Political Prisoner Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb Sentenced to Imprisonment and Exile

Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb, a political prisoner held in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, has been sentenced to one year in prison and two years in exile in connection with a new case opened against him during his imprisonment.

Based on a verdict issued in absentia by Branch 1 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Seyed Musa Asef Al-Hosseini, and recently communicated to Mr. Ahmadi Ragheb in Ghezel Hesar Prison, he has been sentenced to one year in prison and two years of exile in Qeydar, located in Zanjan province, on charges of “propaganda against the regime.”
A source close to the family of this political prisoner confirmed to HRANA: “Mr. Ahmadi Ragheb was recently transferred to solitary confinement and, upon returning to the public ward last week, was notified of the new sentence. This case was initiated during his imprisonment following a complaint by Ghezel Hesar Prison officials against him.”

Ahmadi Ragheb’s arrest took place in March 2023, leading to his incarceration in Evin Prison. In May 2023, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran imposed a five-year and eight-month prison sentence along with additional penalties. Notably, five years of this term are currently enforceable.

In September of the same year, he, along with several other political prisoners, was transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison. Ahmadi Ragheb has a history of previous convictions and imprisonments due to his commitment to peaceful activism.

Prisoners Deprived of Water Access in Ghezel Hesar Prison

For the past twenty days, prisoners in Ghezel (Qezel) Hesar Prison in Karaj have faced significant issues with accessing clean water. During this period, the inmates have only had access to safe drinking water for seven hours a day, putting their health at serious risk. The prison officials’ failure to promptly address this health issue could lead to the outbreak and spread of various diseases.

For several days, prisoners in this prison have experienced frequent water outages. This situation has further endangered the health of the inmates. On Wednesday, July 10, the family of one prisoner confirmed this issue in a call with HRANA, stating: “For about twenty days, prisoners’ access to clean water has been limited. Every day from 5 to 8 AM, 1:30 to 3:30 PM, and 9 to 11 PM, tap water is available to the prisoners. However, even during these hours, the water pressure is very low.”

According to information received by HRANA, the frequent water outages in recent days have prevented prisoners from regularly using the showers. Additionally, the lack of water has made it difficult for prisoners to use the restrooms. Given the hot season and the absence of water, the prison’s sanitary facilities are kept in a very dirty condition, further endangering the prisoners’ health.

Family members of another prisoner told HRANA: “The frequent water outages on these warm days are causing the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, skin diseases, and other illnesses in the prison. A water tank has been set up for use during water outages, but it is only suitable for washing hands and faces. Prisoners who can afford it are forced to buy water from the prison shop at high prices, but not all prisoners have the financial means to do so.”

HRANA had previously reported on frequent water outages in The Central Prison of Karaj as well.

It is worth mentioning that imprisonment, defined as the restraint of a person’s liberty against their will, should not infringe on human dignity. Prisoners’ access to adequate food and water, healthcare, and legal advisers is affirmed in both domestic laws and international regulations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The conditions of the prisoners in Ghezel Hesar Prison, which endanger their health and fail to meet their basic needs, are repeated violations of domestic and international laws.

Baha’i Citizen Payam Vali Receives One Year in Prison and Other Punishments

Payam Vali, a Baha’i citizen, has been sentenced by the Karaj Revolutionary Court to one year in prison, a two-year travel ban, and a ban on social media use in relation to a case opened against him during his imprisonment. He is currently serving a previous sentence in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj.

Based on a verdict issued on Saturday, June 29, 2024, by Branch 3 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Narimani, Vali was sentenced to one year in prison, a two-year travel ban, and a ban on social media use for the charge of “propaganda against the regime.”

The hearing for Vali’s charges was held on June 8 this year in the aforementioned branch.

A close associate of Vali told HRANA, “Publishing an open letter from prison was cited as evidence for the charges against him.” In this letter, Vali protested his illegal detention and the charges against him, and copies were sent to several political and judicial leaders of the Islamic Republic.

Vali’s arrest took place on September 24, 2022, when security forces apprehended him at his residence in Karaj and conducted a search of his house. Subsequently, he was detained in Rajai Shahr Prison before being relocated to Ghezel Hesar Prison.

In early February of the same year, Vali was sentenced by Branch 1 of the Alborz Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Seyed Mousa Asef Hosseini, to ten years in prison for “collaborating with hostile governments,” five years for “inciting people to war and killing each other,” one year for “propaganda against the regime,” with credit for time served, and additional punishments including a two-year travel ban post-imprisonment and two years of compulsory residence in Yasuj with weekly reporting to the Revolutionary Court.

Finally, on May 10, 2023, his sentence was reduced by the Alborz Court of Appeals to nine years and nine months in prison. Under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe punishment, six years in prison, will be enforced. Vali’s request for a retrial was denied by the Supreme Court in early January 2024.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Overview of Political Prisoner Reza Mohammad-Hosseini’s Legal Situation in Ghezel Hesar Prison

Political prisoner Reza Mohammad-Hosseini is currently incarcerated in Ghezel Hesar Prison and has been prohibited from making phone calls to his family since May 10.

