A report on Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi

Posted on: February 14th, 2020

Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, is a detained Christian convert and the former prisoner. She was studying English translation at Islamic Azad University North Tehran Branch but on December 21, 2019, she was banned from entering the university and was told that she has been banned from studying there.

 

First arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested on November 18, 2017, for the first time. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at that time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months imprisonment for the charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against the national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward in spring 2018 after completing her sentence.

 

Second Arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested by the NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead. The attacker claimed that she was “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts. A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting on the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood. The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but the police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10, 2019.

 

Third arrest

On January 12, 2020, Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested during the wave of protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 11, after Iran admitted that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. She was arrested in Azadi square and was transferred to Vozara detention center. She was severely beaten both in Azadi square and at Vozara detention center. She had bruises for more than three weeks after her arrest. Women guards humiliated her by forcing her to get naked and sitting and standing a few times in front of them and then uncommonly inspected her body twice. According to a close source, she was mistreated by the prison wardens; she was forced to stay outside in the cold weather without any food for 24 hours. After a day, she was transferred to Branch 6 of Evin Prosecutor’s office and was eventually transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and she is currently at the new ward of this prison (Bashgah). She was mistreated and humiliated in this prison.

She was charged with “disturbing public order through attending an unlawful protest”. Her trial is not scheduled yet. Although her bail was set for 30 million Tomans [approx. $3000], the prosecutor did not accept her bail. She was being kept in a limbo state for a month.

An updated report on January protests in Iran

Posted on: January 20th, 2020

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people onboard including Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans, and British nationals. On January 11, 2020, thousands of people took to the streets across the country after General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran officially admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. He blamed human error and US adventurism for this plane crash. HRANA has earlier published a report about the first three days of the protest.

Between January 11-14, people took to the streets in 21 cities and 21 universities:

Cities: Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Sari, Kerman, Shiraz, Amol, Babol, Gorgan, Rasht, Sanandaj, Tehran, Karaj, Semnan, Arak, Yazd, Kermanshah, Qods, Zanjan, Ahvaz, Qazvin

Universities: University of Arak, University of Damghan, University of Tehran campus of Karaj, Shahid Beheshti University,  Isfahan University of Technology, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Alzahra University, Iran University of Science and Technology, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, University of Kurdistan, Bu-Ali Sina University, Razi University, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran University of Art, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Tabriz University. Moreover, the demonstration inside the Amirkabir University of Technology got violent after anti-riot police fired tear gas. Witnesses reported that an unprecedented number of militia forces were among the protesters. In Tehran, protests held in Rodaki street, Jomhoori street, Ostad Moin and from Azadi square to Sadeghieh square.

The themes of the slogans used by the demonstrators in Tehran were: calling the authorities to take accountability, questioning the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ actions, and urging the resignation of the Supreme Leader and other country’s seniors. They protest the government’s coverup and chant slogans such as “Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!”

Forces used against protesters

Security forces, anti-riot police, and militia groups used tear gas, shooting rubber bullet, and birdshot against protestors and several protesters were injured or arrested. According to Amnesty International, security forces and Intelligence department’s agents were at hospitals and in some cases wanted to transfer the injured protesters to military hospitals. Several hospitals in Tehran did not accept injured claiming that they fear being arrested if admitting injured protesters. According to Amnesty International, a woman was sexually assaulted by militia groups. A few hours after her arrest, an agent took her to a room and forced her to perform oral sex on him and was about to rape her.

On January 12, two women were shot in foot on Azadi street in Tehran and their status is unknown. 14 people were arrested in Amol and their whereabouts is still unknown after one week.

Arrests

On January 14, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, confirmed the arrest of 30 people in the protests. He also confirmed the arrest of the British Ambassador to Iran and added that no other foreigner was arrested. The head of the security department of Iranian Police confirmed the arrest of several people suspected to be leaders of protesters who encouraged others in the cyberspace to act against the national security.

