Qarchak Prison; a List of Political Prisoners and Prison Conditions

Posted on: March 2nd, 2020

Qarchak Women’s Prison also known as Shahre Rey Penitentiary is located in Varamin and has 11 wards. Each ward in this prison holds several female prisoners, disregarding the rules of segregation of prisoners by age and crime.

Political prisoners are transferred to this prison to put them under more pressure. The lack of medical care, dental care, and regular checkups, poor hygiene, and a great number of prisoners has caused several issues. The poor quality of food, drug use and easily accessibility narcotics, not isolating prisoners with a contagious disease from others, rape, and negligence of the prison authorities are some of the issues of this prison.

This report that is gathered by Human Rights Activists (HRANA) examines the conditions in Qarchak Prison and as well, the condition of nine female political prisoners who were kept in this prison. In addition, this report is investigating the condition of arrestees of the recent protests in Iran who are kept in a separate ward of this prison.

The information of this report was gathered from the sources inside the prison. Several prisoners contacted HRANA while incarcerated in Qarchak Prison or after they were released.

Prisoners Classification Regulation

The prison hosts a large number of inmates despite its small size. The prison does not separate inmates according to the crimes committed and this leads to violence; thus, worsening the situation as they are not offered medical services and are subjected to torture.

More than 130 prisoners of this prison are infected with HIV or Hepatitis and are kept in the same ward with others, not having access to medical treatment or medicine. These inmates are usually charged with crimes such as prostitution or drug felony. They threaten other inmates by self-harming with a sharp object or threaten to infect other prisoners by injuring them with the same sharp object or their body. Other prisoners filed several complaints about this issue but were told by the head of the Medical Ward that these diseases are not transferable, and the routine to keep these prisoners with others is practiced all over the world.

The Quarantine Ward of the prison was shut down months ago and therefore, new inmates enter general wards without being tested for diseases. Also, if by any chance, they are tested a few days after they entered, they usually return to the ward from the Medical Ward regardless of the test result being positive or negative.  The prisoners warned the prison authorities especially the head of the prison, Mehdi Mohammadi, and other authorities such as Sakineh Shahali, Zahra Mirzaei, and Maryam Mirzaei about the shortage of a Quarantine Ward but they never received any response.

A prisoner who was released recently from Qarchak Prison told HRANA that six women inmates have Scabies which is a contagious disease. She added that other inmates asked the prison authorities several times to transfer these six women to a separate ward since this disease is easily contagious through skin touch like shaking hands, sheets, or even from their clothes. The prison authorities’ responses were that this disease is not contagious.

 

Number of prisoners and prison’s area

According to the report, the prison’s seven sections contain more than 1400 prisoners with 120-300 prisoners held in each section, although the capacity of each section is 100 inmates. Some of these prisoners are incarcerated along with their children while the number of prisoners increases every year.

Each ward has 10 cubicles where each has four triple bunk beds. Several prisoners have to sleep on the floor.

 

Food

Food is one of the prison’s major problems as the food has a low quality and prison commissary sells low-quality food at a high price. The prison foods contain an unknown ingredient that causes extreme sourness in foods. The high level of acidity of these foods could cause hormonal diseases and other issues. To enrich the prison food with protein, oil cake (its common use is in animal feeding) has been replaced as the main ingredient.

15 prisoners are working in the kitchen from 7 am to 7 pm. They should receive a salary in return for their services but only a few of them received 100-150 thousand Toman [10-15 dollars] in total for six months. They do not have proper clothes, so they have to work with their everyday clothes in the kitchen that destroys their clothes due to the working condition.

 

Hygiene

At least 12 toilets and 10 bathrooms are in each ward. They are always not enough due to the high number of prisoners, facilities being out of order, and shortage of water. Cleaning the prison is prisoners’ responsibility but due to the lack of cleaning products, rubber gloves, and trash bags, inmates run out of these stuff in the first few days of the month and it leaves the bathrooms dirty with a lot of trash. As a result, infectious and skin diseases are common in this prison due to poor hygiene as well, roofless bathrooms increase the occurrence of cold and pneumonia during cold seasons.

In addition, there is no hot water running for the past two months although hot water used to run for one hour in the morning and one hour at night. The rest of the day, prisoners can only take a cold bath. Moreover, the prison water is coming from wells and it is not purified. The water is not proper for drinking and using it for bathing caused women-related diseases especially during menstruation. Even this water was shut off for a few hours in some days and sewer water comes up. Prisoners should buy drinking water from the prison commissary at a high price.

