Baluchi plight laid bare in exiled prisoner letter

Posted on: August 31st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Three Baluchi political prisoners exiled to the northwestern city of Ardabil wrote an open letter in critique of the Iranian authorities and to raise public awareness about the plight of their people.

From Ward 7 of Ardabil Central Prison, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, and Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi wrote of dysfunctions plaguing the infrastructure of the Sistan and Baluchestan province, and of government inaction against the severe desiccation of Hamoun Lake.

Their letter concludes with a poem entitled “Friendship Is Our Long-Lasting Treasure,” which celebrates the unity among the different ethnicities of the Sistan and Baluchestan province.

Their letter is below, translated into English by HRANA:

Greetings, our dear Sistani peoples, especially those around Hirmand and Hamoun,

As exiled Baluchi political prisoners, we regard it as our duty to declare solidarity and express support to you, noble and kind fellows, through these troubles of our day. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish the best to you and to all the peoples of our province. We wish you emancipation from dictatorship.

How inconceivable it is to live this way! With border regions barren of water, electricity, gas, housing, employment, and of basic amenities like schools, roads, heating and cooling, toilets, and now, of the natural right to breathe; what is left to do but to survive, but to suffer? And for how long?

Clean air is the unconditional and vital right of all living beings. Despite this, some — who pursue personal and organizational profiteering, are guilty of mismanagement or carelessness, or persist in the mass theft of subterranean marine resources — have blighted this ancient erudite land with chaos and suffering. This birthplace of brave souls like Rostam, Sohrab, and Yaqub Leith; this place of Iranian linguistic and social renaissance.

How can we bear to see Sistan, the fertile crescent of ancient Iran, abandoned to a fate steered by those who caused this chaos, i.e. the regime and its agents?

The carelessness and profiteering of the regime’s authorities must cease its exploitation of the immense natural, cultural, and ethnic wealth of Sistan and Baluchestan, by ceasing the stripping of its precious gold and ore mines and the closing of its borders, the sole gateways to hope for the regions’ people in this era of poverty and destitution. Their job is not to gamble Sistani lives. You are the authorities! It’s your duty to heal the disorder you’ve caused.

What have you done all these years to restore Hamoun Lake and its wetlands? What have you done besides spend billions of rials on a border wall, fence, moats, towers, watchtowers, and other border controls? How much have you spent on the welfare of this region’s people? How much on the restoration of Hamoun Lake and wetlands, equal parts a cause and excuse for our insecurity? How will you restore hope and comfort to these poor and wronged Sistani farmers and fishermen? With lies, with promises?

You, our fellow Sistanis, people of our province, should know that we, the Baluchi people, irrespective of the regime and its schemes, will stand up to any abuse that violates your rights. We will condemn it. We will put our lives on the line for you.

Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Shirahmad Shirani, Noor Ahmad Hassanzehi
Exiled Baluchi political prisoners,
Ward 7 of Ardabil Central prison
August 30, 2018

Letter: Political Prisoner Calls UN Envoy’s Attention to “Hostage” Prisoners

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- From the walls of a prison in Ardabil, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi recounts the agony of becoming a pawn of the Iranian authorities, in a testimony that sheds light on the authorities’ use of political activists’ family members as coercion.

Malek Raisi is being held hostage himself by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in a pressure tactic against his brother, a political activist operating outside of Iran. Currently serving an indefinite sentence in Ardabil, northwestern Iran, he has penned a letter to Javaid Rehman, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, imploring Rehman to help raise public awareness of hostage prisoners.

His letter is especially emphatic in its request to spare Abdollah Bozorgzadeh, a fellow prisoner, from the same fate. Bozorgzadeh is one of seven individuals arrested for demonstrating outrage over news of the rape of 41 women in the southeastern province of Sistan & Baluchestan, home to Iran’s Baluchi ethnic minority. Molaana Molazehi, the Friday prayer Imam of Iranshahr, had spread news of the rape after delivering the Eid-e Fitr prayer sermon at the conclusion of Ramadan on June 15, 2018, adding that the culprits were “individual(s) who had access to “power & money.”

Moved by this announcement, community members rallied on June 17, 2018 in front of the governor’s office. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired back with an accusation that the protest was the work of foreign agents and arrested several activists on those grounds, seven of whom were later seen confessing in recordings broadcast by the IRGC. Adollah Bozorgzadeh, who had joined in support of the rape victims, was one of the seven.

