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.

Hashem Khastar’s Supporters Released from Custody

Posted on: November 7th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Twelve individuals demonstrating their support of Hashem Khastar outside Ibn Sina Hospital in Mashhad were reportedly released a few hours after being taken into custody on Monday, November 5th, a close source said.

By arresting the demonstrators, intelligence agents were intercepting their protest of an increasingly curious hostage situation: Iranian authorities have kept Khastar cloistered in the hospital’s psychiatric ward since arresting him for unknown reasons on October 23rd.

Khastar’s detention caused a stir among his family members and fellow activists, eventually inspiring a social-media call for his supporters to gather outside Ibn Sina.

After arresting the 12 would-be protestors, a close source told HRANA, intelligence agents attempted to get their signatures on a set of legal documents, which they refused. “The intelligence officers then negotiated with Mr. Khastar’s wife,” the source continued. “Finally, promising that Mr. Khastar’s situation would be clarified within the next 24 hours, they released all 12 [of them].”

Khastar’s spouse Sadigeh Maleki Fard, his children Jahed and Ahmad Khastar, and his fellow teachers Hadi Lotfinia and Mohammad Yazdi were among those detained.

It has now been 14 days since the IRGC snatched the retired teacher and union activist from his home, sending him by ambulance into psychiatric “care” despite his clean bill of mental health. A source previously pointed HRANA to the circumstances of his arrest: “…His unlocked car and all its contents were abandoned in front of the gate to his orchard.”

A recent arrest during silent teacher protests on June 21, 2018, landed Khastar, 65, in a Security Police detention center on Abbas Abad (formerly Vozara) street. 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, then arrested again later for refusing to pay the fine.

Authorities Quash Show of Support for Sequestered Teacher Hashem Khastar

Posted on: November 7th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- The wife, children, and colleagues of teachers’ union activist Hashem Khastar, 65, who was forcibly hospitalized on October 23, 2018, in Mashhad, were detained by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on Monday, November 5th.

More than 10 of Khastar’s supporters were arrested while convening in front of Ebn-Sina hospital, where Khastar remains detained in the psychiatric ward despite having no history of mental illness. They have been transferred to the Intelligence Bureau of Mashhad.

HRANA has thus far been able to confirm the identities of five arrestees: Sadigheh Maleki Fard (Khastar’s wife), Jahed Khastar and Ahmad Khastar (Khastar’s sons), and colleagues “Mr. Lotfinia” and “Mr. Yazdi.”

According to a close source, authorities were quick to head off their show of solidarity. “Security agents were already present at the hospital prior to the protesters’ arrival and had blocked the roads leading up to it. Khastar’s family were arrested as soon as they arrived. Several other individuals — teachers and colleagues of Mr. Khastar — were arrested throughout the day until 5:30 PM.”

Arrestees were reportedly booked at the police station before being handed over to Ministry of Intelligence custody.

Mashhad is the capital of Razavi Khorasan province, located in Iran’s northeast.

Teacher Activist of Sound Mind Sequestered in Psych Ward

Posted on: October 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Retired teacher and current teacher’s union member Hashem Khastar, who has no history of mental illness, was arrested in front of his garden on the evening of Tuesday, October 23rd and dispatched by ambulance to Mashhad’s Ibn Sina Hospital Psychiatric Ward.

Khastar’s family were suspicious and worried, a close source said, when they came home Tuesday to find his car unlocked in front of the house. On a Wednesday phone call — his first contact with his family since the arrest — Khastar said that the Intelligence Unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had arrested and admitted him to the hospital for reasons they wouldn’t disclose.

According to the source, Khastar’s family were initially forbidden by security agents from visiting him in the ward but were more recently able to obtain that permission through coordination with authorities. Khastar — who declared hunger strike earlier today, October 25th, demanding to see his wife — explained during her visit the details of his arrest: “They brought some articles of my clothing into the ambulance, took me straight to the hospital, and put shackles on my feet.”

It is rumored that this puzzling detainment was ordered by the prosecutor’s office. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on the reasons behind Khastar’s arrest.

A recent arrest during silent teacher protests on June 21, 2018, landed Khastar, 65, in a Security Police detention center on Abbas Abad (formerly Vozara) street. 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, then arrested again later for refusing to pay the fine.

Mashhad is the capital of Razavi Khorasan province, located in Iran’s northeast.

An Academic Year of Teacher Crackdowns

Posted on: September 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Iranian authorities have tightened their grip on union activities in recent years, and teacher union activists are far from the exception. Indeed, if representatives of various industries have been met with blowback for organizing in defense of their colleagues’ collective rights, a retrospective of crackdowns in the education field gives reason to believe that authorities reserve particular vitriol for the nation’s educators.

So far this year, Iranian teachers and educator-activists have been arrested by security agents, brought to court under various allegations, issued lengthy prison sentences, flogged, and exiled. On this turning of Iran’s new academic year, HRANA looks back at the cases of several teachers who were persecuted by authorities this year.

Mohammad Habibi: Union Activist, Member of the Teachers’ Union Association Board of Directors in Tehran Province

On May 10, 2018, the Council for Coordination of Teaching Syndicates urged teachers, be they retired or employed, to assemble in protest across the country. In Tehran, several of those who responded to the call were beaten and arrested and five days later Habibi was transferred to Great Tehran Penitentiary; all but Habibi were released on bail.

Now, Habibi’s case—which recently inspired more than 1400 civil and union activists to write to Iran’s Supreme leader demanding that he receive medical treatment—will be reviewed in Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court, presided by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar. Habibi’s attorney Hossein Taj told a correspondent from the state-run news agency IRNA on Monday, September 17th that a date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Cumulatively, his charges would carry a sentence of ten years: seven and a half years for “National-Security Related Crimes”, 18 months for “Propaganda against the Regime”, and another 18 months for “Disrupting Public Order.” In addition to prison terms, he was dealt a two-year ban from political and civic activities, a two-year travel ban, and 74 lashings.

