Prison Authorities Clamp Down on Ramin Hossein Panahi as Execution Draws Near

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Ramin Hossein Panahi, a political prisoner on death row in Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison, waits shackled hand and foot in a solitary confinement cell.
Hossein Panahi stitched his lips together and went on hunger strike August 27, 2018, to protest his death sentence and the infringement on his basic rights by authorities. A source familiar with his situation told HRANA, “Rajai Shahr officials forcibly pulled the stitches from his lips and transferred him in handcuffs and shackles to solitary confinement in Ward 5, the known destination of prisoners whose execution is imminent.”
Hossein Panahi, who suffers from severe renal problems and other injuries, is unlikely to receive the medical attention he needs in his present state.
Hossein Panahi’s lawyers previously issued a statement announcing their client’s hunger strike and the motivations behind it, and asking judicial authorities to facilitate their client’s access to the legal rights of appeal and request for clemency.
Ramin Hossein Panahi was sentenced to death by Branch One of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj (Iranian Kurdistan) on a charge of “Acting against national security” on January 16, 2018. The sentence was upheld in mid-April by the Supreme Court before being forwarded to the Execution of Sentences Unit.
Hossein Panahi’s lawyer Hossein Ahmadiniaz reported in June that his request for a retrial had been denied.
Previously held in Sanandaj Prison (300 miles west of Tehran), Hossein Panahi was transferred to an unidentified location on August 13, 2018, before being transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison (30 miles west of Tehran) for reasons unknown.

Ahwazi Arab Poet Abbas Torfi Detained in Mashhad

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Thursday, August 30, 2018, an Arab poet and activist was detained in Mashhad after attending a private poetry reading. Security forces produced no warrants at the time of his arrest.

HRANA verified the identity of the detainee as Abbas Torfi.

Torfi is actively involved in Arab poetry, culture, and literature. The reasons for his arrest remain unknown. No information is currently available regarding his whereabouts or conditions post-arrest.

Azerbaijani Activist Hamid Saghati Released after Completing Prison Sentence

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On August 26, 2018, Azerbaijani activist Hamid Saghati was released from Tabriz Prison after serving four months.
In June of 2016, HRANA published a report on the arrest and detention of Hamid Saghati and five others in the city of Ardabil. An informed source confirmed to HRANA that Saghati was among a group of six sentenced in November of the same year.
The others charged in the case were sentenced as follows: Babak Avand and Esmaeil Fakhimi, four months’ imprisonment; Mehdi Amirinejad, two years’ imprisonment; and Habib Sasanian, nine years’ imprisonment.
In late June 2016, the Head of the East Azerbaijan Judiciary called the group “members of the six-member GAMU spying team”.

Concerns Mount over Fate of Tortured Kurdish Prisoner

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Mystery still shrouds the condition and fate of Farhad Abdollahpour, who was arrested on June 30, 2018, by IRGC Intelligence forces and has effectively been missing since July.
Abdollahpour’s family, from Oshnavieh in northwestern Iran, were able to visit him briefly after his arrest in the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center of Urmia. They reported seeing signs of torture on his body. Their subsequent inquiries into his current status and the reason behind his arrest have been left unanswered by Oshnavieh’s Judiciary and the IRGC Intelligence Office.
A source close to the Abdollahpour family told HRANA, “Farhad was arrested without a warrant. Their home was then searched. IRGC forces told the family that Abdollahpour had been reported for allegedly keeping weapons at home. They found none, though, and took Farhad away with them. His family was able to trace him to the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center. When they were granted a visit with him 20 days later, they were distraught by the state he was in, apparently the result of mistreatment and torture; it was so bad that he couldn’t even walk without support.”
A 20-day detention warrant for Abdollahpour has expired and has not been renewed by Oshnavieh court. Nevertheless, and despite their frequent follow-ups, Abollahpour’s family is still in the dark about his fate.

Abdollahpour’s brother, Hedayatollah Abdollahpour, is on death row.
The source added: “Yesterday, a plainclothes individual visited Abollahpour’s home and shared awful news about Farhad’s condition with his ageing mother, who fainted from the shock.”

