Masoud Kazemi and Hashem Khastar Released from Custody

Posted on: November 14th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Journalist Masoud Kazemi was released on bail Sunday, November 11th. He was arrested in his home November 5th, one day after tweeting critical remarks about Iranian authorities. Kazemi is the editor-in-chief of Sedaye Parsi, a monthly political magazine.

Retired teacher and current union activist Hashem Khastar, who was arrested and sequestered in Mashhad’s Ibn Sina hospital psychiatric ward for unknown reasons October 23rd, was released November 10th. He has no history of mental illness.

Hashem Khastar

During his forced hospital admission, Khastar’s family and friends were arrested for gathering outside Ibn Sina to demand his release.

On June 21, 2018, Khastar was placed in a Security Police detention center on Abbas Abad (formerly Vozara) street for participating in silent teacher protests. In 2009, he was arrested in connection to widespread protests following that year’s Iranian presidential elections and was fined by Iranian courts for two letters he wrote from Vakilabad Prison. He was released, only to be arrested again later for refusing to pay the fine.

Poet and Political Activist Mostafa Badkoobeyi Released Pending Trial

Posted on: November 6th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – After spending two days in prison, poet and former political prisoner Mostafa Badkoobeyi was conditionally released pending trial.

Badkoobeyi was arrested November 5th after being summoned to Branch 3 of the Evin Prison Prosecutor’s office for interrogation. Earlier, on October 27th, he was given five days’ notice to present himself there, under threat of arrest for failure to appear.

His writ indicated no reason for the summons, a source close to Badkoobeyi told HRANA. His family’s inquiries have thus far been unsuccessful in extracting an explanation from authorities.

Following the highly-disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, Badkoobeyi’s poetry, critical of former president Mahmood Ahmadinejad, led to his arrest and an 18-month prison sentence. He went to Evin Prison on November 21, 2012, where he spent less than a year before being released.

Journalist Masoud Kazemi Arrested

Posted on: November 6th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On the morning of November 5th, Masoud Kazemi, journalist and editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine “Sedaye Parsi,” was arrested in his home by security forces and transferred to an undisclosed location.

Upon inspecting his home at the time of the arrest, agents confiscated some of Kazemi’s personal belongings, including laptops, hard drives, and USB drives.

Close source Shima Tadrisi confirmed the news of Kazemi’s arrest in a short note, writing, “His neighbors said that some people entered his home and then took Masoud away with them.” It was not clear to the neighbors which agency had sent them, she said.

Kazemi tweeted the day before his arrest about corruption in the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade. As of the date of this report, no further information was available on his location or the reasons behind his arrest.

Activist Leila Mir-Ghaffari Gets Suspended Prison Sentence for Pointing at Picture

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On October 6th, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 26 sentenced civil rights activist Leila Mir-Ghaffari to a two-year prison sentence, suspended over three years, for having pointed to a picture on the wall.

Mir-Ghaffari’s attorney Mohammad Hossein Aghasi explained to HRANA that her conviction of “insulting the supreme leader” hinged on a single moment: when she voiced criticism of foreign aid to Lebanon and Syria whilst pointing a “finger of blame” to a picture of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose image overlooks the entrance to almost every public building in Iran.

Mir-Ghaffari was initially detained on October 2nd for defending the “Girls of Revolution Street,” a movement that gained international attention through photographs of its defenders de-veiling in public places in protest of mandatory head coverings. Morality court ordered her to pay a fine of 32 million IRR [approximately $250 USD], and she was released on bail the next day.

On June 13, 2018, HRANA reported on a summons from the Tehran Appeals Court to review the sentencing of a number of civil activists, including Mir-Ghaffari, who had been issued 91 days’ imprisonment and 74 lashes each. Judge Farshid Dehghani presided over their preliminary trial on February 9, 2016, in Tehran Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 1060.