Habibi suffers from chest pain and throat and lung infections secondary to assault wounds inflicted by authorities during his arrest, yet continues to be denied medical treatment. On the one occasion his medical leave was granted, according to HRANA reports, the receiving hospital dismissed him without treatment, sending him back to Evin Prison’s Ward 4 on Monday, September 3, 2018, where he has remained since.

Habibi’s case–particularly his compromised medical condition–recently drew the support of teacher organizations abroad. In a letter addressed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the French trade unions SFDT, SGT, FSO, Solidaires, and UNSA held the Supreme Leader accountable for Habibi’s fate, and called his imprisonment a violation of both human rights and the fundamental freedoms of syndicates. In May 2018, General Secretary of Education International (EI) David Edwards vehemently denounced Habibi’s arrest and detention, demanding his immediate release in a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

The Teachers’ Union Association of the Province of Tehran has publicly condemned the recent persecution of union advocates, also demanding that the necessary steps be taken for Habibi’s immediate release.

Habibi was arrested at his workplace on March 3, 2018 and jailed for 44 days in Evin Prison. On April 15, 2018, he was released on a bail of approximately $20000 USD (2.5 Billion Rials) pending his trial the following August.

A letter from Habibi’s HR office confirmed he is no longer receiving his salary.

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi: Former Spokesman of the Teachers’ Union Association

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, former spokesman of the Teachers’ Union Association, has been persistently following up on his requests for conditional release, having already served half of the five-year sentence he began September 6, 2015 in Evin. Authorities have thus far been unresponsive.

According to his wife Adineh Beigi, Langroodi started his teaching career in 1983 and remained an hourly employee for the first seven years, suspended in the recruitment process due to his allegedly oppositional intellectual leanings. In the genesis of the Teachers’ Union Association in the early 2000s, he was one of the first to join its board of directors, and was elected general secretary for two terms. He has also served on the board as an inspector and spokesman.

Langroodi had been sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison for three separate cases tried in revolutionary courts, all presided by judges known as “Salavati and Moghiseh.” In April 8, 2017, with the application of article 134, which limits defendants of multiple charges to the single heaviest among their sentences, his 14-year prison sentence was reduced to five years. Now, having served two third of his prison term, his family awaits his release.

On July 2, 2018, Langroodi went on hunger strike to protest the continued mistreatment of political prisoners, and wrote an open letter imputing the eventual consequences of his hunger strike on those who had put him behind bars, particularly the judges and prosecutor’s office.

On July 16th of this year, the Teachers’ Union Association of Tehran Province issued a statement condemning the judiciary’s disregard of the law, and criticizing the assistant prosecutor in charge of Evin Prison for negligence. The letter validated the demands of Beheshti and his fellow imprisoned teachers, urging them to cease their hunger strike.

Moved by his comrades’ letter and concerned about his declining health, Beheshti ended his hunger strike after 14 days.

Langaroudi has been summoned, interrogated, arrested, and detained several times during the past few years for his peaceful trade union activities.

Esmaeil Abdi: General Secretary of the Teachers’ Union Association

Esmail Abdi, former secretary general of the Teachers’ Union Association, is serving a 6-year sentence in Evin Prison.

A former teacher of mathematics, Abdi was arrested by security forces June 27, 2015 and sentenced February 2016 by Judge Salavati in Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court on charges of “Propaganda against the Regime” and “Assembling and Colluding against National Security.”

On May 14, 2016, after serving 11 months, he was released on bail until his trial the following October, when Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld his six-year prison sentence. He has been in Ward 8 of Evin prison since being arrested in his home by security forces on November 9, 2016.

Under Article 134, Abdi’s sentence should be limited to the heaviest one of his multiple sentences, and thus should not exceed five years. It remains to be seen if the judiciary will uphold Article 134 in his case.

Over the course of Abdi’s imprisonment, several groups have spoken out against his treatment by the judicial system and pleaded for his release, including the Syndicate of United Bus Company Workers of Greater Tehran (known as ‘Sandicaye Sherkat Vahed’), the International Education Organization, the Iran Teachers’ Organization, a number of individual labor and union activists, the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations, the Kurdish Teachers’ Association, and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

In April 24, 2018, Esmail Abdi staged a 23-day hunger strike to protest the “widespread violation of teachers’ and workers’ rights in Iran.” Amnesty International was prompted by the urgency of his hunger strike to issue their own demand for Abdi’s release on April 28, 2018.

Abdi had previously gone on hunger strike one year earlier in protest of his trial proceedings, the judiciary’s lack of autonomy, and the continued unlawful repression of teachers and labors union activists. More than a month into the strike he was transferred to a hospital and began eating again on June 7th at the requests of his family and the Teacher’s Union Association.

Abdi was the 2018 recipient of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) Solidarity Award at its annual conference in Birmingham, England.

Mohammad Sani, a Teacher of Exceptional Schools in Southern Iran

Mohammad Sani, a teacher from Bushehr, southern Iran, was sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashings for his union activities, which landed him a conviction of “spreading misinformation and disturbing public opinion” this past August. He is currently waiting for the Enforcement Department to deliver his summons and begin his prison time.

An informed source previously told HRANA that Sani’s charge is related to the widespread teacher protests in 2015, which prompted the County Governorate of Dashtestan, Bushehr province to open a case against the protestors. “When Mr. Sani responded to the county governor’s insults to the teachers at the sit in, they opened a case on him,” the source said.

