Supreme Court Confirms Shaker Behruz’s Death Sentence Despite Evidence Pointing Towards His Innocence

Branch 31 of the Supreme Court of Iran recently confirmed the death sentence of political prisoner Shaker Behruz, who is currently being held in Urmia Prison, despite a strong alibi pointing to his innocence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 31 of the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of 33-year-old Shaker Behruz last Tuesday, October 5. The verdict was confirmed in spite of the alibi statements of 12 witnesses, all of whose testimonies the court refused to hear.

The indictment alleges that Behruz murdered a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to an informed source, security agents threatened the victim’s family’s, who was an IRGC member, to cut their allowance from the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs, if they refused to accuse Behruz.

Another informed source close to the victim’s family also said that the family does not believe he is guilty and are ready to testify to his innocence.

Twelve eye-witnesses signed a statement expressing their readiness to testify that Mr. Behruz was in his shop when the crime was committed. Despite all the above, the court convicted the defendant without the presence of the family as accusers and hearing of eye-witnesses.

 

 

Sajad Zare Released from Prison After Completing Sentence

On October 4, political prisoner Sajad Zare was released from Adelabad Prison in Shiraz after completing his sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on September 26,he was transferred to the detention facility of the intelligence office where he was interrogated for two days. Thereafter, he was sent back to Adelabad prison where he was kept in the quarantine section until his release.

On May 24 of this year, Zare was granted furlough and went back to prison on July 11.

Zare was arrested by the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards on February 10, 2020, and transferred to the detention facility of the intelligence unit in Shiraz. After completing the interrogation process, he was relocated to Adelabad Prison.

Addressing the first part of his case, the revolutionary court sentenced him to 17 months imprisonment on a charge related to “offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran” and to 7 months on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

For the second part, he was condemned to five years imprisonment for the charge of “blasphemy”. The latter was reduced to 2 years by the court of appeal held in Tehran.

Zare is 33 years old and a resident of Shiraz.

Soheila Hijab Beaten in Garchak Prison While on Hunger Strike

Several inmates convicted of violent crimes recently beat political prisoner Soheila Hijab while she was on a hunger strike in Gharchak Prison in Varamin.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Hijab had been on a hunger strike since September 19 in protest of the increasing pressure on political prisoners and the intrusion of interrogators and other Judicial officers into court processing. Following promises from authorities, she ended her hunger strike on October 3.

“One of the shift officers on purpose opened the door of section 3 where inmates convicted for robbery are held,” an informed source told HRANA. “Several inmates of this section encroached into the section where she was located and took her to their section. They tore her winding-sheet which she was wearing as a sign of protest and forced her to eat in order to broke her strike. Once she resisted, they beat and took her back to her own section by dragged her on the floor.”

Mrs Hijab was arrested by security forces on June 1, 2019, and then released from Evin Prison in Tehran on a bail of 3 billion tomans on March 14, 2020.

Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court convicted her to 18 years imprisonment on charges of “propaganda against the regime, illegal assembly, incitement of public opinions to riot and organizing unlawful political groups”.

This long imprisonment stands at odds with Article 134 of Iran’s penal code whereupon the severest enforceable punishment is 5 years.

On May 23, 2020, the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards arrested and transferred her to Gharchak Prison in Varamin city to serve out her sentence.

In December 2020, the revolutionary court held a new session for new indictments such as ” propaganda against the regime” and “incitement of public opinions”. Her phone calls while in detention were published online and presented in court as evidence for the above-mentioned charges. Mrs Hijab has been once arrested in Shiraz and released by granting pardon after five-month imprisonment.

 

 

Security Forces Arrest Three Christian Converts in Rasht

On Sunday, September 5, Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Ayub Pour Rezazadeh, and Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari were arrested by security forces in Rasht and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Mr. Sarparast and Mr. Pour Rezazadeh were detained in a house church. Security forces raided the homes of these citizens and confiscated some of their belongings, including cell phones, books, and pamphlets related to Christianity. According to an informed source, the agents behaved violently and insultingly and refused to show arrest or search warrants.

Relatives of these citizens are said to have been threatened by IRGC intelligence agents for providing information about the condition of their loved ones. Also, one of their relatives along with several other members of the house church were summoned to the Rasht IRGC Intelligence Office and interrogated.

According to a source close to the families of these citizens, after their families went to Branch 4 of the Rasht Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office to follow up on the case, they were not given any answer and were told, “Do not follow up. They will not be released any time soon. They do not deserve freedom and must stay.”

25-year-old Ahmad (Yohanna) Sarparast, 28-year-old Ayub (Farzin) Pour Rezazadeh, and 38-year-old Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari are residents of Rasht.

Even though Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with activists in this field.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest, the charges against them, and the whereabouts of these citizens are unknown.

Citizen Detained by IRGC intelligence in Ardabil Province

IRGC intelligence agents recently arrested a citizen in one of the cities of Ardabil Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ILNA, the citizen was arrested for what is being called “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “disturbing the public mind”, and “publishing [disappointing] content to blacken [catastrophize] the situation in the country”.

The citizen was transferred to prison by order of a judicial official. The report does not mention the identity of the detainee, the name of the city he was detained in, or the prison where he is being held.

