On December 26, 2019, seven civil rights activists, Mahrokh Rousta, Kaveh Mozaffari, Faraz Roshan, Jelveh Javaheri, Forough Saminia, Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi, and Houman Tahriri were arrested during the commemoration ceremony held 40 days after the killing of Navid Behboudi, one of the victims of last November’s protests. The arrestees had a brief phone conversation with their families. However, their accusations are not yet confirmed. On January 1st, 2020, Forough Saminia, Jelveh Javaheri, Mahrokh Rousta were transferred to Lakan Prison in Rasht upon completion of their interrogation from the Rasht’s Intelligence Department’s detention center. On the same day, Kaveh Mozaffari, Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi, Houman Tahriri, and Faraz Roshan were transferred to Ziabar Prison in Gilan Province. They were transferred to the aforementioned prisons although the prosecutor’s office announced earlier that all the arrestees can be released on bail.
Forugh Saminia, Jelveh Javaheri, and Kaveh Mozaffari are women’s rights activists while Ahmad Zahedi Langeroudi is a journalist and a member of the Iranian Writer’s Association. They were arrested along with several others, namely Amir Eslami, Sara Zaher Kerdar, Fahimeh Kameli, and Azar Jafari who were also attending this commemoration ceremony but were later released.
Navid Behboudi was a 23-year old model originally from Gilan residing in Qods city. On November 17, 2019, he was fatally shot during last November’s protest in Qods city. On November 20, 2019, his body was received by his family and was buried in Mahvizan, a village in the rural district of Sowme’eh Sara County, Gilan Province. The nation-wide protests of November are one of the most significant events of 2019. During the November protests that lasted more than 10 days simultaneously in 719 parts of the country. At least 7133 people were arrested, and hundreds died on the streets.
Protests have erupted across Iran after the government unexpectedly announced it is rationing petrol and increasing its price. The protests took place across the country following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight of November 14, 2019, to cut petrol subsidies to raise funds for social assistance to the poor. Petrol price was increased to a minimum of 15,000 Rials per liter, 50% increase from the day before.
Nationwide protests in the last three days were in at least 48 cities such as: Ahvaz, Shooshtar, Dezful, Gachsaran, Abadan, Khorramshahr, Bandar Mahshahr, Rasht, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Khorramabad, Qom, Ilam, Karaj, Sanandaj, Dorud, Qazvin, Arak, Mahdi Shahr, Garmsar, Shahroud, Najafabad, Mariwan, Tehran, Tabriz, Ardabil, Urmia, Saveh, Pasargadae, Qods (Qal’eh Hasan Khan), Varamin, Sari, Yasuj, Qaemshahr, Shahrekord, Malek Shahr, Parand, Damavand, Pol Dokhtar, Neyshabur, Sarepol Zahab, Kahnooj, Yazd, Bandar Bushehr, Bahmai, Shahriar, etc. They are still ongoing in several cities.
Peaceful demonstrations turned violent in Sanandaj, Mahshahr, and Shiraz, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing teargas at protesters and mobs setting fires. Several people were injured or killed in the first three days of protests as a result of the police’s direct shots. On November 17, 2019, students of Tehran University and Tabriz University protested inside the university. Shops at Tehran Grand Bazaar went on strike on November 17, 2019.
The protests started on November 15, 2019, and are still ongoing. The arrest of more than 1000 people across the country was confirmed. More than 150 banks and supermarkets were set on fire and a police officer was killed. Two Hawzas -a seminary where Shi’a Muslim clerics are educated- were set on fire in Shiraz and Kazerun. According to unconfirmed reports, at least 36 people were killed in Sirjan, Shiraz, Behbahan, Marivan, Khoramshahr, Isfahan, and Shahriar.
According to Fars News, protests were held in 100 cities and at least 100 banks and 57 supermarkets were set on fire. Based on this report, the number of protesters were 87400 from which 82200 are men and 5200 women. At least 1000 people were arrested. Yazd prosecutor confirmed the arrest of 40 people in the city of Yazd. Bam Prosecutor also confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the city of Bam. The prosecutor of Robat Karim confirmed the arrest of 34 protesters for vandalism. According to Mohammad Reza Amoui, Kermanshah’s chief of Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on November 16, Major Iraj Javaheri was killed fighting with protesters in Kermanshah. A journalist resided in Mariwan, Adnan Hasanpour, reported that security forces shot people directly and at least seven people were killed in Javanrud, one person was killed in Sanandaj, and several people were injured. According to unconfirmed reports, 15 of the killed people are identified as following:
Meisam Adgipour, Khaled Maniat, Ali Ghazlavy, Milad Hamidavi, Ali Boghlani, Hamzeh Savari, Mohammad Asafi Zargani, Ehsan Abdollahnejad, Mehdi Nikouei, Osman Naderi, Mehran Tak, Shahou Validi, Javad Nazari Fathabadi, Mehrdad Dashtizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati.