Ramin Hossein Panahi Sews Lips Shut, Declares Hunger Strike

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The lawyers of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish political prisoner who has been sentenced to death, announced on August 27th that he had sewn his lips together and begun a hunger strike in protest to the violation of his legal rights.
Hossein Panahi’s lawyers published a statement today explaining that their client has been denied the right to appeal and the right to amnesty, among others. According to the statement, Hossein Panahi had been transferred to Karaj’s Rajai Shahr Prison on August 13th for unidentified reasons and has been unreachable since his transfer out of Rajai Shahr.
One of Hossein Panahi’s lawyers, Hassan Ahmadiniaz, elaborated in the statement the four motivations behind his client’s hunger strike:
1- Deprivation of legal rights, including medical treatment outside the prison as requested by the authorities of the Sanandaj Central Prison clinic,
2- Unlawful cessation of his phone contacts and visitations with family and lawyers,
3- Deprivation of customary prisoners’ rights and access to prison facilities,
4- The unlawful and unjust nature of the sentence in light of the necessity to reassess his charges through the customary legal channels.
In their statement, Hossein Panahi’s lawyers appeal to articles 477 and 474 of the penal code, requesting that their client’s execution be stopped so that “legal avenues to appeal may be explored for his sentence, or the client may benefit from amnesty.”
Ahmadiniaz revealed in June 2018 that Hossein Panahi’s request for a retrial had been rejected.
Hossein Panahi was convicted of “Acting against national security by violating the rights of others” and sentenced to death by Branch One of Sanandaj’s Revolutionary Court. The Supreme Court confirmed this sentence in late March and forwarded it to the Enforcement Department.
The statement, signed by Ahmadiniaz, Maziar Tatayi, and Osman Mozayan, indicates that Hossein Panahi will continue his strike until his demands are met.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Saga of the Iranshahr Girls: whereabouts of imprisoned activist still unknown

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The family of Abdollah Bozorgzadeh has been in the dark about his whereabouts for twenty days. The activist was arrested by plainclothes forces on June 17th after joining a peaceful gathering in support of the Iranshahr Girls.
The Iranshahr Girls are a group of 41 girls who have reputedly been raped in the southeastern city of Iranshahr. Their case attracted publicity after Sunni Imam Molavi Tayeb Molazehi spoke about them in his sermon at the end of Ramadan, in which he stated the girls had been raped by a group of men “of wealth and power”.
According to the Baluchi Activist Campaign, Bozorgzadeh spoke once with his family on the phone from a detention center run by the intelligence department of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He was then transferred to the quarantine section of Zahedan Prison and has not been heard from since.
A day after his arrest, Bozorgzadeh was seen in the corridors of Iranshahr’s Revolutionary Court where he said he had been tortured.
In the days that followed, the head of the Judiciary of Sistan & Baluchestan province was asked in a news interview about the reasons for the arrest. He responded that the activist had been “disrupting order”, adding that Bozorgzadeh’s brother was “among the enemies of the regime”.
A short while after, IRGC’s intelligence department published footage that showed Bozorgzadeh among a group of six male and female teenagers.
Social media has been buzzing in support of Bozorgadeh and his fellow protesters who were arrested for gathering to advocate for the Iranshahr Girls. Many Friday-prayer imams have also asked for his release.
After the names of the Iranshahr girls’ rapists were published on social media, it became evident that they had the support of the IRGC and security apparatuses.

Evin Prosecutors Summon Azerbaijani Activist Jafar Rostamirad in Connection to Babak Fort Gathering

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Jafar Rostamirad, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, has been summoned by Branch 7 of the Prosecutor’s Office, based in Tehran’s Evin Prison, for the last round of his defense statement. He has been given five days to go to the Prosecutor’s Office, a credible source told HRANA.
Rostamirad was arrested on July 2nd by plainclothes security forces in Tehran who did not present a warrant. His arrest was in connection with the Babak Fort gathering that occurred on the same day. After spending seven days in solitary confinement, he was sent to Ward 209 of Evin Prison and charged with “Propaganda against the regime”. He was released on bail on July 31st.
From the *Babak Fort arrests on July 2nd, Ebrahim Noori, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, is the only one who remains in prison. He is held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison.
Rostamirad had previously been arrested on February 21, 2015, after taking part in a private meeting to commemorate International Mother Language Day.

*Babak Fort, a monument built during the pre-Islamic Sassanian period, is named after Babak Khorramdin, known for leading an uprising against the Abbasid caliphate in 893. In recent years, it has become a place of symbolic gatherings for Azerbaijani activists, especially during the annual commemorations in the first week of July.