Overall, there are mothers and children in this prison who are suffering from nutrition deficiency, lack of access to child clothes, and poor hygiene. For example, in February 2019 during the prison wardens’ violent attack to this prison after the prisoners protested not having access to medical treatment and other issues in the prison, tear gas was fired in the prison and a 20-day old infant lost his/her life.

 

Visits

The telephone contact allowance of the prisoners is not controlled by the prison authorities which resulted in a chaos of selling and buying telephone allowance between inmates. Prisoners are unable to contact the prison’s supervision office to complain about the prison conditions. Visiting times are only 15 minutes and it should be granted at least two months after the prisoners started serving time there. The visitors can not sit close to the prisoner or hug them.

 

Air condition

Only half of each ward has a heater which forces the prisoner to walk in blankets. The only response the prisoners get when they complain about it is to put on more clothes which leads to another issue which is the difficulty of access to clothes. Bringing clothes to prison was forbidden and inmates should obtain their clothes from the prison commissary. The price of clothes is double or even triple of it outside of prison. Prisoners should purchase their pillow and blanket and the price of the cheapest pillow is 35 thousand Toman.

Because of housing more prisoners than the capacity, the air ventilation and the number of toilets is below the required standards.

 

Prison authorities

Sadegh Deldadeh, the judge supervisor of Branch 1 of Shahriar Court, reportedly insulted or threatened prisoners of Qarchak Prison during trials.

The social services department of Qarchak Prison is inactive, and prisoners could not follow up on their cases from inside the prison. For example, Simin Khosravi, a prisoner of Qarchak, sewed her lips protesting the situation of her case and its lengthy process. She wrote letters to judicial authorities requesting some attention to her case seven months ago and has recently figured out that none of those letters even left the prison. Three days later, she opened her lips after the prison authorities made promises to follow up on her requests.

 

Rape

In addition, several reports indicate that younger prisoners are raped by older prisoners who have more violent crimes. Prison authorities neglect these reports and even stop checking on the wards which have a high rate of violence. Atena Daemi and Monireh Arabshahi wrote open letters about their experience in these prison conditions especially sexual assaults and rapes.

 

Women prisoners arrested during recent protests

Women who were arrested during the last November and January protests were transferred to Qarchak Prison. In order to open up space for these new prisoners, prison authorities shut down the prison gym and place these prisoners there. This new ward does not have required facilities and standards such as proper air ventilation or air conditioning. As a result, 1400 prisoners of Qarchak are deprived of having a gym. Most of the prisoners of this ward were released on bail later but still, 11 prisoners were kept in this ward. Also, Zahra Sadeghi, Mary Mohammadi, and Elnaz Pakravan who were arrested during January protests are still in this ward.

 

Nine political prisoners of Qarchak Prison:

Elnaz Pakravan is an 18-year old prisoner of this prison. She was arrested on January 31, 2020, for attending a demonstration near the Turkish embassy in Tehran, protesting the arrest of an Iranian singer, Amir Hossein Maghsoudlo also known as Tataloo. She was charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion by having a leadership role in an unlawful protest”. She is in the new ward of Qarchak prison (Gym).

Maryam Ebrahimvand’s first arrest was on July 26, 2016, and she was transferred to the IRGC’s Intelligence detention center in Evin Prison. She was released on 300 million Toman [cash] bail after spending 35 days in solitary confinement. On July 22, 2018, she was arrested for the second time by the Intelligence Department officers on the charge of “publishing lies against the IRGC ”, and “using government properties and misusing it”. Her bail was set for 8 billion Toman. She is in Qarchak Prison in a limbo state without trial. She is now in ward 2 of the Qarchak Prison and was banned from entering the cultural part of the prison and receiving books.

Zahra Zare Seraji and her husband, Morteza Nazari Sedehi, were arrested on February 8, 2018. They were transferred to ward 209 of Evin Prison. She was transferred to the general ward of Evin Prison from February 26, 2018, till April 20, 2018, after initial investigations and interrogations. She was released on 200 million Toman bail from Evin Prison. In September 2018, Ms. Zare Seraji was tried along with three others including her husband. She was sentenced to eight years imprisonment and paying fines for the charges of “establishing illegal group”, “publishing lies in cyberspace”, and “propaganda against the state”. In February 2019, the appeals court reduced her sentences to two years imprisonment. She was arrested in September 2019 in Baharestan to serve her sentence. She is now in ward six of Qarchak Prison.