In November 2016, Mir-Ghaffari was arrested with 17 others for staging a peaceful gathering across from Evin Prison. Authorities sent the women protestors to Gharchak Prison and the men to Evin. Charged with “disrupting the public peace,” they were eventually released on bail of 500 million IRR [approximately $4000 USD]. Her co-arrestees were Reza Makeian (Malak), Hashem Zaynali, Simin Aivazadeh, Ehsan Khaybar, Abdulazim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojaie, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleymani, Sharmin Yamani, Sala Saie, Arshiya Rahmati, Massoud Hamidi, Ali Babaie, Esmaeil Hosseini, Farideh Tousi, and Zahra Moddareszadeh.

Civil Activists Petition for Political Prisoner Payam Shakiba

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Dozens of civil activists issued a statement October 18th advocating for due process in the case of political prisoner Payam Shakiba.

Held in Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj since his arrest in February 2018, Shakiba was sentenced to 11 years in prison by Judge Ahmadzadeh. The sentence was later upheld in an appeals court.

Shakiba is a former member of the University of Zanjan’s Islamic Student Association, and prior to his persecution by authorities was a graduate student of political science at Allameh Tabatabai University.

The full text of the activists’ statement, translated into English by HRANA, is below:

Payam Shakiba, a former member of the Islamic Student Association at the University of Zanjan, was first arrested in July 2008 along with several other students protesting against the [sexual] assault of a female student by a university vice-president. All of the protesters were convicted. Payam was released on bail after 40 days and sentenced one year later to a year in prison.

Upon completion of his compulsory military service, he was hired as a teacher in September 2010 at a semi-private school in Tehran. In November of that year, he went to prison to serve his sentence. After his release, the Ministry of Education halted his employment proceedings.

Mr. Shakiba passed the entrance exam for master’s programs in applied science at both a public institution and Azad University. However, the public university barred him from enrolling in the program, given his status as a “starred” student [i.e. a student whose file is marked with an asterisk to indicate previous disciplinary action for political activity]. He had no choice but to enroll in the Sciences and Research Branch at Azad University. In the final days of his first semester, however, he was expelled and banned from returning to his studies.

Payam, however, didn’t stop there: he took the entrance exam again in 2013 and was accepted to the political science program at Allameh Tabatabai University. He had spent years in the meantime earning his living in industrial workshops.

Payam Shakiba was arrested for a second time on February 19, 2017, on charges of “acting against national security by assembling and colluding against the regime.” After a search of his workplace in the industrial park of Golgoun, in Shahriar, he was transferred to solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Intelligence. During this time he was denied access to a lawyer or visitation from family members. When his interrogation period had finished, he was illegally exiled to Rajai Shahr prison where he spent 17 months in legal limbo. It was then that he was faced with a judicial conundrum: first the appeals court informed one of his lawyers that Shakiba’s 11-year sentence had been reduced to six; a week later, another one of his lawyers was summoned to court, where he learned that the 11-year sentence had been upheld, and that the five-year reduction was no longer valid.

A glance at the processing of Mr. Shakiba’s cases, and at his sentence as it stands, reveals a flagrant injustice and lack of due process. What kind of judicial system takes employment opportunity away from a student and future teacher because they protested a sexual assault? In what kind of fair process can an interrogator rule in lieu of a judge to reverse an already-appealed sentence? Why are the basic minimums of amenities and living space withheld from Payam Shakiba and from other political prisoners? Why don’t they have access to adequate hygiene and nutrition, or even to a cooling system in the summer?

It is common knowledge nowadays that these deprivations serve to break a prisoner’s spirit and resolve. Yet as we also know, our grand and unflappable Payam cannot be broken. Anyone close to him knows him as an altogether reasonable, kind, humble, generous person, courageous and defiant in the face of injustice.

We the undersigned protest the illegal arrest and incarceration of this student activist. We consider the trial unfair and believe that his human and civil rights have been disregarded at all stages of the legal process, through the interrogation and investigation to the preliminary and appeals court proceedings.

Blindfolding, solitary confinement, and denial of access to a lawyer are violations of a defendant’s rights. Furthermore, the objectivity of the preliminary trial was compromised by the interference of a Ministry of Intelligence representative. By a flagrant act of interference [by non-judiciary authorities], his sentence was increased on appeal.

