A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 20, 2018

Posted on: December 20th, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 20th, 2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Ebrahim Nouri, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist filed a complaint against the head and the judicial deputy of Evin prison. Nouri, a law student, has a record of being detained for civic activities, beginning in 2005 when he was arrested and interrogated by the Intelligence department. In 2009, he was sentenced to ten months imprisonment on a charge of propaganda against the regime.

(2) Five of the significant spate of Nationwide protests today: retired educators in Gilan, Isfahan, Yazd, and Zanjan have held protests. And shareholders of the bankrupt Caspian Financial Institution protested in Kerman.

(3) A furlough request of Latif Hassani, a Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, was denied. He was arrested in 2012 and has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment. He was accused of forming an illegal group to act against the national security.

(4) More than 2600 workers of Railway Transportation Company and Samen al-Hojaj financial Institution are demanding their unpaid wages. The issue of unpaid wages has been a continuous one in Iran over the last year.

(5) Mahmoud Naji who began his hunger strike on December 11, has critical medical states and he has been denied medical treatment. He is serving his 10 years sentence in Evin prison.

(6) Two labor activists, Mehrdad Sabouri and Omid Ahmadi, who were accused of “propaganda against the state” for participating in international Labor day protest, began serving their sentence today.

(7) Afif Naimi, one of the administrative members of the Baha’i Community who was arrested in 2008, and served his 10 years sentence was released today. He was accused of ‘assembly and collusion’, ‘blasphemy’, and ‘propaganda against the State’.

(8) Omid Shahmohammadi, a teachers’ rights activist who had been arrested on November 12, was released on bail in Divandarreh today.

(9) On December 20, police opened fire on a fuel tanker truck in Zahedan which caused the truck to set on fire.

(10) Eight prisoner requested human rights organisations especially the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran to investigate in Vahid Sayadi Nasiri ‘s death. Earlier this week France and US requested investigation on the circumstances of his death.

(11) A juvenile offender death penalty was confirmed in the Supreme Court. He was charged with murder in 2011 when he was 14 years old.

(12) Bahram Javadi, the administrator of ‘YollPress’ website, was released on bail today. He was arrested on a complaint from the governor of West Azerbaijan regarding coverage his speech coverage.

Former Death Row Juvenile Offender Saman Naseem Released on Bail

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Saman Naseem, a Kurdish juvenile offender who was arrested seven years ago and was once on death row, was freed on a five billion IRR (approximately $35,000 USD) bail on October 16, 2018.

Naseem’s death sentence was commuted to five years in prison by the Appeals Court of West Azerbaijan Province, located on Iran’s northwestern border with Turkey and Iraq.

Originally scheduled in February, Naseem’s release was delayed by a new lawsuit brought against him in August 2018 by the family of a late agent of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The agent’s surviving family members — along with the family members of three others who were injured in armed clashes in 2011 — demanded “Qesas,” or “eye-for-an-eye” retribution permissible under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Naseem was 17 years old when he participated in the clashes on the side of the Kurdish opposition. His role incurred charges of “Moharebeh [Enmity against God]” and “corruption on earth” in Mahabad Revolutionary Court, which sentenced him to death in 2013. Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence in December of that year.

Naseem’s lawyers appealed the verdict, obtaining a retrial in a parallel appeals court. This court acquitted Naseem, commuting the capital punishment sentence to five years in prison, upholding the charge of “membership in an armed opposition group, namely the Kurdistan Free Life Party [commonly known by its Kurdish-language acronym PJAK].” The Supreme Court upheld his commutation.

Naseem — who had no access to legal representation during the preliminary investigation of his case — alleges that authorities tortured him while he was in custody, pulling nails from his fingers and toes and suspending him upside down from the ceiling.

Supreme Court Upholds “Qassameh” Death Sentence for Juvenile Offender

Posted on: October 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Saleh Shariati, a prisoner in Adel Abad of Shiraz who was convicted of murder as a minor via “Qassameh,” one of Islamic Penal Code’s most tenuous methods of establishing guilt.

In the absence of sufficient evidence, a judge strongly persuaded of the defendant’s guilt can rule for conviction by Qassameh if enough of the victim’s male family members indict the defendant under oath. In Shariati’s case, 57 of the victim’s male family members — none of whom are legally required to have witnessed the crime — sealed his fate with their sworn testimonies.

Authorities reportedly extracted a confession from Shariati under the duress of torture. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, a US-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting human rights in Iran, recently published audio of a man identified as Shariati speaking on tape. The man’s voice can be heard recalling five years’ worth of forcibly extracted confessions.