Zahra Sadeghi was an employee of the UN and traveled to Sudan and Iraq for her work. She was arrested by the security forces at the airport after returning from a trip to Iraq. On January 28, 2019, she was transferred to the ward 209 of the Evin Prison. In January 2020, she was transferred to Qarchak Prison. She was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the charge of espionage by Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. Her sentence was reduced by an appeals court to three years. During her trial, none of her cooperation with the UN was mentioned in her accusations, and she was charged with espionage because of a trip to Turkey with a friend was considered as her accusations.

She was born in 1987 and she was arrested for the first time in 2014 by the Intelligence department agents and was released on bail from ward 209 of the Evin Prison after three months.

She is now in the new ward of Qarchak Prison (Gym).

Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi was arrested on January 12, 2020, during the wave of protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 11, after Iran admitted that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. She was arrested in Azadi square and was transferred to Vozara detention center. She was severely beaten both in Azadi square and at Vozara detention center. On February 26, Ms. Mohammadi was released from Qarchak Prison on 30 million Toman bail. Her trial is scheduled for March 2, 2020, at Branch 1167 of Tehran’s criminal court.

Fatemeh Mohammadi, a former prisoner, and Christian convert was arrested on November 18, 2017, for the first time. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at that time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months imprisonment for the charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against the national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward in spring 2018 after completing her sentence. She was charged with “disturbing public order through attending an unlawful protest”. Her trial is not scheduled yet. Although her bail was set for 30 million Tomans [approx. $3000], the prosecutor did not accept her bail. She was being kept in a limbo state for a month. She is now in the new ward of Qarchak Prison (Gym).

Leila (Khadijeh) Mirghafari and six others were arrested by the security forces on December 4, 2019. On November 10, 2019, they were tried at Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Abolghasem Salavati. Ms. Mirghafari was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion”. On May 18, 2019, her appeal court hearing was in session without her attendance and the appeals court upheld her sentences in February 2020.

Leila Mirghafari was arrested on October 2, 2018, by the security forces for supporting people who are against mandatory vail and was released after one day. She was sentenced to pay three million and 220 thousand Toman fine and was forced to pay the fine on May 21, 2019.

She is now in the new ward 5 of Qarchak Prison.

 

Raha Ahmadi was arrested on August 4, 2019, by the security forces and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin in late August. She was initially charged with “propaganda against the state”, “assembly and collusion”, “cooperation with enemy states”, and “promoting corruption and prostitution” in her incitement at the prosecutor’s office of Evin Prison. Although her bail was set after two months, her 600 million Toman [approximately 55 thousand dollars] bail has never been accepted. On November 10, 2019, she was tried at Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Abolghasem Salavati. Ms.  Ahmadi was sentenced to two years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion”. On May 18, 2019, her appeal court hearing was in session without her attendance and the appeals court upheld her sentences in February 2020. A video was published earlier that shows Ms. Ahmadi handing out flowers and talking to people in the subway.

She is now in the new ward 5 of Qarchak Prison.

 

Marjan Davari was arrested on September 24, 2015, in Mehrshahr of Karaj. After spending one week in Rajai Shahr Prison, she was transferred to ward 209 of Evin Prison. She had been in solitary confinement from September 30 to January 3 (approximately 4 months) and then transferred to the women’s ward of Evin Prison.

She graduated from the Arts Department of Alzahra University in Tehran and is the translator of Islamic, esoteric and Illuminati books and a researcher of Rah-e-Marefat Institute for Metaphysical Studies and Research. She was arrested by the security forces after the Rah-e-Marefat Institute was shut down and its officials were arrested. Her court sessions were held at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Salavati, on 16, 17 and 18 October 2016, as well as on 11 and 12 December 2016. She was accused of “corruption on earth”, “adultery”, “assembly and collusion against the regime”, and “membership in Eckankar mystical sect”. Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati sentenced her to death. Her death sentence was rejected twice by the Supreme Court and was returned to Branch 23 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court to try again. Her trial was on January 11, 2019, and she was sentenced to 75 years in prison by Branch 23 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that he should serve 25 years in prison. She is now in the new ward 1 of Qarchak Prison.

