Pedram Abhar’s House Searched While He Remains Detained in Unknown Detention Center

On Tuesday, November 23, security forces raided and searched Baha’i citizen Pedram Abhar’s house in Tehran. On November 21, security forces arrested Pedram Abhar at his father’s home in Shiraz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at the time of arrest, they also searched the house and confiscated several family belongings such as identity cards, passports, cell phones, pictures and books related to the Baha’i faith. While Baha’i citizen, Pedram Abahar is still in detention in an unidentified detention center, his house in Tehran was searched by security forces again on Tuesday.

“On Sunday morning, November 21, at 10 am., Mr. Abhar departed from Shiraz to Bushehr,” an informed source told HRANA. “While he was at a rest stop on the road, he was surrounded by three cars. They arrested and transferred him back to his parents’ home in Shiraz. About 13 security agents searched the house. Yesterday, his parents went to the courthouse to find out about their son. However, they did not get an answer. Finally, this morning, Mr. Abhar was allowed to make a short call to his parent.”

Regarding this report, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and Bahai’s citizens in particular, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform their religious acts freely.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of 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.

The reason for Abhar’s arrest, the charges against him, the security institution responsible for the arrest, and the detainee’s whereabouts are all unknown as of this writing.

Two Christian Converts Sent to Bushehr Prison to Endure One Year Sentences

Earlier this Thursday, November 11, Christian converts Sasan Khosravi and Habib Heydari were sent to Bushehr Prison to endure their prison sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mohabbat News, the Revolutionary Court of Bushehr sentenced each of them to one-year imprisonment, among other punishments, in June of this year. These verdicts were later upheld by the court of appeals.

Khosravi and Heydari received these sentences on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”. They had also faced two other charges of “acting against national security” and “membership in anti-regime group”, but of both of these they were acquitted.

On July 1, 2019, the intelligence agents arrested Khosravi and Heydari in Bushehr and  released them on a bail of 300 million tomans after two weeks. During their detention period, the detainees were held in solitary confinement and denied any access to a lawyer. They were also forced to make a videotaped confession.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with those who convert to Christianity.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

 

Civil Activist Sepideh Gholiyan Arrested by Security Forces in Ahvaz

Civil activist Sepideh Gholiyan, who has been on leave from Bushehr Prison since August 19, was recently arrested by security forces in Ahvaz from her sister’s home to serve the rest of her sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security police confiscated the cell phones of all family members during the arrest.

Confirming Gholiyan’s arrest, an informed source told HRANA, “Thirty male and female security forces entered her sister’s home, arrested Mrs. Gholiyan, and confiscated the cell phones of all family members.”

Before this arrest, on her personal page on social media, Gholiyan had informed that she had been summoned to Bushehr prison and commented “Ten days ago, they called me from Bushehr Prison that I have to return to there. I told them that I am supposed to go to Tehran where the Executive Branch of the Department of Justice would decide to which prison I had to be sent. Seemingly, they are searching to find somewhere worse than Bushehr Prison.”

On November 18, 2018, Sepideh Gholiyan was arrested along with at least 19 others, including members of the Assembly of Representatives of Haft-Tappeh’s workers, several workers’ activists and company personnel and managers by security police of NAJA in Shush city. She was released on bail on December 18, 2018.

After broadcasting her forced confession as well as some other workers’ activists, including Ismail-Bakhshi on national TV channel, they announced that the “confessions” were extracted under torture by security forces. Soon after this announcement, the security police arrested them.

On October 26, 2019, she was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings. On December 14, 2019, she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by Tehran appellate court.

On June 21, 2020, she began serving her prison term in Evin prison. On March 10, 2021, she was exiled to Bushehr Prison, where she was held until being granted leave, and to where she is now being transferred back.

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place this week in Iran, many of which were continuations of ongoing movements.  Read our recap below for details, photos, and videos from the demonstrations.

Saturday, September 11

Several workers of Abadan Municipality and workers of Arvand Free Zone in Abadan, some  workers of Hoveyzeh Municipality, a group of teachers in Ahvaz, a group of Job applicants of Karname-Sabz for the eighth consecutive day in Tehran, shareholders of Amin Khuzestan Fund in Ahvaz, and a group of teachers in Shiraz, in Protest rallies called on their demands to be addressed this Sunday.

Workers of Abadan Municipality:

Workers of Hoveyzeh Municipality:

Protest of teachers in Ahvaz:

Job applicants of Karname-Sabz in Tehran:

Shareholders of Amin Khuzestan Fund:

Protest of teachers in Shiraz:

Sunday, September 12

A group of job applicants of Karname-Sabz for the ninth day in a row in Tehran, a group of retirees of the Isfahan Steel’s Fund, and a number of shareholders of Saipa Diesel Company protested on Sunday.

Job applicants of Karname-Sabz:

Retirees of the Isfahan Steel’s Fund:

Shareholders of Saipa Diesel Company:

Monday, September 13

A number of shareholders of Cryptoland Exchange in Tehran, a group of workers at the Galltut Coal Mine in Zarand in Kerman province, job applicants of Karname-Sabz for the tenth consecutive day in Tehran, and a number of workers at the Shafa Rud dam in Rezvanshahr county in protest rallies called for their demands to be addressed.