In October 2015, Iranian teachers staged peaceful protests across the country, demanding the release of their imprisoned colleagues, the fulfillment of union requests, and public consideration for the threatened livelihoods of educators.

Ruhollah Mardani: Teacher and Tehran University Student

In Ward 4 of Evin Prison, Ruhollah Mardani is currently serving a sentence of six years, plus a two-year ban on typical citizen rights including travel.

Mardani was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison on February 17, 2018 for his participation in the widespread January protests one month earlier. His initial court hearing, which convened in June of this year, convicted him on charges of “Propaganda against the regime” and “Gathering and collusion aimed at disrupting national security.”

Mardani started a hunger strike April 24th 2017 to protest his detainment and stalled court proceedings while in prison. When authorities promised to accelerate their investigation of his case on May 21st, he began eating again after twenty seven consecutive days of strike.

An informed source previously told HRANA that the Education Security Office cut off his salary in the first month of his arrest, arguing that he could not be paid during his detention. “His job security is under threat right now,” the source said.

Mardani was working as a consultant teacher in region 4 of Karaj while studying at Tehran University.

Bakhtiar Arefi: Teacher in Sardasht, northwestern Iran

Bakhtiar Arefi began serving his 18-month prison sentence on Tuesday July 24, 2018 in Mahabad Prison. He was arrested January 25, 2015 for non-union reasons including “Membership in a Reformist Organization” and released on bail after one month.

Shortly thereafter in Revolutionary Court on February 25, 2017, Arefi was sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence was upheld in Branch 40 of Supreme Court, only to be later reduced to eighteen months in Branch 13 of Urmia Appeals Court on October 30, 2017, via application of Article 18 of Islamic Penal Code. If he serves his sentence as indicated, he will be released December 23, 2019.

Iranian teachers who have faced judicial persecution along with their unionist colleagues include Mokhtar Asadi, Taher Ghaderzadeh, Rasool Bodaghi, Aliakbar Baghani, Nabiollah Bastan Farsani, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mahmud Bagheri, Mohammad Davari, Alireza Hashemi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Hashem Khastar, Mohsen Omrani.

Tens of Teachers Arrested in front of Iranian Parliament

Posted on: July 25th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Tens of teachers were arrested, following the silent protest that was held in front of the parliament, and then transferred to security police detention centre, located in Abbas Abad Street.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the silent protest of teachers on July 22, was held under heavy police and security forces presence and many teachers were arrested and transferred to security police detention centre, located in Abbas Abad Street. The name of Hashem Khastar is seen among the arrestees. (more…)

HRW Calls For Release Of Jailed Iranian Teachers

Posted on: October 6th, 2012

HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Iranian authorities to immediately free seven jailed teachers and to end the harassment of dozens of others.

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities should immediately free seven teachers who are behind bars solely for speaking out against the government. Iran should also end harassment of dozens of others teachers who are facing charges or who have already served time in prison on national-security-related charges. Human Rights Watch issued the call on World Teachers Day as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and other international rights groups to highlight the plight of teachers who criticize the government.

(more…)

Mothers of Park Laleh: Human Rights Violations Reaching Record High in Iran

Posted on: October 19th, 2011

The following statement has been released by Mothers of Park Laleh on the International Day Against Death Penalty, October 10, 2011:

The Nobel and Honorable People of Iran:

How can we believe the government when there is so much evidence to the contrary?Since the Islamic Republic of Iran came to power, human rights violations began.Mass killings in Kurdistan, the Cultural Revolution, the dismissal of large numbers of students and professors from universities, the oppression of political parties and the imprisonment of their members, barbaric and violent tortures, the mass executions of prisoners, the continuation of a destructive war with large numbers of fatalities and disabled veterans, the dismissal of bright and intelligent individuals from their places of employment, the Chain Killings in Iran and abroad, orchestrated attacks against dormitories and murdering college students, driving the country’s gifted and talented scientists abroad, opening fire on crowds in the streets, attacking gatherings of women, workers, teachers, students and funeral processions in homes and cemeteries and thousands of other human rights violations which can’t be mentioned here one by one.So what must be done?

No individual or organized voices of dissent are allowed in Iran.Everyone including those with connections to the regime are killed or imprisoned once they dare to express the smallest amount of dissatisfaction.Religious convictions and laws have been turned into an excuse for the officials to get rich.The current situation has reached such dire proportions that even attorneys don’t feel safe to practice their profession because they are accused of serious crimes, pressured by security forces and imprisoned.

Hasn’t the time come to protest widely against these blatant violations of human rights?As mothers to all Iranian children, we, Mothers of Park Laleh, raise our voices against brazen violations of human rights in Iran.

Dr. Ahmad Shaheed and human rights organizations across the globe, be aware that human rights violations have reached a record high in Iran.

To prove this point, we submit the following data representing only the names and information related to a small number of individuals either imprisoned or killed in the last ten years, excluding those officially executed in prisons or gunned down in the streets during the same period of time.We do so with the hopes that everyone is reminded what our obligations are and how a solution must be reached to end this injustice.

Human Rights Organizations and Attorneys:

  • Narges Mohammadi was arrested on June 10, 2010 and sentenced to 11 years in prison.She is currently free on bail.
  • Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4, 2010, sentenced to 6 years in prison and banned from practicinglaw and leaving the country for 20 years.
  • Mohammad Safezadeh’s current condition is unknown.On April 22, 2011, his family was informed that he was being held in Urmia Central Prison.He has been sentenced to 2 years in prison and banned from practicing law and teaching for 10 years.
  • Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was arrested on June 28, 2009 together with some of his colleagues.He has been sentenced to 9 years in prison and banned from practicing law for 10 years.Additionally, his law business has been closed down.
  • Abdualfatah Soltani was arrested on September 10, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Masoud Shafihi was the attorney defending American hikers arrested in Iran.On October 2, 2011, he was detained while he was trying to leave the country.Consequently, his passport was seized, and he has been banned from leaving the country.