Below is the translated text of Mr. Raisi’s letter:

Dear Mr. Javaid Rehman,

My name is Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, and I am from Sarbaz in the Sistan & Baluchestan province. On October 14, 2009, when I was only 18 years old, I was abducted by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. I have been their hostage for nearly nine years now. The Ministry has contrived charges against me while I’ve been in custody, accusing me of belonging to Jundallah [a militant Sunni organization known as the Peoples’ Resistance Movement of Iran, or PRMI]. My case was tried in Zahedan, the Revolutionary Court of the capital of Sistan & Baluchestan. This court accepted the “investigation” conducted by the Zahedan Intelligence Bureau, to the exclusion of all other evidence. The court ignored my protestations of innocence and was unfazed by the torture and duress I experienced at the hands of Intelligence Ministry agents who sought to extract false confessions from me. They were unfazed by the Ministry’s use of threats to intimidate my family, saying they would execute me if my brother, who is a political activist outside Iran, did not turn himself in. The court found me guilty under section 185 of the Islamic Penal Code for my alleged membership in Jundallah, sentencing me to 15 years in prison, to be served in exile in the city of Ardebil. I was given an additional two-year prison sentence under Passport Law section 34 on a charge of crossing the border illegally.

My conviction does even not correspond to the case facts invented by the Ministry of Intelligence. Even if were guilty, [based on my conviction date] I would be subject to Section 186 of the old penal code which defines the crime of Moharebeh (“enmity against God”) as an armed rebellion against the Islamic state, rather than section 185 which now defines it as banditry and plundering. I was sent to the ward of prisoners convicted of armed robberies, an out-of-proportion punishment that doesn’t even reflect the case built against me.

For 21 months, from my arrest in October 2009 until June 4, 2011, I was held in the Zahedan Intelligence Bureau detention center. During this period as well as the period between April 9th and July 11, 2017, while I was in Section 29 of Zahedan Prison (controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence), agents used my captivity to pressure my brother, Abdolraham, to abandon his anti-regime political activities.

When I was first arrested, my family was threatened with my imminent execution if my brother wouldn’t turn himself in.

I was transferred to Evin Prison for three months under the pretext of requiring medical treatment. But I received no treatment while I was there and am still suffering from a disease. During the same period, agents threatened to double my sentence unless my brother abandoned his cause.

It’s now been nine years since I’ve been imprisoned in the worst possible conditions, deprived of civil rights, including:

§ Public medical services
§ Access to religious books
§ The ability to write (unsupervised use of pen and paper are forbidden)
§ The ability to make phone calls
§ The right to learn and take classes
§ Access to other parts of the prison such as the library and store
§ The right to visits, furlough, conditional release, or serving my sentence in my birth city
§ Clemency

On the contrary– I am subject to deplorable and inhumane conditions that are the design of the Intelligence Ministry, including insults, mocking, beatings, extended isolation, being tied up outside in the cold snowy weather, and being handcuffed and shackled for forty days.

Mr. Rahman, with this evidence of my ordeal in hand, and in the name of all prisoners taken hostage by the Ministry of Intelligence, I ask you to launch an investigation and put an end to this unjust tactic, which in the last four decades has become a norm. I urge you to follow up the cases of those who are suffering the same fate as I am and to demand their release.

These individuals are many, and some have even been executed. Prisoners like Mehrollah Reigi Mahernia, who is only 18, Mohammad Saleh Torkamaan Rahi, Ayoub Gahramzayi, and Salman Jadgal, are all being held because of their siblings’ activism. Some like Alyas Ghalandarzehi, aged 18, is on death row for the politics of two of his uncles. There are more whose identities I cannot reveal, who regained freedom only because their activist family member turned themselves in.

The most recent case of brutal hostage tactics unfolded on June 17, 2018. The victim is a 30-year-old Baluchi, a young man named Abdollah Bozorgzadeh. Bozorgzadeh is only beginning the stages of a process which slowly depraves and spoils one’s life. He is being used as a tool to pressure his brother Habibollah.

Perhaps the word “pressure” does not do justice to the true nature of what these victims and their families experience. In reality, the stress permeates the family’s entire existence, brutally destroys the life of the hostage, and paralyzes the family in a state of suspense. The uncertainty is a major psychological blow to every single family member who is awaiting the fate of a loved one held hostage. The families cannot comprehend how such a cruel injustice could exist in our world.

Mr. Javaid Rehman, knowing my family’s and my own dark experience, I do not wish this suffering upon anyone else. That is why my parents, my brother Abdolrahman, and I ask you to persist in elucidating the case of Abdollah Bozorgzadeh, so that he and his family do not have to suffer as we have.