 

Golrokh Ebrahim Iraee was arrested along with her husband on September 6, 2014. First was held at an IRGC safe house for two days, then she spent 20 days in a solitary cell of Evin Prison’s ward 2A, under the IRGC jurisdiction, before being released on a bail of 80 million Toman [approximately $19,000 USD].

On October 24, 2016, the IRGC arrested Ms. Iraee again without a warrant. She was sentenced to six years in prison for “blasphemy” and “assembly and collusion against the state.” She was later granted amnesty per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, which reduced her prison term to 2.5 years. After finishing her sentence, on April 8, 2019, she was released on bail for her new case.

While she was serving her time in prison, she was sentenced for another case to three years and seven months of imprisonment by Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and she was banned for two years from membership in political groups and parties. Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that she should serve two years and one month in prison. Her sentence was upheld by the appeals court without any hearing. On November 9, 2019, she was arrested without a warrant at her house in Tehran. According to judge Mohammad Berae’s verdict, she should have been transferred to Evin Prison but because Gholamreza Ziaei, the head of Evin Prison, refused to admit her, she was transferred to Qarchak Prison and her house was searched.

She is now in the new ward 1 of Qarchak Prison.

A report on Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi

Posted on: February 14th, 2020

Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, is a detained Christian convert and the former prisoner. She was studying English translation at Islamic Azad University North Tehran Branch but on December 21, 2019, she was banned from entering the university and was told that she has been banned from studying there.

 

First arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested on November 18, 2017, for the first time. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at that time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months imprisonment for the charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against the national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward in spring 2018 after completing her sentence.

 

Second Arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested by the NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead. The attacker claimed that she was “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts. A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting on the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood. The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but the police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10, 2019.

 

Third arrest

On January 12, 2020, Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested during the wave of protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 11, after Iran admitted that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. She was arrested in Azadi square and was transferred to Vozara detention center. She was severely beaten both in Azadi square and at Vozara detention center. She had bruises for more than three weeks after her arrest. Women guards humiliated her by forcing her to get naked and sitting and standing a few times in front of them and then uncommonly inspected her body twice. According to a close source, she was mistreated by the prison wardens; she was forced to stay outside in the cold weather without any food for 24 hours. After a day, she was transferred to Branch 6 of Evin Prosecutor’s office and was eventually transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and she is currently at the new ward of this prison (Bashgah). She was mistreated and humiliated in this prison.

She was charged with “disturbing public order through attending an unlawful protest”. Her trial is not scheduled yet. Although her bail was set for 30 million Tomans [approx. $3000], the prosecutor did not accept her bail. She was being kept in a limbo state for a month.

An updated report on January protests in Iran

Posted on: January 20th, 2020

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people onboard including Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans, and British nationals. On January 11, 2020, thousands of people took to the streets across the country after General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran officially admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. He blamed human error and US adventurism for this plane crash. HRANA has earlier published a report about the first three days of the protest.

Between January 11-14, people took to the streets in 21 cities and 21 universities:

Cities: Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz, Sari, Kerman, Shiraz, Amol, Babol, Gorgan, Rasht, Sanandaj, Tehran, Karaj, Semnan, Arak, Yazd, Kermanshah, Qods, Zanjan, Ahvaz, Qazvin

Universities: University of Arak, University of Damghan, University of Tehran campus of Karaj, Shahid Beheshti University,  Isfahan University of Technology, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Alzahra University, Iran University of Science and Technology, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, University of Kurdistan, Bu-Ali Sina University, Razi University, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran University of Art, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Tabriz University. Moreover, the demonstration inside the Amirkabir University of Technology got violent after anti-riot police fired tear gas. Witnesses reported that an unprecedented number of militia forces were among the protesters. In Tehran, protests held in Rodaki street, Jomhoori street, Ostad Moin and from Azadi square to Sadeghieh square.

The themes of the slogans used by the demonstrators in Tehran were: calling the authorities to take accountability, questioning the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ actions, and urging the resignation of the Supreme Leader and other country’s seniors. They protest the government’s coverup and chant slogans such as “Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!”

Forces used against protesters

Security forces, anti-riot police, and militia groups used tear gas, shooting rubber bullet, and birdshot against protestors and several protesters were injured or arrested. According to Amnesty International, security forces and Intelligence department’s agents were at hospitals and in some cases wanted to transfer the injured protesters to military hospitals. Several hospitals in Tehran did not accept injured claiming that they fear being arrested if admitting injured protesters. According to Amnesty International, a woman was sexually assaulted by militia groups. A few hours after her arrest, an agent took her to a room and forced her to perform oral sex on him and was about to rape her.