As friends, civil activists, and fellow students of Payam Shakiba, we object to his sentence and the unfair process to which he was subjected.

We ask for the immediate, unconditional release of Payam Shakiba so that he may defend himself in a fair trial before a jury. This self-evident legal and human right cannot be denied and ignored for perpetuity.

We ask human rights organizations and activists to carry out their duty, regardless of their political allegiances. The writing off of certain political prisoners is tantamount to abetting the suppression of their voices, and those guilty of it should be held accountable before history.

Ahmad Barani, Ahmad Biglari, Ahmad Jabbari, Ahmad Zahedi Langroudi, Ahmad Mohammadi, Ahmad Madadi, Ahmad Mirzaei, Ahmad Yazdi, Arsalan Beigi, Esmaeil Sarahandi, Asghar Dehghan, Asghar, Bahram Mahmoudi, Abolfazl Samadi, Aboozar Beheshti, Ehsan Rezaei, Ahmad Ebrahimi, Ahmad Barani, Ahmad Biglari, Ahmad Jabbari, Aazam Yari, Afshin Pourjam, Afshin Hyrtyan, Akbar Amini Armaki, Akbar Naseri, Akbar Hashemi, Mohammad Ebrahimi, A. Nasirian, Elham Motalebi, Omid Madani, Amir Bagheri, Anwar Farajzadeh, Ulduz Hashemi, Ivaz Hashemi, Adindeh Beigi, Azar Gilani , Amanj Amini, Avat Razavi, Bahera Alamdari, Bahram Aghdasi, Behzad Delshad, Feshdeh Fereydouni, Bahman Golali, Bahman Nouri, Behnam Farzaneh, Bijan Najafi, Parsa Krmanjyan, Parvaneh Ghasemian, Parvun Tavakoli, Parvin Mohammadi, Parvin Nokhostin, Parisa Sarai, Soraya Ghobadi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Jafar Hosseinzadeh, Javad Lal Mohammad, Jahangir Kas Nzany, Habib Beigi, Hassan Elmi, Hassan Noorzad, Hossein Ramezani Sarajari, Hossein Shah Pari, Hossein Sadeghi, Hossein Mousavi, Hamid Reza Kamayebarf, Hamid Zanganeh, Hamid Shabani, Hamid Shabani, Hamid Azimi, Hamid Noori, Hooria Farajzadeh, Dariush Rezaei, Dariush Faraji, Rahele Farajzadeh Tarani , Raheleh Ghodsi, Rahman Beigi, Rahim Hosniyatabar, Rahim Zakeri, Rahim Shams, Rasoul Heshmati, Reza Ahmadi, Reza Hosseini, Reza Abbasi, Rouhollah Hedayati, Ruzbeh Ekradi, Roshan Hashemi, Romina Mohseni Rajai, Zahra Rahimi, Ziba Omidi, Zainab Sepehri, Zhaleh Rouhzad, Sarah Beheshti, Sarah Siahpour, Sarah Barakat, Saeed Rezaei, Saeed Naimi, Saeedeh