Mostafa Mohebi Commences His Three-Year Sentence in Rudsar Prison

Mostafa Mohebi (also spelled as Mohebbi) has begun serving his three-year prison term in Rudsar Prison. His arrest dates back to the nationwide protests in 2022, also known as the Mahsa Amini Protests.

According to a source close to his family who spoke with HRANA, Mohebi was convicted by the Revolutionary Court on charges of “acting against national security,” leading to a three-year sentence. On August 28, 2023, he commenced his sentence in Rudsar Prison.

Mohebi was apprehended by security forces in January 2023 and subsequently incarcerated in Lakan Prison, Rasht, on February 3.

A 35-year-old computer engineer and Langarud resident in Gilan Province, Mohebi’s case continues to garner attention in the ongoing discourse on civil rights and freedom of expression in Iran.

Background on the 2022 Nationwide Protests

The arrest of Mahsa Amini by Tehran Morality Police for her improper hijab and her suspicious death on September 16 sparked protests sweeping across Iran. Protesters came to the streets with the central slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in protest against the performance, laws, and structure of the regime. During the nationwide protests, thousands of people, including journalists, artists, lawyers, teachers, students, and civil rights activists, were arrested.

 

Additional Four Individuals Detained in Gilan Province

In a recent development on Wednesday, August 16, security forces apprehended Shiva Shah Siah, Vahedeh Khoshsirat, Hooman Taheri, and Sara Jahani in Gilan Province.

This event follows HRANA’s report of the arrest of seven women’s rights activists on the same day within the province.

Khoshsirat and Shah Siah, both advocates for women’s rights, were taken into custody in Lahijan. Meanwhile, Mr. Taheri and Mrs. Jahani were apprehended separately in Rasht.

The precise reasons underlying their detentions, their current locations, and the specific charges brought against them all remain undisclosed at this juncture.

Baha’i Couple’s Sentence Upheld by Court of Appeals

The Gilan Province Court of Appeals has maintained the prison sentence for the Baha’i couple, Vesal Momtazi and Anisa Samieian.

Originally sentenced by the Rasht Revolutionary Court, Momtazi and Samieian received a combined term of nine years and six months. Mrs. Samieian’s sentence encompasses three years and six months for “engaging in educational activities and propaganda against Sharia law,” in addition to seven months and 16 days for “propaganda against the regime.” Meanwhile, Mr. Momtazi has received seven months and 16 days for “propaganda against the regime,” along with one year and three months for “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” and three years and six months for “insulting Sharia law.” He is also facing a fine of 38 million tomans. Both individuals are further subjected to social restrictions lasting a decade.

Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code dictates that each of them will serve three years and six months in prison.

According to an HRANA source close to the family, more than 50 individuals, including friends, colleagues, art students, and their parents, compiled an affidavit attesting to the couple’s adherence to the law. Regrettably, this affirmation was not permitted for presentation during the appellate court proceedings.

On November 4, 2022, security forces searched their residence, resulting in their apprehension. Following his arrest on December 6, 2022, Momtazi was granted bail. Samieian, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest, secured her release on bail after undergoing two interrogation sessions. It’s noteworthy that this Baha’i couple is responsible for the care of two young sons, aged five and about four months.

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.

 

Seven Arrested for Inciting Public Dancing in Rasht

In Rasht, Gilan Province, seven individuals were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location for allegedly inciting public dancing and propaganda against the regime.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Khabar Online, seven people were arrested in Rasht.

The detainees were apprehended for allegedly inviting and encouraging people to dance in public, removing hijab, and engaging in immodesty.
Khabar Online did not mention the identities of these detainees and the location of their detention.”

Poet Sara Mottaghi Arrested in Rasht

On February 28, 2023, poet Sara Mottaghi was arrested and jailed in Lakan Prison in Rasht.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on February 28, 2023, Sara Mottaghi, age 26, was arrested in Rasht, Gilan Province.

An informed source told HRANA, “Mottaghi was summoned to the Investigation office of Rasht Courthouse, arrested and taken to Lakan Prison.”

“She was summoned for writing about the commemoration of ancient Iranian day of women (Sepandarmazgan), which was deemed by the Ministry of Intelligence insulting to Twelve Imams of Shia Islam,” the source added.