HRANA identified 20 arrested individuals during January protests:

1.Keyvan Anbari, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

2.Mohammad Sefid Jameh, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

3.Nima Ahmadianpour, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

4.Moslem Soleimani (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

5.Zanyar Ahmadpour (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

6.Arshad Atabak(student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

7.Majid Mehrpouri (student), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

8.Ashkan Valizadeh, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

9.Salah Gharibi, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

10.Nabi Tardast, Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

11.Mohammad Esmaeili, arrested in Tehran, on January 12

12.Mohammad Amin Hosseini, arrested in Gorgan, on January 12

13.Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi (former political prisoner), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

14.Ali Noorizad, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

15.Shora Fekri, arrested in Amol, on January 12

16.Robert Macaire (British Ambassador to Iran), arrested in Tehran, on January 11

17.Hossein Karoubi (the son of Mehdi Karoubi), arrested in Tehran, on January 13

18.Rakhshan Banietemad (film director), arrested in Tehran, on January 13 and was released after few hours

19.Siavash Hayati, arrested in Kermanshah, on January 12 and was released on January 15

20.Masoud Hokmabadi (theater producer), arrested in Mashhad, on January 18; he announced earlier that he will not participate in Fajr Festival. According to Emtedad News, this is the reason for his arrest.

21.Ali Farmani (sound designer and producer), arrested in Shiraz (after attending a memorial ceremony for the victims of the plane crash), January 19.

Additional arrests

10 individuals were arrested by the security forces in Ilam, Sanandaj, Dehglan, Marivan, Khoy, and Kermanshah which according to Center of Democracy and Human Rights in Kurdistan, these arrests were related to their participation in protests after Iran admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran

1.Amir Ali Majd was beaten and arrested by the security forces at his book store on January 18, in Ilam.

2.Arman Mohammadi was arrested by IRGC officers in Sanandaj on January 17.

3.Sirus Abbasi and his wife Farideh Veisi were arrested on January 14 at “Zanest Educational Center” by Dehgolan Intelligence Department and were transferred to Sanandaj. His brother, Azad Abbasi, who went to the Intelligence Department’s office to follow up on their case was also arrested.

4.Keyvan Kouti was arrested by the highway patrol in Sarpol Zahab and was transferred to a detention center in Kermanshah, on January 14.

5.Amanj Nikpay was arrested by the Intelligence department’s officers on January 14, His father, Khaled Nikpay, who went to the Intelligence department office to follow up on his son’s case, was arrested and released on bail after interrogation. Moreover, Mohammad Sheykh Kanlu was arrested by the IRGC officers in Khoy and was transferred to the Urmia Intelligence detention center and Saman Abdolalizadeh was arrested by the security forces in Kermanshah.

 

Backlashes

Several artists said that they will not participate in the Fajr Festival:

The executives and judges of the Fajr Visual Arts Festival in categories of photography, graphic art, and ceramic art and 40 cartoonists will not participate as an act of protest. In addition, the following artists and actors/actresses will not participate in the Fajr Film Festival: Masoud Kimiai, film director, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Afsaneh Mahiyan, Naghmeh Samini, Saeed Changizian, Shiva Fallahi, Manouchehr Shoja, Mohammadreza Jadidi, Behrouz Seifi, Maryam Deyhoul, Amir Sepehr Taghilou, Rojan Kordnejad, Mehdi Safarzadeh Khaniki, Amir Ahmad Ghazvini, Romin Mohtasham, Seifollah Samadian, Kiyarang Alaei, Shahriar Tavakoli, Mehdi Khoushki (theater director), Amin Amiri, Samaneh Zandinejad, Shirin Samadi, Nooroldin Heydari Maher, Amin Tabatabaei, Arash Dadgar, Meisam Abdi, Alireza Koushk Jalali, Naghmeh Samini, Shirin Samadi, Atila Pesyani, theater group “Quantum”, Cinemafa News Agency, theater group “Vaghti Bozorgtar Boudam”, and theater group “Parvaneh Aljarayeri”. Moreover, Shahram Lasemi, Zahra Khatami Rad, and Saba Rad announced their resignations from their posts at the state television on their Instagram pages.

Keyvan Saket, composer, and Tar player, in a note on his Instagram page, expressed his empathy for people’s protesting the shot down of Ukrainian Airline flight 752 by IRGC and announced that he will not participate in any of the Fajr Festivals. Alireza Ghorbani, an Iranian singer, canceled his concerts on January 17-18.

Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian footballer, wrote on his personal page “I am speechless about the tragedy but covering the reality was unacceptable. The people who were responsible for it should be tried. Also, people who are distributing lies on the state TV”.