Maasoumi, Samaneh Abedini, Sorna Hashemi, Soheil Siri, Soheila Dalwand, Siamak Farid, Siavash Montazeri, Sima Salmani, Simin Javandideh, Sharareh Aram, Shahrzad Ghadiri, Shahnaz Akmali, Shadi Mohammadi Shiva, Ameli Rad, Saber Molaei, Sadegh Rezaie, Sedighe Zeitouni, Soghari Noor, Salah Sorkhi, Taher Hamedi, Tahere Ghobadi, Abed Tavancheh, Aliyeh Aghdoost, Abbas Shahbazi, Abbas Safari, Abdul Rahman Azim, Aziz Qasemzadeh, Esmat Taa Ali Ebrahimi, Ali Ahmadi, Ali Asghar Zolghodar, Ali Bagheri, Ali Rangipour, Ali Zarei, Ali Samad, Ali Azimi, Ali Masoumi, Ali Mirfatah, Alireza Behdarvand, Alireza Firoozi, Alireza Ghadiri, Enayat Vosoughi, Gholamreza Maleki, Gholamreza Hezaveh, Fatehmeh Ahmadi, Faezeh Almasi, Farzin Rezaei Roshan, Forough Sami Nia, Forough Fereydouni, Farhad Salamatkhah, Farideh Moradkhani, Fahimeh Badkoobehi, Kaveh Mozaffari, Kiandokht Nikbakht, Keyvan Rezaei, Laleh Abbasi, Madeh Alavi, Mojtaba Asadi, Majid Hassani, Majid Rahmati, Majid Masoumi, Mahboobeh Farahzadi, Mohsen Omrani, Mohammad Azami, Mohammad Hossein Rafiei, Mohammad Saeed Ahmadi, Mohammad Karim Beigi, M Hamad Karimi, Mohammad Ali Rostami, Mahmoud Didani, Mahmoud Mojdehi, Morteza Asadi, Morteza Nazari, Marzieh Dorood, Marzieh Mahmoudi, Maryam Haghighi, Maryam Mohammadi, Masoud Hosseini, Masoud Heydariyan, Masoud Saki, Masoud Kouhi, Masoud Hashemi, Masoumeh Dehghan, Mansour Soleimani , Mansoureh Farahzadi, Manijeh Foruzandeh, Mehdi Rahmati, Mehdi Arabshahi, Mehrnoush Heidarzadeh, Mahshid Rouhani, Milad Janat, Minoo Keykhosrowi, Naser Rashidi, Nahid Ebrahimi, Narges Ahmadi, Narges Zafari, Nasrin Ahmadi, Nasrin Amiri, Nasrin Saifodini, Niloofar Kadokhodayi, Vahid Zandi, Vahsa Safi, Hagar Karami, Homayoun Panahi, Salah Azadi, Ali Jafari, Roozbeh Rezaei, Amir Hossein Sa’ad , Ali Abu Torabi, Maryam Qalychyha, Humayun Madani, Mir Hamid Salek, Azita Rezvan, Amir Hossein Saadat, Naveed Kamran, Jelveh Javaheri, Sepideh Saghafian, Forough Azizi, Sarah Hemmati, Laleh Mohammadi, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Nastaran Eshghi, Ali Reza Tarkashvand, Zohreh Asadpour, Abbas Shahbazi, Reza Ansari, Masoumeh Abbasian, Abbas Shahrabi, Alireza Kaviani, Morteza Zarrin, Mahsa Yazdani, Zahra Ghaeninejad, Ahmad Rezaei, Afshan Davari.