Azerbaijani Activist Arrested and Transferred to Sarab Prison

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Seyed Jamal Moosavinejad, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist from the city of Sarab, was arrested by security forces on the morning of August 25th and taken to Sarab Prison to start his one-year sentence, a credible source told HRANA.
Last May, Moosavinejad was convicted of “Propagating against the regime in favor of partisan ethnic and separatist groups” which led to a suspended prison sentence of one year. Branch 26 of the East Azerbaijan Appeals Court, presided by Judge Mikayil Khoobyarpour, upheld the sentence.
The court cites the following activities as the reasoning behind Moosavinejad’s conviction: issuing statements on social media; reflecting anti-regime and ethnic activities in foreign media; respecting and kissing of a flag belonging to an alien country due to ethnic beliefs in contravention of the Islamic Republic of Iran; praising the Azerbaijani events of 1945 and praising their founder, Jafar Pishevari; confessing to engaging in ethnic activities on Telegram.
Moosavinejad had also been charged with “Insulting the Supreme Leader” but was acquitted of that count.
Seyed Jamal Moosavinejad was first arrested in February after security forces raided his house. His phone, laptop, books and papers were confiscated at the time. He was released on a four billion rial [apprximately $40,000 USD] bail. According to Moosavinejad, he was insulted and humiliated by security forces throughout the process of arrest, being charged, and the initial court and appeals hearings. Furthermore, he had previously been arrested in Sarab in the summer of 2012, together with several other citizens.

Security Forces Arrest More Citizens in Ahvaz

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Several citizens in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz were arrested by security forces in the aftermath of a football match between Esteghlal Ahvaz and Tehran’s Persepolis that took place on August 9th. After the match, fans chanted slogans against the Iranian authorities.
The arrestees, who are among the Arab citizens of Ahvaz, were reportedly arrested by security forces of the Intelligence Department of Ahvaz’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
HRANA was able to identify two of the arrestees as Imen Beit Sayah, 16, and Bashir Sorkhi. Mr Sorkhi was reportedly arrested on August 15th and taken to an unidentified location. Mr Sayah was arrested on August 9th and taken to an unidentified location.

Bashir Sorkhi (left) and 16-year-old Imen Beit Sayah (right)

After a week, the family of the arrestees still have no information about the whereabouts of their children.
On August 16th, HRANA had reported on the arrest of another Ahvazi citizen by security forces.

Three released, 16 arrested and interrogated in string of crackdowns across northwestern Iran

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three detained residents of Kermanshah, Paveh, and Marivan have been released on bail. In Oshnavieh, Kamyaran, Ravansar, Urmia, and Marivan, at least 16 individuals were arrested on charges of membership in Kurdish opposition parties.
According to the Center for Democracy and Human Rights of Kurdistan, on Sunday, August 6, 2018, Amir Hossein Darabi, a news correspondent from Kermanshah, was released on a bail of approximately $1,900 USD. Security forces had arrested Darabi Tuesday, June 26th for “criticizing officials of the Islamic Republic” by “investing and squandering money in countries like Yemen”.
Meanwhile in Marivan, Atta Fatahi, who had been arrested on July 11th for “cooperating with one of the Kurdish opposition parties,” was released on bail after 25 days of detention.
Soran Ahmadi from Paveh province had been arrested on the same charges on July 12th. He posted bail and was released Saturday, August 11th.
The same charge would also be the cause of more detentions on August 4th in Oshnavieh, where the Intelligence Office arrested Yousef Ahmadi from Tajoddinabad, Kurosh Azizi from Qarehsoghol, Mansour Omarzadeh from Dashtibil, Maqdir Mohammadzad from Singan village, and Abu Bakr Minapak from Sujeh.
In Urmia, Anzal resident Mohsen Alipour was arrested by security forces and transferred to an undisclosed location on charges of “propagating in favor of Kurdish opposition parties.”
A few days ago, plainclothes Kamyaran intelligence forces arrested two individuals — Farouk Mohammadi from Shahu village and Rahim Khateri from Shirvaneh village — for “contacting Kurdish opposition parties.” They were transferred to an undisclosed location.
Last week, Bagher Safari, 60, was summoned and interrogated at the Intelligence Office of Ravansar province.
In the first week of August, several more were arrested following inspections of their homes, according to numerous reports from Marivan: Mohammad Mamlekati, Mohammad Irankhah, and Mohammad Hosseini from Dari village; Osman Delaoviz and Mohammad Karami from Gouveizeh Kaviri village; Akbar Samadi and Jamal Ebrahimi from Marivan.