HRA Presents Spreading Justice at Human Rights Council 48 Side Event

On September 21st, a number of prominent human rights organizations, including HRA, Impact Iran, HURIDOCS, and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation , hosted a virtual discussion in the margins of the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on how online databases can help monitor human rights in Iran and support accountability efforts.

 

In an announcement of the event, Impact Iran stated, ​​”In recent years, human rights organizations have developed a range of online tools that have strengthened the capacities of rights defenders to advance evidence-based reporting and advocacy aimed at generating a culture of accountability and transparency in pursuit of the realization of human rights for all persons.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Dr. Javid Rehman delivered the event’s opening remarks, in which he highlighted the important work of the organizations represented by the panel. He mentioned Abdorrahman Boroumand Center’s OMID Memorial, the Spreading Justice’s Initiative by Human Rights Activists in Iran, and Impact Iran’s Iran Rights Index, which is a culmination of work by the Impact Iran Secretariat and coalition members including HRA.

“The individual characteristics of the different databases that are the topic of discussion today… all indicate that civil society organizations have clear goals in their well-coordinated documentation efforts,” Rehman stated. “Each of these databases serves a valuable goal for public information advocacy, memorialization, or support accountability mechanisms.”

In demonstrating how HRA’s Spreading Justice database can contribute to accountability efforts, panelist and HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson outlined the functions and goals of the project.

“Spreading justice is a database of Iranian Human Rights violators, both individual and institutional violators,” Thompson said. “This database, which is available in both English and Farsi, currently contains over 250 profiles, ranging from Iranian president Ibraham Raisi himself to lesser known violators that continually commit heinous acts, and yet fly almost silently under the radar.”

On the functions of the database, Thompson said,  “If an individual were doing research on an individual victim’s case, they could, for example, search Nazanin Ratcliffe and find all violators associated with her case.”

The profiles also include detailed legal reviews prepared by experts in international human rights law. HRA collects information from open source research, and through its wide network of volunteers inside Iran. Volunteers receive training aimed at strengthening organizational documentation capacity, which includes online security, diversity and inclusion, neutrality, informed consent.

“The information that is collected through this network is extremely important to our work,” Thompson said. “It also gives us unparalleled access to victims.”

On the use of the database, Thompson stated that there is a real need for governments to work alongside civil society, in their efforts to hold perpetrators accountable, and added that this was a core motivation behind the development of Spreading Justice.

She continued, “If we can begin to close the accountability gap in Iran, we will begin to see a disruption in the continuous cycle of abuse,” Thompson said. “The truth is that the international community has a number of tools available to hold perpetrators of serious human rights violations accountable, particularly when domestic judicial remedies are unavailable, such as is the case in Iran. The use of these tools is lacking.”

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 9, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 9th,2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Executions in Urmia, Qazvin and Karaj

(2) Two Sunni Prisoners Were Released on Bail

(3) More Arrests Related to Chabahar Attack

(4) Highest Poverty Rate of the Rural Areas is in Three Provinces

 (5) Jail Time and Lashes for Worker Protesters

(6) Shirin Ebadi Wrote an Open Letter to the “Defender of Human Rights Center”

(7) A Baluch Prisoner Was Transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj

(8) 64 Workplace-related Deaths Were Reported in the Last Eight Months

(9) Delayed Paychecks and Layoffs in Three Businesses

(10) Setting the Court Session Date for Aryasb Bavand and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah

    

(1) Executions in Urmia, Qazvin and Karaj

In the morning of December 9, 2018, a prisoner in Urmia prison was transferred to a solitary confinement until his execution. He was accused with drug crimes. Moreover, Qazvin prosecutor confirmed the execution of two prisoners in Karaj and Qazvin. He added that the person who was executed on December 9 was accused of rape and the other person who was accused of murder was executed on December 4th.

(2) Two Sunni Prisoners Were Released on Bail

Two Sunni prisoners were released on bail from Urmia prison on Sunday December 9, 2018. Rasoul Shaier and Abdolvahed Salamat, were released on bail after two-years imprisonment. They were sentenced to five years in prison by the branch 10 appeal court in West Azerbaijan. In addition, two citizens were released on bail in Kermanshah and Salas-e Babajani cities. The other four are still in prison. 30 years old Salar Ahmadi was released on a 300-million-Tomans[$25000] bail. He was arrested in late November. Ali Sohrabilak, a 29 years old physic student, was released on a 280-million-Tomans [$24000] bail. He was arrested by the intelligence department in October 14th and was accused of, “cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group”. Moreover, Fahimeh Zandi and Sahar Kazemi who were arrested earlier this month are still in prison.

