The Use of Torture in Iran – Obligations, Violations, and Victim Testimony 

 

The use of torture in Iran is vast, often state-sanctioned, and continually occurs with impunity. While States bear the sole responsibility for protecting the human rights of individuals within their jurisdictions, if they are unable or unwilling to do so, the international community must work towards ensuring that there is accountability for violations on part of the State.

Throughout history, and oftentimes in reaction to a negative international image, Iran has ratified five out of the ten core human rights treaties. In light of the upcoming World Day to Support Torture Victims, the international community must commit to working together to ensure there is justice and accountability for said violations. 

 

State Obligations 

The Islamic Republic is a State party to the ICCPR, with no reservations or derogations, thus obliging the State to respect all provisions within. Article 7 of the ICCPR expressly prohibits the use of torture, providing that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment […]”. Article 7 is additionally complemented by positive obligations in Article 10 paragraph 1, which sets forth that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.

The meaning of Article 7 has been debated and expanded upon throughout the years, most notably in UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) general comment no. 20

In addition to international obligations, Article 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran states, ‘The use of any type of torture for extracting information or confession from a person is not allowed. Forcing a person to testify, take an oath, or confess is not allowed and such statements given under pressure are invalid. Those violating this principle will be punished according to relevant laws.’ 

There is an ever-present culture of impunity in Iran. Closing the accountability gap requires a bold stance from the international community to commit to understanding the widespread use of torture in Iran and utilizing that information to hold human rights violators accountable. The brief analysis that follows aims to demonstrate Iran’s extensive use of torture in every meaning of the term – notwithstanding obligations under the ICCPR and domestic law. The examples given are by no means exhaustive. 

 

Physical, mental integrity and prolonged solitary confinement 

The prohibition of torture outlined in Article 7 relates not only acts that cause physical pain but also to acts that cause mental suffering to the victim. It is widely recognized that prolonged solitary confinement may amount to torture. In addition, prolonged solitary confinement is proven to cause both mental and physical suffering to the victim.

 

The use of physical torture in Iranian prisons can be divided into the following 3 categories:

 – Inflicting physical pain: floggings, use of handcuffs and shackles for prolonged periods of time, the beating of prisoners, hanging prisoners, amputation of body parts, and more.

It should be noted the above are a mere few examples of physical torture present in Iranian prisons.  Amputations and floggings are provided for under domestic punitive law.

– Deprivations: long periods of time in which prisoners are deprived of food, water, medical and sanitary products, sleep, fresh air, space to move, and/or healthcare.

There are several examples of prisoners kept in small spaces, denied medical and sanitary products, and healthcare. All of the above are instances that amount to torture. In addition, the denial of medical care is a violation of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Where the lack of medical treatment leads to avoidable death there is an additional violation of the right to life.

– Exploiting cultural taboos: sexual harassment of both men and women, force-feeding, harassing loved ones, and beating prisoners with items that might be sacred to their religion or culture.

This type of torture is physical, but it also has a deep psychological impact.

 

The use of psychological torture in Iran is widespread. Psychological torture negatively impacting an individual’s mental health and is aimed at breaking down the victim leading to a negative interpretation of self-worth and altered perspectives.

 

Examples of psychological torture common in Iran over the past 4 decades: 

– Prolonged solitary confinement: limits all the sensory experiences and leaves the victim fully dependent on the interrogator or prison guard for every basic necessity of life, including food and communication.
In Iranian prisons often solitary confinement cells have their lights on 24 hours a day, making it extremely difficult for prisoners to count the days or sleep.

– Control of access to information: many prisoners have stated how they were fed wrong information about the outside world while they were in solitary confinement. At times, they are told their friends or family members were also arrested, killed, or testified against them. There have been documented instances of individuals being told that their loved one was seeing someone else or had forgotten about them.  There are also times that individuals are completely cut off from the outside world given no access to newspapers or the like. The latter is in addition to psychological torture, a violation of Nelson Mandela Rules.

– Verbal threats: Individuals are threatened with physical torture such as; the rape of oneself or a family member, killing, or additional false sentencing in the name of societal shame i.e. changing one’s charge to moral corruption.

– Creating shame and disrespect: examples: ethnic individuals forced to speak in Farsi, religious minorities forced to disrespect their own religion, and sexual minorities forced to deny and or insult their sexuality. In addition, female prisoners have documented instances of having been repeatedly told to list the men they have slept with.

