Three Days of Iran Protests Over Fuel Price Raise

Posted on: November 18th, 2019

Protests have erupted across Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it is rationing petrol and increasing its price. The protests took place across the country following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight of November 14, 2019, to cut petrol subsidies to raise funds for social assistance to the poor. Petrol price was increased to a minimum of 15,000 Rials per liter, 50% increase from the day before.

Nationwide protests in the last three days were in at least 48 cities such as: Ahvaz, Shooshtar, Dezful, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khorramshahr, Bandar Mahshahr, Rasht, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Khorramabad, Qom, Ilam, Karaj, Sanandaj, Dorud, Qazvin, Arak, Mahdi Shahr, Garmsar, Shahroud, Najafabad, Mariwan, Tehran, Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Saveh, Pasargadae, Qods (Qal’eh Hasan Khan), Varamin, Sari, Yasuj, Qaemshahr, Shahrekord, Malek Shahr, Parand, Damavand, Pol Dokhtar, Neyshabur, Sarepol Zahab, Kahnooj, Yazd, Bandar Bushehr, Bahmai, Shahriar, etc. They are still ongoing in several cities.

Peaceful demonstrations turned violent in Sanandaj, Mahshahr, and Shiraz, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing teargas at protesters and mobs setting fires. Several people were injured or killed in the first three days of protests as a result of the police’s direct shots. On November 17, 2019, students of Tehran University and Tabriz University protested inside the university. Shops at Tehran Grand Bazaar went on strike on November 17, 2019.

The protests started on November 15, 2019, and are still ongoing. The arrest of more than 1000 people across the country was confirmed. More than 150 banks and supermarkets were set on fire and a police officer was killed. Two Hawzas -a seminary where Shi’a Muslim clerics are educated- were set on fire in Shiraz and Kazerun. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 36 people were killed in Sirjan, Shiraz, Behbahan, Marivan, Khoramshahr, Isfahan, and Shahriar.

According to Fars News, protests were held in 100 cities and at least 100 banks and 57 supermarkets were set on fire. Based on this report, the number of protesters were 87400 from which 82200 are men and 5200 women. At least 1000 people were arrested. Yazd prosecutor confirmed the arrest of 40 people in the city of Yazd. Bam Prosecutor also confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the city of Bam. The prosecutor of Robat Karim confirmed the arrest of 34 protesters for vandalism. According to Mohammad Reza Amoui, Kermanshah’s chief of Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on November 16, Major Iraj Javaheri was killed fighting with protesters in Kermanshah. A journalist resided in Mariwan, Adnan Hasanpour, reported that security forces shot people directly and at least seven people were killed in Javanrud, one person was killed in Sanandaj, and several people were injured. According to unconfirmed reports, 15 of the killed people are identified as following:

Meisam Adgipour, Khaled Maniat, Ali Ghazlavy, Milad Hamidavi, Ali Boghlani, Hamzeh Savari, Mohammad Asafi Zargani, Ehsan Abdollahnejad, Mehdi Nikouei, Osman Naderi, Mehran Tak, Shahou Validi, Javad Nazari Fathabadi, Mehrdad Dashtizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati.

Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country. On November 16, 2019, by the approval of the National Security Supreme Council, the government has completely blocked Internet access in Iran to stymie protests. Due to the internet shut down and the lack of access to freelance reporters and citizen journalists, confirming news about demonstrations and deaths is difficult. It also caused difficulty for Iranian citizens to have access to news agencies websites. On Monday, November 18, schools are closed in 17 cities across Iran:

Shiraz, Kazerun, Alborz, Fereydun, Fereydun Shahr, Farsan, Kuhrang, Laran, Taleqan, Astara, and Najafabad. In addition, universities are closed in Shiraz.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed petrol price increases claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage and not ordinary people. According to Khabar Online, Mojtaba Zonnour, a parliament member representing Qom, is collecting parliament members signatures to impeach Ali Larijani, the head of parliament. He gathered 50 signatures so far. Mohammad Qasim Osmani, a parliament member representing Bukan, filed his resignation and added that he resigned to announce that he was not involved in this decision [raising petrol price]. Today, with respect to Ayatollah Khamenei’s views, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that the protesters will face harsh punishments. Reportedly, people received threatening text messages in Khuzestan and Karaj from the prosecutor’s offices of their province. People were warned about attending protests and not to disturb public order and facilitate the abuse of opposition groups.

Video reports of the first day protests:

Video reports of the second-day protests

Video reports of the third day of protests:

Tyranny on Prisoners of Conscience at Rajai Shahr

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- This past August, Rajai Shahr Prison authorities ordered the transfer of political prisoners to Ward 10, where prisoners’ already-tight rations on climate control, fresh air, and nutrition have reportedly been cut even slimmer.

