Sereen Curtis Arrested in Karaj on Allegations of Blasphemy

Sereen Curtis (Badiei), also known as “Sahzadeh Sereen,” was apprehended on March 25, 2024, by security forces in Karaj on suspicion of blasphemy, as reported by Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency.

The arrest of Curtis, who is purportedly a dual national, came in the wake of the dissemination of videos on social media platforms.

Mizan disclosed that Curtis was formally charged and remanded into custody.

Abolfazl Pour-Hosseini Sentenced to Four Years in Prison with Additional Penalties

The Revolutionary Court of Karaj has pronounced a four-year prison sentence on Abolfazl Pour-Hosseini, a member of the mystical group Erfan-e-Halgheh, alongside two years of exile, a fine, a prohibition from leaving the country, and other social restrictions.

This verdict, confirmed by a source close to Pour-Hosseini’s family, stems from charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “inciting people to act against national security.”

Pour-Hosseini was officially informed of this decision on March 17, 2024. Presently incarcerated in Karaj’s Central Prison, he faces further hardship as prison officials have imposed a three-month ban on family visits as a punitive measure.

The ordeal began on June 13, 2023, when Pour-Hosseini was apprehended by the IRGC’s intelligence in Karaj and confined to Ward 15 of the Central Prison of Karaj. Reports from HRANA suggest that his arrest was linked to the distribution of leaflets on behalf of Erfan-e-Halgheh.

In addition to his recent legal battles, Pour-Hosseini had previously been sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Karaj to three years of imprisonment and two years of suspended imprisonment.

This is not Pour-Hosseini’s first brush with the authorities; he had been arrested in Qom for his participation in courses organized by the Erfan-e-Halgheh group.

Pour-Hosseini, aged 47 and a father of two daughters, resides in Karaj.

Data collected by the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) points to the involvement of IRGC Intelligence in 392 cases of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests.

Concerns Rise Over Health of Political Prisoner Hamzeh Savari

Political prisoner Hamzeh Savari Laftah, currently serving a life sentence in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj, is facing alarming health issues amidst inadequate medical care. Despite his urgent need for treatment outside the prison walls, authorities have repeatedly denied him access to essential medical attention.

According to a source close to Savari’s family, he has been enduring a painful baker’s cyst in his knee for five years, which has worsened over time, extending to his tendon due to the absence of proper medical intervention. Shockingly, prison officials, under orders from the prosecutor, have refused to transfer him to a hospital for necessary treatment.

Reports obtained by HRANA indicate that Savari has also been battling Varicose disease for eleven years, with a recurrence three years ago following a surgery nine years ago. Despite his persistent requests for medical assistance, he has been consistently denied access to treatment.

Arrested at the tender age of 16 on September 2, 2005, Savari was initially sentenced to death by the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court on charges of “spreading corruption on earth, enmity against God (moharebeh), and acting against national security.” However, his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

The troubling case of Savari adds to a larger pattern of neglect within Iranian prisons. In 2023, the Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran documented 1,390 instances of denial or neglect of medical care for prisoners, highlighting a systemic issue that demands urgent attention.

Execution of Two Afghan Nationals for Murder in Ghezel Hesar Prison

On March 11, 2024, Ghezel Hesar Prison, located in Karaj, carried out the execution of two death-row inmates convicted of murder. HRANA identified the individuals as Nour-Mohammad Tajik and Abdolbaset (last name unknown).

The hanged Afghan nationals had been transferred to solitary confinement on March 9 in preparation for the execution.

As of now, there is no official information or coverage from domestic media outlets in the country regarding these executions. The absence of official sources raises apprehensions about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

 

Political Detainee Saman Yasin Moved to Psychiatric Hospital

Saman Seydi (Yasin), detained during the 2022 nationwide protests, was transferred from Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital on March 5, 2024.

A source close to his family confirmed Seydi’s relocation to Aminabad Hospital. In a recent open letter addressed to the head of the Judiciary, Saman Yasin expressed his objection to his 18-month detention, stating a preference for a death sentence over being held in legal limbo.

Seydi has been temporarily moved to a hospital outside the prison environment. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran’s Branch 15, presided over by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, has taken charge of Seydi’s case. A recent court session was postponed due to the absence of the public defender. Frustrated by the prolonged detention and as a form of protest, Seydi injured himself by hitting his head on the wall.

Reza Shafa-Khah, Seydi’s legal representative, has condemned the extended detention, citing it as a violation of the law.

