Coronavirus outbreak in Iranian prisons

Posted on: March 4th, 2020

On February 29, 2020, Ebrahim Raisi, the Chief Justice of Iran, issued a circular laying out policies to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in prisons.  This order mandates giving 15 -30 days furlough to prisoners with sentences less than five years. Another part of this order is about reducing entries into prisons, temporary releases, and public activities in prisons. In addition, this order mandates to increase alternative sentences and suspended prison terms instead of imprisonments.

Although the Chief Justice of Iran announced that the prisoners with less than five years prison term will be granted furlough, the prison authorities are not cooperative with political prisoners and prisoners of conscience to implement this regulation. As an example, Esmaeil Abdi and Negin Ghadamian were sentenced to five years imprisonment and after spending four and three years in prison respectively, they were not granted any furlough. Nazanin Zaghari’s husband reported that she is suspected to have Coronavirus. She is serving the 4th year of her five-year imprisonment sentence. Reportedly, three women were diagnosed with Coronavirus in Evin Prison.

The number of prisoners suspected of having coronavirus is increasing. Several prisoners suspected of having coronavirus were identified in Urmia, Khorramabad, Gorgan, Sanandaj, Qom, and other prisons.

 

A letter from political prisoner’s families

With the current spread of Coronavirus in prisons in Iran, some of the families of the political and security prisoners have written a letter to the judicial authorities on February 26, 2020, requesting furlough for prisoners until this crisis (Coronavirus) is over in the prisons. Considering the closed environment of the prison, malnutrition of the prisoners, shortage of medical care and facilities, high density of prisoners, and the occurrence of some cases suspected to be related to coronavirus has raised concerns of the families of prisoners.

The families of the following prisoners have signed this letter:

Mahmoud Beheshti Langeroudi, Esmaeil Abdi, Mohammad Habibi, Narges Mohammadi, Amir Salar Davoudi, Farhad Meisami, Roeen Otoufat, Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahnaz Akmali, Majid Azarpey, Atena Daemi, Sam Rajabi, Morad Tahbaz, Niloufar Bayani, Abdolreza Kouhpaieh, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Taher Ghadirian, Neda Naji, Mehrdad Mohammadnejad, Mohammad Abolhasani, Peyman Koushkbaghi, Aras Amiri, Jafar Fazel, and Alireza Golipour.

In some of the prisons, such as Khorramabad or Sanandaj Prisons, the prisoners asked the authorities to provide them with medical and hygiene necessities and to quarantine the prisoners who are suspected to be infected and have threatened that if this negligence is continuous, they will go on hunger strike. Other prisons such as Karaj, Tabriz, Evin and many other prisons across the country are also demanding similar precautions.

 

A death in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary

It should be noted that on the same day, a prisoner of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who had symptoms similar to that of Coronavirus passed away after the prison authorities delayed in transferring him to the hospital to receive proper medical care. His name was Hamid Reza and he was 44 years old. He was convicted of a financial felony who was serving his sentence in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. He was initially diagnosed with symptoms of flu but after a few days, he started to cough and eventually passed away in the prion.

In addition, 60 prisoners of Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary who were working in the kitchen or service sector, were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison. Moreover, 7 other prisoners in section 5 ward 2 have Coronavirus symptoms; they were kept in the medical ward without receiving medical care and were not transferred to the hospital.

 

Evin Prison and the violation of the Prisoners Classification Regulation

Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, Milad Arsanjani, Jamil Ghahremani, and 15 other arrestees of the last November’s protests who were kept in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary, were moved from their cell after an inmate was diagnosed with Coronavirus in their cell. Amir Hossein Moradi returned to prison on February 29, 2020, after spending a week in the hospital for another disease. He returned to his cell but after an hour he was transferred to the medical ward for his positive test results of Coronavirus. Although they were told that they will be transferred to Yaft Abad Hospital, they were transferred to ward 1 of this prison, which belongs to the prisoners who committed violent crimes. In June 2019, Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a political prisoner, was fatally stabbed in this ward by two other inmates of this ward who were charged with a drug felony. After this incident, the prison authorities moved other political prisoners from this ward to avoid future incidents. This is against prisoners’ segregation rule. According to a close source “section, 1 of the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary has 10 wards and one suite which had been used as an exile to punish the prisoners who get in the fight or carry drugs. Since 2018, the political prisoners have been transferred to this suite. This suite has limited facilities and does not even have access to prison commissaries. Their door should be locked all the time however, in the case of Mr. Shir Mohammadi, the warden intentionally did not lock the door which was illegal.

