A Comprehensive Report of the First 82 days of Nationwide Protests in Iran

  HRANA – Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old young woman, was arrested by the morality police for the crime of improper hijab. Her arrest and death in detention fueled nationwide protests in Iran. Protesters came to the streets with the central slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in protest against the performance, laws, and structure of the regime. The following 486-page report is dedicated to the statistical review, analysis, and summary of the first eighty-two days of the ongoing protests (September 17 to December 7, 2022). In this report, in addition to the geographic analysis and the presentation of maps and charts, the identity of 481 deceased, including 68 children and teenagers, an estimated of 18,242 arrested along with the identity of 3,670 arrested citizens, 605 students and 61 journalists or activists in the field of information is compiled. In addition, the report includes a complete collection of 1988 verified video reports by date and topic. The report examines protests across 1115 documented gatherings in all 31 provinces of the country, including 160 cities and 143 universities.

Summary

Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a young 22-year-old woman from Saqqez, Kurdistan was visiting Tehran, when she was taken into custody on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, by the Morality Police officers at the Haqqani metro station in Tehran. The reason for her arrest: not properly observing the strict Islamic dress code. Mahsa/Zhina was taken to the infamous detention center of Moral Security Police known as Vozara.
Shortly after Mahsa’s arrest, she went into a coma with level three concussion, and her partially alive body was transferred to the intensive care unit of Kasra Hospital. Given the track record of the police and Guidance Patrols in mistreating the arrestees and similar previous incidents, with the believe that Mahsa was beaten during the arrest people were outraged.

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Unpersuasive explanations given by the Central Command of the Islamic Republic Police Force (FARAJA) in defense of its actions regarding the death of Mahsa, the past performance of the police force, along with widespread dissatisfaction with the existence of a body called the Moral Security Police, fueled widespread protests in Iran.
The widespread protests sparked at the time Mahsa Amini was announced dead in front of Kasra Hospital on Argentina Street in Tehran, and then quickly spread to the streets despite the intimidating presence of Iran’s security forces. The protests intensified after Mahsa’s burial in a Saqqez cemetery. To the extent that after eighty-two days of nationwide protests between September 17, 2022, to December 7, 2022, they have spread to Iran’s all 31 provinces, 160 cities, and 143 major universities.
The protests did not stay limited to Mahsa’s death, it rather, quickly targeted the Iranian government’s political and ideological foundations. These protests were violently quashed by the anti-riot police and Iran’s militia force (Basij). teargas, pellets, and live ammunition were used in the repression of protestors. This widespread crackdown has led to the death of dozens of people and the wounding of hundreds of protestors.
Despite sever communication restrictions imposed by the Islamic Republic, this report attempts to give a clearer picture of the first 82 days of the protests between September 17, to December 7, 2022. It’s worth mentioning at the time of this report the protests are still ongoing in various forms.

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For further inquiries please contact Skylar Thompson, Senior Advocacy Coordinator Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) at [email protected]

Lawyer Mostafa Nili Arrested

On November 7, 2022, security forces arrested lawyer Mostafa Nili and took him to an undisclosed location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mostafa Nili, attorney at law, was arrested by security forces.

Nili faced other arrests and convictions last year. On August 14, 2021, along with several lawyers and civil activists, Nili was arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.

Subsequently, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Nili to four years in prison for “running an illegal organization to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” He was also prohibited from being present in media and practicing law for two years.

 

Health Defenders’ Sentences Upheld on Appeal

The Court of appeals of Tehran upheld the verdict against Mehdi Mahmoodian, Arash Keykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad-Reza Faghihi, and Maryam Afrafaraz. Previously, these individuals, whose case is known as “Health Defenders”, had been sentenced to over ten years combined and additional punishments.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Court of Appeals of Tehran upheld the verdict for the five defendants in the case known as “Health Defenders”.

The verdict was issued without a court hearing.

