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.

“There Are Other Tortures that are not Recorded on Camera”: Political Prisoners in Evin Prison Give Statement on Released Footage

Following the broadcast of videos from Evin Prison surveillance cameras, a group of political prisoners in Andarzagah 8 of Evin Prison have written a statement in response.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the statement calls for serious and immediate attention to the situation of prisoners in Iran.

“There are other tortures that are not recorded on any camera,” the prisoners write in the statement. “The psychological and mental torture of prisoners in solitary confinement (white torture) and interrogation rooms; fathers, mothers, wives, and children who become more tired of pursuing cases of their loved ones in the maze of [judiciary and prisons] offices every day without seeing their loved ones, and lack of accountability of officials and their humiliating behaviors with the prisoner and their families are noteworthy.”

Recently elected head of the judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i , has ordered an immediate investigation into the officers’ treatment of prisoners following the release of the video by the hacker group Adalat Ali.

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the speaker of the parliament, in response to the request of the representatives to deal with the publishers of these videos, said that a Commission, with the collaboration of the prosecutor’s office is following up the whole issue.

Whether the investigation will lead to meaningful reform or increased accountability remains to be seen.

“They Arrest first, Then Look for a Reason”: Security Forces Search Homes of Detained Lawyers and Civil Activists Raising Concerns of Fabricated Evidence

"Eleven security officers who raided Arash Kaykhosravi's father's house today closed his room’s door for a few minutes and did not allow family members to enter. This is the prelude to 'gathering evidence' through embedding the evidence in the room. They arrest first, then look for a reason."

In recent days, a number of civil activists and lawyers have been arrested under dubious pretenses, many of whom are still in detention.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, some of the arrested have had their homes searched by security forces, raising concerns of fabricated evidence.

On Saturday, August 14 Arash Kaykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kasb, Leila Heidari, Mehdi Mahmoudian, and Maryam Afrafaraz were arrested by security forces in Tehran and taken to an unknown location. Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb and Leila Heydari were released hours after their arrest, but the others remain in detention.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 25, security forces searched the home of lawyer Mostafa Nili and the home of Arash Kaykhosravi’s father.

Saeid Dehghan, Mr. Kaykhosravi’s lawyer, wrote on his social media page, “Eleven security officers who raided Arash Kaykhosravi’s father’s house today closed his room’s door for a few minutes and did not allow family members to enter. This is the prelude to ‘gathering evidence’ through embedding the evidence in the room. They arrest first, then look for a reason. They took the CCTV camera with them so that there is no evidence of their attack.”

On the same day, the house of Mohammad Reza Faghihi was searched by security forces. Earlier, Mr. Nili’s lawyer, Zahra Minouei, expressed that she does not have access to her client’s case.

“Because I am not a trusted lawyer accepted by the judiciary in security cases, they have not allowed accessing my client’s case,” Minouei said. “After the release of the videos related to Evin Prison [by hackers], the mental condition of my client’s family is not good and their concerns have been greatly increased.”

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.

Regarding the reason behind these arrests, an informed source earlier said that the lawyers and activists were talking in a meeting about the negligence of the officials and its contribution to the spread coronavirus, and expressed possible complaints against some officials. But they had not reached a complete conclusion and were arrested.

Officials React to Confirmed Videos from Inside Evin Prison Published by Hackers

In recent days, a hacker group called Adalat Ali has published videos from inside Evin prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, some scenes from the obtained footage show prison officials beating prisoners, prisoners committing suicide and self-harm, and an unconscious prisoner being inhumanely treated.

Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, the head of the country’s prisons organization, has confirmed the accuracy of the published videos and has accepted responsibility for the mistreatment of prisoners. He has apologized to God, the supreme leader, the people, and the prison guards for inappropriate behaviors in prisons on his twitter account.

His apology, which is directed to prison guards rather than the prisoners themselves, has provoked reactions from many users on social media. Haj Mohammadi also called the treatment of prisoners “unacceptable” and apologized for it.

