Identity of Leila Tajik’s co-Defendant Confirmed

Posted on: November 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- HRANA has identified Leila Tajik’s co-defendant and former spouse — sentenced to death on espionage charges, per a HRANA report dated October 11, 2018 — as Seyed Jamal Hajizavar, 47, a former staff member on the IRGC Aerospace Force.

In the same report, HRANA reported on Tajik’s sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment in exile for the same charges, ruled in Branch 4 of Tehran Military Court.

Pursuant to a joint case opened up against the two by the IRGC intelligence unit, the former couple was arrested September 5, 2017, and held in an IGRC outpost. Tajik was later transferred to the Evin Prison Women’s Ward on March 19, 2018.

Over the course of his 14-month detainment, reports of Hajizavar’s violent torture — including de-nailing and electric shock in so-called “death cells”– have been conspicuously absent from the state-run news media.

An informed source previously told HRANA, “their children, Sabah, 16, and Sahand, 19, are hurting over the breakup of their family, and are feeling additional pressures from IRGC agents.”

Families of Kurdish Death Row Political Prisoners Fear Their Imminent Execution

Posted on: September 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Family friends Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, two prisoners on death row in Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison of Karaj, were separately summoned from their respective wards on Wednesday, September 5th on the pretext of a meeting with the prison’s director. Instead, it is suspected that they have been transferred to a ward controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Hours after the transfer, the prison telephone system inexplicably went dead.

The circumstances of their transfer felt all the more dubious the next day when, according to one of the prisoners’ family members, their families received a strange phone call: “Thursday, September 7th, an individual identifying himself as a ‘prison official’ called [us] asking [that we] come to the prison for visit. We are en route to Rajai Shahr [30 miles west of Tehran] in hopes of obtaining an update on these two members of our family.”

While this “prison official” gave no indication that the prisoners were scheduled to be executed, [a history of community experience with such circumstances gives the family reason to suspect] that the invitation to visit may very well be their last. Nonetheless, the family stores hope in their continued efforts to commute the family friends’ sentences and stay their execution.

Zanyar and Loghman Moradi were sentenced to death on December 22, 2010, on charges of “Moharebeh” (“enmity against God”), both accused of membership in Komeleh, a Kurdish opposition group, and for involvement in the July 5, 2009 murder of a Friday prayer Imam. [While their charges of membership in a Kurdish opposition party were tried in a revolutionary court, the Supreme Court ruled to direct their case to criminal court because their convictions and sentences were ultimately based on murder charges.] Both defendants previously announced that their confessions to murder were extracted under duress, intimidation, and torture at the hands of their interrogators.

Their most recent trial took place more than four years ago in the criminal court of Tehran, which, citing insufficient evidence and incomplete investigation of the case, forwarded their dossier multiple times to the authorities of Marivan (in the Kurdistan province) requesting they address its flaws.

Without accounting for all of the said deficiencies, Marivan court sent back the case, which has yet to be retried. Given the lack of concrete evidence against them, both prisoners would presumably be acquitted in a retrial; yet despite repeated requests from the defendants’ families for follow-up, and notwithstanding the courts’ legal responsibility to prevent unreasonable delays in criminal procedure, judicial authorities remain mum on the prospect of when–or even if–the Moradis might anticipate a more complete review of their case. The prisoners thus wait in a state of suspense over their fate, a wait which has grown more fraught with mounting concerns for their health.

Human rights organizations have been vocal in their opposition to the lack of due process and appropriate legal procedure that judicial authorities have thus far displayed in the Moradi case.

In May 2017, the Moradis wrote an open letter (1) to draw public attention to their case, their ordeal, and what they allege are false accusations constructed against them by security organizations.

On July 18, 2018, Zanyar Moradi’s father was assassinated by three gunshots in Panjovin, an Iraqi Kurdistan town near the Iranian border. His history of political activity, coupled with previous attempts on his life, raised suspicions that Iranian security forces were involved in his death.

Ramin Hossein Panahi

Ramin Hossein Panahi is on death row for similar political charges, i.e. ties to an opposition group similar to that of the Moradis. Parallels between the two cases and a lack of phone contacts from Rajai Shahr where he is currently being held in solitary confinement have heightened fears that Hossein Panahi, too, faces imminent execution.

Earlier this week, the Islamic Republic Judiciary executed three political prisoners in Zahedan (in southeastern Iran, home to the Baloch minority) in vindictive response to armed clashes that broke out between Iranian security forces and an armed opposition group.

Death Row Prisoners transferred to Solitary Confinement in Preparation for Execution

Posted on: September 4th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – At least ten prisoners on death row in Rajai Shar (aka Gohardasht) Prison, in the city of Karaj (west of Tehran), have been transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their execution. Their families have been reportedly granted a final visit.

Most of the prisoners were sentenced to death on murder charges. Barring an official *pardon from the families of the victims, officials will proceed with their executions.

As of the date of this report, HRANA was able to confirm the identity of one of these prisoners, Shahab Taghizadeh. The remaining prisoners’ names are still being confirmed.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran has the highest rate of executions per capita in the world.

The HRANA Statistics Center reported that between March 21, 2017, and March 18, 2018, in Iran, at least 322 persons were executed and 236 were sentenced to death. Among those executed, there were four juvenile offenders—under 18 years of age at the time of the offense—and 23 executions carried out in public. Moreover, more than sixty percent of executions have not been publicized, and are considered “secret” executions.

* In the Islamic penal code, families of murder victims have the option of Qesas (an-eye-for-an-eye), the receipt of blood money in return for sparing the life of the accused.