****

Rajai Shahr Prison is located in Karaj, approximately 30 miles west of Tehran.

The University of Zanjan is located in Zanjan, approximately 180 miles northwest of Tehran.

Accused of Posing “Security Risk,” Iranian Actress Barred from Limelight

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – After being interrogated twice for her social media publications, Iranian actress Parastoo Salehi says that Iranian security forces are barring her from making public appearances.

Salehi said that she was first interrogated on August 19 of this year, when she was summoned by the Iranian judiciary surveillance unit to explain her public commentary on Iran’s social and economic setbacks.

In a video she recently published online, Salehi said she was called again on October 2nd to the Ministry of Intelligence facility on Khajeh Abdollah Ansari street. “The public wasn’t to have knowledge of this meeting. But now I am being told again and again that I can’t appear in public for ‘security reasons.'”

Salehi questioned the intent behind Iranian authorities’ citation of “security reasons,” asking at the conclusion of her video, “How do I pose a security risk? Should I not act? Should I not speak? How can I get paid? How can I make a living?”

Salehi reported that she was being censured for using her public Instagram profile to decry issues such as embezzlement, the drop in value of the Iranian currency, political detainees, rape, child abuse, and the Caspian Sea agreement, a highly-contentious diplomatic agreement that was recently finalized.

Authorities Intimidate National Front of Iran into Cancelling Meeting

Posted on: October 17th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Before it could assemble for the first time in 12 months, the National Front of Iran again had to cancel a meeting due to threats of detainment from security forces, who have been impeding the group’s gatherings for the past three years.

The political group had intended to hold leadership elections on Monday, October 15th in the home of one of its members. A close source told HRANA that the elections were scheduled to fill the position of late central council chairman Adib Boroumand.

The National Front of Iran is a nationalist political organization that has faced restrictions to its activities since it was founded in 1949.

Author and Humorist Kiyumars Marzban Detained

Posted on: September 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On August 26, 2018, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence forces arrested author and satirist Kiyumars Marzban in his home, confiscating several personal items including his mobile phone and laptop.

Last year, Marzban, 26, came back to Iran after eight years abroad to visit his ailing grandmother. While he entered the country without event, Branch 1 of the Evin Prosecutor’s Interrogation office opened up a case file and arranged for his arrest within his first year back home.

While Marzban alleges he never traveled to the U.S., a state-affiliated news site has accused him of “Networking in Iran” on contract with American partners. The same news site accuses Marzban, who also teaches art, of entering Iran with the intent to sensationalize and divide the community with his classes. As of the date of this report, no further information was available about the reasons for Marzban’s arrest.

Human Rights Watch revealed in a press release that he has not been allowed to visit his family yet.

Kiyumars Marzban began his career with filmmaking in 2005. By 2009 he had produced eight short films and left Iran to develop his portfolio in Malaysia. Shortly afterward, via Facebook, he launched the world’s premier Persian-language comedy podcast, called “Radio Sangetab” (Sangtab, the name of a village in northern Iran, is also a cooking method using hot stones). His works include “Kham Bodam Pokhte Shodam Balke Pasandideh Shodam” (I was raw, I became ripe and rather pleasant) and “Aziz Jan” (Dear darling).

Civil Rights Activist Mohammad Davari Arraigned

Posted on: September 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Mohammad Davari, a civil rights activist from Yasouj in the province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad, was read his charges in Branch 4 of the Investigation and Prosecution office on September 19th, after presenting himself in response to a summons he received last week.

After a round of questioning, judicial authorities issued a charge of “disseminating propaganda against the regime” and released him on bail pending completion of the investigation.

A source close to Davari’s family confirmed the news to HRANA, adding that the plaintiff in the case is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Unit and that the judge admitted into evidence Davari’s “notes on cyberspace” and his promotion of books “against the regime and the Islamic Revolution.”

Contrary to the judge’s implication, Davari contests that his notes only touched on such subjects as the Tehran-Yasouj plane crash, labor conditions, and the environmental conditions in his home province. The books in question, published by Davari with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Guidance, were about women’s rights, culture, and art.

Davari was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence forces on August 10, 2018. During his custody and until his August 27th release on a 200 million toman (approximately $20,000 USD) bond, he was denied medical care.

He was previously detained on March 5, 2018, for taking part in widespread popular protests in Iran. He was released ten days later on a 50 million toman (approximately $10,000 USD) bail.

Born in Dehdasht, about 90 miles west of Yasouj, Davari is a master’s student of political science who faced temporary detention on a prior occasion for pulling down a banner bearing the photo of late politician Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Journalist Motahereh Shafiei Walks away from Appeal with Suspended Sentence

Posted on: September 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The former sentence of Motahereh Shafiei, editor of the politics beat of the Arman newspaper in Iran, was appealed to a six-month suspended prison term Monday, September 17th, Ensaf News reports.

Shafiei was previously tried and sentenced to six months in prison, plus a two-year ban on both media-related and political activity, by Judge Salavati in Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

As of the date of this report, there are no details available on her charges or the reason behind her conviction. She is among a group of reformist journalists arrested in 2012 by the Ministry of Intelligence during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

Fars News Agency, an organization with close ties to the Iranian security establishment, reported in 2012 that these journalists were being investigated for “their contacts with foreign media.”