On his Twitter, Haj Mohammadi wrote, “Regarding the videos published from Evin prison, I accept responsibility for the unacceptable behaviors and commit to prevent a repeat of such bitter incidents and to seriously encounter with violators. I apologize to God Almighty, our dear leader, the noble nation, and the decent prison guards whose efforts of course will not be ignored under the influence of these mistakes.”

Recently elected head of the judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i , has also ordered an immediate investigation into the officers’ treatment of prisoners. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the speaker of the parliament, in response to the request of the representatives to deal with the publishers of these videos, said that a Commission, with the collaboration of the prosecutor’s office is following up the whole issue.

In some of these videos, prisoners clash with each other without the intervention and prevention of prison guards. In one video, prison guards are seen preparing to attack one of the prison wards. A video broadcast compares one of the prison’s solitary confinement cells with a well-equipped solitary confinement cell attributed to former President Hassan Rouhani’s brother Hossein Fereydoun; this video has provoked people’s reaction in cyberspace.

These cells are said to be in Ward 240 of Evin Prison and are under the supervision of the Prisons Organization. These cells are the place where prisoners are held before execution, and in some cases, prisoners are transferred to as punishment. Formerly, transgender prisoners used to serve their sentences in these cells. Also, some videos have been released from the basement of ward 1 of the main complex of Evin Prison. In a video, a transgender prisoner commits suicide in the bathroom.

In some of these videos, the low quality of health amenities and consumables in Evin prison can be seen. Conditions that have a direct impact on the lives of the residents of this prison. Meanwhile, a number of former political prisoners and civil activists have described the situation in other prisons in the country as much worse than in Evin Prison.

Spreading Justice, the database of human rights violators in Iran, had previously introduced Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i and Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi as two prominent human rights and prisoner rights violators.

Today, Wednesday, August 25, Amnesty International issued a statement regarding the videos released from Evin Prison, described it as “the only tip of the iceberg of the torture epidemic in Iran”, and a sign for “the immunity of prison officials” in Iran, and called for independent inspections of the country’s prisons. Amnesty International also called for the establishment of a mechanism for investigation and accountability by the UN Human Rights Council.

Below is the full video from Adalat Ali of the conditions inside Evin Prison.

CW// The following video contains acts of violence that may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised:

 

Maryam Ebrahimvand Arrested by Security Forces in Tehran

On the morning of Sunday, August 22, Maryam Ebrahimvand, a director, filmmaker, and former prisoner, was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, she was released after a couple of hours interrogation.

According to a close source to Ms. Ebrahimvand, she had gone to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to seek permission for her confiscated films, and was arrested in front of the Ministry’s building in Tehran.

“A few months ago,” the source told HRANA, “Ms. Ebrahimvand was told by the Ministry of Guidance that after receiving a letter working ban from the IRGC,  it is not possible to grant permission for her films.”

Ms. Ebrahimvand had previously been detained and convicted. IRGC intelligence agents arrested Ms. Ebrahimvand in September 2016. After 35 days, she was released on  a bail of 300 million Tomans from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center, Ward 2A, Evin Prison.

Nearly two years later, in July 2018, Ms. Ebrahimvand was arrested again after being summoned to Branch 4 of the Culture and Media Court. She was transferred to Ward 2A of the IRGC, and then was transferred to prison a month after interrogations ended, while a bail of 10 billion Tomans was issued for her.

Ms. Ebrahimvand, who had been detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison from July 2018, was sentenced by Branch 1059 of the Government Employees’ Court to ten years in prison in November of last year on charges of “making a vulgar film”, “insulting the President”, and “spreading lies against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.

In the second part of her case, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to 6 months in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” and in the final verdict, she was sentenced to a total of ten years and six months in prison.

Ms. Ebrahimvand was finally informed of her release in June of this year after appearing before the Culture and Media Court.

Maryam Ebrahimvand is a writer, film director, and producer of “Comedy of Love”, “We Are All Alone”, and “Girls’ Boarding House”.