“Had I committed a crime, I wouldn’t have stayed at the same address […],” Shariati’s recording continued. “I would have fled… I’ve been in limbo for five years now. Every day they have a different reason. It’s become unbearable. I’m thinking of harming myself [while I still have the chance].”

Initially barred from seeing his detained son, Shariati’s father believed he had been tortured when, visiting him in prison for the first time, he caught sight of suspect wounds on his son’s body.

The alleged murder took place in 2012 when the body of Rasoul Bahramnian was found at the bottom of a well whose entrance was left unsecured. Shariati, then 16, was the last known person to see Bahramian alive and alleged that he had fallen into the well. Authorities zeroed in on him as a murder suspect sixteen months later.

Iranian Authorities Execute Three Prisoners, Slate Four More for Gallows

Posted on: October 3rd, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – State-run news agencies in Iran have yet to confirm the executions of three prisoners this morning, October 2nd, in Urmia: Salman Khan Alilou, Hassan Hajilou, and Zeinab Sekaanvand. Sekaanvand was executed for a crime she had allegedly committed as a minor.

Yesterday, Amnesty International released a statement expressing concern about Sekaanvand’s transfer to a solitary confinement cell, the protocol for prisoners whose death sentence is imminent. “The authorities must immediately quash Zeinab Sekaanvand’s conviction and grant her a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty, and in accordance with principles of juvenile justice,” the statement read.

Sekaanvand, born June 22, 1994, was 17 when she was detained March 1, 2012, on accusations of killing her husband. Branch 2 of Urmia Criminal Court issued her a death sentence, which was confirmed in Branch 8 of the Supreme Court. Married in March of 2009 at the age of 15, Sekaanvand reportedly endured physical violence at the hands of her husband.

Having spent two years in Khoy Prison since her initial arrest, Sekaanvand was transferred to the Women’s Ward of Urmia prison after being issued the death sentence. Prison authorities would later approve her marriage to a fellow Urmia prisoner. She delivered a stillborn baby on Friday, October 1, [2016].

Yesterday, HRANA reported on the transfer of at least four prisoners — all of whom were reportedly charged with first-degree murder — to solitary cells in various detention centers across Urmia in preparation for their executions.

The same day, two more prisoners — Mousa Nomani from Ward 3-4 and Changiz Irani from the Psychotherapy Ward — were granted execution stays of one month and fifteen days, respectively, to attempt to obtain pardon from the families of their victims, which would exempt them from capital punishment.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. An annual report published by the Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) states that more than 60% of executions in Iran are not reported by the state or the Judiciary. These executions are referred to as “secret executions.”

According to registered data from 2,945 reports by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of HRAI, in the past year (from March 21, 2017, to March 18, 2018) at least 322 citizens were executed and 236 others were sentenced to death in Iran. Among these were the executions of four juvenile offenders and 23 public hangings.

A Juvenile Offender on Death Row since 11 Years Ago

Posted on: September 10th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Yahya Firouzi is involved in a murder case with his older brother when he was 17 years old. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and then to death. He is still being kept in an undecided condition and the complaints in the case has changed their address and are not willing to follow-up this case.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Yahya Firouzi was born on April 29, 1998 in Sagan-Oulia village in Gilan-e-Gharb territory. He committed a murder in December 2006 when he was 17 years old, along with his brother Lotfollah, who was 27 at the time. (more…)

Juvenile offender on death row is in danger of more torture

Posted on: July 11th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – Juvenile offender Baha’uddin Ghasemzadeh has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department in Urmia to be interrogated more.  His family fears for his safety as he might be tortured once again.  Despite his initial confession taken at age 15, Ghasemzadeh denied committing the murder at the trial, and the case against him appears to have many problems such as lack of motive.

(more…)

Corrections – The case of the eight-year-old juvenile offender

Posted on: July 6th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – On July 4, 2013, Shargh Newspaper published a short news story inviting its readers to attend the debut of a play to save the life of an innocent child who was to be executed the following week.  The story appeared on page 16 of the issue numbered 1773 and identified the name of the play, the Blue Sensation of Death, as well as the location and time of the debut.  The news story indicated that the proceeds from the play was to be used towards the retribution demanded by the family of a victim who was killed by the child.

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A juvenile offender will be hanged next week

Posted on: July 4th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – A juvenile offender who has spent 10 years in prison for a crime committed at the age of eight will be hanged next week in Tehran.

According to a report by Shargh Newspaper, the plaintiff has demanded approximately $500,000 in reparation before giving the required consent for the sentence to be commuted.  Iranian criminal law allows death penalty for children, but the sentence can be carried out only after the child reaches 18 . (more…)