Civil Rights Activist Peyman Sokooti Still in Detention  

Gilaki civil rights activist Peyman Sokooti has been detained for the past three months in Lakan Prison, awaiting due process while he is denied access to a lawyer.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, civil rights activist from Gilan Province Peyman Sokooti has been detained for three months.

Sokooti has been charged with “acting against national security through membership in anti-regime groups, insulting the Supreme Leader and propaganda against the regime”.

On May 23, 2022, security forces arrested Sokooti, held him for ten days in an IRGC detention facility, and then transferred him to Lakan Prison in Rasht.

Two Christian Converts Jailed in Lakan and Evin Prisons for Sentencing

On Saturday, April 16, 2022, Christian convert Sekineh Behjati was sent to Lakan Prison in Rasht for sentencing. On the same day, another Christian convert Fariba Dalir was jailed in Evin Prison to serve her two-year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, April 16, 2022, Sekineh Behjati was jailed in Lakan Prison to serve her two-year sentence.

In February of 2020, along with three other Christian converts, Behjat was arrested by security forces at her house on the charges of “propaganda against the regime, and assembly and collusion against national security”. In May 2022, in her first court session held by Branch 10 of the Revolutionary court of Rasht, Behjat was granted a bail of 500 million tomans. Since she was not able to provide the bail, she was transferred to Lakan prison, until six days later, when she was released after the bail was reduced to 200 million tomans.

Subsequently, the court sentenced her to two years in prison on the charges of “acting against national security through organizing a home church service and propaganda against the regime through preaching evangelical Christianity.”

Similarly, Article 18 News Outlet reported the imprisonment of another Christian Convert Farbia Dalir in Evin Prison. She had been sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “acting against national security through establishing a home church service”. Later on, this verdict was  reduced to two years in prison. Dalir had been arrested on July 19, 2021, along with five other Christian converts.

The persecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of 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.

 

 

Civil Activist Atena Daemi Released from Lakan Prison in Rasht City

On January 24, civil activist Atena Daemi was granted an early release and freed from Lakan Prison in Rasht. Since December of 2016, she was spending her sentence in Evin Prison until March 2021 when she was sent to exile in Lakan Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Daemi was arrested on October 21, 2014 and was sentenced on May 15, 2015. Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced her to 14 years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion to act against national security” and “offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran.” This verdict was reduced to 7 years on appeal. The severest punishment of five years was enforceable from these two charges.

Daemi began serving her sentence in 2016 in Evin Prison. In 2018, while still in jail, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran opened a new case against her and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee on a new charge of “membership in anti-regime groups”. She was sentenced to an additional three years and seven months and the verdict was upheld on appeal. Per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the severest punishment of two years and one month was enforceable.

In July 2020, she was sentenced to two years and 74 lashes in another new case, this time opened by Branch 24 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Her request for a retrial was dismissed. During this time, she and her family were consistently pressured by judicial and security forces.

On March 16, 2021, she was transferred at night from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison to spend the rest of her sentence in exile.

Four Inmates Executed in Prisons in Shiraz, Rasht and Kerman

Four inmates were recently executed in Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz, Lakan Prison in Rasht and Kerman Prison.

On Thursday, November 18, two inmates who had been convicted of murder were executed in Lakan Prison in Rasht city, and another inmate who had previously been sentenced to death on drug-related charges was executed in Kerman Prison.

Additionally, last Sunday, November 14, an inmate who was previously convicted of murder was executed in Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz City.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Iran Human Rights Organization, Mostafa Asadpur and Mojtaba Bagheri, 35 and 40 years old respectively, were executed in Lakan Prison in Rasht.

“The prison officials announced that the executions will be carried out next Saturday but they executed them today on Thursday,” the report quoted from an informed source.

The Baloch Activists Campaign reports that Shams-e-din Gholjai the resident of Zahden was executed in Zahedan Prison.

In another report, Maarouf Gholipur, who was 41 years old and a resident of Kazerun City, was executed in Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz.

The most recent report of the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between October 8 of 2020 and October 9 of 2021, at least 266 citizens, three of whom were juvenile offenders, were executed and 90 citizens were sentenced to death.

As the report points out, Iran’s judicial authorities do not publicly announce over 82% of executions. These unreported executions are known as “secret executions” by human rights organizations.

None of these executions have been reported by official sources in Iran as of this writing.

Concerns Increase about Atena Daemi’s Condition in Rasht Prison After Two Months Incommunicado

After two months in detention, civil activist Atena Daemi is still incommunicado in Rasht’s Lakan Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, her family has not heard from her or received updates about her condition in two weeks, and it seems she is being denied access to phone calls, mounting concern about her situation.

On August 12, in protest against the intentional and frequent interruption of prison phone lines and the poor conditions within the prison, Atena Daemi went on a hunger strike. She broke her hunger strike after five days, after authorities restored her access to a telephone. However, according to an informed source, even at the time, she had been allowed to have only five minutes of phone time with the presence of a prison guard or at the office of the head of the prison.

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 “assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the regime, and offensive statements against the supreme leader”. The verdict was reduced to seven years in the court of appeal, from which five years is enforceable grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic penal code.

She began serving her prison term in December 2016. In 2018, while enduring her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, she and Golrokh Ebrahimi, another civil activist, faced a new case, for which they were sentenced to an additional three years and seven months in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.

The verdict was upheld by the court of appeal. By applying Article 134, two years and one month of this term are enforceable. Additionally, they were condemned to a two-year prohibition from membership in political groups and parties.