It is a running suspicion that prison authorities seek to dismantle the political ward, breaking down these prisoners’ spirits so that they will be more amenable to being dispersed among different wards.

Ward 10 currently houses 18 prisoners charged with political and security-related crimes. Four more political prisoners are being held in lateral sections. Of these 22, seven are in need of medical care.

A cold chill is already creeping through the walls of the hillside prison, boding the incoming flu season from which political prisoners stand unprotected, a close source told HRANA. “The need for heating equipment is felt all across the prison, but on [Prison Head] Gholamreza Ziayi’s orders, the political prisoners can’t have access to heaters. While prisoners pay for heaters out of their own pockets, the director has forbidden their delivery or use in the political ward.” Prison authorities have reportedly even gone as far as banning heaters in common areas that political prisoners might flock to for refuge, i.e. the prison library, gym, or store.

A letter underlining the dire need for climate control addressed to Ziyai from a previous prosecution assistant responsible for overseeing prison affairs, did nothing to change his mind, the source said.

Political prisoners got the brunt of the opposite heat extreme this past summer when they were denied access to any form of a cooling system. While their repeated requests managed to obtain three refrigerators for the ward, Ziyai underlined that they would have access to more equipment and amenities if they requested to be transferred to different wards.

Political detainees have thus far held fast to regulations requiring prisoners charged with different offenses to be housed in separate wards. Their resistance against integrating with prisoners accused of petty theft, drug-related crimes, or violent offenses has contributed to continued daily frictions between authorities and their cohort.

Meanwhile, the assessment of food provided to these political prisoners is even more scathing than the Rajai Shahr usual. Sources say that prisoners eat vegetarian by default, limited to plain rice with soy or lentils at lunchtime. Though the dinner menu promises to be more substantial — bean or lentil stew, or Ash [a thick Iranian soup] — sources say that the dishes hardly live up to their names, and prisoners in the cohort are rarely, if ever, served produce.

Deprivation of fresh air is also being leveraged against them, sources say. The regular 2-to-5:30 recreation period previously enjoyed by political prisoners in mixed groups has been eliminated entirely since their transfer to Ward 10. “Fresh airtime has been denied [to them] on direct orders from Ziayi, despite the fact that the recreation area is empty between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”, an anonymous source said.

Warden and Internal Director Vali Ali Mohammadi has abdicated from addressing prisoners’ complaints, stating that he defers to the authority of Ziayi and his secretary/chauffeur. “In other words,” a source said, “the slightest request, like for food or stationary, has to pass by Ziayi and his secretary.”

Though seasoned in-group attrition tactics, authorities at Rajai Shahr have not shied away from more targeted brutality to get their point across. Multiple sources have reported aggressive body searches, harassment and verbal abuse of prisoners’ families, and the placement of arbitrary, extreme restrictions to wear down individual inmates. In one such instance, Supervising Prosecution Assistant Rostami placed a long-term prohibition on visits between Hassan Sadeghi and his imprisoned wife; in another, medical attention to the bone cancer and infected surgery site of Arash Sadeghi were repeatedly postponed and denied. Deprivations like Sadeghi’s may become more widespread: two weeks ago, an official prison order came into effect, invalidating all approved transfers of ailing prisoners to [outside] medical facilities.

The respective situations of a number of Rajai Shahr prisoners of conscience are compiled in the lists below

1. Majid Assadi, accused of assembly and collusion [against national security]. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 6 years. Anticipated release date: 2021. Has been incarcerated for two years without furlough.

2. Afshin Baimani, accused of Moharebeh [enmity against God] through cooperation with the MEK. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

3. Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, accused of being a MEK sympathizer, and of assembly and collusion against the regime. Arrested on 2016, sentenced to 11 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Has been incarcerated for two years without furlough.

4. Ebrahim Firouzi, accused of assembly and collusion and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 7 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

5. Abolghassem Fouladvand, accused of Moharebeh through supporting the MEK. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 15 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

6. Gol Mohammad Jonbeshi, accused of cooperation with the Taliban. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 3 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

7. Latif Hassani, accused of forming an illegal group to act against national security. Arrested in 2012, sentenced to 8 years. Anticipated release date: 2020.

8. Saeed Massouri, accused of Moharebeh through membership in the MEK. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

9. Mohammad Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri, accused of Moharebeh through support of the MEK. Arrested on 2007, sentenced to 22 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 11th year of incarceration without furlough.

10. Asghar Pashayi, accused of espionage. Arrested in 2008, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2018. Release pending his payment of a fine. Currently in 10th year of incarceration without furlough.

11. Farhang Pourmansouri, accused of hijacking a plane. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

12. Shahram Pourmansouri, accused of hijacking a plane. Arrested in 2000, sentenced to life. Currently in 18th year of incarceration without furlough.