Women’s Rights Activists:

  • Alihe Eghdamdoost was arrested on January 29, 2009 and sentenced to 3 years in prison.
  • Zainab Bayazdi was arrested on November 15, 2008 and sentenced to 4 years in prison.
  • Mahbobeh Karami was arrested on May 15, 2011 and sentenced to 3 years in prison.
  • Roonak Safazadehe was arrested on October 9, 2007 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Faranak Farid was arrested n September 3, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Fareshteh Shirazi was arrested on September 3, 2011 in the city of Amol and is currently in a legal state of limbo.

Supporters of Mourning Mothers:

  • Lila Safe Allahei was arrested on February 8, 2010 and was released on bail after 36 days.She has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and has appealed her conviction.
  • Jilla Karamzadeh Makvandi was arrested on February 8, 2010 and was released on bail after 36 days.She has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and has appealed her conviction.
  • Mansoureh Behkish has been summoned and subsequently arrested by the security forces multiple times.The most recent arrest occurred on June 12, 2011.She was released on bail after 28 days and is currently waiting to appear in the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court on October 10, 2011.Her passport was confiscated on March 17, 2010 while she was trying to leave the country.Since then, she has been banned from leaving Iran.

Student Activists:

  • Ali Akbar Mohammad Zadeh was arrested on February 14, 2011 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Majid Tavakoli was arrested on December 7, 2009 and sentenced to 8 ½ years in prison.
  • Majid Dori was arrested on July 9, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Mahdieh Golroo was arrested on December 2, 2009 and sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • Bahareh Hedayat was arrested on December 31, 2010 and sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison.

Labor Activists:

  • Shahrokh Zamani was arrested on June 7, 2011 and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
  • Behnam Ebrahim Zadeh was arrested on June 12, 2010 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.He is currently in a legal state of limbo.

Teacher Activists:

  • Rasoul Badaghi was arrested on September 2, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has been banned from participating in any form of social activism for a period of 5 years.
  • Hashem Khastar was arrested on June 25, 2009.He was transferred to Ward 102 in Vakilabad Prison in the city of Mashhad on May 23, 2011.This ward is where inmates who are on death row are kept.Eventually, he was released on September 10, 2011.

Human Rights Activists, Journalists, Bloggers, Writers and Translators:

  • Heshmatollah Tabarzadi was arrested on December 28, 2010 and sentenced to 9 years in prison and 74 lashes.
  • Henghameh Shahidi was arrested on February 25, 2011 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.Since May 2011, she has been given furlough to seek medical care.
  • Issa Saharkhiz was arrested on July 3, 2009 and sentenced to 3 years in prison.He has been banned from journalism and other forms of media related activities for a period of 5 years.
  • Saied Matinpour was arrested on July 1, 2009 and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • Abolfasel Aabdini-Nasr was arrested on May 3, 2011 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • Keyvan Samimi Behbahani was arrested on June 13, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has been banned from participating in any form of social activism for a period of 15 years.
  • Masoud Bastani was arrested on July 5, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Adnan Hassanpour was arrested in November 2006 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Heva Botimar was arrested in November 2006 and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • Arash Saghar was arrested on November 22, 2009 and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
  • Mohammad Sadigh Kabodvand was arrested on August 1, 2007 and sentenced to 10 ½ years in prison.
  • Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested on December 13, 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • Mehdi Mahmoudian was arrested on September 16, 2009 and sentenced to 5 years in prison.He has also been banned from journalism.
  • Hamid Mozani was arrested on September 27, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Ali Malehi was arrested on February 9, 2010 and sentenced to 4 years in prison.
  • Shiva Nazar Ahari was arrested on December 20, 2009 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Koyar Godarzi was arrested on December 20, 2009 for the first time and sentenced to one year in prison.He was again arrested on July 31, 2011 together with his mother, Parvin Mokhtareh.They are both currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Ali Akrami was arrested on October 5, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Mehdi Afsharneek was arrested on October 5, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Mohammd Haydari was arrested on October 5, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.

Clergy Opposing the Regime:

  • Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi was arrested on October 8, 2006 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.Additionally, all of his property has been seized.

The Office of Strengthening Unity (Advare Tahkim-e Vahdat):

  • Ahmad Zeydabadi was arrested on June 13, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has been exiled to Gonabad for 5 years.
  • Shabnam Madadzadeh was arrested on February 20, 2009 and sentenced to 5 years in prison.She has been exiled to serve her prison term in Rajai-Shahr Prison.
  • Abdoullah Momeni was arrested on June 21, 2009 and sentenced to 4 years and 11 months in prison.

Artists:

  • Jafar Panahi was arrested on March 2, 2010 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has also been banned from making films, writing movie scripts, leaving the country and conducting interviews with any sorts of media inside and outside the country for a period of 20 years.On May 25, 2010, he was released on bail.
  • Hadi Afarideh was arrested on September 17, 2011.
  • Shahnam Bazdar was arrested on September 17, 2011.
  • Naser Safarian was arrested on September 167, 2011.
  • Mohsen Shahnazdar was arrested on September 17, 2011.
  • Mojtabah Mir Tahmasab was arrested on September 17, 2011.
  • Katayon Shahbani was arrested on September 17, 2011.
  • Ramin Parchami is a performer in the cinema and theater. He was arrested on February 14, 2011 and sentenced to 1 year in prison.
  • Pegah Ahangarani is an actress arrested on July 10, 2011.She was released on bail after 17 days.
  • Mahnaz Mohammadi is a documentary film maker and women’s rights activist. She was arrested on June 26, 2011 and released on bail after 1 month.
  • Maryam Majad is a photographer arrested on June 17, 2011 and released on bail after 1 month.
  • Marzihe Vafamehr was arrested in June 2011 and sentenced to 1 year in prison and 90 lashes.

