Yousef Salahshouri Amir Sattari Rauf Summoned to Tabriz Criminal Court

On Monday, October 18, Yousef Salahshouri and Amir Sattari Rauf were summoned to Branch 111 of the Criminal Court of Tabriz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, they have received separate summons, issued through the online system of Judiciary (SENA), to appear in court. Salahshouri and Sattari Rauf are to appear in court on October 27 and October 30 respectively.

As mentioned in the summons, the charges against Salahshouri are “disturbing public order by participation in illegal protests and assembles”, “agitating people for violent act through telecommunication systems in cyberspace” and “propaganda against the regime”.

On July 25, Yousef Salahshouri was arrested by the intelligence agents and transferred to the detention center of the Ministry of Intelligence in Tabriz. On August 11, in a phone call, he informed his family that he had been transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released on bail on August 14, and then on October 3,  the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz held the first court session addressing one of his charges.

Mr. Sattari Rauf was arrested on July 22 by security forces and transferred to Tabriz Prison. He was released from Tabriz prison on August 15.

On July 24, a number of citizens in Tabriz marched and protested in support of the protest of Khuzestan against water shortage and mismanagement of the government. During the protests, a number of these citizens were arrested.

Eight Street Booksellers Arrested by Security Police of NAJA

On Saturday, October 2, Tehran’s Security Police of NAJA arrested eight street booksellers for allegedly selling illegal books.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IBNA, the police confiscated some of the books.

One of the members of the Workgroup for Protecting the Rights of Publishers and Booksellers called these detained booksellers “distributors of illegal and smuggled books”.

The member claimed that part of these confiscated books is the works of the supporters of the restoration of the monarchy in Iran as well as illegal books and unpermitted hard copies of bestselling books.

Salar Salehi Arrested by Security Forces in Sanandaj

On Monday, September 27, Salar Salehi, who is from Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province, was arrested by security forces.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Mr. Salehi is said to have been transferred to a security detention center for questioning following his arrest.

As of this writing, the exact whereabouts and the charges against Mr. Salehi are not known.

Security Forces Arrest Three Christian Converts in Rasht

On Sunday, September 5, Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Ayub Pour Rezazadeh, and Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari were arrested by security forces in Rasht and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Mr. Sarparast and Mr. Pour Rezazadeh were detained in a house church. Security forces raided the homes of these citizens and confiscated some of their belongings, including cell phones, books, and pamphlets related to Christianity. According to an informed source, the agents behaved violently and insultingly and refused to show arrest or search warrants.

Relatives of these citizens are said to have been threatened by IRGC intelligence agents for providing information about the condition of their loved ones. Also, one of their relatives along with several other members of the house church were summoned to the Rasht IRGC Intelligence Office and interrogated.

According to a source close to the families of these citizens, after their families went to Branch 4 of the Rasht Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office to follow up on the case, they were not given any answer and were told, “Do not follow up. They will not be released any time soon. They do not deserve freedom and must stay.”

25-year-old Ahmad (Yohanna) Sarparast, 28-year-old Ayub (Farzin) Pour Rezazadeh, and 38-year-old Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari are residents of Rasht.

Even though Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with activists in this field.

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.

As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest, the charges against them, and the whereabouts of these citizens are unknown.

Three Citizens Detained by Security Forces in Mahabad and Taken to Unknown Location

Three citizens from the village of Kuseh Kahriz ​in Mahabad County were recently arrested by security forces.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, after their arrest the citizens were taken to an unknown location.

According to this report, Hossein Dudkanlu Milan and Zaher Rozkhoon were arrested on August 29, and Mr. Shaho Ahmadi was arrested a week after them.

Despite the follow-up of the families of these citizens, the reasons for their detention, the charges against them, and their whereabouts  are not known.

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79 Citizens Arrested for Promoting Emergence of a New Mysticism in Gilan Province

Maleki, the commander of the Gilan police force, recently announced the arrest of 79 citizens in one of the province’s forests.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the citizens were arrested for what Maleki called “promoting emerging mysticism”.