(3) More Arrests Related to Chabahar Attack

The chief of police announced that 10 more people were arrested in Zahedan, in relation to the Chabahar attack. Baluch’s activists campaign reported that security officers attacked Adham Narani’s house in Kaffe Baluchi village in Sarbaz city and had beaten and arrested him and his guests. In addition, the intelligence officers arrested two citizens separately in their workplace in Sanandaj and transferred them to an unknown place. According to Kurdistan democracy and human right center on December 8th, Vahid Azimi and Habib Ahmadi were beaten and arrested for “cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group”.

(4) Highest Poverty Rate of the Rural Areas is in Three Provinces

The highest poverty rate in rural areas is in Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad, Ilam, and Sistan and Baluchestan provinces. The parliament research center reported that the caloric intake for 65 percent of the people who live in these provinces is less than 2100. In Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad, nutrition-based poverty is significant. The poverty rate for Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad’s urban area is 2.8 and for rural area is 2.1. The poverty rate in this province is 2.49. Moreover, the lowest poverty rates are in Tehran and Alborz provinces.

 (5) Jail Time and Lashes for Worker Protesters

15 workers of Ilam Petrochemical company were sentenced to imprisonment and lashes. Judiciary Office has sentenced 15 workers of Ilam Petrochemical company to imprisonment and lashes. They were charged with disturbing public order because of their participation in a protest which was organized in April.In addition, a financial criminal, Hamid Bagheri Darmani, was sentenced to death.10 more financially-related criminals were also sentenced to imprisonment and fines. The convicted names are reported as the following: Mohsen Ranjbar for bribery and corruption to seven year and half of imprisonment and 74 lashes, Manuchehr Pourfar and Esmaeil Nasrollahi to 10 years imprisonment, Mehdi Rezaie to three years imprisonment, Naser Habibinasab to one year imprisonment, AsgarBarati to five years imprisonment, Hossein Mansouri Ghiri and Mahmoud Pourmand to eight years imprisonment, Amir Kamali Sarvestani  and Mir Mohammad Akhoundzadeh, an Afghan citizen, to 20 years imprisonment and deportation. All the above were faced to criminal fines. The chairman of Samenolhojaj Financial institute was sentencedto 15 years in prison.

(6) Shirin Ebadi Wrote an Open Letter to the “Defender of Human Rights Center”

Shirin Ebadi who received the Nobel Prize for Peace, wrote an open letter to the “defender of human rights center” on Wednesday, December 5th. She requested Javid Rehman, United Nations special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, to acquire all possible means to help releasing the workers in Iran.

(7) A Baluch Prisoner Was Transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj

MohammadSaleh Shahdadzehi, a Baluch prisoner, was transferred to Rajaie Shahr prison in Karaj. He was arrested by the intelligence officers in in Iranshahr city earlier in June 2017.  A person close to Shahdadzehi told that he was detained in the Intelligence Office’s detention center for 7 months and had been tortured to confess that he had killed a Basij member.

(8) 64 Workplace-related Deaths Were Reported in the Last Eight Months

In the last eight months, 64 workers have died in their workplaces in Mazandaran province. Ali Abbasi, the director of forensic medicine department of Mazandaran province confirmed that Sari with 10 deaths, Amol with 9 and Tonekabon with 8 deaths had the highest number of workplace-related deaths while Savadkuh county, Neka, and Jooybar and Galoogah counties had the lowest with one death. Moreover, a middle-aged worker in Mahabad city was killed because of falling from an elevator while two other workers were injured in a mine in Khorasan Razavi province.

(9) Delayed Paychecks and Layoffs in Three Businesses

55 workers of the social emergency unit of Golestan province Welfare Organization have not received their salaries from June.Also, the workers of Sanandaj municipality announced that their salaries payments are delayed and expressed their concerns. In addition, 30 workers of Sadid factory in Tehran were laid off.

(10) Setting the Court Session Date for Aryasb Bavand and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah

The second hearing session of the accusations of Aryasb Bavand, a political prisoner in ward 4 of Evin prison, and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah was held in the Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati. Bavand’s accusations are “Forming a group to act against the national security, propaganda against the regime and dissemination of falsehood”. He and Poshtpanah were arrestedwhen returning to Iran