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Maryam Ebrahimvand Arrested by Security Forces in Tehran

On the morning of Sunday, August 22, Maryam Ebrahimvand, a director, filmmaker, and former prisoner, was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, she was released after a couple of hours interrogation.

According to a close source to Ms. Ebrahimvand, she had gone to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to seek permission for her confiscated films, and was arrested in front of the Ministry’s building in Tehran.

“A few months ago,” the source told HRANA, “Ms. Ebrahimvand was told by the Ministry of Guidance that after receiving a letter working ban from the IRGC,  it is not possible to grant permission for her films.”

Ms. Ebrahimvand had previously been detained and convicted. IRGC intelligence agents arrested Ms. Ebrahimvand in September 2016. After 35 days, she was released on  a bail of 300 million Tomans from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center, Ward 2A, Evin Prison.

Nearly two years later, in July 2018, Ms. Ebrahimvand was arrested again after being summoned to Branch 4 of the Culture and Media Court. She was transferred to Ward 2A of the IRGC, and then was transferred to prison a month after interrogations ended, while a bail of 10 billion Tomans was issued for her.

Ms. Ebrahimvand, who had been detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison from July 2018, was sentenced by Branch 1059 of the Government Employees’ Court to ten years in prison in November of last year on charges of “making a vulgar film”, “insulting the President”, and “spreading lies against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.

In the second part of her case, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to 6 months in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” and in the final verdict, she was sentenced to a total of ten years and six months in prison.

Ms. Ebrahimvand was finally informed of her release in June of this year after appearing before the Culture and Media Court.

Maryam Ebrahimvand is a writer, film director, and producer of “Comedy of Love”, “We Are All Alone”, and “Girls’ Boarding House”.

Citizen Arrested by Security Forces in Oshnavieh in West Azerbaijan Province

On Monday, August 16th, Sardar Alani was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Sardar Alani is a resident of the village of Singan in the City of Oshnavieh and has a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.

The report quoted an informed source as saying that IRGC intelligence forces detained Mr. Alani at a checkpoint between Singan village and Oshnavieh town without a court order.

As of this writing, no information is available on the reasons behind Alani’s arrest or the charges against him.

Saqqez Citizen Khaled Karimnia Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison

Saqqez citizen Khaled Karimnia was recently sentenced by the Saqqez Revolutionary Court to 7 months in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Mr. Karimonia was summoned to the IRGC on June 8, 2010 and was released on bail after being interrogated.

Khalid Karimnia, a citizen of Saqqez, was sentenced to imprisonment by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of this city, headed by Judge Javad Mostafaei.

According to the report, the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Saqqez, headed by Judge Javad Mostafaei, sentenced this citizen to 7 months in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime”.

This citizen has a history of interrogation by security agencies. Mr. Karimonia was summoned to the IRGC on June 8, 1400, and after completing his interrogation, he was released on bail until the end of the trial.

He has appealed against the verdict and his case has been referred to the court of appeals for review.

Nasser Hemmati Transferred to Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan to Endure his Sentence

On Tuesday, August 10, Nasser Hemmati was detained after being summoned by the Isfahan Prosecutor’s Office, and transferred to Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan to endure his sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Nasser Hemmati is a psychiatrist and a resident of Isfahan.

Mr. Hemmati had arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in January 2020 and was temporarily released on bail two weeks later.

He was sentenced to 2 years in prison by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Isfahan in June this year on charges of “insulting officials” and “propaganda against the regime”.

Atena Daemi on a Hunger Strike in Lakan Prison in Rasht in Gilan Province

On August 12, civil activist Atena Daemi went on a hunger strike in Lakan prison in Rasht in protest of repeated telephone cuts and prison mismanagement.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, it is said that the head of the prison has not been seen in the prison for about 4 weeks, and his absence has slowed down the release process of many prisoners.

According to an informed source, the frequent interruption of the prison phone raised concerns among Atena’s family members, and her parents had to travel to the Lakan Prison to visit Atena while they were infected with the coronavirus to confirm her well being.

Atena (Fatemeh) Daemi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on May 15, 2015, by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, on charges of conspiracy against national security, propaganda against the regime, and insulting the leadership. After the appeal and application of Article 134, 5 years of prison were enforceable to her.

In 2018, while enduring her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, she and Golrokh Ebrahimi faced a new case, they were sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to an additional 2 years and 1 month in prison after applying Article 134.

In July 2020, Branch 24 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Mohammad Reza Amouzad, sentenced Ms. Daemi to two years in prison and 74 lashes for a new lawsuit filed against her while imprisoned. The case was opened by the complaint of the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC against Ms. Daemi.

In March 2021, the Supreme Court overturned a request for a retrial of Atena’s lawyers. Atena Daemi and her family members have also faced numerous other security and judicial cases and pressures. In March 2021, Atena was transferred in handcuffs and shackles from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison in Rasht in Gilan Province.

This is not the young activist’s first hunger strike. Atena Daemi once went on a hunger strike in 2015, which led to health problems and removal of her gallbladder. Her previous hunger strike experience has increased her family’s concern.