 

Shareholders of Cryptoland exchange in Tehran:

Workers of the Galltut Coal Mine in Zarand:

Job applicants of Karname-Sabz:

Tuesday, September 14

A number of employed and retired teachers and a group of teachers of the Literacy Movement in Tehran, a group of teachers in Khorramabad, a number of teachers in Ahvaz, a few lost cryptoland exchange shareholders in Tehran, a group of job applicants of Karname-Sabz for the 11th day in a row in Tehran, a group of third-party workers at the Fajr Jam refinery, and workers of Steam company in Bushehr, rallied to call on their demands to be addressed.

Workers of Steam company in Bushehr:

Protest of teachers in Tehran:

Protest of teachers in Lorestan:

Protest of teachers in Khuzestan:

Job applicants of Karname-Sabz:

Retiree teachers in 2020:

Shareholders of Cryptoland exchange in Tehran:

Workers of the Fajr Jam refinery:

Wednesday, September 15, and Thursday September 16

A group of job applicants of Karname-Sabz for the thirteenth day in a row, in Tehran, a number of medical interns at Mofid Hospital in Tehran, a group of workers at Bandar Emam Petrochemical Company, and a number of medical students at the Azad University in Mashhad rallied to call on their demands to be addressed.

Job applicants of Karname-Sabz:

Medical interns at Mofid Hospital in Tehran:

Medical students at the Azad University in Mashhad:

Workers of Bandar Emam Petrochemical:

Update on Khuzestan: Military Atmosphere and Internet Outages

On the evening of Thursday, July 22, reports and images were published showing that protests took place in Genaveh in Bushehr Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, as of today internet access has been cut off in most parts of Khuzestan.

Protests started in Khuzestan province on the night of Thursday, July 15, in response to the resource mismanagement that has led to the water crisis.  The protests began on Thursday, July 15, and have now spread to at least 28 cities.

During the last eight days, several citizens have been injured and the killing of three protesting citizens and a police officer has been confirmed by provincial officials. 17-year-old Hadi Bahmani, who was killed during the protest in Izeh yesterday, was buried today. Local sources say the death toll is at least double that number, but HRANA has thus far been unable to confirm its accuracy.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, has published an article on his social media in which he states, “The security forces have been ordered to immediately release the detainees who did not commit any criminal acts in the recent incidents in Khuzestan.”

At the same time, various judicial and security officials have said they will counter “anti-revolutionaries”. Dezful Governor Ali Farahmandpour called the protests “riots”.

“The rioters will be dealt with severely,” Farahmandpour said. “These riots have nothing to do with agricultural water. The rioters are opportunists who call for a counter-revolution.”

These remarks have raised concerns about the violent treatment of protesters.

The Iran Music House, and the Theater Forum issued statements in support of the protests of the people in Khuzestan and condemned any violent treatment of the legitimate demands of the people.

The global internet watchdog website “Netblocks” has confirmed the internet disruptions since the protests took place in Khuzestan saying that “widespread Internet disruptions in Iran have occurred since Thursday last week following popular protests in Khuzestan province and it continues.”

Read our fact sheet for more info on what is going on in Khuzestan.

 

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Sepideh Gholiyan and Mahboubeh Rezaei Severely Beaten in Bushehr Prison

On Tuesday, July 20, civil activist Sepideh Gholiyan and political prisoner Mahboubeh Rezaei were severely beaten in Bushehr Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Gholiyan and Rezaei were beaten by prisoners accused of violent crimes in front of prison officials. It is said that the incident happened at the instigation of the head of the women’s ward of the prison, Fatemeh Aliverdi.

Sepideh Gholiyan has been denied the right to make telephone calls for about two months.

“Ms. Gholiyan and Ms. Rezaei were both beaten and threatened with death and for this reason,” an informed source told HRANA. “Sepideh Gholiyan spent the night at a temperature of 117 in the small backyard of the ward. After the threats, Mahboubeh Rezaei submitted a request to be transferred to Shiraz Prison, which was immediately rejected”

Ms. Gholiyan was sentenced to 5 years in prison by the Tehran Court of Appeals in December 2019. Mahboubeh Rezaei was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison by Branch 17 of the Fars Province Court of Appeal, after reduction.

The two citizens have stated that they were tortured by the Ministry of Intelligence and other security forces.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 26, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 26th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Ali Varmarzyar, a seventh-grade student in Hamadan, was transferred to a hospital after being beaten by his teacher. The student’s left hand was injured in this incident.

(2) After being detained for almost two months, Maziyar Seyyednejad, a labor activist, has a bond set to be released on bail. He was arrested during Khuzestan workers’ protests on December 1st and was transferred to an unknown place.

(3) Hossein Rezaei, a teacher and the secretary of the teachers’ union in Bushehr, was arrested earlier today and transferred to an unknown place. He had been summoned twice to the intelligence office and was interrogated in the last week.

