Four Afghan Nationals Executed in Mashhad for Drug Convictions

On April 18, 2024, four Afghan nationals were executed in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad for drug-related offenses, according to Haal Vsh.

The individuals, identified as Zaman Taheri, Salam Taheri, Gholam Ghader Samani, and Ebrahim Nour-Zahi, were sentenced to death four years ago.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. In 2023, 66% of HRANA’s reports on executions lacked official announcements by judicial authorities and went unreported by media inside Iran, highlighting a troubling lack of transparency in due 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.

 

Five Executed for Drug Offenses in Mashhad

In a recent development, five individuals convicted of drug-related offenses faced execution in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad, on April 15, 2024, according to Haal Vsh.

The identities of the executed individuals were withheld from the report. However, it was noted that four of them hailed from Mashhad, while one was identified as an Afghan national.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. In 2023, 66% of HRANA’s reports on executions lacked official announcements by judicial authorities and went unreported by media inside Iran, highlighting a troubling lack of transparency in due 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.

Hasti Tale-Talab Detained Without Clarity in Vakilabad Prison

Hasti Tale-Talab, a resident of Mashhad, has been detained in Vakilabad Prison for over three weeks without a clear legal status.

According to a source close to Tale-Talab’s family who spoke to HRANA, she has been held in Vakilabad prison for 25 days. Her family has been kept uninformed about her legal case.

On March 17, 2024, Tale-Talab was summoned by the Public and Revolutionary Court of Mashhad and detained during her appearance.

Reports obtained by HRANA indicate that Tale-Talab is facing multiple charges, including “provoking impurity and indecency,” and “propaganda against the regime.”

In October-November 2023, the Ministry of Intelligence raided Tale-Talab’s residence, conducted a search, and confiscated some of her belongings.

Tale-Talab, aged 51, is a mother of four.

Update on Political Prisoner Shirin Beyraghdar’s Legal Status in Vakilabad Prison

Shirin Beyraghdar is presently serving her term at Vakilabad Prison.

Initially apprehended by security forces at her shop in Mashhad in June-July 2022, Beyraghdar spent approximately six months in detention before being released on bail amounting to one billion tomans (roughly 20,000 dollars).

Following her release, the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad convicted her on charges including “forming groups to act against national security,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, she received a sentence of four years and six months for the primary charge.

In June-July 2023, Beyraghdar commenced serving her sentence at Vakilabad Prison.

Extension of Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri’s Detention Continues Legal Limbo

Political detainee Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri’s confinement in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad, has surpassed 168 days, with his uncertain legal status persisting. Recently, authorities prolonged his detention for an additional month.

Asghar Sepehri confirmed to HRANA the extension of his brother’s detainment by the Public and Revolutionary Courthouse in Mashhad.

Sepehri was apprehended by security forces in Mashhad on September 28, 2023, facing charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.” Moreover, on January 20, 2024, his employment was terminated by the Ministry of Education.

Notably, Sepehri’s sister, Fatemeh Sepehri, also languishes as a political detainee in the same prison.

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Update on Abdolbaset Avarsan’s Situation in Vakilabad Prison

Sunni prisoner Abdolbaset Avarsan is currently serving a 15-year prison term in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad. Recent developments reveal that his request for release on probation has been rejected by judicial authorities, with sources citing influence from the Ministry of Intelligence.

A close family source, speaking to HRANA, confirmed that the judge, under the Ministry of Intelligence’s influence, dismissed Avarsan’s release request. Hailing from Torbat-e-Jam and a father of three, Avarsan’s family faces financial struggles. Despite holding a Master’s degree, his wife’s job application with the Ministry of Education was rejected during the interview due to her husband’s legal case, further complicating the family’s situation.

In 2019, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Avarsan to 15 years in prison for his alleged involvement in “armed rebellion (Baghi) through membership in a Salafi-ISIS group.”

Ramin Haeri Arrested in Mashhad

Security forces apprehended Ramin Haeri in Mashhad and subsequently transported him to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facility within the city.

A source close to Haeri’s family has confirmed his arrest, stating that Ministry of Intelligence agents detained him at his residence in Mashhad on February 28, 2024. The reasons behind this arrest and the specific allegations against Haeri remain undisclosed. However, there is speculation that this apprehension may be linked to a recent social media post where he expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the country.

The incident raises concerns about the freedom of expression and the right to voice one’s opinions in the face of potential consequences.

Appeals Court Upholds One-Year Sentence for Amir Sheibani Zaveh Linked to 2022 Nationwide Protests

The Appeals Court of Razavi Khorasan Province has upheld the one-year sentence against Amir Sheibani Zaveh, citing his involvement in the 2022 nationwide protests.

The initial verdict, issued by the Mashhad Revolutionary Court and presided over by Judge Hadi Mansouri, found Sheibani Zaveh guilty of “propaganda against the regime.” In addition to the one-year imprisonment, he faces a two-year travel ban and two years of restrictions on Internet and social media use.

A source close to Sheibani Zaveh’s family, who spoke to HRANA, revealed that the charge was based on his communication with the families of protestors injured or killed by regime forces during the 2022 nationwide protests.

Sheibani Zaveh was apprehended by security forces in Mashhad in late October 2022 and remained in detention for a period. In January 2023, he received a sentence of eight years and six months, which was later nullified following his inclusion in the “general pardon and commutation” directive.

About the 2022 Nationwide Protests

The arrest of Mahsa Amini by Tehran Morality Police for her improper hejab and her suspicious death on September 16 sparked protests sweeping across Iran. During the nationwide protests, about 19600 people, including journalists, artists, lawyers, teachers, students, and civil rights activists, were arrested.

Baha’i Women Upheld with Three Years and Eight Months Sentence on Appeal

The Court of Appeal in Razavi Khorasan Province has affirmed the three-year, eight-month sentence for each of Baha’i citizens Golnoosh Nasiri and Farideh Moradi.

According to a source close to these women, who confirmed the news to HRANA, the verdict includes three years for “membership in groups to act against national security” and eight months for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

The initial judgment was issued by the Mashhad Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Hadi Mansouri, during a court session held on October 11, 2023.

Their investigation procedures took place in late August 2023, during which each was granted bail with five billion tomans, approximately equivalent to 100,000 dollars.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Political Prisoner Mohammad-Javad Vafaie at Risk of Death Penalty

Political prisoner Seyed Mohammad-Javad Vafaie, currently held in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad, is facing the threat of execution. The Revolutionary Court of Mashhad handed down a death sentence after a retrial in July 2023.

Vafaie, a 28-year-old boxing coach, was arrested by security forces in Mashhad in March 2020 and subsequently incarcerated in Vakilabad Prison. In January 2020, Babak Paknia, Vafaie’s lawyer, revealed that his client had been convicted of “spreading corruption on earth through arson and intentional destruction of public property, including the penitentiary building.” However, the Supreme Court later overturned the initial verdict, leading to a retrial in another branch.

Despite the retrial, the Revolutionary Court once again sentenced him to death. Notably, following the verdict, Vafaie was granted a substantial bail, which he was unable to afford.

The reissuance of the death sentence after the retrial has raised serious concerns about the potential imminent execution of Mohammad-Javad Vafaie.