Abdollah’s father has staged sit-ins twice to demand the release of his son, but no organization has been responsive to him.

Abdollah Bozorgzadeh is a student who attended a rally like many other young people in Iranshahr who were demanding justice for victims of a local sexual assault case. No law was broken, no act of desecration took place. He is detained arbitrarily, for the political activities of his brother against the regime. Please act to secure his release!

Mohammad Saber Malek Rayisi
Ward 7 of Ardebil Prison

Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi Ended His Hunger Strike after 39 Days

Posted on: March 5th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, political prisoner who had been transferred to the quarantine after being beaten because of protesting against the restrictions and prohibitions imposed on him, ended his hunger strike after 39 day and 24 kilograms weight loss by sending a message and emphasizing that “in such a situation, the priority is to focus to civil society and media attention is the protests in Iran.” The prisoner asked everyone who was worried about his situation “to pay attention to the conditions of the protesters in Iran.”

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, political prisoner in Evin prison, ended his hunger strike after 39 days. (more…)

A Report about Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi’s Health Condition

Posted on: February 7th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baluch political prisoner who is serving his eighth year in central Ardabil prison, is suffering from a variety of illnesses. The prisoner who was detained as a juvenile and began his imprisonment in exile, had suffered from illness and physical weakness due to his nutritional problems and his mobility in years of imprisonment.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baluch political prisoner is denied to have access to the health service. (more…)

A Prisoners Chained to the Flagpole in the Yard of Ardebil Prison

Posted on: December 29th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Ardebil prison officials beat a prisoner who had protested against not having sleeping place, and then chained him to the rods of the prison for hours in the cold weather. This inhumane practice in Ardebil Prison has been done before.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), a prisoner named Behnam Amiri, son of Islam, who is serving his three years on charge of robbery, was beaten by prison authorities after being transferred from adults’ ward to ward 5 of the prison. (more…)

A Prisoner Chained to the Rods in Central Prison of Ardebil

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Ardebil Prison is one of the prisons in the country which punishes the prisoners in inhumane ways. For several times during the past year, the authorities of the prison have chained prisoners to the rods for a day.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Meysam Saber, prisoner of the central prison of Ardabil, was chained to the rods in the quarantine section of the prison on September 23, 2017, following the protests against the behavior of the prison guard. He was returned to the ward after a day. (more…)

Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi Transferred to the Hospital

Posted on: March 16th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – On January 29, 2017, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baloch political prisoner who is serving his 15 years in prison sentence in exile in Ardebil prison, was transferred to a specialized hospital for tests and was returned to prison after the examinations. He recently ended his hunger strike and was interrogated because of writing letters to the UN Special Rapporteur.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), doctors of Fatemi Hospital in Ardebil examined Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi because of hemorrhoid disease and have prescribed medication for one month. The prison should undergo a surgery if he would not recover after a month. (more…)

Foad Yousefi and Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi Ended Their Hunger Strikes

Posted on: February 28th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baloch political prisoner who is serving his 15 years in prison sentence in exile in Ardabil prison, with the promises of authorities after 20 days of hunger strike ended his protest. Foad Yousefi in Rajai Shahr prison also ended his strike on its 23rd day by the request of Sunni scholars and activists.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), on January 19, 2017, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baloch political prisoner in Ardabil prison ended his hunger strike after 22 days by the promises of the authorities. (more…)

Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi Beaten and Insulted in Ardebil Prison

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baloch political prisoner, on day eight of his hunger strike in exile in Ardebil prison, was insulted and beaten by the head of prison’s security force, because of writing a letter and going on hunger strike. This action was done by the Ardebil prison’s officials while Mr. Malek Reisi had been fastened to the flagpole in prison yard, with handcuffs and shackles, in the cold weather, and despite being on hunger strike and being beaten he has not yet been transferred to the infirmary.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, Baloch political prisoner in Ardabil prison, who was on hunger strike, because of this protesting action and writing an open letter, was beaten by the head of security at this prison. (more…)

A Brief Report about the Panel on Human Rights in Iran; Canadian Senate

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016

HRANA News Agency – There was a research panel with 9 Canadian Senators’ speech, and Iranian guests and international human rights figures, held for three days in Canadian Senate, from May 10th. This is a short report of this meeting.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), from May 10th, in the Canadian Senate a research panel was held for 3 days, with presentations from nine Canadian Senators, including Linda Frum, Daniel Lang, James Cowan, Salma Ataullah Jan, Raynell Andreychuk, Senator Lynn Beyak, Norman Doyle, Joan Fraser and Stephen Green as well as Iranian guests and international human rights figures. (more…)