to death for “armed rebellion through membership in the Salafi group known as Al-Furqan and the Iranian Sunni front known as Hambastegi Melli.”

Rast-Bala, Saadat Jahani, and Arayesh were executed in this prison on December 31, 2020. The case of the six other defendants was overturned by the Supreme Court, and it was forwarded to another court branch for a retrial. In July 2023, Branch 4 of the Mashhad Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Ahmadian Salami, sentenced these six prisoners to death again. The verdict is currently under review by branch 39 of the Supreme Court.

A source close to one of their families informed HRANA that after the issuance of the death sentence, Shakeri and Abdolrahman Gorgij initiated a hunger strike that lasted for a while.

“The case has many flaws, and there is no substantial evidence to support the charges,” the source clarified. The source also confirmed that the prisoners have been subjected to torture during their detention.

Political Prisoner Nayeb Askari Faces Execution in Urmia Prison on Baghi Charges

Nayeb (Naeb) Askari, held in Urmia Prison, is at risk of execution after the Urmia Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death for Baghi (armed rebellion) in a recent retrial.

Initially sentenced to death for “enmity against God (Moharebeh)” on April 15, 2023, his plea for a retrial was accepted, leading to a charge change to Baghi. In October 2023, the court reaffirmed the death sentence, with the hearings reportedly conducted without his lawyer’s presence. The charge is supported by his alleged membership in a Kurdish political opposition party.

Arrested by IRGC intelligence agents on March 27, 2021, in Urmia, Askari was later moved to a detention facility and, on June 17, 2021, to Urmia Prison.

HRANA’s source reveals another ongoing case accusing Askari of the murder of IRGC member Mostafa Soltani. In 2013-2014, Soltani was injured during a clash with a political opposition party member, passing away six years later from COVID-19. Soltani’s family claims alleged Askari’s involvement in the altercation caused the sustained injury leading to his eventual death.

A new case, opened on July 12, 2021, based on a complaint from the Urmia Prison head, resulted in a three-month imprisonment extension and 50 lashes for “disrupting prison order.”

According to HRA’s annual report, in 2023, Urmia Prison officials executed 29 inmates, positioning this facility as the sixth highest in terms of executions among the ranked prisons.

Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence for Yousef Ahmadi

Branch 39 of the Supreme Court in Iran has confirmed the death sentence for political prisoner Yousef Ahmadi, according to Kurdpa.

Currently incarcerated in Sanandaj Prison, Ahmadi was initially condemned for Baghi (armed rebellion) by the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court, presiding over by Judge Saeed, in September 2023.

In the same legal proceeding, co-defendants Mohammad Karimi, Baset Karimi, and Mohammad Feyzi were handed prison sentences of 25, 20, and 20 years, respectively. These individuals were first apprehended by security forces in April 2020 and later transferred to Sanandaj Prison after the completion of the interrogation process at a security detention facility.

One of Kurdpa’s sources revealed that collaboration with a Kurdish opposition party was cited during the trial as an example supporting this charge. However, specific details regarding their case and the actions underlying the charges remain undisclosed.

Protest Singer Toomaj Salehi Faces Charges of Armed Rebellion (Baghi)

On January 21, 2024, the Public and Revolutionary Courthouse of Isfahan indicted singer Toomaj Salehi on multiple charges, including Baghi, an accusation of armed rebellion that carries the potential for severe punishment, including execution.

Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, stated, “During the inquiry session, Salehi faced not only the charge for which he had already been acquitted, but he was also notified of two new charges not cited in the indictment, namely, assisting in Baghi (group armed rebellion against the regime) and assembly and collusion against national security. Firstly, the charge of assisting in Baghi appears inconsistent with the fact that there is no co-defendant whom Salehi is accused of assisting, let alone a group. Secondly, no weapons were discovered on Salehi, not even a knife, let alone a firearm.”

Earlier, Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, expressed concerns about the due process, labeling it as “unusual,” “illegal,” and “peculiar.” He stated, “Regarding the arrest case in October 2022, the Supreme Court has already overturned five charges, leaving only three remaining charges to be addressed. Consequently, the case was returned to the Revolutionary Court. The Court had also emphasized that the defendant could be included in a general pardon. However, after three months, the Revolutionary Court has introduced two new charges, bringing the total number of charges to ten.”

Salehi has also recently received a one-year sentence and additional punishment in another legal case.

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.