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HRANA Report: COVID-19 Vaccinations Underway in Iranian Prisons

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the vaccination of inmates in different prisons throughout the country has started this month.

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to reports received by HRANA, in some prisons in the country, prisoners have been forced to receive the Iranian vaccine “Barekat”, and many others have refused to receive the Barekat vaccine due to doubts about production conditions and the lack of WHO approval. In some prisons, vaccination has been partially abandoned due to the lack of enough dosage per the Ministry of Health.

Although this action of the Prisons Organization has given a bit of hope to the prisoners and their families, reports received by HRANA from various prisons across the country indicate that -regardless of the quality and type of vaccine used- a small percentage of inmates have been vaccinated and that most of the inmates still have not been vaccinated against COVID.

Prisoners in the women’s ward of Lakan Prison in Rasht were vaccinated with the Barekat vaccine. According to an informed source, the vaccination process has started in this prison in late July this year; first the prison officials, then the male prisoners, and finally the female prisoners have been vaccinated.

As of this writing, a small percentage of inmates in Urmia Prison are vaccinated. An informed source about the vaccination process in this prison told HRANA, “At first, the Iranian vaccine Barekat was sent for Urmia prison, but prisoners refused to inject, then a small number of Chinese vaccines arrived which only was enough for a few. Though the vaccine was given to all prisoners in the political prison, and any of them who wished was vaccinated.”

According to the source, prison officials, along with a limited number of other detainees were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since mid-August of this year, some prisoners in various wards of Evin Prison have received the first dose of the vaccine. Initially, the vaccination was carried out with the Barakat vaccine, but this process was stopped due to the refusal of many prisoners to inject the Iranian vaccine. A few days later, some prisoners were injected with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm. According to an informed source, in many wards of the prison, even prisoners with underlying diseases who are at risk of infection have not been vaccinated yet.

Political prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj have also been injected with the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine. According to an informed source, in other wards of the prison, vaccination was going on based on the age priority and people with underlying diseases until prison officials announced that the vaccination would be halted and postponed until the Ministry of Health and the Prisons Organization were able to provide the vaccine.

The HRANA investigation shows that most of the prisoners in Qarchak Prison in Varamin have been injected with the Sinopharm vaccine, but new inmates, whose numbers are very high, are still not vaccinated as there are not enough vaccines for them.

In Qom Coastal Prison, only the clergy prisoners being held in the special ward for clergies have been fully vaccinated. According to an informed source, 20 prisoners in this ward, along with a small number of prisoners from other wards, have been vaccinated so far. Prisoners in Bushehr Prison in Bushehr Province have not yet received any vaccine.

These are the reports from prisons while in early August, Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, head of the Prisons Organization, claimed on his Twitter account that 50 percent of the country’s prisoners had been vaccinated.

Although the prisoners’ vaccination could help to control the spread of coronavirus in prisons, the effectiveness of vaccination is still unclear as spaces in prisons are closed, pre-and post-vaccination health protocols are not met, principles of quarantine are not observed, and prison populations are large. Also, some prisoners have received the Iranian Barekat vaccine, whose effectiveness is highly questionable.

The negligence of the authorities towards the situation of sick prisoners, lack of proper medical care in prisons, the strictness of the authorities in sending prisoners to medical leave and hospitals, and the lack of adequate sanitary facilities in prisons have all contributed to and intensified the spread of the disease.

 

Sepideh Gholiyan Sent on Leave from Bushehr Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRA), today, August 19, civil activist Sepideh Gholiyan was sent on a 7-day leave from Bushehr Prison.

In early August, Ms. Gholiyan’s Covid-19 test result came out positive.

Sepideh Gholiyan was first arrested in November 2018, along with at least 19 workers’ representatives and labor activists of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Co. at the Shush, and was released on bail on December of the same year.

Ms. Gholiyan was sentenced to 5 years in prison by the Tehran Court of Appeals in December 2019.