Alireza Shir Mohammadi, a 21-year-old political prisoner at the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary was murdered in prison on June 10, 2019. He was attacked by two other prisoners, who were later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The prisoner in question was stabbed in the neck and stomach and died before arriving at the hospital. Shir Mohammad Ali was arrested on July 14, 2018, and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “blasphemy”, “insulting the former and current Supreme Leaders”, and “propaganda against the state”.  He was detained in a solitary confinement cell for 36 days after being arrested. His bail was set at 80 million Tomans but the Revolutionary Court illegally rejected his release on bail. Throughout his prosecution process, he did not have access to an attorney because of his financial conditions. He was waiting for the decision of the appeal’s court when he was murdered. He protested his detention along with non-political prisoners and went on a hunger strike on March 14, 2019, which ended on April 16 after prison authorities accepted his demands. He also wrote open letters criticizing the “unsafe” and “inhumane” conditions of Greater Tehran’s Penitentiary Prison. He wrote an open letter five days into his hunger strike on March 18, 2019. In this letter, he explained the awful condition he was experiencing in prison. In addition, he claimed that he was denied regular social rights that any prisoner is entitled to have. However, his main request, reflected in this letter, was to be transferred to another prison (Evin prison). No judicial authorities or prison officials reacted to his open letter. 

A prisoner of ward 4 of Evin Prison was transferred to an unknown place for his positive test results of Coronavirus. He kept with several other prisoners and political prisoners of this ward who are on hunger strike and are more vulnerable to this disease.

 

Khorramabad and Ghezel Hesar Prisons

On March 1, 2020, the prisoners of Khorramabad Prison have started a sit-in to protest not being sent to furlough although Coronavirus has spread in this prison. There is a shortage of access to medical care and hygiene products for the diagnosis and treatment of Coronavirus. Several prisoners who have symptoms of this disease did not receive any treatment and were kept with other prisoners. Several prisoners who went on furlough were returned to prison. A close source to a family of a prisoner in this prison told HRANA that a sick inmate with severe coughs received neither medical care nor disinfecting substances and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.

Two prisoners of Qezelhesar Prison, Basat Ali Khazaei, and Gholamhossein Abolfavaei were moved to the quarantine section in the health ward due to having positive test results of Coronavirus. They were charged with drug felony and kept in a ward with 500 other inmates.

 

Rajai Shahr and Urmia Prisons

The prisoners are deprived of medical care, disinfecting substances, and hygiene products such as alcohol, mask, and gloves.  Payam Shakiba, Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, and Majid Asadi are serving their third year in prison. Arash Sadeghi, who is diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma (bone cancer), has had an infection in his right hand, digestion issues, and because of his weak immune system should be prioritized to be granted a furlough. Saeed Shirzad is spending the last months of his prison sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Mohammad Ghanbardoost, a political prisoner, was transferred to the hospital due to having symptoms of coronavirus disease. He kept with other political prisoners and may infected others. He was arrested on August 16, 2017, and was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “cooperating with Takfiri groups”.

Several Coronavirus suspected patients in Urmia Prison were transferred to hospitals outside the prison. One Urmia prisoner died in hospital, but prison authorities claimed that he was infected outside the prison.

 

Update on political prisoners temporary releases

On March 3, 2020, Mohammad Karimi granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. Mr. Karimi was sentenced to one-year imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state” which was upheld by the appeals court. on July 3, 2020, he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.

On March 2, 2020, Shahnaz Akmali, political prisoner, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. She was arrested on January 15, 2020. She was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was banned from having any social media account, membership in any group, and leaving the country on the charge of “propaganda against the state”. An appeals court upheld her sentence without hearing either Ms. Akmali or her attorney. She is the mother of Mostafa Karim Beygi one of the people who was killed by security forces during green movement uprising in 2009.

On February 29, 2020, Reza Gholamhosseini, a political prisoner of Bandar Abbas Prison, was granted a furlough and temporarily released until April 3, 2020. He was arrested on September 25, 2019, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment on the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “insulting supreme leader”. His sentence was reduced to 18 months later because he did not request an appeal.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 30, 2019

Posted on: January 30th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 30th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) More than five protests were organized across the country on January 30, 2019. The workers of Ahvaz inter-city rail, taxi drivers in Bukan, the customers of SAIPA and IranKhodro companies, the environmental activists in Behbahan, and the employees of Railway Services and Technical Construction Engineering Company (RSTC), have held separate protests to request their demands.