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Rapper Emad Ghavidel Arrested

On October 26, security forces arrested social rap singer Emad Ghavidel in Rasht, Gilan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on October 26, rapper Emad Ghavidel was arrested at his workplace in Rasht.

The reason for his arrest and whereabouts are still unknown.

According to the latest available data gathered by HRANA, about 14000 people have been arrested during the nationwide protests. For more details and statistics on the nationwide protest across Iran, read HRANA’s comprehensive report here.

100 People Arrested; 85 Businesses Closed for Breaking Ramadan Rules

Deputy Police Chief of Gilan Province announced that so far, since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, they have shut down 85 shops and arrested 100 people for breaking the mandatory fasting rules, namely serving food, eating, and drinking in public. Also, 1500 citizens have received warning notices for breaking these rules.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mehr News Agency, Deputy Police Chief of Gilan reported the indictment of175 businesses and the arrest of 100 people for breaking the Ramadan fasting rules.

According to the Deputy Police Chief, “During this time, more than 85 businesses have been closed and 1000 individuals who were eating and drinking in public received warning from the authorities, of which 400 people were forced to sign a  commitment letter attesting to not to breaking the Ramadan rules.” 

Earlier, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri, Prosecutor-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a letter asked the commander chief of police for preventive measures against those who break the rules of Ramadan and do not respect Sharia laws.

Eating and drinking during the month of Ramadan have not been explicitly criminalized in Iranian laws. Based on Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code, committing an act that the Islamic jurisprudence considers Haram (forbidden) can be subject to a penalty of either ten days to two months imprisonment or flogging of up to 74 lashes.

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place this week in Iran, many of which were continuations of ongoing movements.  Read our recap below for details, photos, and videos from the demonstrations.

 

Friday, October 15

In Isfahan, a number of farmers assembled at the office of parliament member Hossein Mirzaie to protest the mismanagement in addressing water shortage. In response to the member of parliament (MP) who had recommended rain praying as the only solution, these farmers asked him to pray.

“We are waiting for the MP to come here and do rain prayer,” the farmers stated. “We go here on sit-down strike until it rains.”

 

A number of construction workers for a project to build a freeway tunnel from Manjil to Rasht City went on strike to protest against their employer who broke his promise regarding paying delayed wages. According to the workers, after fifteen days, the employer has yet to fulfill his promise to pay four months of unpaid wages.

About 800 workers working on the Shafa Rud dam in Gilan Province additionally went on strike last Friday to ask for the payment of their wages, which are seven months delayed.

“Since last year, I have been trying to address their issues,” Hassan Muhammad Yari , the MP of Talesh City, stated in Parliament. “Many times, I gave speeches in the parliament; however, so far there has been no one to listen. Therefore, these workers went on strike to reach their demands and I will join them from next week.”

Saturday, October 16

A group of workers of Ahvaz municipality protested on Saturday, first in front of the parliament building in Tehran and then at the office of the president. Reportedly, 69 recently-temporarily-laid-off workers of Ahvaz Municipality demanded to return to work. The workers have not been paid for the last six months and are facing a four month suspension from work.

Sunday, October 17

Workers of the Tehran Bus Company, along with the stakeholder of the housing cooperative of this company, assembled in front of the judiciary building in Tehran. The housing cooperative set up Sepidar construction projects 2 and 3 aiming to provide these bus drivers with housing, but 10 years after its introduction the project remains unfinished.

A number of people who have lost money to Cryptoland, a cryptocurrency exchange, assembled in front of the parliament building and demanded the return of their money

A number of retirees of the pension fund of the steel corporation Fulad assembled in front of the building of this corporation in Isfahan. They asked for the improvement of their pension funds in proportion with the poverty line, closing the gap in pension incomes and addressing issues in regard to supplementary insurance.

Bus and minibus drivers working in the transport service of Southern Pars assembled and protested against low wages in comparison to increasing transportation costs.

Monday, October 18

Some personnel of Ahvaz Water and Wastewater Company assembled in front of the company building to protest the upcoming merger with Khuzestan Water and Water Waste company, among other issues. They said that the merger would worsen the financial situation of the company and the quality of their service as happened after the merger of with rural Water & Wastewater Company with its counterpart in the province.

