Update on Civil Activist Barzan Mohammadi’s Condition in Mariwan Prison

Civil activist Barzam Mohammadi is currently serving his sentence in Mariwan Prison. On May 16, 2022, he went on a hunger strike in protest against his relocation to the quarantine section of the prison, which he ended last week once he was relocated back to the Public Ward.

Mohammadi was sent to the quarantine section as a punishment for his refusal to attend a religious ceremony.

On June 7, 2021, security forces arrested Barzan Mohammadi and transferred him to the Sarvabad IRGC detention center. He was then sent to Mariwan Prison. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Mariwan sentenced him to 22 months imprisonment on the charge of “offensive statement against the Supreme Leader.”

Mohammadi had previously been arrested for his activities in cyberspace during the nationwide protests in July 2018 and was sentenced to 6 years in prison, which later was reduced to three years and six months on appeal. On July 5, 2020, he was freed on early release from Evin Prison.

Barzan Mohammadi Arrested by Security Forces in Kurdistan Province

On June 8, former political prisoner Barzan Mohammadi was arrested by security forces at his brother’s house in Goshkhani village of the Sarvabad district in Kurdistan province and then transferred to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mohammadi has been bedridden for the last several days.

Mohammadi had previously been arrested during the nationwide protests in July 2018 for his activities in cyberspace and was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison. He was freed on early release from Evin Prison in mid-July 2020.

At the time of writing, no information is available on Mohammadi’s whereabouts, the reason behind the arrest, or the charges against him.


Seven prisoners are on hunger strikes in Urmia and Evin prisons

Evin Prison

Amir Salar Davoudi, attorney detained in Evin Prison, has been on hunger strike from February 9, 2020, protesting not being granted a furlough. In a note published on February 12, 2020, Amir Salar Davoudi explained his motives to go on hunger strike protesting authorities who refused to grant him a furlough and added “I have been incarcerated for 15 months of which I spend 190 days in a solitary confinement cell but my request for a furlough has been denied. I am going on hunger strike to protest this decision. I hold the judicial authorities responsible.” He has been detained in Evin Prison since November 20, 2018. On June 1, 2018, he was sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 30 years in prison of which the highest penalty is 15 years imprisonment for the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram app”. His other charges are “insulting officials”, “propaganda against the state”, “cooperating with enemy states through interviewing with Voice Of America (VOA) television channel”, and “forming a group to overthrow the state”.

Four other political prisoners of Evin Prison, Barzan Mohammadi, Reza Mohammad Hosseini, Mehdi Meskinnavaz, and Khaled Pirzadeh have been on hunger strike from February 1, 2020, protesting denial of their request for parole, neglecting political prisoners requests, not conforming to the prison classification regulation, lengthy prosecutions, receiving unreasonable prison sentences, and finalizing the primary courts verdicts without an opportunity to appeal.

Barzan Mohammadi was arrested in August 2017 because of his activities on social media. He was sentenced to six years in prison for the charges of “assembly and collusion with an intention to disrupt the public order”, and “propaganda against the state” by the primary court. His appeal court was in session in March 2019 where his sentence was reduced to 3.5 years imprisonment

Reza Mohammad Hosseini’s was sentenced to 16.5 years imprisonment; he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”, two years imprisonment for the charge of “unlawful entry to the country” and 1.5 years imprisonment for the charge of “disobeying the officers’ orders”. He was arrested in May 2019 by the IRGC intelligence officers and was taken to the IRGC’s detention center in Evin Prison. He was later transferred to the Ward 4 of Evin Prison. Reza Mohammad Hosseini was taken to the hospital on February 11, 2020, after experiencing asthenia. His situation is unknown after the transfer.

Khaled Pirzadeh was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, and to two years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

Mehdi Meskinnavaz tried at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran in August 2019 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state”. He was also exiled to Fahraj in Kerman Province and ban from membership in political parties and groups.


Urmia Prison

Siamak Ashrafi Ashgasou, a political prisoner of Urmia Prison, is on hunger strike from January 21, 2020, protesting the denial of his request to parole and his family being disrespectfully treated by the court employees. He was arrested in June 2016 by the security forces and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “membership in an opposition group” and to eight months imprisonment for “draft evasion” by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia. He requested parole after serving more than three years of his sentence.

Bashir Pirmawaneh has been on hunger strike from January 25, 2020, protesting his request for parole not being processed. He was arrested in March 2016 and was tried in April 2016 at Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “membership in an opposition group”. The sentence was later reduced to four years. He has served more than a third of his sentence at the time of his request.

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

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.