Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced political prisoner Hossein Kheiri to five years in prison. He had been sentenced to death for “enmity against God (Moharebeh), through destruction of public property with the intention to defy the regime.” Once the verdict was revoked by the Supreme Court of Iran in mid-January of this year, the case was handed over to Branch 29. Recently, Mr. Kheiri was relocated from Evin to Rajai Shahr Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the death sentence of Hossein Kheiri was commuted to five years imprisonment.
Seven other defendants of this case, Majid Kahrari, Fardin Asgari, Nima Heidari, Milad Karami, Mahmood Karami, and two others were sentenced to a total of 34 years and 6 months by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The charges against them varied from “assembly and collusion to act against national security” to “enmity against God.”
Earlier, in reaction to the death penalty verdict against his client, attorney Babak Paknia stated that “there are many flaws in this case” and “the charge of Moharebeh does not fit the actions taken by my client.” He had expressed hope that the Supreme Court would reduce the verdict.
In 2020, along with seven other individuals, Hossein Kheiri, age 35, was arrested by security forces in Tehran.
Political prisoner Rahim Afravi has not been allowed a single day of leave in his 22 years of imprisonment in Sheyban Prison in Ahvaz.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, he has faced serious medical neglect in this time, and suffers from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and pulmonary problems. Afravi recently contracted COVID-19, but was not dispatched to any medical center outside prison upon receiving a positive test.
53-year-old Rahim Afravi is married and the father of two children. In June 1999, security forces arrested Afravi when he was returning home from his workplace in the outskirts of Ahvaz City. Initially, the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on a charge of “enmity against God” (Moharebeh) and “acting against national security”. On appeal, the verdict was reduced to 25 years imprisonment and exile to Jiroft Prison.
According to an informed source, while he was in exile jail in Jiroft, his mother passed away. Family visitations were few and far between because of the great distance between the jail and the residence place of his family. After 13 years imprisonment in exile, he was relocated to Karun and then to Sheyban prison in Ahvaz City.
In August of this year, his request for release on parole and leave on furlough was dismissed by Branch 12 of the Revolutionary Court of Ahvaz.
On Saturday, October 30, political prisoner Saeed Sangar was released on parole from Urmia Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Sangar’s release comes after 21 years of imprisonment.
On August 31, 2000, Sangar was arrested. However, in his legal case, October 29 of that year has been wrongly recorded as the arrest date.
On November 18, 2000, the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj, headed by judge Fatemi, sentenced him to death on the charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through membership in The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. Following this conviction, Sangar was transferred from the detention center of the ministry of intelligence in Sanandaj to ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, where he was held in solitary confinement cells until 2003. In the fall of 2003, the appellate court changed the verdict to life imprisonment and sent him to Urmia Prison.
Years later, on December 23, 2016, the executive branch No. 4 of the Department of Justice in Sanandaj reduced the verdict to 18 years imprisonment.
In 2017, a new case was opened against him for the charge of “propaganda against the regime” of which, however, he was later acquitted.
Despite that by December of 2020, not only he had served out two years more than his 18-years sentence, he was sentenced again to 11 months imprisonment sentence on the charge of ” propaganda against the regime and in favor of dissident groups against the regime”. This sentence was reduced to eight months, which led to his final release this Saturday, October 30.
At dawn on Wednesday, September 22, a prisoner was executed in Karaj Central Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Tabnak, the inmate had previously been sentenced to death on charges of moharebeh (rebellion, or waging war against God in Shariah Law), disturbing public security, and murder.
Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.
One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.
The report does not state the identity of this prisoner.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IRIB, police recently shamed a number of citizens who had previously been arrested on charges of robbery in Khorramabad.
Dariush Shahonvand, prosecutor of Khorramabad said, “These people are armed thieves who stole in Poldakhtar, Khorramabad, Doroud, and Aleshtar counties. The arrested armed robbers will be charged for Moharebeh (rebellion, or waging war against God in Shariah Law) with the most severe punishment, which is the death penalty. The hearings of these defendants will be public.”
In recent years, law enforcement officers have occasionally humiliated accused criminals in a similar manner, by parading them around the city. This violates human rights treaties, domestic law, and violates human dignity.
A defendant in Tehran was sentenced to death and lashes by the city’s criminal court on charge of murder under the “Qisas” (eye for an eye) principle of Islamic sharia law.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Javan Online, he was also sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on a charge of “moharebeh”. Moharebeh, or “waging war against God”, is another pillar of Sharia law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.
The defendant was sentenced to death and lashes by the Criminal Court and the Revolutionary Court in separate sentences.
According to the report, the defense attorney of one of the victims said, in reference to the sentence issued for the defendants in this case, “The first defendant in this case was sentenced to death and lashes, and the other defendants were sentenced to long prison terms, lashes and deportation to place with a bad climate.”