The sentences are issued as: :

  •       Mehdi Mahmoodian: four years in prison, banned from presence in media for two years,
  •       Mostafa Nili: four years in prison, banned from presence in media for two years, prohibited from practising law for two years,
  •       Arash Keykhosravi: two years in prison, banned from presence in media for one year, and prohibited from practising law for one year,
  •       Mohammad-Reza Faghihi: six months in prison,
  •       Maryam Afrafaraz: 95 days in prison.

Attorney Babak Paknia said that at a public court session, he was not allowed to attend the court even as a spectator.

The first three defendants were convicted on the charge of “creating anti-regime groups to disrupt national security and propaganda against the regime”. The two last were convicted of “membership in anti-regime groups.”

On August 14, 2021, during a meeting to make a decision on filing a lawsuit against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the government for banning foreign vaccines, nine Iranian lawyers and civil rights activists were arrested.

“Health Defenders” Sentenced to Over Ten Years in Prison

Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced the defendants of a legal case known as “Health Defenders”, Mehdi Mahmoodian, Arash Keykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad-Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz to a total of ten years and nine months in prison and other restrictions.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Emtedad News, five lawyers and civil rights activists were sentenced to a total of more than ten years in prison.

According to Mahmoodian’s lawyer, Babak Paknia, the sentences against these individuals are as follows:

  •       Mahmoodian: four years in prison, banned from presence in media for two years
  •       Mostafa Nili: four years in prison, banned from presence in media for two years, prohibition of practicing law for two years.
  •       Arash Keykhosravi: two years, ban from presence in media for one year and prohibition of practicing law for one year.
  •       Mohammad-Reza Faghihi: six months in prison
  •       Maryam Afrafaraz: 95 days in prison.

Attorney Babak Paknia stated that at a public court session, he was not allowed to attend the court even as a spectator.

The first three defendants were convicted on the charge of “creating anti-regime groups to disrupt national security and propaganda against the regime”. The two last were convicted of “membership in anti-regime groups.”

On August 14, 2021, during a meeting to take a decision on filing a lawsuit against the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the government for banning foreign vaccines, nine Iranian lawyers and civil rights activists were arrested. The defendants of this case were dubbed on social media as “Health defenders.”

Keyvan Samimi Arrested and Transferred to Semnan Prison

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Keyvan Samimi, the editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was arrested and sent to Semnan Prison after he went to the Judgement Enforcement Unit of Evin Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, the editor of Iran Farda Magazine Keyvan Samimi was arrested and transferred to Semnan Prison.

Mostafa Nili, Samimi’s lawyer, broke the news on social media: “Today, after office hours, Mr. Samini was called from the Judgement Enforcement Unit Moghaddas and ordered that he should appear there to receive the coroner report. However, upon appearing and receiving the coroner’s report, he was arrested and was transferred to Semnan Prison.”
This new order and arrest stand at odds with a previous order issued considering Samimi’s age and health conditions grounded on Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On May 1, 2019, Samimi attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labor Day before Iran’s Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest as well as dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated documents and Samimi’s computer. On June 17, 2019, he was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Samimi to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal but was reduced to two years in a retrial.

Samimi previously served six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the outcome of the disputed 2009 presidential election, participating in the protests, and writing articles critical of the government.

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Keyvan Samimi Released From Jail

On February 1,  Keyvan Samimi was released from jail by a stay of execution order. According to his lawyer, Mostafa Nili, this release is temporary and issued considering forensic medicine’s report on Samimi’s health.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Samimi, the imprisoned editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was released from jail by order of the prosecutor.

According to Nili, the order to suspend his incarceration has been issued considering Samimi’s health and is grounded on Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure code.

Samimi was sent into exile in Semnan Prison after several relocations.

He has been serving his two year sentence since December 7, 2020.

On May 1, 2019, he attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labour Day before Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest along with dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated many documents, including his computer. On June 17, 2019, he finally was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal but was reduced to two years in the retrial.

Samimi has previously served six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the 2009 Presidential Election, participating in protests, and writing articles critical of the Islamic Regime. His two political activist brothers were executed, one by this regime and the other by the former regime.

Keyvan Samimi Sent into Exile in Semnan Prison after Successive Relocations

After several relocations between prisons in Tehran and Alborz provinces, Keyvan Samimi, the imprisoned editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was finally exiled to Semnan Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, by the order of the court, Keyvan Samimi was transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison to Semnan Prison.