On January 12, two women were shot in foot on Azadi street in Tehran and their status is unknown. 14 people were arrested in Amol and their whereabouts is still unknown after one week.

Arrests

On January 14, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, confirmed the arrest of 30 people in the protests. He also confirmed the arrest of the British Ambassador to Iran and added that no other foreigner was arrested. The head of the security department of Iranian Police confirmed the arrest of several people suspected to be leaders of protesters who encouraged others in the cyberspace to act against the national security.

HRANA identified 20 arrested individuals during January protests:

1.Keyvan Anbari, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

2.Mohammad Sefid Jameh, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

3.Nima Ahmadianpour, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

4.Moslem Soleimani (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

5.Zanyar Ahmadpour (student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

6.Arshad Atabak(student), arrested in Kurdistan, on January 15

7.Majid Mehrpouri (student), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

8.Ashkan Valizadeh, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

9.Salah Gharibi, arrested in front of the Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

10.Nabi Tardast, Razi University in Kermanshah, on January 12

11.Mohammad Esmaeili, arrested in Tehran, on January 12

12.Mohammad Amin Hosseini, arrested in Gorgan, on January 12

13.Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi (former political prisoner), arrested in Tehran, on January 12

14.Ali Noorizad, arrested in Tabriz, on January 12

15.Shora Fekri, arrested in Amol, on January 12

16.Robert Macaire (British Ambassador to Iran), arrested in Tehran, on January 11

17.Hossein Karoubi (the son of Mehdi Karoubi), arrested in Tehran, on January 13

18.Rakhshan Banietemad (film director), arrested in Tehran, on January 13 and was released after few hours

19.Siavash Hayati, arrested in Kermanshah, on January 12 and was released on January 15

20.Masoud Hokmabadi (theater producer), arrested in Mashhad, on January 18; he announced earlier that he will not participate in Fajr Festival. According to Emtedad News, this is the reason for his arrest.

21.Ali Farmani (sound designer and producer), arrested in Shiraz (after attending a memorial ceremony for the victims of the plane crash), January 19.

Additional arrests

10 individuals were arrested by the security forces in Ilam, Sanandaj, Dehglan, Marivan, Khoy, and Kermanshah which according to Center of Democracy and Human Rights in Kurdistan, these arrests were related to their participation in protests after Iran admitted that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran

1.Amir Ali Majd was beaten and arrested by the security forces at his book store on January 18, in Ilam.

2.Arman Mohammadi was arrested by IRGC officers in Sanandaj on January 17.

3.Sirus Abbasi and his wife Farideh Veisi were arrested on January 14 at “Zanest Educational Center” by Dehgolan Intelligence Department and were transferred to Sanandaj. His brother, Azad Abbasi, who went to the Intelligence Department’s office to follow up on their case was also arrested.

4.Keyvan Kouti was arrested by the highway patrol in Sarpol Zahab and was transferred to a detention center in Kermanshah, on January 14.

5.Amanj Nikpay was arrested by the Intelligence department’s officers on January 14, His father, Khaled Nikpay, who went to the Intelligence department office to follow up on his son’s case, was arrested and released on bail after interrogation. Moreover, Mohammad Sheykh Kanlu was arrested by the IRGC officers in Khoy and was transferred to the Urmia Intelligence detention center and Saman Abdolalizadeh was arrested by the security forces in Kermanshah.

 

Backlashes

Several artists said that they will not participate in the Fajr Festival:

The executives and judges of the Fajr Visual Arts Festival in categories of photography, graphic art, and ceramic art and 40 cartoonists will not participate as an act of protest. In addition, the following artists and actors/actresses will not participate in the Fajr Film Festival: Masoud Kimiai, film director, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Afsaneh Mahiyan, Naghmeh Samini, Saeed Changizian, Shiva Fallahi, Manouchehr Shoja, Mohammadreza Jadidi, Behrouz Seifi, Maryam Deyhoul, Amir Sepehr Taghilou, Rojan Kordnejad, Mehdi Safarzadeh Khaniki, Amir Ahmad Ghazvini, Romin Mohtasham, Seifollah Samadian, Kiyarang Alaei, Shahriar Tavakoli, Mehdi Khoushki (theater director), Amin Amiri, Samaneh Zandinejad, Shirin Samadi, Nooroldin Heydari Maher, Amin Tabatabaei, Arash Dadgar, Meisam Abdi, Alireza Koushk Jalali, Naghmeh Samini, Shirin Samadi, Atila Pesyani, theater group “Quantum”, Cinemafa News Agency, theater group “Vaghti Bozorgtar Boudam”, and theater group “Parvaneh Aljarayeri”. Moreover, Shahram Lasemi, Zahra Khatami Rad, and Saba Rad announced their resignations from their posts at the state television on their Instagram pages.