Political Activists:

  • Saied Masouri was arrested in December 2000 and sentenced to life in prison.
  • Hamid Haeri was arrested on December 6, 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • Abbas Badfar was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Hamed Rohinejad is a college student arrested on May 4, 2009 and was sentenced to death by the lower court.The Appeals Court reduced his sentence to 10 years in prison.He suffers from asthma and has difficulty seeing and hearing.
  • Maryam Akbari Monfared was arrested on December 31, 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.She has been serving her term in Rajai-Shahr Prison.

Individuals Initially Sentenced to Death for Unknown Charges:

  • Farah Vazehan was arrested on December 29, 2009 and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
  • Fatemeh Rahnama was arrested on July 29, 2009 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Iraj Mohammadi was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • Abdoul Reza Ghanbari is Sakina Ashtiani’s husband arrested on January 4, 2010.His current condition is unknown.

Religious Monitories:

  • Mahmoud Badavam was arrested on May 22, 2010 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Kamran Mortezahie was arrested on May 22, 2010 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Noshin Khadem was arrested on May 22, 2010 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Vahid Mahmoudi was arrested on May 22, 2010 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Farhad Sadeghi was arrested on May 22, 2010 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Reyaz Sobhani was arrested on June 15, 2011 and is currently in a legal state of limbo.
  • Yosef Nadarkhani was arrested on October 12, 2009 and sentenced to death on charges of apostasy and propaganda for Christianity.

The Movement to Free Iran (Nehzat-e Azadi-e Iran):

  • Ebrahim Yazdi was arrested for the first time on December 28, 2009 and then for the second time on October 1, 2010.He was released on March 20, 2011.
  • Emad Bahavar was arrested on March 13, 2010 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.He has been banned from any type of media related activities for a period of 10 years.
  • Mohsen Hakimi was arrested on October 5, 2011.

Religious Activists:

  • Mohammad Malaki was first arrested on July 3, 1981 and spent 5 years in prison.After he was released, he was banned from leaving the country.Since then, he has been arrested a number of times.His last arrest was on August 21, 2009.He was subsequently released on March 1, 2010.

The Participation Front of Islamic Iran (Jebheye Mosharekate Iran-e Eslami) and the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization:

  • Mohsen Mir Damadi was arrested on June 20, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has been banned from all sorts of political and media related activities for a period of 10 years.
  • Mostafa Tajzadeh was arrested on June 13, 2009 and sentenced to 6 years in prison.He has been banned from political activities for a period of 10 years.

Opposition Figures within the Government:

  • Zahrah Rahnavard has been on house arrest since February 2011.
  • Mir Hussein Mousavi has been on house arrest since February 2011.
  • Mehdi Karroubi has been on house arrest since February 2011.

Rapes:

Reports of rapes in prisons of Iran are not isolated phenomena occurring only recently.In the years immediately following the Revolution, virgin girls under the age of eighteen were first raped before being executed in order to deny them entry into the heaven.After the presidential election in 2009, a number of inmates also alleged to have been raped in prisons of Iran.Witnesses are available and may be interviewed.However, we will not mention their names here.

Tortures and Flogging:

  • Behroz Javid Tehrani was arrested for the first time on July 9, 1999 and released in March 2004.He was arrested again on May 25, 2005 and sentenced to 4 years in prison and 74 lashes.He was flogged on November 10, 2010.
  • Samihe Tohidlo is a sociology PhD student arrested on June 14, 2009 and sentenced to one year in prison and 50 lashes.She then received clemency and was released on bail after 70 days.She was flogged in shackles on September 14, 2009 in Evin Prison.
  • Payman Aref is a student activist and journalist arrested on February 10, 2011.He was sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes and banned for life from journalism.He was released on October 9, 2011 after being flogged.

Suspicious Murders Inside and Outside Prisons:

  • Zahra Kazemi was an Iranian-Canadian freelance photographer arrested on June 23, 2003 in front of Evin Prison.She was killed on July 16, 2003.
  • Zahra Bani Yaghoub was a physician arrested in a park on October 12, 2007 and taken to a detention center in the city of Hamadan.After 48 hours, her family was notified of her death.
  • Amir Javadifar was arrested after 2009 presidential elections and killed while locked up in Kahrizak Prison.
  • Mohammad Kamrani was arrested after 2009 presidential elections and killed while locked up in Kahrizak Prison.
  • Mohsen Rohollahmeni was arrested after 2009 presidential elections and killed while locked up in Kahrizak Prison.
  • Ramin Aghazadeh Ghahramani was arrested after 2009 presidential elections and killed while locked up in Kahrizak Prison.
  • Halleh Sohabi was a religious activist arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 2 years in prison.She was on furlough to attend her father’s funeral when she was killed on June 1, 2011.