(2) A 27-year old was tried in absentia and sentenced to three years in prison and 74 lashes for “stealing a chicken” in Laly city in Khuzestan province.

(3) A retired teacher, Alireza Kafaei, was arrested in Gachsaran on January 29, 2019. The leader of Islamic Association of Teachers of Gachsaran is suffering from diabetes and severe heart disease. He was released on bail earlier today.

(4) Three Kulbars (Kurdish back carrier) died or were injured in Salmas and Baneh. Saman Salehi and Mohammad Karimi were killed after the Iranian border patrol opened fire to a group of Kulbars. Another Kulbar, Sammy Rashidi, was injured in another accident.

(5) A prisoner was executed in Noor prison on the charge of murder. Two prisoners, Hashem Badrkhani and Houshang Hosseini who were accused of murder, were spared from hanging on gallows by consent of next of kin in Bandar Abbas.

(6) Jafar Azimzadeh was transferred to Evin prison to serve his six years prison sentence. Azimzadeh and Parvin Mohammadi, the members of the Free Union of workers in Iran, were arrested on January 29.

(7) Three poachers have been arrested in Ghomishloo National Park in the Najafabad county in Isfahan province.

(8) The court was in session for eight environmentalists in Tehran without their lawyers on the espionage-related charges. Moreover, five of the detained environmental activists were charged with “corruption on earth”.

(9) A Baloch citizen, Yousef Shahouzehi, was arrested for an unknown reason in Nik Shahr county in Sistan and Baluchestan. His whereabouts is still unknown.

(10) Keyvan Bazhan, a writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association, was released on bail. He was arrested along with two other writers, Baktash Abtin and Reza Khandan Mehrabadi on January 22 on the charge of “encouraging immorality or prostitution”.

(11) Five senior managers of North Khorasan University of Medical Science were flogged on financial-related charges in this university. The head of North Khorasan Justice department confirmed that and added that the court cases fillings have been increasing by 14 percent in the last ten months.

(12) Hassan Hassanzadeh and Hassan Peyghami were released from Urmia prison after completing their prison sentences. They were sentenced to two-year prison term in exile on the charge of “cooperation with the opposition groups” and “acting against national security”.

(13) The school’s roof collapsed due to rains in Pashbard village in Sardasht county in the West Azerbaijan province. Students temporarily use a “conex [shipping container] school “.

(14) The head of Hamadan Mental Health Department & Prevent announced the launch of a campaign to end violence against women such as preventing domestic violence.

(15) The workers of Sisakht municipality in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province have two months of unpaid wages. In addition, more than half a million construction workers are not covered by insurance in Iran.

(16) An authority of Farhangian University, Mansour Nikpanah, confirmed the teacher shortage of 14 thousand in Sistan and Baluchestan province.

(17) Six police officers appeal of death penalty conviction was accepted by the Supreme Court. They have been indicted on a murder charge in the killing of three young men.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 14, 2019

Posted on: January 14th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 14th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Five Kulbars (Kurdish back carriers) have been shot by border patrol in Sardasht and Baneh. Namagh Gholami died and Sirvan Hassanzadeh, Jabbar Ahmadi, Karzan Aminzadeh, and Shahryar Khezri were injured in this incident. Moreover, three other Kulbars died or were injured in Salmas and Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province. Ayob Amini died and Hashem lost his hands due to hypothermia. In addition, Osman Ramezani died of drowning in the river.

(2) Ali Rabiei, the former labor minister, shows concerns about protests in 160 cities in January 2018. He added that people’s dissatisfaction, injustice, and dysfunctional politics caused these uprisings.

(3) At least five protests were organized on January 14, 2019. Educators in Tehran, the workers of inter-city rail in Ahvaz, the customers of SAIPA Company in Tehran, the shareholders of the bankrupt financial institution of Caspian, and the customers of Sekeh Samen website in Tehran have been demanding their requests in separate protests.

(4) A worker of Iran National Steel Industrial Group (NSIG) in Ahvaz, Behzad Alikhani, was released today. Three workers of NSIG are still in prison. More than 43 workers of NSIG have been arrested on December 16, 2018.

(5) At least four prisoners were executed in Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj. Mohsen Rezaei, Reza Farmanjou, and Baratali Rahimi were executed on Wednesday. They were transferred to solitary confinement on Monday.

(6) 219 poachers have been arrested in the South Khorasan Province in the last 10 months. More than one thousand and 573 animals and their carcasses were confiscated from them.