– Witness suffering: prisoners are forced to hear or witness the suffering of others. This includes: hearing others being beaten, watching executions, or watching others being tortured.

Interrogation and forced confessions 

The use of statements or confessions obtained through torture is not legally admissible in a trial of the accused. The Human Rights Committee has expressed that forced confessions amount to torture under Article 7 of the ICCPR. These acts are also expressly prohibited in the Iranian Constitution. 

 

Access to doctors and lawyers 

Under the ICCPR, there should, in all cases, be prompt and regular access to doctors and lawyers. In the case of Iran, once imprisoned, many political prisoners and activists are denied access to both medical care and legal counsel. Instances of denial are well documented in HRANA reports. In addition, particularly in the case of those detained in Evin Prison, the lack of adequate medical care has been documented to lead to avoidable illness and death. There are serious concerns regarding the consequences of the denial of medical care. 

The right to an effective remedy 

Positive obligations onto the State include effective remedies for victims of torture, including compensation. However, victims and families of torture victims are often harassed, intimidated, and bribed. Iranian authorities systematically repress the efforts of those seeking justice for crimes committed against them including for torture. 

Victim testimonies: physical and psychological torture 

Yashar Piri

Yashar Piri, a Turkic ethnic activist from Tabriz city, was beaten during both his arrest and interrogation. His brother, Rouzbeh, wrote in a note that “Basij members in plain clothes arrested Yashar without providing a court order or a judicial officer card“. He continued, claiming that when “Yashar was arrested, he was hit on the head with an electric shocker and then pepper-sprayed in his mouth, his legs were tied with a belt, and after handcuffing him, the beating continued until he was drug to the ground and transferred to an unknown place while unconscious”. Yashar was released 3 days after his arrest and has been in the hospital since being treated for his injuries obtained in this event.

Mohammad Doji

On November 18 of last year, 19-year-old Mohammad Doji died following severe physical torture in Amirabad Prison in Gogan city. Prisoners who witnessed the incident have stated, “There was a clash in the prison and the guard officer took off his [Mahammad Doji’s] clothes to punish Mohammad. He tied his hands and feet while he was naked and hung him from the ceiling of the prison in the cold. They beat and beat him until he was unconscious, they poured cold water on him, and all this was done in front of our eyes to teach us a lesson. Unfortunately, this morning he could not stand the torture anymore.

Hamid Rastbala

In August 2020, Hamid Rastbala, a Sunni Prisoner held in Vakil Abad Prison of Mashhad, wrote in a letter about the torture that he and other Sunni prisoners faced. He details torture aimed at forced confessions below. 

Parts of this letter reads: 

They recklessly call the Sunnis the military enemies of the Islamic Republic. We were tortured in solitary confinement for almost ten months to obtain false confessions. Many of us Sunni political prisoners were greeted with severe floggings and severe shocks (electrical shocks by shockers). Some of us were even sexually abused by spraying pepper spray on our genitals and anus. 

They threatened to arrest, torture, assassinate and rape our families. Many of us suffered severe mental health concerns, and to halt the torture and pressure, we accepted any accusation that was leveled against us.

We even admitted and repeated these accusations in front of the video camera so that they would not harm our families. This is human rights and human dignity in the Islamic Republic.

Mohammad Alijani

Mohammad Alijani was arrested during the nationwide protests of November 2019 in Islamshar. He is currently being held at Greater Tehran Prison and is facing charges of Muharebah. In July 2020, Alijani wrote a letter about the physical and mental torture he faced. 

 

Parts of his letter reads: 

I, Mohammad Alijani, Reza’s son, was arrested by the security and intelligence police during the protests in November 2019. I was severely tortured physically and mentally.

I was made to confess to charges such as disturbing public order by participating in the riots and destroying public property of the Basij base, insulting the leadership, by force, and under physical and psychological torture. 

I am the breadwinner of my home and my absence from home has caused problems such as falling rent and family problems to pay for the house. My family and I suffer greatly from this.

 

Abolfazl Karimi 

Abolfazl Karimi was a juvenile at the time of arrest during the November 2019 protests. On March 16, 2020, Karimi wrote a heartfelt letter about his conditions and the torture he faced in Evin Prison.