Keyvan Saket, composer, and Tar player, in a note on his Instagram page, expressed his empathy for people’s protesting the shot down of Ukrainian Airline flight 752 by IRGC and announced that he will not participate in any of the Fajr Festivals. Alireza Ghorbani, an Iranian singer, canceled his concerts on January 17-18.

Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian footballer, wrote on his personal page “I am speechless about the tragedy but covering the reality was unacceptable. The people who were responsible for it should be tried. Also, people who are distributing lies on the state TV”.

Monireh Arabshahi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and, Maryam Akbari Monfared Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth, and Iranian Journalist Association wrote separate announcements to denounce the plane crash and called on resignation and trial of authorities who caused this tragedy.

Lufthansa Airlines canceled its flights to Tehran till March 28, 2020. Sweden canceled Iran Air flights between Tehran to Stockholm and Gothenburg. Several other airlines changed their flight routes from Tehran and Iraq to avoid flying over the Iranian airspace.

 

The videoes of the January protests (first, second, third and fourth days) are available on Youtube.

Mohammad Najafi and Abbas Safari Arrested to Serve Their Sentences

Posted on: October 30th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On the morning of October 28, 2018, attorney and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi and civil activist Abbas Safari were arrested and transferred to Arak Prison to serve their sentences the same evening.

Both men were previously detained along with nine others for participating in the January protests in Shazand County. Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi of Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102 sentenced both Najafi and Safari to three years in prison and 74 lashings for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public mind” and “disturbing the public peace.” The sentences were upheld in branch one of Markazi province Appeals Court.

Najafi got wind of his new “publishing lies” accusation via a writ he received October 13th from branch 1 of Shazand Investigation and Prosecutions office, where he was interrogated and ultimately charged for it.

Both Najafi and Safari have additional charges pending investigation in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.

Najafi was previously detained for inquiring into the death of civilian Vahid Heydari, who died in Police Detention Center No. 12 amid the January protests. Najafi challenged Iranian judicial authorities who had claimed Heydari was a drug dealer that committed suicide while in custody. Najafi’s interviews with Heydari’s loved ones suggest that Heydari was a street peddler with no criminal record, whose autopsy report showed none of the typical markers of suicide, but did indicate head injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma.

Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi accused security authorities of fabricating the grounds for Najafi’s case, arguing that Najafi had simply proven that Heydari was not a drug dealer.

Safari, age 41, married, unemployed, is a resident of Shazand County who until his arrest on Sunday had been free on bail.

Arak and Shazand are located in Markazi Province, south of Tehran.

Appeals Court Finalizes Sentences for 11 January Protest co-Defendants

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – In connection to the January protests, Branch 1 of Markazi Province Appeals Court confirmed the imprisonment-and-lashings sentence of four citizens, suspending similar sentences for seven co-defendants on the same case. The defendants were identified as Mohammad Najafi, Ali Bagheri, Abbas Safari, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Mohammad Yaghoubi, Yousef Shirilard, Neda Yousefi, Davoud Rahimi, Massoud Ajlou, Mohammad Torabi, and Kian Sadeghi.

The Prosecutor’s Office settled on a charge of “disrupting the public peace through participation in an illegal gathering,” which according to HRANA reports incurred one year of imprisonment and 74 lashings per defendant in Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102, presided by Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi.

Their sentence allows for detention time already served to be counted towards their pending prison terms, a particular boon to Najafi, Bagheri, Safari, and Sadeghi who received two additional years of prison time for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public mind.” Bagheri’s prison term was further compounded by another six months for “insulting a police chief in cyberspace.”