Once again, in July 2020, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran opened a new case and sentenced her to two years imprisonment and flogging of 74 lashes. Her request for a retrial was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Iran in March 2021. She and her family have been frequently under pressure by security forces and judiciary officials.

On March 16 of this year, she was transferred from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison in Rasht.

 

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HRANA Report: COVID-19 Vaccinations Underway in Iranian Prisons

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the vaccination of inmates in different prisons throughout the country has started this month.

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to reports received by HRANA, in some prisons in the country, prisoners have been forced to receive the Iranian vaccine “Barekat”, and many others have refused to receive the Barekat vaccine due to doubts about production conditions and the lack of WHO approval. In some prisons, vaccination has been partially abandoned due to the lack of enough dosage per the Ministry of Health.

Although this action of the Prisons Organization has given a bit of hope to the prisoners and their families, reports received by HRANA from various prisons across the country indicate that -regardless of the quality and type of vaccine used- a small percentage of inmates have been vaccinated and that most of the inmates still have not been vaccinated against COVID.

Prisoners in the women’s ward of Lakan Prison in Rasht were vaccinated with the Barekat vaccine. According to an informed source, the vaccination process has started in this prison in late July this year; first the prison officials, then the male prisoners, and finally the female prisoners have been vaccinated.

As of this writing, a small percentage of inmates in Urmia Prison are vaccinated. An informed source about the vaccination process in this prison told HRANA, “At first, the Iranian vaccine Barekat was sent for Urmia prison, but prisoners refused to inject, then a small number of Chinese vaccines arrived which only was enough for a few. Though the vaccine was given to all prisoners in the political prison, and any of them who wished was vaccinated.”

According to the source, prison officials, along with a limited number of other detainees were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since mid-August of this year, some prisoners in various wards of Evin Prison have received the first dose of the vaccine. Initially, the vaccination was carried out with the Barakat vaccine, but this process was stopped due to the refusal of many prisoners to inject the Iranian vaccine. A few days later, some prisoners were injected with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm. According to an informed source, in many wards of the prison, even prisoners with underlying diseases who are at risk of infection have not been vaccinated yet.

Political prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj have also been injected with the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine. According to an informed source, in other wards of the prison, vaccination was going on based on the age priority and people with underlying diseases until prison officials announced that the vaccination would be halted and postponed until the Ministry of Health and the Prisons Organization were able to provide the vaccine.

The HRANA investigation shows that most of the prisoners in Qarchak Prison in Varamin have been injected with the Sinopharm vaccine, but new inmates, whose numbers are very high, are still not vaccinated as there are not enough vaccines for them.

In Qom Coastal Prison, only the clergy prisoners being held in the special ward for clergies have been fully vaccinated. According to an informed source, 20 prisoners in this ward, along with a small number of prisoners from other wards, have been vaccinated so far. Prisoners in Bushehr Prison in Bushehr Province have not yet received any vaccine.

These are the reports from prisons while in early August, Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, head of the Prisons Organization, claimed on his Twitter account that 50 percent of the country’s prisoners had been vaccinated.

Although the prisoners’ vaccination could help to control the spread of coronavirus in prisons, the effectiveness of vaccination is still unclear as spaces in prisons are closed, pre-and post-vaccination health protocols are not met, principles of quarantine are not observed, and prison populations are large. Also, some prisoners have received the Iranian Barekat vaccine, whose effectiveness is highly questionable.

The negligence of the authorities towards the situation of sick prisoners, lack of proper medical care in prisons, the strictness of the authorities in sending prisoners to medical leave and hospitals, and the lack of adequate sanitary facilities in prisons have all contributed to and intensified the spread of the disease.

 

Atena Daemi Denied the Right to Make Telephone Calls in Lakan Prison in Rasht

Civil activist Atena Daemi is being denied the right to make phone calls in Lakan Prison in Rasht.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Daemi went on a hunger strike on August 12 in protest of repeated telephone cuts and prison mismanagement.

She ended her strike on August 17 following the fixation of telephone cuts, and the release of prisoners whose release was delayed for weeks. Now, however, it appears that prison authorities are once again denying the activist phone access.

Ensieh Daemi, Atena’s sister, said on her social media page, “They have taken Atena’s phone card, and they have deprived her of the right to contact us. After being six years in prison, Atena could guess [knew] that they may deprive her of making phone calls, but she was happy that the phone cuts will be fixed, and the rest of the prisoners can make phone calls, and freedom will be restored.”

Athena Daemi Ends Hunger Strike in Lakan Prison in Rasht

Yesterday, August 17, imprisoned civil activist Atena Daemi  ended her hunger strike in Lakan Prison in Rasht.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ms. Daemi had been on a hunger strike since Thursday, August 12, in protest of repeated telephone cuts and prison mismanagement.

She has ended her strike following the fixation of telephone cuts, and the release of prisoners whose release was delayed for weeks.

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.

Lakan Prison Officials Turn off Air Conditioning in Women’s Ward and Cut Inmates’ Quarantines Short

Following the transfer of 9 new female prisoners to the quarantine ward of Lakan Prison in Rasht, 15 residents of the quarantine ward were transferred to the public ward before the end of their quarantine period.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, air conditioning in the women’s ward was also turned off for at least 8 hours during the day. The lack of air conditioning, coupled with steadily rising summer temperatures have created conditions under which it is nearly impossible for the inmates to wear masks.

According to an informed source, after protesting, prisoners were told that they would be sent directly to public wards without quarantine, even if other new entrances arrived.

It is worth mentioning that civil activist Athena Daemi, who was deported from Evin Prison to Lakan on March 17, 2010, was kept in quarantine for 23 days.