Arrested by security forces on October 2, 2022, during the nationwide Mahsa Amini Protests, Seydi faced convictions on various charges, including “enmity against God (Moharebeh)” and “assembly and collusion against national security,” resulting in a death sentence on October 29, 2023. However, the Supreme Court of Iran overturned this verdict, leading to the transfer of his case to another court branch for retrial.

Despite Seydi’s requests, he has not been granted representation from a private lawyer. On August 2, 2023, along with six other political prisoners, he was transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj, to Evin Prison. On September 3, 2023, he was moved to Ghezel Hesar Prison, along with twelve other prisoners, without prior notice, and has since been held in the ward designated for prisoners with drug-related convictions.

On January 28 of this year, Seydi sustained injuries during an altercation between political prisoners and prison guards.

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Political Prisoner Mostafa Ramezani Initiates Hunger Strike in Solitary Confinement

Mostafa Ramezani, a political prisoner, commenced a hunger strike at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj on March 4, protesting his confinement in solitary quarters.

A reliable source close to Ramezani’s family disclosed this information to HRANA. According to the source, “Ramezani was transferred to solitary confinement as a punitive measure after a confrontation with prison guards on January 22, 2024. It has been more than 40 days since he has been held in solitary confinement.”

This political prisoner had been transferred from Evin Prison to Ghezel Hesar Prison on January 18, 2024.

Currently, in the third year of his sentence, Ramezani received an eight-year sentence for political charges, including “propaganda against the regime” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”

Mehrdad Bakhtiari Faces Six-Year Prison Sentence and Additional Restrictions

The Revolutionary Court of Karaj has handed down a six-year prison sentence to Mehrdad Bakhtiari, along with a two-year travel ban, and two-year exile in Shahrekord. He is the paternal uncle of Pouya Bakhtiari, who tragically lost his life at the hands of regime forces during the 2019 Protests, aka Aban Protests.

Bakhtiari publicly disclosed that he was given five years for “assembly and collusion against national security” and an additional one year for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

This legal case unfolded in July 2022 when charges were filed against Bakhtiari and Nahid Shirpisheh, Pouya Bakhtiari’s mother. It is noteworthy that in a separate case initiated by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court, Bakhtiari was acquitted of the charges against him.

Bakhtiari’s arrest occurred on July 11, 2022, after he shared a video on social media about Shirpisheh’s arrest and posted pictures of her residence’s door, which had been broken by authorities. Following his arrest, Bakhtiari was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. He was released on bail on September 3, 2022, until the end of legal proceedings.
In a tragic and interconnected series of events, Bakhtiari’s son, Pouya, at the age of 27, was fatally shot by regime forces during the 2019 protests, also known as the Aban Protests, in Karaj. According to his sister and mother, Pouya succumbed to his injuries in the hospital after being shot in the head during the second day of the protest’s eruption.

The sentencing and associated restrictions underscore a worrisome development, exemplifying the state of freedom of expression and political dissent in Iran.

Lawyer Mohammad-Reza Kargarpisheh Arrested in Karaj

Security forces apprehended Mohammad-Reza Kargarpisheh Moghadam, a practicing attorney, in Karaj on February 14, subsequently transferring him to a detention facility within the city.

According to a source close to Kargarpisheh’s family, the arrest occurred on a street in Karaj while he was en route to his office. He has been relocated to a detention facility in Karaj.

“Despite the family’s inquiries, the reason for this arrest has yet to be disclosed,” the source added.

Lawyer Taher Naghavi Arrested in Karaj

On February 6, attorney-at-law Taher Naghavi was arrested by security forces in Karaj and subsequently transferred to an undisclosed location.

A reliable source close to Naghavi’s family confirmed to HRANA that the arrest took place at one of his friends’ residences in Karaj. The reasons behind his arrest, the location of his confinement, and the charges against him are currently unknown.

Execution of Three Inmates for Drug Offenses in Karaj

On January 29, 2024, authorities at the Central Prison of Karaj executed three individuals convicted of drug-related crimes.

HRANA has identified two of them as Ajamian and Jafari (first names unknown). These inmates had previously received death sentences for drug offenses. HRANA had reported their relocation to solitary confinement the day before.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. The lack of official information raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

The reports from the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists for the year 2023 reveal a concerning prevalence of executions for drug offenses in Iran, constituting 56.4% of the total executions. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.