Monireh Arabshahi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and, Maryam Akbari Monfared Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth, and Iranian Journalist Association wrote separate announcements to denounce the plane crash and called on resignation and trial of authorities who caused this tragedy.

Lufthansa Airlines canceled its flights to Tehran till March 28, 2020. Sweden canceled Iran Air flights between Tehran to Stockholm and Gothenburg. Several other airlines changed their flight routes from Tehran and Iraq to avoid flying over the Iranian airspace.

 

The videoes of the January protests (first, second, third and fourth days) are available on Youtube.

First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Posted on: September 13th, 2019

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha Faramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

Mandatory Hijab: Fatemeh Mohammadi Was Arrested After Being Harassed

Posted on: July 12th, 2019

Fatemeh Mohammadi, a former prisoner, was arrested by NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead. The attacker claimed that she is “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts.

A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting in the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood. The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10.

Mohammadi, a Christian convert and former prisoner was arrested on November 18, 2017. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at the time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months’ imprisonment on charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward after completing her sentence.

Harassed by Authorities, Christian Former Prisoner Stages Sit-in Across From Evin

Posted on: September 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Fatemeh Mohammadi, a Christian convert who was released from Evin Prison earlier this year, has staged a sit-in across from her former prison to protest what she referred to as the prison authorities’ “campaign of verbal harassment” against her.

Mohammadi was initially detained last November, and sentenced to six months in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward after completing her sentence. Now, she claims authorities are contacting her family to insult and harass them.

“After I was released from Evin Prison, I was contacted by the prison’s interrogation team,” Mohammadi told HRANA. “They called me all sorts of vulgar words. Last night, September 26th, 2018, Evin Prison again called my home. The person on the phone said [unpleasant] things to my family and told them, ‘It is best that you stop your daughter from her activities as the path she is on leads to corruption.’”

She said she was prompted to begin her protest when her home was contacted once again on Thursday, September 27th, 2018.

“They repeated their words,” Mohammadi said. “Afterwards, I went to Evin to find out what was wrong, but no one offered an explanation. For this reason, I am protesting and staging a sit-in across from Evin Prison, and will continue to do so until they process my complaint.”

Mohammadi previously published a letter in which she spoke of the anguish she endured during her interrogation.

Last November, Mohammadi was detained in Tehran and transferred to Evin prison along with Majid Reza Suzanchi Kashani, another recent Christian convert. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at the time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months’ imprisonment on charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “christian activity,” and “acting against national security through propaganda against the regime.”

Per Iranian law, Mohammadi’s sentence should have been reduced by a quarter when she consented to the verdict; however, she served a month and a half longer than anticipated per the law. She was released May 14th, 2018.

Appeals Court Date Set for Imprisoned Evangelical Activist

Posted on: August 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Majid Reza Souzanchi, 34, Christian convert detained in Evin Prison, has received a summons order to appear before Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals court on December 11, 2018.

He was tried on April 25, 2018, along with Fatemeh Mohammadi for “Membership in Evangelical Groups and Evangelical Activities”, presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh. Mr Souzanchi was sentenced to five years in prison and Ms Mohammadi received a six-month prison sentence on charges of “Engaging in Evangelical activities” and “Acting against national security through propaganda against the regime”.

A source close to the defendants told HRANA that Mr Souzanchi suffered from broken ribs as a result of being beaten up twice during his interrogation by Intelligence Ministry agents. Souzanchi is also worried that his home was searched while he was in prison and some of his personal belongings and family photos were confiscated. He has written several letters [to the authorities] on the matter but has not received any response. In June, his prison cell was raided by agents who confiscated his personal belonging including a notebook in which he had written excerpts from the Bible.

Prison officials refer to Mr Souzanchi as “impure” and “Daeshi” (a member or ISIS). Mr Rostami, the Prosecutor’s representative, had told Mr Souzachi and Ms Mohammadi that “if we were in you Christians’ hands, you would have executed us”. Samad Hadipour, the investigator of Evin court’s Branch 3, referred to the church as a “casino”.

According to the Iranian Constitution, Christianity is a recognized religion. However, security apparatus in Iran are extremely sensitive toward Muslims converting to Christianity, and aggressively pursue evangelist activists.