Among the accused is attorney and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi, who said in a note, “Branch 1 of Markazi Province has upheld the initial verdict. The maximum punishment of three years in prison and 74 lashings […] remains unchanged for me and Messrs. Bagheri and Safari, while the sentences for the rest of those convicted, including my six clients, were suspended over five years.”

Discovery into these protestors’ case files began March 13, 2018, in Branch One of Arak Investigation Court, by which point all 11 had already been interrogated by the Intelligence Office. Ten of the eleven were present during discovery, where an investigator deliberated on charges from disrupting the peace to gathering and conspiring. Though all of the accused were detained amid the protest site in Shazand city where all of them are residents, authorities inexplicably forwarded their case to the judicial office of Arak. All denied the charges brought against them.

Independent of the January protests case file, Najafi, Bagheri, Safari, Ajilou, and Bakhshi all have individual cases pending in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.

After several delays due to the absence of a judge, Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102 tried Najafi June 9, 2018, in for his inquiries into the death of civilian Vahid Heydari, who passed away while in custody of Arak authorities amid the January protests. While Iranian judicial authorities had claimed Heydari was a drug dealer who committed suicide in Police Detention Center No. 12, Najafi’s field research concluded that Heydari was a peddler with no criminal record, whose autopsy report was suspicious for blunt-force trauma. When Najafi was arrested for his investigations, Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi spoke out in his defense.

A large number of participants in recent protests, referred to as the January protests, were detained and interrogated across the country. The protests resulted in the death of 25 individuals and the detention of around five thousand. Ministry of the Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli previously stated that public demonstrations “turned violent” in 40 of the 100 cities where the January protests broke out.

Arak January Protestors Sentenced to Imprisonment and Lashings

Posted on: October 18th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Six Arak residents arrested amid the January protests were sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes each for “disrupting the public peace through participation in an illegal gathering” in Arak’s Criminal Court No.2, Branch 102. The defendants’ sentences allow for detention already served to be counted towards their pending prison terms.

Lawyer and civil rights activist Mohammad Najafi told HRANA that, barring any new infractions, only one of the defendants will actually be serving his time. “One of [the defendants], grocer Hossein Agha Alidadi, did not appeal his initial sentence of one year in prison and 74 lashes, and that sentence was finalized. He had also been accused of espionage but was acquitted of that charge. Five others who requested an appeal had their sentences suspended by the Appeals Court of Markazi Province.”

As of the date of this report, the identities of those five others have yet to be confirmed.

In July of this year, 11 residents detained in Shazand city in connection to the January protests, including Mohammad Najafi, were tried and sentenced to imprisonment and lashings in Arak Criminal Court No.2, Branch 102, presided by Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) explicitly prohibits inhumane and degrading punishments like lashings.

Five thousand people were detained and interrogated across the country in connection to nationwide demonstrations in January 2018 that came to be referred to as the “January protests.” These economic protests led to skirmishes with police forces and the deaths of 25 individuals. Of the January protests, Ministry of the Interior Rahmani Fazli said, “A number of protests took place in 100 Iranian cities; in forty of those cities, the protests turned violent.”

January Protestors: Appellate Court Reduces Sentence of Teacher Activist

Posted on: October 9th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Schoolteacher and University of Tehran student Ruhollah Mardani, who was arrested earlier this year in connection to nationwide protests and sentenced to six years in prison and a 2-year ban on travel and civic activities, has had his sentenced reduced to two years in an appeals court.

For his participation in the 2018 January protests, Mardani was arrested on February 17th, detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison, and convicted of propaganda against the regime and gathering and colluding to commit crimes against domestic security.

A source previously told HRANA that Mardani taught in Karaj schools, and was among a group of college classmates demonstrating solidarity with the January protestors by gathering together and blocking security forces from entering Tehran University.

Mardani started a hunger strike on April 24th to protest his arrest and chronically cliff-hanging case status. On May 21, he ended his strike after 27 days when judicial authorities promised to expedite his trial.

According to the source, an intervention from the Ministry of Education has effectively frozen Mardani’s payroll.

Four Sentenced to Prison for Political Activism

Posted on: October 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Morteza Nazari Sedhi, a political prisoner in Ward 4 of Evin Prison, has been sentenced to prison together along with his wife Zahra Zare Seraji.

The Revolutionary Court of Baharestan County in Tehran Province sentenced both Sedhi and Seraji with forming an illegal group, disseminating lies in cyberspace, and propaganda against the regime. Among the evidence cited against them was their forming of online political groups, recruitment of participants in the January protests, membership in monarchist groups via a social messaging app called Telegram, a close source told HRANA.

