Reza Khandan Mahabadi Returned to Evin Prison after Furlough

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) returned to prison after a furlough. On December 21, 2021, following the worsening of his Covid-19 symptoms, Khandan was hospitalized and after four days, he was granted a medical furlough.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Reza Khandan Mahabadi went back to Evin prison at the end of his furlough.

On December 21, Reza Khandan Mahabadi was dispatched from Evin Prison to a hospital outside the prison after his COVID-19 symptoms became worse. On December 25, 2021, through the formal request of his lawyer and family, he was granted a medical furlough.

Earlier, he and another IWA’s member, Baktash Abtin, tested positive for Covid-19. On January 8, Baktash Abtin died at the hospital due to his worsening conditions and the prison’s medical negligence.

Mahabadi was sentenced on May 15, 2019, by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghayeseh. His sentence included one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on the charge of “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against national security”. On September 26, 2020, he was arrested and sent to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

Mahabadi’s career as a writer kicked off in 1978 with the publication of his book “Local Children”. Some of his publications include “Nothing Comes Out of the Sack, ExceptWhat Was In It”, a seven-volume story collection called “My Favorite Stories”, a collection of research titled “Razi War”, and the 19-volume fiction collection “Encyclopedia of Iranian Legends and Fairy Tales” (co-author Ali Ashraf Darvishian).

Keyvan Bazhan Released on Furlough Connecting to End of Sentence

On March 9, Keyvan Bazhan, writer and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association was released from Evin Prison on furlough. By the end of the furlough period, he will have served his sentence and hence will not return to prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Bazhan, has been imprisoned since October 2020. On May 7, 2015, Bazhan was summoned by Branch 12 of the Court of Culture and Media along with Reza Khandan and the deceased Baktash Abtin, where they were interrogated and accused of “propaganda against the regime”. On January 22, 2019, they were arrested during an appearance at Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. Due to an increase in bail to one billion tomans and their inability to post bail, they were jailed in Evin Prison. Four days later, Bazhan was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 27 and 28 of 2019, the first court session was held by Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The court, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghayeseh, sentenced him to one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security”. On September 26, 2020, he was sent to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

In the trial, examples for the above-mentioned charged included Bazhan’s membership in the IWA, as well as publishing the internal newsletter for IWA, collecting and authoring a book about the history of IWA and visiting the burial place of the writers who were killed during the Chain murders of Iran, such as Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Ja’far Pouyandeh.

The IWA is an independent group of authors, poets, editors and translators based in Iran which was formed in May 1968 to fight against state censorship. The government has continuously persecuted members of the IWA after the 1979 revolution. In 1998, several IWA members, including opposition politicians Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Ja’far Pouyandeh, were murdered.

Iran Farda Editor Keyvan Samimi Transferred from Evin Prison to an Unidentified Location

Keyvan Samimi, the editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was transferred from Evin Prison to an unidentified location. He is currently serving his two year sentence in Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Emtedad, prison officials removed Samimi from his ward on the pretext of addressing a problem with his phone card, and transferred him to an unknown location.

Since Branch 54 of the Revolutionary Court ordered his exile from Evin Prison to one of the prisons in Alborz Province, it is likely they have sent him to an exile prison. This order stands at odds with a forensic medical assessment that he should be granted “intolerance of punishment”. This recommendation was rejected by the court after four months.

Samimi has been serving his two-year sentence since December 7, 2020.

On May 1, 2019, he attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labour Day before Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest along with dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated many documents including his computer. On June 17, 2019, he finally was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, sentenced him to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal, but was reduced to two years in the retrial.

Samimi had also previously endured six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the 2009 Presidential Election, participating in protests, and writing articles critical of the Islamic Regime. His two political activists brothers were executed, one by this regime and the other by the former regime.

Reza Khandan Mahabadi Contracts COVID-19, Is Dispatched to Hospital

On December 21, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was dispatched from Evin Prison to a hospital outside the prison after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. Earlier, he and another prisoner of conscience, Baktash Abtin, tested positive. This has raised alarms about the spread of the virus amongst prisoners in Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mahabadi was hospitalized due to a high fever and other severe symptoms. Abtin was hospitalized earlier in Tehran due to poor health and COVID-19 symptoms.

Mahabadi  was sentenced on May 15, 2019 by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Mohmmad Mohammad Moghayeseh. His sentence included one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on the charge of “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against national security”. On September 26, 2020, he was arrested and sent to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

Mahabadi’s career as a writer kicked off in 1978 with the publication of his book “Local Children”. Some of his works include “Nothing Comes Out of the Sack, But What Was In It”, a seven-volume story collection called “My Favorite Stories”, a collection of research titled “Razi War”, and the 19-volume tale collection “Encyclopedia of Iranian Legends and Fairy Tales” (co-author Ali Ashraf Darvishian).

Growing Concerns About Baktash Abtin’s Health Condition After Hospitalization

On December 8, Baktash Abtin, a prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was hospitalized in Tehran due to poor health conditions and COVID-19 symptoms.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Abtin is currently serving a six-years sentence in Evin Prison. After a few days of hospitalization in prison healthcare he was dispatched from Evin Prison to the Telghani hospital in Tehran.

“A few days ago, he went to [the prison’s] healthcare due to acute fever, severe body aches and feelings of weakness”, commented the Iranian Writers Association (IWA). “After one day, when he did not go back to the ward, his fellow inmates asked prison officials about his condition, but did not receive a proper response. Ultimately, his family found out that he had been hospitalized during prison visitation”.

The IWA expressed grave concerns about Abtin’s health due to his pre-existing lung disease and his risk of contracting COVID-19.

Abtin had previously contracted COVID-19 in March of this year. After four days, he was forcibly sent back to the public ward of Evin Prison despite having a contagious disease.

On June 29, Abtin faced a new legal case while he was in prison. This move was reportedly due to his decision to publicize the news of his illness.

The IWA is an independent group of authors, poets, editors and translators based in Iran which was formed in May 1968 to fight against state censorship. The government has continuously persecuted members of the IWA after the 1979 revolution. In 1998, several IWA members, including opposition politicians Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, were murdered.

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Three Board Members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) were Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison

Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan were charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” They were sentenced to 18 years in prison, combined.

The trial of the three writers was held earlier at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. They were arrested on January 22, 2019 after being subpoenaed on the “encouraging immorality or prostitution” and security-related charges. They were released from Evin prison a few days after on bail.

The trial led by Judge Moghiseh at the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan were sentenced to one-year imprisonment for “propaganda against the state” and to five years imprisonment for “assembly and collusion against national security”. Their attorneys, Naser Zarafshan and Razieh Zeidi were informed of the verdict. In an announcement, the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has condemned the verdict.

The IWA was an independent group of authors, poets, editors and translators based in Iran which was formed in May 1968 to fight against state censorship. Government have continuously persecuted its members after Islamic revoloution. In 1998, several IWA members, including opposition politicians, Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, and writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh were murdered.

An investigation concluded that the murders had been carried out by authorities of the Intelligence Ministry. A number of ministry officials were arrested, and information about the murders was leaked to the media. During a judicial inquiry, the prosecution confirmed that the chain murders were part of a systematic policy to physically eliminate political and cultural dissidents of Iran.

 

Iranian Writers Association’s monthly meeting was banned

HRANA News Agency – The Iranian Writers Association says government officials prevented the group from holding its monthly advisory meeting.

 

In a statement, the association says the meeting was scheduled to be held at the home of one of the members on Tuesday January 21. However, in a telephone communication, the security officials summoned the member to the ministry of intelligence and forced him to cancel the meeting. Continue reading “Iranian Writers Association’s monthly meeting was banned”