Death or Suicide of Prisoners Tortured or Placed Under Duress:

  • Alburz Ghasemi was a member of Iran’s armed forces serving in the navy. He died on December 22, 2010 after being denied medical care and furlough when he was in critical condition.
  • Akbar Mohammadi was a political activist. He died in prison on July 30, 2006, and his body was transferred to the medical examiner’s office.Sohrab Solamani, the Chief Warden of prisons in Tehran Province, announced Akbar Mohammadi’s death on July 31, 2006 and claimed that he was on hunger strike.
  • Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi was arrested in October 2001. Evin Prison officials announced his death on September 6, 2006 and claimed that this prisoner hanged himself in his cell and died after he was transferred to the prison’s medical clinic.
  • Ebrahim Lotfollahi was a student activist arrested in Sanandaj on January 6, 2008.Nine days later, the authorities informed his family that he had committed suicide while he was locked up in the Intelligence Agency’s detention center in the city of Sanandaj.The family was also told that his body had already been buried in Sanandaj’s cemetery.
  • Amir Hussein Heshmatsaron was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to 16 years in prison with 8 years suspended.He was the founder of a political party called National United Front of Iran.After 4 years, he died suspiciously in Gohardasht Prison on March 6, 2009.
  • Amir Reza Mir Siafi was a blogger arrested for the first time on April 22, 2008 for insulating the Supreme Leader of Iran in his blog titled “the Reporter.”After 41 days, he was released on bail approximately equivalent to $9,500.In October 2008, the 25th branch of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 2 ½ years in prison.On March 18, 2009, Iranian government officials announced his death while he was behind bars in Evin Prison.
  • Mohsen Doghmechi was arrested on Monday, September 7, 2009 and locked up in Ward 209 in Evin Prison.On March 28, 2011, prison officials announced his death.He was 53 years old.
  • Hassan Nahid was a telecommunications engineer arrested in 2004 for revealing classified documents.He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined approximately $87,000.In March 2011, Evin prison officials announced his death while he was locked up in Ward 350.
  • Abdulreza Rajabi was a political activist arrested in 2001 and charged with membership in the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI).During his arrest, he was injured by a grenade fragment.Initially, he was sentenced to death, but then this verdict was reduced to life in prison.He spent his prison term in Diesel Abad Prison in Kermansha and also wards 350 and 8 in Evin.On October 28, 2008, after he was transferred from Evin to Gohardasht Prison, his death was announced on the same night.
  • Kaveh Azizpour was a Kurdish political activist arrested in 2006 in the city of Mahabad.He was sentenced to 3 years in prison on charges of helping the opposition groups.In April 2008, he was transferred to the Urmia Hospital and spent 20 days in coma after which he died on May 16, 2008.
  • Hasem Ramzani was a Kurdish citizen arrested in December 2008 in Urmia.After four days, his family was informed that he had committed suicide, and his body could be picked up from the Intelligence Agency’s office in Urmia.
  • Mohammad Rajabisani was arrested on September 29, 2004 after a fight with two other individuals and locked up in Ghezel Hesar Prison.After a few days, he was transferred to a hospital in Rajai-Shahr and subsequently suffered brain death.
  • Hadi Reza Zadhe Saber was a religious activist, journalist and translator arrested in 2000.He was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison and banned from any form of social activism for 10 years.To protest Haleh Sohabi’s suspicious death, he went on hunger strike and died on June 11, 2011 in Modares Hospital.

Death or Suicide of Citizens Under Duress:

  • Behnam Ganji was arrested on July 31, 2011 and subsequently released on August 8, 2011.He committed suicide at midnight on Thursday, September 1, 2011.
  • Nahal Sohabi committed suicide on Thursday, September 29, 2011 following Behnam Ganji’s death.
  • On September 24, 2011, frightened by security forces raiding a gathering in the city of Mashhad, a young girl, while trying to escape, fell from the balcony of an apartment building on the sixth floor and died.

Sentenced to Death:

  • Zeinab Jallalian is a Kurdish activist arrested in 2007.
  • Habibollah Golparipour is a Kurdish activist arrested on April 2, 2010.
  • Anvar Rostami is Kurdish activist arrested in December 2008.
  • Habibollah Latifi is a Kurdish activist arrested on October 23, 2007.
  • Rashid Akhandi is a Kurdish activist arrested in April 2008.
  • Shirko Maarefi is a Kurdish activist arrested on September 30, 2008.
  • Mostafa Salimi is a Kurdish activist arrested in 2003.
  • Sayed Jamal Mohammadi is a Kurdish activist arrested in 2008.
  • Sayed Sami Husseini is a Kurdish activist arrested on June 4, 2008.
  • Aziz Mohammadzadeh is in a legal state of limbo.
  • Abdoullah Sarvarian is in a legal state of limbo.
  • Zanyar Moradi is in a legal state of limbo.
  • Loghman Moradi is in a legal state of limbo.
  • Javad Lari is a political activist arrested on June 15, 2009.
  • Hassan Talehi is a Kurdish activist arrested in 2008.
  • Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam is Motahereh Bahrami Haghighi’s husband.He was arrested on December 27, 2010.
  • Ahmad Daneshpour Moghadam is the son of Mohsen Moghadam and Motahereh Haghighi.He was arrested on December 27, 2010.
  • Saleh Soltanzadeh is a political activist arrested in 2006.
  • Hussein Forheideh is a Kurdish activist.The date of his arrest is unknown.
  • Hamid Ghasemi’s date of arrest is unknown.
  • Mehdi Ghiasi is a physician and political activist whose date of arrest is unknown.
  • Yoness Aghayan Mirza is a member of a religious minority commonly known as Ahl-e Haqq.He was arrested in 2004.
  • Mohammad Amin Abdoullahi is a Kurdish activist arrested in 2005.
  • Yosef Nadarkhani is a Christian priest arrested on October 12, 2009.

