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.

Lawyers Issue Statement of Warning to Citizens and Judiciary Alike

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – A group of 39 Iranian lawyers have issued an apologia of the social issues that pushed thousands of citizens to protest this year, urging authorities to safeguard the right to rebellion all while warning protesters of their potential to invite blowback.

Judicial authorities have been quick to brandish heavy sentences, arrests, and capital punishment against the rising swell of citizens who have less and less to gain from passivity in the deepening recession. In an environment of dwindling tolerance on both sides, the lawyers asked Iranian authorities to keep their retaliatory instincts in check.

“The right for civil protest and assembly is rooted in the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly which have been asserted in the constitution and numerous international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the letter reads.

The lawyers’ letter lauds the initiative of strikers across sectors — from the generalized January protests (“against the conditions of the country’s economy and management”) to the strikes declared by truckers, factory workers, teachers, shopkeepers, university students, and farmers. The protests of Kurdish ethnic minorities in Iran’s border regions also figured in the lawyers’ letter.

Likewise, the letter’s authors validated strikers’ demands, including a more regulated cost of living, more affordable part prices for truckers, payment of back wages for factory workers, more liveable teacher salaries and the protection of public education, increased government efforts to mitigate symptoms of the recession, increased tolerance of student self-expression, and government intervention in regions suffering the effects of drought, i.e. Isfahan and Khuzestan provinces.

More “respect for the rights of protesters” is in order, the letter insists, adding that authorities are responsible for implementing “fairness, justice, and peace,” and for avoiding violent methods of engaging with citizen uprisings.

The letter ends by praising civil protests and social movements as the precursors to democracy and progress in Iran. While reiterating the demand that judicial and security authorities temper their responses to civic rumblings, it places an additional burden on Iran’s disaffected citizens: “we declare our solidarity and support for protesting social groups, and call on them to avoid violent methods.”

Signatories:

Mostafa Ahmadian
Maziar Tatiaei
Mosleh Ghorbani
Behrouz Nalbandi
Saleh Nikbakht
Keyvan Azizi
Sajjad Khosravi
Ayat Abbas
Esfandiar Abnoos
Osman Mozayen
Ehsan Hassanpour
Esmaeil Rahimi
Ali Sakeni
Amir Ahmadi
Esmaeil Salaripour
Arash Fattahi Boukani
Massoud Shamsnejad
Arash Rajabi Kermanshahi
Behrouz Vafadar
Shalir Fotoohi-Sara
Asrin Khaledi
Heydar Khodamoradi
Farman Jafari
Amir Salar Davoudi
Behzad Hakimizadeh
Arash Kamangar
Abdollatif Valadbeigi
Abdolbaset Pourzadi
Hassan Ranjbar
Halimeh Khezri
Keyvan Mamepour
Massoud Javadieh
Mohammad Mogheimi
Narmin Hosseinikhah
Shatav Mobtadi
Sadegh Saed Mouchesh
Fouad Motevasel
Koroush Heydari
Kaveh Alizadeh

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.

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.

Ahwazi Arab Protestors Arrested in Oil-Rich Khuzestan Province

Posted on: September 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Several Ahwazi Arab residents of Susangerd, Dasht-e Azadegan (in the province of Khuzestan, southwestern Iran) were detained by security forces and transferred to an unknown location on September 19, 2018 after reportedly chanting protests during a Shiite religious ceremony.

An informed source told HRANA that security forces responded to a number of protesters who were chanting slogans against the regime’s policies and economic failures during local mourning ceremonies in observance of Muharram. Two of the arrested individuals have been identified as Ahma Sovidi and Fayez Afravi. The identities of their comrades have yet to be confirmed.

According to HRANA’s annual report, between March 2017 and March 2018, 6883 people were arrested in Iran for political reasons or for expressing their beliefs. 1281 of these were individual arrests (i.e. independent of coordinated raids or the crackdown of unified protests).

These include 66 media users, 14 environmental activists, 222 adherents to religious minorities (in addition to the Dervishes arrested during the Tehran Golestan Haftom incident in February 2017), 114 women’s rights activists, and 60 workers and labour activists.

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.”

Appeals Court Fines Poet and Filmmaker in Connection with 2016 Instagram Post

Posted on: September 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Bektash Abtin, a poet, filmmaker, and former board member of the Iranian Writers Guild, was fined $1,200 USD (5 million IRR) on a charge of “propaganda against the regime” for a photo he posted on Instagram in 2016.

The above order is an appeal of his June sentencing, in Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj, to three months of forced labor in the State Welfare Office in addition to the 5 million IRR fine.

When police raided a memorial service at Imamzadeh Saleh shrine in Karaj in November 2016, Abtin snapped a photo of his comrade’s injuries and published it to Instagram. The service was intended to commemorate writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, victims of serial murders in December 1998 that were suspected to be the work of Iranian government operatives.

Security forces stormed the memorial service, which quickly devolved into a violent clash. In attempts to protect 75-year-old civilian Fatemeh Sarhadizadeh from harm, Mazdak Zarafshan sustained severe injuries to his face. Abtin, Zarafshan, and a number of fellow attendees–including Mohammad Mehdipour, Naser Zarafshan, and Reza Akvaniyan–were subsequently taken into custody.

(subphoto text: image of Mazdak Zarafshan after he was beaten by the security forces. Baktash Abtin published this image on his Instagram account.)

After his release, Abtin published photographic evidence of Zarafshan’s injuries to his social media account, inciting Karaj prosecutors to accuse him of “propaganda against the regime” and open up a case file against him.

This is not the first entry on Abtin’s rap sheet. Pursuant to a lawsuit from fellow writer and Writer’s Guild board member Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Abtin was previously charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “publishing an illegal journal”. At the time of Mahabadi’s accusations against him, security forces stormed both of their homes and confiscated their personal property.

In 2015, Abtin was interrogated for three consecutive days by intelligence officers, who reportedly drilled him about his films, his membership in the Iranian Writers Guild, and his participation in the 2009 post-election protests.

Bektash Abtin, born in 1974, is a poet and documentary filmmaker who in 2014 was elected along with four other colleagues to the board of the Iranian Writers Guild. He previously served as secretary of the Guild for one term and as officer of the Guild’s Managing Committee for two terms. In the 2018 Guild elections, he was elected as one of the group’s financial auditors. A number of his documentaries have been screened at international festivals, including “13 October 1937,” a documentary about Iranian musician and orchestra conductor Loris Cheknavarian; “Ansor,” a documentary about censorship; and “Homayun Khorram,” a documentary about the famed Iranian musician of that name. He has also published a number of poetry books, including “When My Foot Was Clubbed It Wrote ‘Let’s Go Back,”; “My Lashes Have Stitched My Eyes Shut”; “Sledgehammer”; “A Lonely Birth Certificate”; and “The Ancestor of my Inner Ape.”

A citizen arrested for blasphemy in Gilan Province

Posted on: June 8th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – The Cyber Police in Gilan Province has announced that an individual in the city of Rasht has been arrested for blasphemy posted on the Internet.  Gilan’s Cyber Police Chief has also reminded all citizens that blasphemy is a crime for which there are severe penalties defined by the lawmakers.

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