Tuesday, October 19

A number of citizens assembled in front of the parliament building to protest against unfair family laws especially “Mehrieh”, which relates to the certain amount of money or possession paid by the groom before marriage or later at any time on request of the bride.

A group of workers working in ShafaRud dam assembled in on company property in Rezvanshahr City. These workers have not been paid for seven months and more than 700 workers have been laid off due to the shutdown of the project.

A number of workers of Haft-Tappeh Company assembled and protested on company property. They have been on strike for 23 days. These workers demand payment of their delayed wages, an immediate return of the company from the private sector to public, the return of laid off workers to work, extension of the contracts of both seasonal workers and workers of the pest control department, and the carrying out of repair operations.

 

The workers of Hadid Mobtakeran Company assembled and protested unpaid wages, which have been delayed by two months. 

 

A number of customers of Azvico company (Azarbaijan Vehicle Industry), who had pre-purchased cars protested in front of the building of Economic Crimes Court in Tehran. These citizens have not yet received their purchased car after three years.

 

A group of people, who lost their investment in the Aftab Project, assembled in front of Rey City Court.

 

A group of poultry farmers assembled in front of the building of the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad in Tehran in protest of high incubator costs and government-imposed fixed prices.

A group of people who have not yet received their pre-ordered cars after several years from Persian Khodro Company, Ramak Khodro Company, Seyf Khodro Company, and Karma Company protested on Tuesday.

 

Workers of the private companies which are working as contractors for Bushehr Petrochemical Company went on strike once again. They demanded increased wages, changing shift-work schedule to 20 days work, 10 days off, improvement of worker accommodations and food. It is worth mentioning that since June 19, these workers have launched a campaign to call all oil industry workers to join the strike.

Wednesday, October 20

A number of depositors of Caspian, a finance and credit institution, assembled in front of the building of the Liquidation Board in Tehran. They said that after six years, this finance institution refuses to return their investments. 

“Today we assembled in front of the building of Liquidation Board,” one of the participants in this protest commented. “Once they did not respond, we went inside and they cut off the power of the building to force us to leave.”

Thursday, October 21

A number of workers for a garment factory Sabalan assembled in front of the governorate building in Ardabil to demand their unpaid wages, which have not been paid for three months. These workers say that while the company spends a lot of money on erecting pavilions, building restaurants in company premises, other expenses for tourist attractions, and paying some former politicians apparently as Consultants or board members, they do not pay workers’ wages.

A group of women’s rights activists and other citizens assembled at the Faezeh Maleki-Nia’s burial place in Dolat-Abad village to ask for the repeal of discrimanatory laws against women. On Sunday, October 3, 22-year-old Faezeh Maleki was burned to death by her father in Sanandaj City.

Activist and Teacher Aziz Ghasemzadeh Still Incommunicado in Detention

After eight days, teacher and union activist Aziz Ghasemzadeh is still  incommunicado in a detention facility of the intelligence office in Rudsar County in Gilan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ghasemzadeh has so far been denied access to a lawyer, phone calls and in-person visits.

On September 26 this year, security forces arrested the educator at his parents’ home in Rudsar. During the arrest, security forces inspected the house and confiscated several of Ghasemzadeh’s personal belongings.

The arrest took place the day after working and retired teachers held protests in 36 cities across the country, which were organized by the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations.

According to HRANA, Ghasemzadeh is still being denied access to his lawyer and his temporary detention period has been extended. As of this writing, the charges against him are unknown.

 

 

79 Citizens Arrested for Promoting Emergence of a New Mysticism in Gilan Province

Maleki, the commander of the Gilan police force, recently announced the arrest of 79 citizens in one of the province’s forests.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the citizens were arrested for what Maleki called “promoting emerging mysticism”.

“79 members of a tourist tour, including 27 women and 52 men, were arrested on charges of promoting false mysticism by holding superstitious rituals in the unsafe environment of a remote forest area,” he said.

Intrusion into citizens’ privacy and interference in their personal affairs are among the criticisms leveled at Iran’s judicial and disciplinary system.

“After receiving news about individuals who use cyberspace trying to propagate and promote emerging false mysticism through fraud,” Maleki continued, “receiving money, and setting up illegal tourist tours by holding superstitious rituals, the investigation of the issue was put on the agenda of the police.”