(4) Four elementary students were injured in a school vehicle roll over incident near Mashhad. Three girls and a boy were transferred to hospital.

(5) Three citizens, Farshid Feizollahi, Mehran Mohammadi, and Akam Ghaderi were arrested separately in Sanandaj and Bukan and their whereabouts are unknown. They are accused of ‘cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group’.

(6) More than 13 thousand people have lost their lives in traffic-related accidents in the past nine months. This marks a 0.7 percent increase compared to the last year. The majority of accidents have been reported in Fars, Isfahan, and Tehran provinces.

(7) An Arab citizen, 27-year-old Walid Zubaidi, was arrested on Thursday in Ramshir city. His whereabouts and the reason of his arrest are still unknown.

(8) The head of the Department of Environment in Kiasar city in Mazandaran province announced that two poachers were arrested and carcasses of two Caspian red deer were confiscated from them.

(9) Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association, was released on bail. He was arrested along with two other writers, Keyvan Bazhan and Baktash Abtin on January 22. Their charge is “encouraging immorality or prostitution”.

(10) Five construction workers were injured in Chabahar city because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions in the workplace. Chabahar is in Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

(11) More than 700 artists who had gathered at the Theater Forum’s venue in Tehran, signed a letter condemning the mass arrest of theater artists and directors by the judicial system. 

(12) The director of the Iranshahr University of Medical Sciences announced that a Ringworm outbreak has been observed among students in Shamsabad village in Iranshahr. He added that this disease is highly contiguous and is caused by unhygienic lifestyle.

(13) More than 800 people have signed a statement in which they expressed their concerns for Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian conditions and requested their immediate release. They were rearrested after the broadcast of their confessions on the national television.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 26, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 26th, 2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) The forced closure of nine Baha’i-owned businesses in Omidiyeh which had shut their stores in honor of their religious holiday, are still going on after 23 days. According to the law, citizens may close their businesses for up to 15 days a year for no reason; however, this law is not applied to Baha’is.

(2) Five protests were organized on December 26, 2018. Members of the cooperative housing organization for employees of the Ministry of Agriculture-Jahad, workers of Damghan Agro-industry Company, families of arrested workers of National Steel Company of Ahvaz, workers of Mahabad municipality, and farmers in Isfahan expressed their demands in separate protests.

(3) Mohammad Hossein Sodagar, an Iranian Azerbaijani poet and journalist, was flogged 74 times in the city of Khoy. His charge was questioning Majid Moghaddam, a member of the city council about validity of his claimed degree.

(4) Two construction workers have been severely injured in Bushehr and Lorestan provinces because of unsafe labor practices.

(5) A woman was executed in Tehran. She was identified as Noushin, 25-years-old. She was accused of murdering a man, named Soheil, who repeatedly raped her and forced her into sex with his friends.

(6) The mayor of district 19 of Tehran has confirmed that more than 200 families still live in inactive old brick kilns in this area. These families do not have access to clean tap water, sewage, and natural gas for heating.

(7) Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran condemned Mohammad Habibi’s sentence and requested a fair trial for syndicate activists. Habibi, the detained teacher’s rights activist, was sentenced to a ten-year prison term and 74 lashes.

(8) The chairman of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran confirmed that the historical monuments in Tehran continue to be demolished for unauthorized construction, such as Nasirodolleh House, Zahiroleslam House, and Yazdgerd House.

(9) A political prisoner, Nasrollah Lashani, was beaten and insulted in front of his wife and his 8-years-old son during a family visit. Lashani is accused of ‘propaganda against the state’ and sentenced to six years in prison.

(10) Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostadghader who are detained on the charge of ‘membership in a Kurdish opposition group’ were transferred from Saghez prison to Sanandaj for their court session.

(11) Reportedly, 108 workers of Mahshahr Pipe Industrial Company and 100 workers of Kavosh Pressure Vessel Manufacturer have been laid off. In addition, 120 workers of Kishwood Industries have unpaid wages.

(12) Due to death of Hashemi Shahroudi, the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, all concerts are cancelled on this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Today was announced as a national day of mourning.

(13) Mohammad Zamanzadeh, a Telegram activist, returned back to the Evin prison after a few days of furlough. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for blasphemy-related charges.

(14) Ahmad Hajebi, an authority in the Ministry of Health announced that The most suicides which result in death are among 15- to 29-year-olds. Moreover, there are 2 million and 800 thousand addicted to drugs.

(15) Saeed Shirzad, a political prisoner in Rajai-Shahr prison, has been refused urgent medical care despite doctors requested his transfer to hospital for his severe kidneys failure. While the prosecutor’s office has assured that he would receive treatment, prison authorities have prevented this transfer.

(16) A 39-years-old prisoner who was accused of murdering his father-in-law, was spared from the hangman’s noose by the forgiveness of the next of kin in Babol.

(17) Leili Khatami’s, a children’s rights activist, was arrested on November 10th in Zahedan and her family still are not informed of her place of detention. She was charged with ‘espionage’.