In June 2020, she was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to endure her sentence. She was transferred from the women’s ward of Evin Prison to Bushehr Prison on March 2021, where Ms. Gholiyan and Mahboubeh Rezaei were severely beaten.

Reza Mehregan on a Hunger Strike in Evin Prison

On Saturday, August 14, civil activist Reza Mehregan went on a hunger strike in Evin Prison, where he is currently serving out a 5 year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of  Human Rights Activists, Mehregan began the hunger strike to protest his transfer to quarantine despite having received a negative corona test result.

Mr. Mehregan was sent on a five-day leave of absence from Evin Prison on Saturday, August 7, and returned to prison at the end of his leave.

Mehregan suffers from heart disease and high blood pressure, and although previously he was  permitted to be sent on medical leave, he had remained in prison as he was not able to provide the required bail.

In December 2019, the Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Iman Afshari sentenced Mr. Mehregan to 5 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy against national security, to 1 year in prison on a charge of propaganda activities against the regime, to 1 year in prison and 74 lashes for disturbing public order, and to 2 years of compulsory reside in the Jafarabad district of Arian Shahr in South Khorasan Province.

The sentence was later reduced by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided by Judge Ahmad Zargar, to six years in prison from which 5 years imprisonment is enforceable to Mr. Mehregan, after applying Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Reza Mehregan, along with Mohammad Abolhassani, another civil activist, was sent from Evin Prison to Branch 2 of the Evin Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Judge Haji Moradi, in December 2020, in connection with another case against them. The two civil activists were charged with holding a funeral of the victims of the November 2019 nationwide protests in prison.

Atena Daemi on a Hunger Strike in Lakan Prison in Rasht in Gilan Province

On August 12, civil activist Atena Daemi went on a hunger strike in Lakan prison in Rasht in protest of repeated telephone cuts and prison mismanagement.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, it is said that the head of the prison has not been seen in the prison for about 4 weeks, and his absence has slowed down the release process of many prisoners.

According to an informed source, the frequent interruption of the prison phone raised concerns among Atena’s family members, and her parents had to travel to the Lakan Prison to visit Atena while they were infected with the coronavirus to confirm her well being.

Atena (Fatemeh) Daemi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on May 15, 2015, by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, on charges of conspiracy against national security, propaganda against the regime, and insulting the leadership. After the appeal and application of Article 134, 5 years of prison were enforceable to her.

In 2018, while enduring her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, she and Golrokh Ebrahimi faced a new case, they were sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to an additional 2 years and 1 month in prison after applying Article 134.

In July 2020, Branch 24 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad, sentenced Ms. Daemi to two years in prison and 74 lashes for a new lawsuit filed against her while imprisoned. The case was opened by the complaint of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC against Ms. Daemi.

In March 2021, the Supreme Court overturned a request for a retrial of Atena’s lawyers. Atena Daemi and her family members have also faced numerous other security and judicial cases and pressures. In March 2021, Atena was transferred in handcuffs and shackles from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison in Rasht in Gilan Province.

This is not the young activist’s first hunger strike. Atena Daemi once went on a hunger strike in 2015, which led to health problems and removal of her gallbladder. Her previous hunger strike experience has increased her family’s concern.

Revolutionary Court of Tehran Reverses Supreme Court’s Ruling and Sentences Davoodi to 30 Years Once Again

Although the supreme court overturned the sentence of 30-year imprisonment and 111 lashes issued by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran against lawyer-turned-defendant Amirsalar Davoodi, Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court later reaffirmed the previous verdict.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Davoodi’s defense attorney Amir Raisian has said he will appeal the verdict.

Raisian wrote in a note on his social media page, “Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, believing that the ruling of the Supreme Court was wrong, confirmed the original ruling (of Branch 15).”

Amirsalar Davoodi a lawyer, has represented many cases of prisoners and political defendants, including Soheil Arabi and Saeed Shirzad.

After applying Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Davoodi could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.