 

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

I suffered a lot in ward 2A of Evin prison and was unaware of my mother’s pain [who had recently gone under surgery]. Because they did not allow me to contact my family and kept me in solitary confinement for 50 days. During interrogations, I was threatened with the arrest of my mother and father. I was also beaten with a shocker by the Akbarabad Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence; they claimed that I had killed one of the officers. Officers broke my head and pulled my toenails. Even now, all my toenails are falling out. They broke one of my teeth by kicking my face and during the interrogation in Branch 1 of Baharestan, they forcibly accused me of the crime. My request to everyone is to please not say that the IRGC intelligence does not hurt anyone. The IRGC’s intelligence is crueler than Shimr (Shimr is referred to as who is said to have killed Hossein (one of Shia 12 Imams) in the battle of Karbala).

 

The Afkari brothers

The Afkari brothers, arrested in relation to nationwide protests of August 2018, are said to have been made to confess against each other under severe torture. Even after one of them, Navid Afkari was executed, the others continued to be tortured and kept in solitary confinement.

 

Their parents wrote a letter to the Judge Supervisor of the prison. An excerpt follows: 

Mr. Hashemi, Judge Supervisor of Adelabad Prison of Shiraz; My children Navid, Vahid, and Habib Afkari were beaten and transferred to solitary confinement on 3 and 5 September 2020. For this reason, they demanded that their complaint be investigated, and the family also demanded that the beating and torture of their sons by Ali Khadem al-Husseini, a prison guard, be investigated. We demanded a forensic doctor go to the prison and record the injuries inflicted on my children, which were 17 in the case of Navid and about 15 in the case of Vahid and Habib.

However, 47 days later, no action has been taken and the office of Mr. Rezaei Dana, the director of Adelabad Prison, claims that the complaints were registered by Mr. Rezaei Dana.  However, the reviewing authority does not give us the date of registration of the complaint and the letter number.

 

Niloufar Bayani 

Niloufar Bayani, an environmental activist who worked as an expert at the Parsian Wildlife Institute, was arrested along with eight other environmental activists in early 2018. The arrests took place in a coordinated operation by the IRGC’s intelligence on charges related to “espionage”.

There are multiple reports that these individuals were physically and psychologically tortured. During the interrogation carried out by IRGC intelligence interrogators, Niloufar Bayani was abused and harassed. She was made to be completely naked and endured sexual assaults including inappropriate touching. She was threatened with rape and was severely beaten by officers using cables and hoses. 

Bayani wrote a letter describing her detention conditions stating she was kept in solitary confinement for 8 months and was interrogated daily from 8 to 12 hours a day.

An excerpt of her letter follows: 

“I was blindfolded, while being interrogated I was made to stand, spin or squat and stand again, I was threatened with the arrest and torture of my 70-year-old mother and father. They threatened me to be physically tortured by showing me images and descriptions of torture devices. And I heard hours about the suffering and pain that torture causes.” 

The above are a mere few recent examples of many more known and unknown cases of physically tortured prisoners across the country. It should be noted that many cases of physical torture are never revealed and there can be no correct statistic given in this regard. These few cases were chosen to show that physical torture is being used widely for various reasons being punitive, making examples for others, extracting false confessions, and more. The examples also provide insight into the widespread use of torture not limited to one institution, rather country-wide. The featured cases also aim to highlight that the victims of torture can be anyone including juvenile offenders, women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and more. 

 

Accountability

The frequent use of acts amounting to torture illustrates the deep level of impunity enjoyed in Iran. Closing the accountability gap requires a bold stance from the international community to commit to understanding the widespread use of torture and utilizing that information to hold human rights violators accountable. 

 

Torturer Violator Spotlight

 

Sohrab Soleimani

Sohrab Soleimani

Sohrab Soleimani has been directly involved in and responsible for countless violations of fundamental human rights as the director-general of prisons in Tehran Province. These violations have included harassment, torture, and pressure on prisoners, especially in political and ideological prisons. There are many reported incidents of brutality against prisoners at the hand of Sohrab Soleimani. Imprisoned journalist Issa Saharkhiz suffered from frequent seizures while held in solitary confinement and protested the lack of medical care for political prisoners under Saleimani’s directorship. Article 10 of the ICCPR, as noted above, mandates that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. In addition to the countless violations of both Article 7 and 10 related to torture, Soleimani is responsible for widespread violations of the non-derogable right to life. Soleimani and all of those acting under his control should be held accountable. Read more about Soleimani’s violations here. 