(7) Yazd court of appeals sentenced two Baha’i citizens to two years imprisonment, combined. Mehran Bandi Amirabadi and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi were sentenced to prison terms and exile on the charge of ‘propaganda against the state’ earlier.

(8) Alireza Golipour has not received access to medical care in Evin prison. Although he has severe seizures and a prison doctor requested his transfer to the hospital due to his deteriorating health condition, he was not transferred to the hospital.

(9) Nazanin Zaghari and Narges Mohammadi , prisoners of conscience, began three-day hunger strike in protest of denial of medical care. They suffer from serious health conditions which have been exacerbated in prison due to authorities’ refusal of medical care to them.

(10) Iraj Mohammadi was summoned to the intelligence office and was arrested in Miandoab on January 13, 2019. He had been released from prison after completing a ten-year sentence, in October.

(11) Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights lawyer, was being banned from having visitors. She is imprisoned on   security-related charges.

(12) Expulsion of Shirin Baninejad, a Baha’i Computer Science student, from Azad University of Andisheh (Sama) due to her faith. Bahai students in Iran routinely experience denial of entrance to university or expulsion during their studies.

(13) Saeed Sadeghifar, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, is summoned to the Ardabil Revolutionary Court on January 23. He was charged with ‘forming an illegal group to disrupt national security’. Asgar Akbarzadeh, Rahim Gholami, and Ali Vaseghi, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activists, have been also summoned to the Ardabil court.

(14) A 36-year old prisoner accused of murder, was spared from hanging on gallows by paying the blood money and consent of next of kin. He was spending 12 years in prison.

(15) A worker and a firefighter were injured in Tehran because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions in workplaces.

(16) The workers of Farnakh and Mahnakh Company have 180 billion Rial [approximately one million and 80 thousand USD] unpaid wages.

(17) Mohammad Karimi, a labor activist, was released from Bukan prison after 13 months of imprisonment. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison in November 2018.

One Prisoner Executed in Rajai Shahr Prison

Posted on: March 30th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – A prisoner was executed on charge of murder in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Two other prisoners who were sentenced to death were returned to their wards by receiving a deadline from the plaintiffs.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), at least one prisoner was executed in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj on charge of murder, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. (more…)

Mohammad Karimi Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison

Posted on: September 21st, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Karimi has been sentenced to one year in prison on charge of propaganda against the regime by branch number 28 of the revolutionary court.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), the verdict of the trial of Mohammad Karimi, civil rights activist which was conducted in branch number 28 of revolutionary court by presiding judge Moghiseh in May 2016, was submitted to him. (more…)

Mohammad Karimi’s Trial Held in Tehran

Posted on: July 1st, 2016

HRANA News Agency – The court session of Mohammad Karimi, civil rights activist, was held in branch number 28 of the revolutionary court. In this session the charges were read and he defended himself.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the court session of Mohammad Karimi, civil rights activist, was held in branch number 28 of the revolutionary court. This session had been postponed previously due to absence of judge Moghiseh. (more…)

Mohammad Karimi’s Trial Postponed

Posted on: June 14th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – The hearing of Mohammad Karimi at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran was not held because of the absence of the judge on June 1, 2016.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mohammad Karimi, civil rights activist, referred to Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on June 1, 2016 after being summoned. (more…)

No information About Mohammad Karimi After 3 Weeks Of Detention

Posted on: November 9th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – After more than three weeks of being under detention, there is no information about the status of Mohammad Karimi, civil activist and one of the attendees on civil protests in Tehran, or the bureau that has arrested him.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), after more than three weeks from the arrest of Mohammad Karimi, civil activist and one of the participants of Tehran’s civil protests, there is no information regarding his status or the responsible bureau which has arrested him. (more…)

Mohammad Karimi Contacted His Family From Evin Prison

Posted on: November 7th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Karimi, civil activists and one of the participants in civil protests in Tehran, has contacted his family, and confirmed his arrest and said that he had been transferred to Evin prison in Tehran.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mohammad Karimi, civil activists and one of the participants in civil protests in Tehran, at the first contact with his family informed them about his detention location in Evin prison. (more…)

Mohammad Karimi Arrested In Tehran

Posted on: November 6th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Karimi, civil activist and one of the participants in the civil protests in Tehran, was arrested by the security forces.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mohammad Karimi was arrested in the alley leading to his house, on Tuesday 5th October and was taken to an unknown location. According to informed people, agents seized the house key and without coordination with the family, entered and proceeded inspection and took his belongings. (more…)