“79 members of a tourist tour, including 27 women and 52 men, were arrested on charges of promoting false mysticism by holding superstitious rituals in the unsafe environment of a remote forest area,” he said.

Intrusion into citizens’ privacy and interference in their personal affairs are among the criticisms leveled at Iran’s judicial and disciplinary system.

“After receiving news about individuals who use cyberspace trying to propagate and promote emerging false mysticism through fraud,” Maleki continued, “receiving money, and setting up illegal tourist tours by holding superstitious rituals, the investigation of the issue was put on the agenda of the police.”

Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Still in Detention in Evin Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, lawyers and civil activists Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian are still in detention weeks after their arrest.

The citizens are being held in Ward 241 of Evin Prison under the supervision of the intelligence service of Judiciary.

On August 14, several lawyers and civil activists, including Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafraz, and Leila Heydari, were arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.

Leila Heydari and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb were released on bail a day after their arrest, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz were released on bail on August 29, but Nili, Kaykhrosravi, and Mahmoudian remain in detention.

These lawyers and civil activists have been accused of “running an illegal organization” under Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code. Apart from being allowed to contact their families on the first day of their detention, these citizens have been largely denied the right to make telephone calls.

Two Citizens Detained by Security Forces in Oshnavieh in West Azerbaijan Province

On Sunday, August 29, two citizens from Oshnavieh were detained by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the identities of these citizens are Heydar Alizadeh from the village of Qazanabad, and Shirzad Mamandi a native of Narziveh village in Oshnavieh.

The report states that the arrests were made without a court order, and that security forces searched the homes of detainees, confiscated some of their belongings, including their cell phones.

As of this writing, no information is available on the reasons for the arrests, the charges against them, or the whereabouts of these citizens.

Five Lawyers and 2 Activists Arrested by Security Forces in Tehran

On Saturday, August 14 Arash Kaykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kasb, and Leila Heidari, Mehdi Mahmoudian, and Maryam Afrafaraz were arrested by security forces in Tehran and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, The citizens’ personal belongings were confiscated at the time of arrest by security forces.

Arash Kaykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kasb, and Leila Heidari are lawyers, Mehdi Mahmoudian is a journalist and member of the Central Council of the Etihad Mellat party, and Maryam Afrafaraz is a civil activist and a member of the Imam Ali Charity Association.

Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb and Leila Heydari were released hours after their arrest. Five others are still in detention.

The reasons behind the citizens’ arrests and their whereabouts are not known as of this writing, and the number of detainees is likely to be higher.

Hamshahri Newspaper: During the Protests, 300 People were Arrested in Susangerd Alone

Hamshahri newspaper, which is owned by Tehran Municipality, published a report yesterday stating that at least 300 have been arrested during the recent protests in the city of Susangerd alone.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the report acknowledges that at least 12,000 people were present at a protest rally in Susangerd–a noteworthy distinction amid denials of unrest from many official sources.

According to the report, the day after the first day of the protests, July 15, Khuzestan Governor Qassem Soleimani Dashtaki denied everything about the protest, saying, “Some seek to provoke the people and publish fake images of the protests in cyberspace.” He claimed, “There were no protests in the cities of Khorramshahr and Susangerd.”

Subsequent events showed that the governor’s words were wrong. The Hamshahri newspaper also reported that the protests were peaceful until the fourth day in Susangerd and surrounding cities but escalated into violence with the arrival of troops and special forces.

Until that day, no provincial or government officials were willing to speak to the people. Finally, on the fourth day, with the arrival of the non-native special police unit in the Susangerd area, the atmosphere changed. The police were aimed at stopping protests by any means necessary. Citizens wondered why the special unit had been summoned to the city, given the peaceful nature of their protests.

According to the Hamshahri report, 2018 statistics showed that Khuzestan was the highest ranked province in number of protests, with about 300 union and non-union gatherings and sit-ins in that year alone. Given the high capabilities and abundance of resources within the province, it should be one of the wealthiest regions, but decades of mismanagement and exploitation have left Khuzestan with abysmal rates of unemployment and poverty. Regarding the water issue, citizens have been protesting, in various ways, for more than 20 years, but nothing has been done.