Article 26 of the Iranian constitution guarantees religious minorities’ rights: “….recognized religious minorities’ associations are free [to exist]…and no one can be forced to participate in these associations or prevented from participating in one of them”.

Hassan Rouhani, Iranian President, during last year’s presidential election campaign stressed the importance of civil rights, and published a “Civil Rights Charter”. However, these promises have not been carried out.

Article 99 of the Charter states: “Citizens have the right to access facilities to participate in cultural life [of their choice], including the right to found associations, perform religious, cultural, and ethnic ceremonies as long as they respect the laws”.

Immoral treatment of Women Prisoners of Conscience by Iranian Authorities

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Fatemeh Mohammadi, 19, is a new Christian convert who was arrested in November 2017 and subsequently sentenced to six months in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Ms. Mohammadi was recently released after serving her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison. In an open letter, she talks about the pains and suffering she had to endure during the interrogation period. Ms. Mohammadi explains in her letter the ways she was insulted, mistreated, and felt unsafe due to her gender.

HRANA has received the full text of Fatemeh Mohammadi’s letter:

In all the interrogation sessions the interrogators asked me [whether I have had] sexual relations. In the second interrogation session, one of them said: “We have asked Haj Agha(1) to come and speak to you.” [I was blindfolded, but] from the speaking manner of Haj Agha, I believe he was a cleric. The first question he asked me was: “Have you ever had any relations with anyone?” “What kind of relations?” I replied. “Bad, immoral relations,” He said. I got very frustrated and said: “I have never been involved in any relationship; you are slandering me. What you are doing is not right or moral.” The man replied: “There is evidence that you have done so.” He was speaking in a calm and emotionless manner.  I told him while crying: “How could there be evidence when I haven’t done anything? I don’t know what type of evidence you have forged against me.”

In other questioning sessions, they asked me: “What were you and the other person doing exactly in your sexual relations?” No matter how much I insisted that I have never had a sexual relationship, they would not accept it. While asking these questions they instructed me: “Remove your blindfold, turn to us and answer our questions in detail.” I told them: “It is difficult for me to speak about such topics.” They responded: “Then write it down.” Without waiting for my reply, they placed interrogation papers in front of me. “Writing is even harder than speaking,” I said. They stood up next to me and kicked my chair so that I would get scared and give in. I was under duress until the last moment of interrogation to write down what they asked me to.

Another interrogator, whose voice was different than the previous interrogators and who was the only one who did not instruct me to remove my blindfold, asked his colleague to hand me the paper in order for me to write down an explanation. I could not take it anymore and started to scream. They kicked me out of the questioning room and returned me to solitary confinement. I have to point out that in all the interrogation sessions, an interrogator would always sit very close to me.

A few days before my arrest, one of my close friends asked me to read her favourite prayer poem to her. I sent her the poem as a voice file. This was one of my last chats. As a result, when the interrogators were inspecting my Telegram account, they found this chat very quickly, and played the audio file in the small room filled with interrogators. One of them laughed and imitated my reading of the poem. They all laughed at me. They called me by my first name in a very improper and offensive manner, laughing loudly each time. The sound of the laughter of one of them made me think he was choking. I was feeling very sick during that session, and felt an excruciating pain in my chest; I could barely breathe and started to cough incessantly.

They attempted to force me to [falsely] confess to illicit sexual relations with men. At times, they pursued a line of questioning that would lead them to that conclusion. Their entire objective was to make this accusation stick and force me to make up a story about sexual relations for them to read and enjoy. I could not imagine any other motivation for their actions, because sexual relations had nothing to do with my case.  

They had told Mr. Davood Souzanchi, who was also arrested as a new Christian convert: “Did you know that Fatemeh had illicit sexual relations?” And then they would tell me: “Did you know Davood has had illicit relations with women?”

These harassments were not limited to us. They stopped at nothing, even accusing my mother of sexual affairs. They mentioned [my mother] to Mr. Souzanchi as well. When my mother discovered this, she was extremely upset.

On the first night of my arrest, I was taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison where the women prison guards forced me to undress completely while they watched me. I successfully resisted. They even took my elastic hair band, and as a result, my hair was unruly. When they were taking me for interrogation, I was forced to wear loose pants, an overcoat, a large headcover (2), a chador, slippers, and blindfolds. The headcover they had given me was too large for my head, and my hair kept sticking out in an unruly manner. When I exited the car, an interrogator yelled at me: “Tuck your hair back in. You are making me mad. You don’t want to see me angry.” However, the headcover was too large, and my hair kept falling out. The [interrogators] screamed at me repeatedly. It was frustrating to see them so sensitive about my hair sticking out of my headcover when they had asked me to remove my blindfold and stare at them while they asked me about illicit sexual relations. I was bewildered.