“The verdicts have not yet been finalized and needs to be considered by the Supreme Court,” he added. “The cases are about to be sent to the Supreme Court.”
Two death sentences were recently issued in Tehran.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Shargh Newspaper, a man was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer he committed in April, 2004. Mehdi was sentenced under Qisas (“eye-for-an-eye”), a pillar of Islamic sharia law .
It took 14 years following the incident until police officers discovered that Mehdi had started a secret new life in the city of Bonab and arrested him. Now, three years after his arrest, Mehdi has been sentenced to death, five years in prison, and 50 lashes.
According to HRANA, quoting Shahrvand Newspaper, another man was sentenced to death in Tehran on a charge of Moharebeh. Moharebeh, loosely translated as “waging war against God”, is a pillar of Islamic sharia law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.
Per the report, in late May 2017, detectives from the capital’s police station began investigating the case, and several men were arrested for extortion.
The case was sent from the Theft Court to the Revolutionary Court after a confession was obtained from the accused. Finally, the judge sentenced the leader of the extortionists to death.
Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1st and December 20th of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed. One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death.
Babak Paknia, the lawyer of political prisoner Hossein Kheiri, announced the issuance of the death sentence to his client on charges of Moharebeh by destroying property with the intention to oppose the regime.
Moharebeh, loosely translated as “waging war against God”, is a pillar of Sharia Law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Emtedad news, Paknia has stated, “Our strong evidence shows that the charge of moharebeh does not fit the actions taken by my client.”
He explained that an indictment was issued by the Evin Security Court against eight people, of whom four were accused of moharebeh and the rest were prosecuted on charges of collusion against national security and the like.
“We defended and the court accepted that out of the four, three could not be punished under the guise of moharebeh, but the actions of Hossein Kheiri were recognized as moharebeh and a death sentence was issued for him,” Paknia said. “We will submit our bill of appeal in two weeks to be reconsidered in the Supreme Court.”
Ahmad Reza Jalali’s lawyer, Helaleh Mousavian, has expressed concern about her client’s condition in Evin Prison. According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Reza Jalali is a university professor and dual citizen of Iran and Sweden currently on death row.
The professor, who traveled to Iran in May 2016 at the invitation of the University of Tehran, was arrested by security forces on charges of “moharebeh through espionage for Israel”. Moharebeh, loosely translated as “waging war against God”, is a pillar of Sharia Law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.
Mr. Jalali was sentenced to death for espionage, and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in December 2017.
Ahmad Reza Jalali worked at the Center for Natural Disasters after graduating from medical school in Iran. He immigrated to Sweden in 2009 to continue his studies and earned a doctorate. He completed his postdoctoral in Disaster Medicine at the University of Piedmont in Italy, and later, settled in Sweden with his wife and two children.
According to a HRANA report published in November 2020, Ahmad Reza Jalali was transferred to solitary confinement for a week to be prepared for execution. In December of that year, Ms. Mousavian was informed that her client’s death sentence was put on hold and he was transferred to ward 209 of Evin prison.
“Fortunately, Mr. Jalali was transferred to a public ward in April, but so far, despite all the efforts, his death sentence has not changed,” Mousavian said. “I am very worried about my client, especially now that the presidential election is over and the result is out. Despite my repeated expressions of concern, no effective action has been taken by the country of dual citizenship and the European Union.”
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Political prisoner Saeed Shah Ghaleh, who was convicted of Moharebeh (enmity against God) through cooperation with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), enters his 18th year of incarceration in Mahshahr prison, located on the border of the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
After Shah Ghaleh’s arrest in 2000, he was initially tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in a criminal court. The death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. On April 17, 2015, he was among the group of prisoners assaulted by prison guards in Section 350 of Tehran’s Evin Prison in an attack that came to be known as “Black Thursday.” Following the Black Thursday raid, he was transferred to a solitary confinement cell in Section 240.
After spending some time in solitary confinement, he was exiled to Mahshahr Prison (Khuzestan province). Having never been released on furlough, he has remained there to this day.
Iran’s Islamic Penal Code was amended in 2013. [According to section 10, subsection B of the new law], those convicted of crimes for which the sentences have been reduced in the new law are eligible to apply to have their sentences reduced. Ghaleh is on a list of 26 prisoners —published by HRANA in 2016 — who are currently serving life sentences for Moharebeh and are now eligible to act on this amendment.
Life imprisonment, like the death penalty, is used commonly by Iranian court to punish defendants accused of political or security-related offences. The conditions of prisoners serving life imprisonment are reportedly very poor, and their rights, such as access to medical care, are rarely observed.