Under such a dire state of affairs and total violations of human rights in the country, Iranian statesmen, while visiting the United Nations, boast about being capable of managing the world as if Iran has turned into a modern and free society where equality rules under their leadership, and now the time has arrived for them to spread democracy, justice and equality to the rest of the world.Perhaps they have forgotten that Iran has been ruined under the reign of Islamic Republic.Let us remind them of the following:

 

  • Iran holds the third highest inflation rate in the world.
  • We are witnessing reports of more embezzlement by government officials every day.
  • Iran holds the first rank amongst the countries of the world in the number of citizens and underage prisoners executed.
  • The number of reported divorces, child abuse, spousal abuse, poverty, prostitution and unemployment has reached an all-time record high.
  • Our natural resources, national treasures and environment such as Lake Urmia, Zayandeh Rood, forests and archaeological sites are being destroyed.
  • We are neither allowed to be happy nor mourn a loss.Citizens are being arrested because of engaging in water sports or a variety of other group activities.Funeral processions and anniversaries in Tehran’s Behesht-Zahra and Khavaran cemeteries are being attacked by security and intelligence agents monitoring these locations around the clock.Furthermore, families of the fallen are harmed and harassed regularly.
  • The number of citizens dying of self-immolation and other forms of suicide, murder, accidents and diseases has reached an all-time record high.Our air, water and food are polluted.
  • It is as if hatred towards human beings is a guiding principle empowering the current regime.During the last 33 years, thousands of Iranian men and women have been executed, killed in the streets, slaughtered in the Iran-Iraq war or murdered in a variety of other ways.Several thousands of individuals suffer from irreparable psychological and mental problems.A large number of gifted and talented young adults have been forced to choose leaving the country while many others are addicted to narcotics.
  • Iranians have no safety whatsoever, and their lives and livelihoods have been threatened now and in the past.In a country where citizens must wait in long lines for months in order to apply for small loans while billions of dollars are embezzled, no one is held responsible to answer why.
  • The officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran claim that holocaust is a myth.We ask whether the killings during the last 33 years have also been a myth.It is possible to claim that these murders have not been less than a holocaust.People in Iran and around the world have reached the conclusion that the time to be patient and tolerant has long ended, and they must stand up against oppression and injustice.Indeed they are standing up proudly; so we wish them success.


On the International Day Against Death Penalty (October 10th), Mothers of Park Laleh demand the abolition of capital punishment and request the following:

 

  • We demand the abolition of capital punishment and the killings of human beings in any way, shape or form.
  • We demand the immediate released of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience without any conditions or exceptions.
  • We demand public and just prosecution and punishment of those responsible for crimes committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran since its inception.

Mothers of Park Laleh
October 10, 2011

Copyright © 2009-2011 All Rights Reserved

May 9th: A Day to Reject Violence and Defend the Right to Live

Posted on: April 28th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has issued a statement on the occasion of Teacher’s Week in Iran.In this statement, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan recounts the problems facing the union and the weaknesses of our country’s education system and demands the release of its imprisoned members.To commemorate May 9th and the shocking execution of Farzad Kamangar, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has named May 9th to be a day to reject violence and defend the right to live.Farzad Kamangar was a union member and also a human rights activist who was executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on May 9, 2010.  

The union also has requested teachers all over the country to light a candle on May 9th and teach their students lessons to reject violence and defend the right to live.The full text of this statement is as follows:

 

 

In the Name of God, Creator of Life and Wisdom

Blessed Be Teacher’s Day

  

It was exactly this time.We were all energized, bustling around with our hearts full of joy because our day was approaching.With the words “Teacher’s Day” on our lips, we wrote a statement and gathered at Abidar1 to recount many years of pain.Long ago, Samad Behrangi wrote about the same pain while delving and probing into educational issues, and now that more than thirty years has passed after the revolution, we still struggle with the same set of problems.

 

They said that it was Teacher’s Week!?They held meetings and made much ado about nothing while getting on their soapboxes, blowing hot air and complimenting each other for making a difference in these youngsters’ lives.We stared and only watched; they didn’t allow us to say anything, but we thought how long they could keep up with all the prayer and praise.We were all worried about Rasoul’s children who were awaiting his return.What exactly had Rasoul Bodaghi and Hashem Khastar said?

  

At the foot of the mountain, we talked and said all there was to say without endangering senior management’s careers in the education system or threatening their bottom line.Far from the senior managers’ advice on the virtues of silence and away from the prying eyes of Herasat’s2 closed circuit cameras, we talked for hours about our pupils’ pain in the classroom.Without endangering national security, we talked about child labor.

  

We were happy since Farzad’s attorney had informed us that he was to return to us, and the villages of Kamyaran [Kurdistan Province, Iran] could embrace him.Repeatedly we mentioned Teacher’s Day while they proudly rubbed Teacher’s Week in our faces.It was exactly Teacher’s Week, and in front of our bewildered gazes, they took him away from us at dawn, and no one saw him again.Now, at night, he twinkles in Kurdistan’s grief-stricken sky.

  

Esteemed Educators

The year that we have put behind us was a year full of events and changes in Iran and the Middle East.It has been years that neo-conservatives have imposed their policies on people all around the world.The outcome of these policies has been privatization, unemployment, cancellation of subsidies, layoff of workers under the pretence of workforce adjustments, warmongering and militarism, weakening and dissolution of trade unions, reduction of education budgets, decreasing health insurance and social benefits, and in many countries, an increase in retirement age under the excuse of government cost-saving ideas.

  

The blatant attack on people’s basic rights in the Middle East became further apparent through the violence displayed by the police, security forces, and military governments.Threatening political rights became the means by which such countries utilized in order to impose this economic disaster on people.Nonetheless, declaring long periods of time as the state of emergency and the rule of terror didn’t deter the masses from trying to change the situation.As we have witnessed, a hung tsunami of change has washed over the Middle East and North Africa in the name of pursuing happiness and democratic rights.By making numerous sacrifices, those seeking freedom are achieving new victories every day, and dictatorships are vanishing each day.