Initially, he was sent to Karaj Central Penitentiary Prison and thereafter to Rajai Shahr. However, since the Executive Unit of Karaj refused to accept him for reasons unkown, he was ultimately sent to Semnan Prison.

His lawyer, Mostafa Nili stated that during these relocations, Samimi was not allowed to bring his belongings, even medicines, which he needs urgently due to his health.

Samimi has been serving his two year sentence since December 7, 2020.

On May 1, 2019, he attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labour Day before Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest along with dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated many documents, including his computer. On June 17, 2019, he finally was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, sentenced him to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal but was reduced to two years in the retrial.

Samimi has previously served six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the 2009 Presidential Election, participating in protests, and writing articles critical of the Islamic Regime. His two political activist brothers were executed, one by this regime and the other by the former regime.

Keyvan Samimi Sent to Rajai Shahr Prison after Successive Relocations

Keyvan Samimi, editor of Iran Farda Magazine and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association was transferred to the quarantine zone of Rajai Shahr prison. Earlier, he had been relocated from Evin Prison to Karaj Central Penitentiary Prison. Last Wednesday, he was sent back to Evin Prison and the day after had to move out again.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Samimi’s lawyer, Mostafa Nili stated Thursday on his personal social media that “A few hours ago, Mr. Samimi called and informed [me] that on Tuesday, after the executive unit of Karaj refused to accept him to one of the prisons in Alborz Province, he was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison and currently is being held in the quarantine zone.”

As mentioned by his lawyer, the reason for these successive relocations is that the Executive Unit of Karaj countermanded the orders of the Executive Unit Moghaddas and Branch 54 of the Revolutionary Court for the relocation of Samimi to Karaj Central Penitentiary Prison.

Samimi has been serving his two year sentence since December 7, 2020.

On May 1, 2019, he attended the workers’ protests on the anniversary of Labour Day before Parliament. The protest turned violent due to the interference of security forces, leading to his arrest along with dozens of other protestors. On May 12, 2019, security forces raided and searched the Iran Farda magazine office and confiscated many documents, including his computer. On June 17, 2019, he finally was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

On April 20, 2020, in a trial in absentia, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, sentenced him to three years imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. The verdict was upheld on appeal but was reduced to two years in the retrial.

Samimi has previously served six years in prison in 2009 for questioning the 2009 Presidential Election, participating in protests, and writing articles critical of the Islamic Regime. His two political activist brothers were executed, one by this regime and the other by the former regime.

Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Transferred to General Ward of Evin Prison on 31st Day of Detention

On Wednesday, September 15, lawyers Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian were transferred from solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison to the general ward of the prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, these citizens announced their transfer to the public ward of Evin Prison during a telephone call with their families.

Despite the issuance of indictment and designation of a court branch, the detainees were still kept in solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison under the supervision of the intelligence service section of the judiciary for an entire month. Mostafa Nili has only been allowed to make phone calls twice since his arrest.

On August 14, several lawyers and civil activists, including Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafraz, and Leila Heydari, were arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.

Leila Heydari and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb were released on bail a day after their arrest, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz were released on bail on August 29, but Nili, Kaykhrosravi, and Mahmoudian had remained in detention.

Apart from being allowed to contact their families on the first day of their detention, these citizens have been largely denied the right to make telephone calls.

Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Still in Detention in Evin Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, lawyers and civil activists Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian are still in detention weeks after their arrest.

The citizens are being held in Ward 241 of Evin Prison under the supervision of the intelligence service of Judiciary.

On August 14, several lawyers and civil activists, including Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafraz, and Leila Heydari, were arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.

Leila Heydari and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb were released on bail a day after their arrest, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz were released on bail on August 29, but Nili, Kaykhrosravi, and Mahmoudian remain in detention.

These lawyers and civil activists have been accused of “running an illegal organization” under Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code. Apart from being allowed to contact their families on the first day of their detention, these citizens have been largely denied the right to make telephone calls.