Sedhi was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison, two years of exile to Azna County in central Lorestan province, and a fine. Seraji got an eight-year sentence and a fine on the same convictions, while their co-defendants Ali Kabirmehr and Ali Bazazadeh were both sentenced to 13-year prison terms.

All of the defendants will be required to learn sections of the Quran as part of their sentence.

Nazari Sedhi and Seraji were in a bad physical and psychological condition as of their sentencing, the source added.

Seraji had been previously released on a bail of 2 billion rials (approximately $48,000 USD).

January Protestors: 8 Months in Prison for Alireza Moeinian

Posted on: October 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Civil rights activist and Tabriz resident Alireza Moeinian, who was among those detained amid the January protests, has been sentenced to 8 months in prison by Judge Ahrari of Tabriz Revolutionary Court Branch 2.

Initially arrested January 1st and detained in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, Moeinian was able to go free at end of his initial interrogation sessions by providing a salary slip as a surety bond in place of cash bail, an informed source told HRANA.

Later, on April 23rd, 2018, Branch 19 of the Tabriz Prosecutors’ office summoned him to read him his charges: propaganda against the regime and participation in an illegal gathering. His bail was set at 1 billion rials (approximately $10,000 USD).

A large number of participants in recent protests referred to as the “January protests”, were detained and interrogated across the country. The protests resulted in the death of 25 individuals and the detention of around five thousand.

Of the January protests, Ministry of the Interior Rahmani Fazli said, “A number of protests took place in 100 Iranian cities; in forty of those cities, the protests turned violent.”

Tabriz is located in northwestern Iran.

Appeals Court Convenes for 11 January Protest Detainees

Posted on: October 4th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On Wednesday, October 3rd, Branch One of Markazi Province Appeals Court convened to review the sentences of 11 defendants charged in relation to the nationwide protests that broke out in January of 2018.

Among the accused is attorney and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi, who stated that “economic problems” compelled him and his co-defendants to join the ranks of the January protestors. Najafi’s co-defendants are Ali Bagheri, Abbas Safari, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Mohammad Yaghoubi, Yousef Shirilard, Neda Yousefi, Davoud Rahimi, Massoud Ajlou, Mohammad Torabi, and Kian Sadeghi.

Discovery into these protestors’ case file began March 13, 2018 in Branch One of Arak Investigation Court, by which point all 11 had already been interrogated by the Intelligence Office. Ten of the eleven were present during discovery, where an investigator deliberated on charges from disrupting the peace to gathering and conspiring. Though all of the accused were detained amid the protest site in Shazand city where all of them are residents, authorities inexplicably forwarded their case to the judicial office of Arak. All denied the charges brought against them.

Investigation court settled on a charge of “disrupting public peace through participating in an illegal gathering,” which according to HRANA reports incurred them one year of imprisonment and 74 lashings each, per the ruling of Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi in Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102.

Their sentence allows for detention time already served to be counted towards their pending prison terms, a particular boon to Najafi, Bagheri, Safari, and Sadeghi who received two additional years of prison time for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public mind.” Bagheri’s prison term was further compounded by another six months for “insulting a police chief in cyberspace.”

Independent of the January protests case file, Najafi, Bagheri, Safari, Ajilou, and Bakhshi all have individual cases pending in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.

Najafi was previously detained for inquiring into the death of civilian Vahid Heydari, who passed away while in custody of Arak authorities amid the January protests in Police Detention Center No. 12. While Iranian judicial authorities had claimed Heydari was a drug dealer who committed suicide during his detainment, Najafi’s field research, including interviews with Heydari’s family and friends, concluded that Heydari was a peddler with no criminal record; what’s more, his autopsy revealed no physical marks suspect for suicide. Buried under security supervision, Heydari had head injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma.

The court tried Najafi for his inquiries on June 9, 2018, in Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102. His hearing had previously been delayed due to the absence of the judge.

Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi accused security authorities of fabricating the grounds for Najafi’s case, arguing that Najafi had simply proven that Heydari was not a drug dealer.

A large number of participants in recent protests, referred to as the January protests, were detained and interrogated across the country. The protests resulted in the death of 25 individuals and the detention of around five thousand.

Ministry of the Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli previously stated that public demonstrations “turned violent” in 40 of the 100 cities where the January protests broke out.