  

Along with the spirit of twenty-first century human beings in quest of freedom, the members of Education International have not remained silent.The global federation of teachers’ trade unions has jumped into action to fight against new worldwide policies through which education is overshadowed by profit margins, and quality is sacrificed for the sake of quantity.This year, the World Congress of Education International will meet in South Africa in order to address the same issues.Obviously, the representatives of teachers’ unions throughout Iran will attend the World Congress, and with one voice together with all other teachers of the world, we will defend our democratic rights and also the right to education.

  

By placing profit at top of their agenda, recent governments in Iran have also imposed undue burden on the working class.The elimination of subsidies has made this policy apparent.In Iran, the right to form unions is not recognized.In other words, the majority of the society has been denied its legitimate right to negotiate and bargain with the government that plays the role of a major employer.Social insurances don’t have sufficient resources through which effective services can be offered to the community.Unemployment insurance hasn’t been designated for people over eighteen, and the nightmare of white signed contracts3 have become an integral and inseparable part of people’s daily lives.

  

Unfortunately, the implementation of removing subsidies has not accounted for any of these issues.Considering that minimum wage is not significantly different from last year, soaring prices and repeated sanctions imposed by the Security Council have driven a greater percentage of Iranian families below the poverty line.This means that a large number of school age children leave their classrooms behind as they head to the job market in search of work.Meanwhile, deviance and criminal behavior is on the rise.

  

Education in Iran

The atrocious story of education in Iran is a long, tragic tale piled up in the hearts of teachers throughout this land from Balochistan to Gilan, from Azerbaijan to Kurdistan, from Turkmen Sahra to Khuzestan, from Lorestan to Kermanshah, and from Ilam to Hormozgan.In the remotest corners of Iran, the sad story of education and forsaken enlightenment and intellectualism is a tale of deprived children, broken-down school buildings, substandard school books, archaic teaching methods, and under-appreciated, forgotten hardworking teachers, the same teachers who reflect the misery of their deprived pupils, the same teachers who despite poverty still lovingly keep the candle of knowledge burning in stormy nights.

  

Enduring imprisonment, exile, deportation and even flogging has become the reward for safeguarding thoughts and the praise for intellectuals.Governments come and go, and ministers hand over their responsibilities to their successors.Sometimes, they talk about changes and transforming structures, books and creating new positions or eliminating the old ones.However, it has been long since nothing substantial or worth remembering has occurred.After this useless period, we return again to the same old education system while no one is held responsible for wasting so many resources and so much energy.More importantly, no one is held accountable for the game played with a generation trapped in an education system that uses them as laboratory rats.

  

We believe that the problem is not only blocking teacher involvement but also is related to the decision making process which ignores teachers, the most important element in education.It must be acknowledged that creativity and vitality is nurtured in a democratic environment and in an atmosphere of respect for the dignity and basic rights of teachers.

  

When Mr. Haj Babaei was appointed as the education minister, teachers’ trade unions were delighted since after a long time, someone with positive tendencies and inclinations was chosen.During his term in the Parliament, Mr. Haj Babaei was willing to meet with the representatives of trade unions while ignoring government red tape and restrictions.Unfortunately, teachers were disappointed very soon as the process to eliminate critics sped up, and the pressure on trade unions increased.Meanwhile, there remains no place for teachers in the colossal ministry of education, and there are apparently no plans to transform the disappointing environment dominating over our schools into an atmosphere of informed, mutual participation and service.

  

Is it possible to envision a fundamental change in the quality of education without democratizing the education system?School curriculums change, and new school hours are implemented without the input of main players namely teachers.In the twenty-first century, teachers are treated as if they are subjects receiving sacred and holy commands from the above and are given orders that are binding and may not be questioned.As a result of a policy that considers “master’s word to be God’s word,” human energy is wasted, teachers are discouraged, and the education system is stagnant.Additionally, teachers witness the ineffectiveness of the education system every day but have no means by which they can inform the public or concerned parents.However, we feel a sense of responsibility to communicate the ongoing, pending disaster to our students’ parents in any which way possible.

  

Dear Colleagues

Congratulating Teacher’s Day to all of our colleagues throughout Iran and wishing them success in their work, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan declares the following items to be their main demands:

  

1. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our jailed colleagues, Rasoul Bodaghi, Hashem Khastar and Nabiollah Bastan and call for the dismissal of all pending cases against union activists in different courts.

  

2. We demand removing the ban on the publication Qalam Moalem [Teacher’s Pen] which is Iran’s only independent journal of educators.

  

3. As you are aware, May 9th is the anniversary on which Farzad Kamangar, a board member of Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan, lost his life.While honoring the humanitarian efforts of this noble and revered educator and with the slogan of “rejecting organized violence and defending the right to live,” Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan asks all educators to light a candle in their classrooms to commemorate this day.We request all teachers to designate their lectures on May 9th to be a lesson on rejecting violence in any shape or form.We shall teach the children that human beings regardless of their ethnicity, religion, language and social class are equal.We shall rise up to fight materialism and warmongering and consider seeking peace to be the highest human virtue.We shall replace animosity and hostility amongst nations with love and alliance.

  

At the end, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan congratulates the International Workers’ Day, May 1st, to all workers and declares the union’s support for their demands.

  

Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan

Ordibehesht 1390 [April – May 2011]

 

Footnotes for the English Translation:

1.Abidar, a mountain east of Sanandaj, is a major recreational area in Iran’s Kurdistan Province.

2. Herasat is Iran’s semi-secret police tasked to monitor all educational institutes throughout the country.

3. “White signed contracts” are in effect white papers that workers in Iran sign allowing employers to determine all the terms of employment.

Two Members of the Iranian Teachers’ Union Arrested in Yazd

Posted on: May 29th, 2010

HRANA –The arrests of union activists continue with the arrests of Mohammad Ali Shirazi and Mohammad Ali Shahedi, two members of the Board of Directors of the Teachers’ Union in Yazd.

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