Christian Convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh Denied Conditional Release from Evin Prison

Posted on: July 15th, 2021

On June 22, Christian convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for conditional release from Evin Prison was rejected.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the news website Article 18, the rejection of the request for parole was given to Navard Gol-Tapeh without the provision of any specific reason.

In September 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for a retrial. Navard Gol-Tapeh has been in Evin Prison for the past three years and six months without leave.

Navard Gol Tappeh was arrested in a private gathering in July 2016 and later was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 10 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security by forming and running an illegal organization of a house church”. The verdict was later approved by the Court of Appeals.

Although Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, 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 states that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and the freedom to express their religious beliefs.

Maziar Seyednejad Still in Detention One Month After Arrest

Posted on: July 9th, 2021

A month after the arrest of labor activist Maziar Seyednejad, he is still in detention and his fate is unknown.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Seyednejad was arrested on June 7 by security forces at his home in Tehran.  From there, he was as transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, one of the solitary confinement cells of the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center.

A few days after his arrest, during a brief phone call under the supervision of security forces, Seyednejad informed his family that he is unaware of the reasons for his detention. Despite the family’s inquiries, the reasons for the arrest and the charges against the labor activist are unknown at the time of writing.

Recently, Branch 16 of the Court of Appeals in Khuzestan Province upheld Mr. Seyednejad’s 3-year prison sentence.

Lawyer and Defendant Amirsalar Davoodi to Face Retrial on July 13

Posted on: July 9th, 2021

The retrial of lawyer Amirsalar Davoodi will be held on July 13 in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Davoodi’s request for a retrial was accepted in June of this year. After awaiting a verdict for nearly three years, he was released from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on a bail of 2 billion Tomans.

Amirsalar Davoodi was arrested by security forces in November 2018 and was transferred to Evin Prison after being charged.

In April 2019, Vahid Meshgani Farahani, Mr. Davoodi’s lawyer said 8 – 9 charges are filed against Mr. Davoodi, including forming a group to overthrow the regime, cooperating with hostile states, propaganda against the regime, spreading lies, insulting officials and the leadership, and several other charges, two of which have been referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal.

In June 2019, on charges of conspiracy against national security, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Mr. Davoodi to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes. The sentence was confirmed by the court of appeals in August of that year.

Mr. Davoodi’s wife had previously stated that  15 out of 30 year prison sentence for Mr. Davoodi was for setting up a group on the social media application Telegram.

190 days after his arrest, Mr. Davoodi was transferred from the detention center of the Judiciary’s Intelligence Protection Organization to the General Ward of Evin Prison in June 2019.

Davoodi had defended many cases of prisoners and political defendants, including Soheil Arabi and Saeed Shirzad.

Mohammad Nourizad Sent on Medical Leave from Evin Prison after 102 Day Hunger Strike

Posted on: July 9th, 2021

Yesterday, July 8, civil activist Mohammad Nourizad was sent on medical leave from Evin Prison on a bail of 800 million tomans following a 102 day hunger strike.

Nourizad’s lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, confirmed the news on his social media, stating, “It is interesting [strange] that they did not consider one person’s sponsorship sufficient, so I and the client’s brother took care of the bail. Mr. Nourizad has to start treatment on Saturday.”

Previously Aghasi had told HRANA, “My client has lost 55 pounds following a 102-day hunger strike and a 105-day medicine strike and is experiencing severe hearing loss; he has been wounding himself every day as a sign of objection; he has fainted 37 times.”

Mohammad Nourizad suffers from myriad underlying diseases such as asthma, heart problems, and high blood pressure.

450 Days After Their Arrest, Court Holds Trial for Elite Students Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi

Posted on: July 6th, 2021

On Saturday, July 3, the trial of Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi was held at Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the two Sharif University of Technology students have been detained by the Ministry of Intelligence since April of last year.

The students are being charged with “Corruption on earth”. Mr. Nili, the detainees’ lawyer, had previously stated that after more than 14 months, the defendants are still being held in Security Ward 209 of Evin Prison, and not transferring them to the public ward has made the defense process difficult. At the request of the case officer, the defendants have so far been denied transfer to a public prison.