13. Houshang Rezaei, accused of Moharabeh through membership in Komele [Kurdish opposition group]. Arrested in 2010, sentenced to death. Currently in 8th year of incarceration without furlough.

14. Arash Sadeghi, accused of propaganda against the regime, assembly and collusion, insulting the supreme leader, and disseminating lies. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 11.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

15. Hassan Sadeghi, accused of Moharebeh through cooperation with the MEK. Arrested in 2013, sentenced to 11.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2028. Currently in 5th year of incarceration without furlough.

16. Hamzeh Savari, accused of moharebeh and acting against national security. Arrested in 2005, sentenced to life. Currently in 13th year of incarceration without furlough.

17. Payam Shakiba, accused of assembly and collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 11 years. Anticipated release date: 2027. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

18. Saeed Shirzad, accused of assembly and collusion against national security, damaging prison property, and disrupting prison order. Arrested in 2014, sentenced to 6.5 years. Anticipated release date: 2020. Currently in 4th year of incarceration without furlough.

Baha’is incarcerated in Ward 11:

1. Vahed Kholousi, accused of assembly and collusion against national security, Baha’i membership, activism, and proselytizing, propaganda against the regime, and activism in defense of Baha’i student rights. Arrested in 2015, sentenced to 5 years. Anticipated release date: 2020. Currently in 3rd year of incarceration without furlough.

2. Afshin Seyyed Ahmad, accused of assembly and collusion and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2016, sentenced to 3 years. Anticipated release date: 2019. Currently in 2nd year of incarceration without furlough.

3. Farhad Fahandoj, accused of Baha’i proselytizing and involvement in Baha’i associations. Arrested in 2012, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2022. Currently in 6th year of incarceration without furlough.

4. Afif Naimi, accused of assembly and collusion, blasphemy, and propaganda against the regime. Arrested in 2008, sentenced to 10 years. Anticipated release date: 2018.

Ailing prisoners deprived of medical care:

1. Majid Assadi: gastrointestinal disease, duodenal ulcers
2. Shahram Pourmansouri: herniated disc, syringomyelia requiring immediate surgery (per doctor)
3. Mohammad Banazadeh Amir Khizi: joint pain
4. Hassan Sadeghi: joint pain
5. Aboulghassem Fouldadvand: arterial plaque requiring hospitalization (per doctor)
6. Arash Sadeghi: chondrosarcoma, surgical site infection in the right arm
7. Saeed Shirzad: herniated disk, lower back spasm

A Report on 9 Prisoners with Life Imprisonment Sentences

Posted on: December 17th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Seven political prisoners with a life sentence in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, have been held since 12 to 23 years ago without furlough in the prison.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), seven political prisoners, namely Mohammad Nazari, Karim Maroof Aziz, Omar Faghihpour, Khaled Fereidoni, Said Masouri, Afshin Baymany and Hamzeh Savari, respectively, have been held for 23, 20, 17, 16, 16, 16 and 12 years and have a total of 120 years of imprisonment. (more…)

The List of Male Prisoners with the Charge of Muharebeh and Life-Time Sentence

Posted on: September 4th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Prisoners who have been charged with Muharebeh according to the old Penal Code, would find the chance of a retrial, after the changes and may receive reduction in their sentences or be released. Currently there are tens of prisoners who have been sentenced to life-time prison on charge of Muharebeh, at least 26 of whom are the men. The following list is the second list of prisoners with the charge of Muharebeh.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), at least 26 male prisoners are sentenced to life-time prison on charge of Muharebeh in different prisons around the country. Due to the changes in the Islamic Penal Code in 2013, these prisoners may request for a retrial. Some might receive reduction in their sentences and some others who have served many years in prison may get released. (more…)

The Names of 32 Prisoners who Have Been Charged with Muharebeh

Posted on: May 30th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – More than 70 political prisoners are kept in Rajaei Shahr and Evin prisons who have been charged with Muharebeh. Considering the recent changes in the penal code, they need to be re-tried. After a re-trial most of these prisoners are expected to be released. HRANA published the names of 32 prisoners of these two prisons who have been charged with Muharebeh.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), considering the fact that article 186 has been superseded, political prisoners with the charge of Muharebeh need to be re-tried. Therefore the names of 32 prisoners who are imprisoned in Evin and Rajaei Shahr prisons on this charge are being published by HRANA. (more…)

Hamzeh Savari Transferred to a Hospital outside Prison

Posted on: January 7th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Hamzeh Savari, Political Prisoner in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, was sent to medical centers outside the prison.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Hamzeh Savari, political prisoner in hall 12 of Rajai Shahr prison was transferred to Sina hospital in Tehran on Sunday 4th January, for examination and treatment. (more…)