The cause of this restriction remains unclear, though it may relate to his recently published audio message. In this recording, he disclosed that the IRGC forces barred him from authorizing his brother to manage exclusive inheritance affairs.

Mohammad-Hosseini was initially detained by security forces at his home on May 1, 2023, and held in Detention A-1, under IRGC Intelligence’s jurisdiction. After a period, he was relocated to the quarantine section of Evin Prison and subsequently moved to Ghezel Hesar Prison upon his indictment.

In January 2024, the Tehran Appellate Court convicted him on multiple charges, resulting in a total sentence of 14 years and six months. He received six years and three months for “membership in anti-regime groups to undermine national security,” the same term for “assembly and collusion against national security,” one year for “spreading propaganda against the regime,” property confiscation on charges of “illegal acquisition of property,” and an additional year for “defying government officers on duty.”

 

Reza Khazaie Attacked in Ghezel Hesar Prison After Exposing Conditions

Reza Khazaie, an inmate at Ghezel Hesar Prison, was physically attacked by prison guards and placed in solitary confinement as punitive action today, May 30.

This incident followed the recent dissemination of a video by a group of inmates, including Khazaie, detailing the prison’s harsh conditions. HRANA received and published this video yesterday, in which inmates highlighted severe issues such as frequent executions and widespread violence and abuse against prisoners at Ghezel Hesar.

Khazaie is currently serving a 30-year sentence for drug-related offenses.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

 

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Four Death-Row Inmates Facing Imminent Execution for Drug Offenses in Urmia Prison

Today, May 7, 2024, officials at Urmia Prison moved four inmates, all convicted on drug-related charges, into solitary confinement, signaling that their executions may be imminent. Efforts are underway by HRANA to confirm their identities.

Additionally, two death-row inmates at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, sentenced for murder and drug-related offenses, have been similarly placed in solitary confinement.

According to HRANA, in 2023, approximately 66% of execution reports were neither officially announced by judicial authorities nor covered by domestic media in Iran, underscoring a significant transparency issue in the judicial process.

Two Inmates Executed for Murder in Karaj and Qom

Two inmates, both convicted of murder, were executed in separate incidents at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj and Qom Prison, according to recent reports.

The Iran Human Rights Organization reported that on May 5, 2024, an inmate named Ali-Asghar Fallah, approximately 35 years old, was executed at Qom Prison.

Furthermore, Javan Online reported the execution of another inmate, identified only by his first name, Keyvan, on May 1 at Ghezel Hesar Prison. Keyvan was found guilty of a murder committed in Tehran seven years earlier. Alongside him, another inmate sentenced to death for murder, identified by his first name as Farzad, was also scheduled to be executed. However, Farzad received clemency from the family of the victim and was not executed.

In 2023, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered the execution of 767 individuals. Out of these, 7 were carried out in public. Among the executed individuals whose genders were identified, 21 were female. Additionally, 2 juvenile offenders, defined as individuals under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crimes, were also executed. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s annual report.

Update on Execution of Five Inmates in Ghezel Hesar Prison

On May 1, 2024, Sunni prisoner Anvar Khezri and four other inmates were executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj.

As previously reported by HRANA, Khezri had been in prison for over 14 years. The other inmates executed include Farzad Geravand and Majid Barati, both convicted of drug offenses, and Reza Shir-Zahi and Majid Hajbari, both convicted of murder.

No official sources or domestic media outlets have reported on these executions at the time of writing. The lack of official information raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Execution of Sunni Prisoner Anvar Khezri in Ghezel Hesar Prison

On May 1, 2024, Anvar Khezri, a death-row Sunni prisoner, was executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj after spending over fourteen years imprisonment.

A source close to his family confirmed the execution and noted that Khezri’s family is traveling to Mahabad for the funeral.

In the same legal case, four other Sunni prisoners—Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, and Farhad Salimi—had been previously executed in the same prison.

The case dates back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January and February 2010, Khezri and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection to the assassination.

Khezri faced multiple charges during his detention, including enmity against God (Moharebeh), allegedly for sympathizing with Salafism—a charge he consistently denied. After spending fourteen months without resolution, Khezri was moved to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, where he stayed until his transfer to Ghezel Hesar Prison in August of the same year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the same court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Khezri and six other defendants. This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for Khezri and his co-defendants.

Two Inmates Executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison for Drug Offenses

On May 1, 2024, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj executed two inmates convicted of drug-related crimes.

The individuals were identified as Farzad Geravand and Majid Barati. HRANA reported on April 28 that the inmates had been moved to solitary confinement in preparation for their execution.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.