Bahram Reshteh ahmadi

Bahram Reshteh Ahmadi 

As the Deputy Prosecutor for Security and the Head of the Evin Security Court, Bahram Reshteh Ahmadi has played a key role in violating the rights of defendants and political prisoners, as well as in detaining political, civil, and human rights activists. Ahmadi has additionally been directly involved in the harassment of political prisoners through the denial of access to legal counsel, a right expressly guaranteed under the ICCPR.  Read more about Ahmadi’s violations here. 

Hamid Mohammadi

Hamid Mohammadi

Since June 2020, Hamid Mohammadi has been the warden of Evin Prison. As warden, Mohammadi carries the ultimate responsibility for the life and wellbeing of prisoners held there. Mohammadi is responsible for the cruel, inhumane, and often degrading treatment in Evin Prison in the form of torture, beatings, interrogation, and solitary confinement. He also bears responsibility for inmates’ frequent deprivation of health and medical care, which has led, in several cases, to avoidable physical and mental suffering and even death. Under Mohammadi, political prisoners and journalists such as Nasrullah Lashani, Keyvan Samimi Behbahani, Majid Asadi, and Golrokh Iraee have experienced harsh interrogations, prolonged solitary confinement, and lack of access to medical care, family, or lawyers. 

 Read more about Mohammadi’s violations here. 

 

Additional Iranian human rights violators complicit in acts of torture can be found at www.spreadingjustice.org using the searchable tag ‘torture’ and include among others: 

 

Seyed-Kamal Hadianfar, Seyed Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati, Mohammad-Hassan Sadeghi Moghaddam, Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, Ali Fallahian, Mohammad Mahdi Haj-Mohammadi, Ali Sheikhloo, Heydar Moslehi, Ruhollah Rezaei Dana, Hassan Karami, Saeed Jalili, Seyed-Mahmoud Alavi, Ali Larijani, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, Hamid-Reza Baharvand, Mostafa Nazari, Mohsen Rezaee, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, Esmaeil Fallah, Morteza Bahmani, Mohammad Shahriari, Sadegh Jafari Chegeni


For media inquires please contact Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson [email protected]

Coronavirus outbreak in Iranian prisons

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 29, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 29th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) More than nine protests were organized across the country. The truck drivers in Tehran, preschool teachers in Bagh-e Malek in Khuzestan province, the shareholders of Caspian financial institution in Mashhad and Rasht, several people with law degree in Tehran, the residents of Jalalabad, the truck drivers of Bojnourd Cement, the students of Academy of Gondishapur in Ahvaz, and the flood victims in Rafi city in Khuzestan province have held separate protests to request their demands.

(2) The security forces on Tuesday, arrested Saeed Sadeghifar in Ardabil. His and four other Turkic minority rights activists’ court was on January 24, on the charge of “establishing illegal groups with the intention to disturbing national security”.

(3) Jafar Azimzadeh and Parvin Mohammadi the leading member and the vice president of the Free Union of Workers in Iran , were arrested for unknown reasons. Their whereabouts are still unknown. Moreover, Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad have been acquitted of charges of “acting against national security” in June 2018. In 2016 he was sentenced to 17 years in prison over charges of “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security through organizing an illegal group’.

(4) Mohammad Khanifar, a Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company worker, was released on 500 million [approximately 50 thousand USD] bail. He was arrested on Sunday by the intelligence agents in Shush.

(5) Sunni Friday Prayer Leader, Molavi Mohammad Hossein Gorgij, was summoned and interrogated in the Special Clerical Court for seven hours on Monday. In July, he was banned from traveling when he was going to visit Iranshahr Friday prayer Leader about rapes of women in Iranshahr.

(6) Hadi Salehpour, a 29-year-old resident of Ahvaz, was arrested and transferred to the intelligence office detention center in Ahvaz, one and a half month ago. His condition is unknown.

(7) Alireza Moinian’s request of furlough was denied. He was serving his eight months sentence since December and legally, he should have been granted furlough on bail.

(8) A school vehicle crashed into a pickup truck which injured five students in Babolsar, Mazandaran province. They were transferred to the hospital in Babol.

(9) A school vehicle rolled over in Kabudarahang, Hamadan province. Two of the seven students on-board were injured and transferred to the hospital.

(10) Natural gas leakage, poisoned 25 students in a girls’ elementary school in Bam, Kerman province.  A classroom heater’s gas leakage severely poisoned nine of the students. They were transferred to the hospital.

(11) The workers of Zarabad municipality in Sistan and Baluchestan province, have at least seven months unpaid wages.