Ali Younesi, a computer engineering student, and Amir Hossein Moradi, a physics student at the Sharif University of Technology, were arrested in April 2020 by the Ministry of Intelligence agents. The students are said to have been violently detained by plainclothes officers without a court order.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, a spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, accused these students of collaborating with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran in May 2020.
Ali Younesi’s sister, Aida Younesi, later denied the allegations against her brother in a video posted on the Internet. In September 2020, Aida Younesi announced that she was under pressure to confess against her brother on TV.

Amir Hossein Moradi was the winner of the silver medal of the National Astronomy Olympiad in 2017. Ali Younesi was the winner of the silver medal of the National Astronomy Olympiad in 2016 and the gold medal of the 2017 Astronomy Olympiad. Ali Younesi also won a gold medal in the 12th World Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad in China.

 

Lawyer Says Mohammad Nourizad is in Critical Condition in Evin Prison

Posted on: June 30th, 2021

Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, Mohammad Nourizad‘s lawyer, told HRANA that his client is in critical condition in Evin Prison and that the duration of his hunger and drug strike has put him in serious danger.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Aghasi emphasized that his client has lost 55 pounds and is experiencing severe hearing loss.

Aghasi stated that although the prison prosecutor recently agreed to send him on leave, Nourizad has refused the offer, stating that he will continue his strike until his request for his and his son’s unconditional release is fulfilled.

Ali Nourizad, Mohammed’s son, was arrested by security forces in Tehran in January 2020 for protesting a rally against the downing of a Ukrainian plane by the IRGC, and for expressing sympathy with the victims’ families.  He was released on bail a month later. The Tehran Revolutionary Court eventually sentenced him to 3 and a half years in prison. This sentence was upheld by the Tehran Court of Appeals. He has been serving out his sentence in Greater Tehran since October of last year.

Mr. Nourizad wants to be acquitted of all charges that were unjustly issued against him.

Mr. Aghasi added: “I really demand that the case of Mr. Nourizad and other people, who are known as the signatories of the leadership resignation statement from whom 11 are my clients, to be processed and judged by a fully independent judiciary so they can see how arguments about the convictions and issued sentences are completely incorrect.”

Earlier this year, UN experts expressed concern over the health condition of Mohammad Nourizad in Evin Prison and called for his immediate release.

66-year-old Nourizad is an Iranian director, screenwriter, journalist, and activist. Nourizad became an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic a decade ago and has since been arrested and imprisoned several times for his civic work and visits to families of political prisoners.

As Mr. Aghasi stated, Nourizad has been wounding himself every day as a sign of objection; he has fainted 37 times. According to Aghasi, his conversations with his client and even the insistence of Nourizad’s wife and child did not work, and it seems that he has made his decision.

“I do not want my name to be on the list of those who are indifferent to current affairs,” Nourizad has said in a meeting with his lawyer. “And I am willing to give my life for it.”

Lakan Prison Officials Turn off Air Conditioning in Women’s Ward and Cut Inmates’ Quarantines Short

Posted on: June 25th, 2021

Following the transfer of 9 new female prisoners to the quarantine ward of Lakan Prison in Rasht, 15 residents of the quarantine ward were transferred to the public ward before the end of their quarantine period.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, air conditioning in the women’s ward was also turned off for at least 8 hours during the day. The lack of air conditioning, coupled with steadily rising summer temperatures have created conditions under which it is nearly impossible for the inmates to wear masks.

According to an informed source, after protesting, prisoners were told that they would be sent directly to public wards without quarantine, even if other new entrances arrived.

It is worth mentioning that civil activist Athena Daemi, who was deported from Evin Prison to Lakan on March 17, 2010, was kept in quarantine for 23 days.

Sydney Pen Association Demands Immediate Release of Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Baktash Abtin and Keyvan Bazhan from Evin Prison

Posted on: June 22nd, 2021

On Sunday, June 20, the Sydney Pen Association in Australia issued a statement in light of Ebrahim Ra’isi’s election as next President of the Islamic Republic.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Writers’ Association of Iran, the statement calls for the immediate release of Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Baktash Abtin and Keyvan Bazhan, currently being held in Evin prison for their writings critical of the State. All three authors are members of the Writers’ Association of Iran, and each has published several books on Iranian history, sociology, and literature.

“The three authors need medical attention and authorities have not taken any of them to hospital,” the statement says.

In April, Baktash Abtin’s lawyer announced that his client had contracted COVID but had not received the necessary treatment. Reza Khandan Mahabadi suffers from osteoarthritis of the neck and Keyvan Bazhan has a thyroid disease. Penn Sydney was recently informed by inmates that another wave of coronavirus has spread to Evin Prison, further endangering the lives of its inmates.