When the sleeves of my overcoat would pull up and my hands & arms were exposed, the interrogator would ask me to pull my sleeves down. Since I had delicate hands, he kept staring at them.

In another session, they asked me about Christianity’s view on relationships between men and women: “Did you know such and such person [from the Christian community] had relations with other members of the community?” They were constantly resorting to character assassination against the Christian community.  

When I was in prison, I launched a dry hunger strike, despite my weak physical condition, in order to object to the insults against me and my written request for a copy of the [Bible] being rejected. On the second day of my hunger strike, my heart was in poor condition. Upon my and my inmates’ insistence, the prison officials agreed to take me to the prison’s clinic. They decided to perform ECG (electrocardiography).  When I entered the room, a man came toward me, but I did not cooperate, because it was difficult for me to accept that a man was going to perform the test on me. The shift doctor, Mr. Mortazavi, argued with me and kicked me out of the clinic. He then wrote a false report depicting me as immoral and responsible for this ordeal. A woman agent signed the report despite witnessing the entire incident.

Another noteworthy point is that in Ward 209 the shower time is 30 minutes. If an inmate takes even one minute longer than that, a woman prison warden would open the shower door without warning and start arguing and staring at the prisoners. No matter how much I asked them to stop staring, they would continue. When I protested against this practice, they told me: “Since [the prison guards] are women, there is no problem.” They were oblivious to the fact that personal space should be respected regardless if a person is a man, woman, child, or blind.

Fatemeh Mohammadi

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HRANA has previously reported that Fatemeh Mohammadi and Majid Reza (Davood) Souzanchi, two new Christian converts, were arrested in Tehran in November 2017 and taken to Evin Prison.

They were first tried in April 2018 by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh. In this court session, Fatemeh Mohammadi was sentenced to six months in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups”, “Engaging in Christian activities” and “Acting against national security through propagating against the regime”. Majid Reza Souzanchi, 34, was sentenced to five years in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups” and “Engaging in evangelical activities”.

A source close to these two individuals told HRANA: “Ms. Mohammadi was only accused of membership in evangelical groups and evangelicalism at the time of arraignment. However, during legal questioning, the investigator, Mr. Samad Hadipour, insulted Ms. Mohammadi’s beliefs, and she defended them in response. That is when Hadipour called her an insurgent against the regime and added the charge of ‘Acting against national security through propagating against the regime’ to her case.”

In April 2018, the second day of their trial was held in the presence of Hossein Taj, Mr. Souzanchi’s lawyer, and Ms. Shadi Halimi and Mr. Behzadi, Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyers. Mr. Souzanchi’s and Ms. Mohammadi’s sentences were issued to their families in May.

Since Ms. Mohammadi did not appeal her sentence, one fourth of her sentence was commuted according to the law. Considering the reduction in her sentence, Ms. Mohammadi spent a month and a half longer than her sentence in prison. Ms. Mohammadi was released from prison on May 13, 2018, the same day her sentence was issued.


1) Haj Agha is a term used to address a religious man especially one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
2) The headcover referred to here, Maghna’a, is a triangular piece covering the hair, the neck and part of the chest.
3) There is a legal questioning/interrogation phase in the Islamic Republic’s legal process which is distinct from the interrogation of prisoners while they are in prison. The former is part of the legal system while the latter is led by self proclaimed “experts” of the Iranian regime’s security apparatus. To differentiate, we used “investigator” as the legal party and “interrogator” as the security agents who engage in interrogation during the detention period.

Two Detained Christians Still Held in Evin Prison

Posted on: April 28th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Majid Reza Souzanchi Kashani and Fatemeh Mohammadi, two Iranian Christians living in Tehran, are still in an unknown condition, after several months of detention.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Majid Reza Souzanchi and Fatemeh Mohammadi, two Iranian Christians, who were arrested by the agents of Ministry of Intelligence on November 18, last year, are still being held in Evin Prison. (more…)