(12) Mahmoud Naji ended his hunger strike after prison officials promise to fulfill his demands regarding his parole request. He went on a hunger strike for the same cause earlier on December 11, 2018 and ended it on December 25.

(13) Sina Moloudian, a Christian converted, was arrested by security forces in Isfahan and was transferred to an unknown place. His house was searched, and his belongings was confiscated.

(14) Namegh Deldel, a Sunni prisoner of conscience was returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj from the intelligence detention center in Sanandaj. He is serving his sentence of six-year prison term, on the national security related charges.

(15) Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, the lawyer of two detained environmentalists reported that his clients were summoned to the court again. Five of the detained environmental activists were charged with “corruption on earth”. The environmentalists who were arrested last year are Houman Jokar, Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Bayani, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Sam Rajabi, Taher Ghadirian, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, Morad Tahbaz, Hasan Zareh, Aref Zareh, Morteza Aryanejad, Alireza Farhadzadeh, and Kavous Seyed Emami. Seyed Emami, an environmentalist and professor, was arrested as part of this crackdown and reportedly died in detention under unknown circumstances two weeks after his arrest.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 2, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 2nd, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen, who was transferred to solitary confinement on November 20, was released on bail in Qaem Shahr. He had been arrested on the charge of ‘propaganda against the state’ at least five times in the last 10 years.

(2) A fire started in an oil stove used to heat a classroom followed by an explosion resulted in severe injury of a student. Ali Totazehi’s legs were severely burned in this incident in Zehak County in the Sistan and Baluchestan province. A similar incident caused three deaths and few injuries in Zahedan.

(3) Narges Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari began their hunger strike protesting the prison medical care. They did not receive the medical care that they need and that they are entitled to while they are incarcerated.

(4) Alireza Tavakoli, a prisoner of conscience, began his Hunger strike protesting the lack of medical care in prison. He was transferred from to quarantine due to his contagious illness, but the prison officials denied transferring him to hospital.

(5) Retired employees of the Army and the Social Security Organization in Tehran and Mashhad, farmers in Isfahan, public service workers in Nishabur and Sarband, Employees of Imam Khomeini hospital in Karaj, the employees of Vahdat Ahvaz financial institute, and the workers of Khorasan Exhaust Manufacturing Company in Nishabur city have separately held nine protests.

(6) The head of Ardabil Department of Environment announced that 199 poachers have been arrested and 74 more rangers are needed in Ardabil province.

(7) The authorities have not allowed Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, the lawyer of two detained environmentalists to represent or even visit them. Aghasi added that five of the detained activists faced the “corruption on earth” charge. The environmentalists who were arrested last year are Houman Jokar, Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Bayani, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Sam Rajabi, Taher Ghadirian, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, Morad Tahbaz, Hasan Zareh, Aref Zareh, Morteza Aryanejad, Alireza Farhadzadeh, and Kavous Seyed Emami. Seyed Emami, an environmentalist and professor, was arrested as part of this crackdown and reportedly died in detention under unknown circumstances two weeks after his arrest.

(8) The court of 13 Baha’i citizens which was scheduled for today, was canceled because the judge needs more time to study their case. They are identified as Peyman Ghiami, Ezatollah Shahidi, Forouzan Amini, Kambiz Moradipour, Amrollah Eslami, Nematollah Shadabi, Parhan Tabianian, Naghmeh Shadabi,  Farzaneh Amini, Sinoo Rasouli, Sepideh Ehrari, and Amir Kadivar.

(9) The court was on session on January 2, 2019 for Mohammad Khakpour , an Azerbaijani Turkic rights activist on the charge of ‘propaganda against the state’.

(10) Mohammad Taher Noorzehi, who has been a prisoner of Zahedan prison for the last 13 years, received 40 lashes in front of the other prisoners. Zahedan prison officials have a record of abusive and discriminative behavior.

(11) Two Kulbars (Kurdish back carriers), Saber Mohseni and Amanj Shekari, were injured by border patrol shots in the cities of Nowsud and Baneh.

(12) Five people with drug-related charges were sentenced to death in West Azerbaijan province. Two prisoners were accused of adultery faced 99 lashes each. One of them also was sentenced to death on a charge of murder.

(13) The director of Cyber Space Department of the Attorney-General Office confirmed that Instagram will be blocked in the country.

(14) Molavi Abdoljalil Naamani, a Baloch Sunni cleric who is a school principal in Sarbaz city, was summoned to intelligent office of Rask county for an unknown reason. He was requested to accompany one of the students, Balal Khandan.