The writers were first sentenced to imprisonment when now-president-elect Ebrahim Ra’isi was head of the judiciary on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security. They were also accused of attending the graves of disgruntled poets and writers and critics of the regime.

The prosecution cited the publication of a book on the history of the Writers’ Association of Iran, an institution that has criticized Iran’s past and present governments for decades, and the defendants were sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.

In January 2019, an appeals court in Tehran reduced the sentence to a total of 15 years and six months in prison. Baktash Abtin and Reza Khandan Mahabadi were sentenced to six years in prison each, and Keyvan Bazhan was sentenced to three years and six months.

Abtin, Khandan Mahabadi and Bazhan were arrested on October 26 of last year, after attending the Judgment Enforcement Unit of the Evin Court, and  were transferred to the infamous Evin Prison to serve out their sentences.

The statement cites a joint text by Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Baktash Abtin and Keyvan Bajan, which was issued from inside the prison on June 6, 2021.

Below is an excerpt from their text:

 

We are addressing all writers and libertarians who have made “freedom of expression everywhere and for all” the focus of their human endeavors. This is the demand that the historical-global movement for freedom of expression has practically and always pursued. The Writers’ Association of Iran, of which we are three members, has been active as part of this movement for more than half a century; A movement that must be enhanced by its power and volume; Because apart from the daily threat of freedom of expression by the ruling powers, many people in the world are completely deprived of it; Including writers and people of Iran. We are currently in prison, and according to the sentence, we have to endure a total of 13 and a half years in prison because we are writers who oppose censorship and demand freedom of expression without exception. We are not the first prisoners and oppressed of this movement and we will not be the last until “freedom of expression everywhere and for everyone” is achieved.

 

Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bazhan

 

Bektash Abtin concluded in his story to Sydney Pen Association president Mark Isaac,  “Freedom is never given to anyone on a gold tray; it comes at a high price. In a country like Iran, death very easily finds intellectuals, libertarians and those who fight for freedom of expression. We are not worried about the trial and the prison and its difficulties, because we have made our decision.”

Political Prisoner Narges Adibi Denied Medical Leave from Evin Prison

Posted on: June 22nd, 2021

Political prisoner Narges Adibi has been denied medical leave from Evin Prison despite having numerous medical problems.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ms. Adibi suffers from bronchitis, asthma, and severe joint pain.

Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, sentenced Adibi to 8 years in prison on charges of conspiracy, insulting the leadership, insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, and propaganda against the regime.

Branch 54 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Babaei, reduced the sentence to 3 years and 6 months in May of last year.

58-year-old Narges Adibi is the daughter of Hussein and mother of two children. She was arrested in July of last year and transferred to Evin Prison to serve out her sentence, where she has been held since.

 

Ahmad Reza Jalali’s Lawyer Expresses Concern About His Condition in Evin Prison

Posted on: June 21st, 2021

Ahmad Reza Jalali’s lawyer, Helaleh Mousavian, has expressed concern about her client’s condition in Evin Prison. According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Reza Jalali is a university professor and dual citizen of Iran and Sweden currently on death row.

The professor, who traveled to Iran in May 2016 at the invitation of the University of Tehran, was arrested by security forces on charges of “moharebeh through espionage for Israel”. Moharebeh, loosely translated as “waging war against God”, is a pillar of Sharia Law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.

Mr. Jalali was sentenced to death for espionage, and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in December 2017.

Ahmad Reza Jalali worked at the Center for Natural Disasters after graduating from medical school in Iran. He immigrated to Sweden in 2009 to continue his studies and earned a doctorate. He completed his postdoctoral in Disaster Medicine at the University of Piedmont in Italy, and later, settled in Sweden with his wife and two children.

According to a HRANA report published in November 2020, Ahmad Reza Jalali was transferred to solitary confinement for a week to be prepared for execution. In December of that year, Ms. Mousavian was informed that her client’s death sentence was put on hold and he was transferred to ward 209 of Evin prison.

“Fortunately, Mr. Jalali was transferred to a public ward in April, but so far, despite all the efforts, his death sentence has not changed,” Mousavian said. “I am very worried about my client, especially now that the presidential election is over and the result is out. Despite my repeated expressions of concern, no effective action has been taken by the country of dual citizenship and the European Union.”