Iran has almost completely shut off access to the internet across the country. On November 16, 2019, by the approval of the National Security Supreme Council, the government has completely blocked Internet access in Iran to stymie protests. Due to the internet shut down and the lack of access to freelance reporters and citizen journalists, confirming news about demonstrations and deaths is difficult. It also caused difficulty for Iranian citizens to have access to news agencies websites. On Monday, November 18, schools are closed in 17 cities across Iran:
Shiraz, Kazerun, Alborz, Fereydun, Fereydun Shahr, Farsan, Kuhrang, Laran, Taleqan, Astara, and Najafabad. In addition, universities are closed in Shiraz.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed petrol price increases claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage and not ordinary people. According to Khabar Online, Mojtaba Zonnour, a parliament member representing Qom, is collecting parliament members signatures to impeach Ali Larijani, the head of parliament. He gathered 50 signatures so far. Mohammad Qasim Osmani, a parliament member representing Bukan, filed his resignation and added that he resigned to announce that he was not involved in this decision [raising petrol price]. Today, with respect to Ayatollah Khamenei’s views, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that the protesters will face harsh punishments. Reportedly, people received threatening text messages in Khuzestan and Karaj from the prosecutor’s offices of their province. People were warned about attending protests and not to disturb public order and facilitate the abuse of opposition groups.
The following is an
overview of human rights violations in Iran on February 7th, 2019 based on the
information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).
(1) More than four protests were organized across the country on February 7, 2019. Teachers and educators in Isfahan, the investors of Padideh Shandiz in Mashhad, the teachers of Esfarayen in the Ghazvin province, the workers of Karaj municipality, have held protests to request their demands.
(2) Two workers were injured in Gotvand city in Khuzestan province because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions in their workplaces. Iran ranked 102 in the workplace safety among other countries.
(3) The CEO of Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation confirmed that 50 million Iranians reported to live below the poverty line.
(4) Human Rights Watch announced that Iran’s authorities are violating fair trial standards in the case of eight environmentalists; “Iranian authorities should open a transparent investigation into the torture allegations the accused have raised during the trial.”
(5) Ehsan Karami was banned from appearing on Iran national television. He is a singer, actor, and television host.
(6) The Special Forces attacked Sunni prisoners’ ward in Rajaee Shahr prison because a prisoner, Tohid Ghoreishi, refused to attend the court session. Tohid Ghoreishi, Hamzeh Darvish, Marivan Karkuki, and Namegh Deldel were severely beaten and injured
(7) A number of Ahwazi Arab citizens were arrested by intelligence agents in Hamidiyeh in Ahvaz. Nabi Saedi, Ahmad Saedi, and Shahab Sayahi were arrested on Wednesday, February 6th. No further information was available on their location or the reason for their arrests.
(8) AbuBakr Rostami, a political prisoner on death row in Zahedan prison, began hunger strike after being transferred to the quarantine ward for an unknown reason. He was a medical student at Zabol University of Medical Sciences and spent the past three years in prison on the charges of “acting against national security by collaborating with anti-regime groups” and “Moharebeh” (enmity against God).
(9) A converted Christian, Sina Moloudian, was released on bail on Monday, February 4th. Iranian security officials raided his home and confiscating his belongings in Isfahan on January 23, 2019.
(10) Maryam Mombeini, the wife of Kavous Seyed-Emami, is still barred from leaving the country. Seyed-Emami was the Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who died in prison after being accused of spying.
(11) The Iranian government arrested, imprisoned or executed at least 860 journalists over 30 years frpm 1979 to 2009, according to documents leaked to Reporters Without Boarders (RSF) and at least four journalists were executed.
(12) More than 500 workers have been laid off in Ghazvin province while two workers of Pars Tire Company in Saveh were laid off after the wage protest.
(13) The Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, pardoned or reduce the sentences of a large number of convicts on the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution which is commemorated in Iran.
(14) Five homeless people died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in Fardis in Alborz province.
The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 27th, 2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).
(1) A stepfather in Qom was jailed over a child’s death. A child died after being transferred to a hospital to care for his severe injuries. His stepfather was accused of physically abusing the child.
(2) Ten workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group were released on bail. At least 15 more are still in prison.
(3) A prisoner in Zahedan prison had been stripped naked, tied up to a metal fence, and beaten after an argument with the prison deputy. Alireza Mohammadi is accused of robbery and was sentenced to six years imprisonment. In addition, A prisoner, Omran Mirakzehi, was beaten in Saravan prison and had been transferred to quarantine.
(4) Salahedin Ranjbar, a cyber activist, who has been previously sentenced to one year in prison, was arrested and transferred to Supermax ward for violent inmates of Urmia prison to serve his sentence on December 23.
(5) In a lawsuit filed by Kavous Seyed Emami’s family, against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting regarding a program aired which falsely portrayed him. His family also requested to lift the travel ban on Seyed-Emami ‘s spouse.
(6) Three protests have been held across the country. Educators and retired teachers protested in Isfahan and Urmia. Police fired tear gas at protestors and several of them have been arrested. Moreover, farmers in Isfahan protested and requested fulfilment of their demands.
(7) A prisoner who was accused of murder was saved from death with forgiveness and consent of the next of kin, after spending five years in the Dezful prison.
(8) More than 78 workers of Kavosh Pressure Vessels Manufacturer were laid off. Although they still have unpaid wages, their names have been sent to get unemployment benefits.
(9) A worker has been injured in a water well in Karaj because of unsafe working conditions.
(10) Mine explosion wounds a Shepherd in Salehabad district in Mehran County, Ilam Province. Land mines are remnants from Iran-Iraq war.
(11) Family and friends of Shahram Farajzadeh Tarani have been prevented from marking the anniversary of his death. The video of his death drew worldwide attention after he was ran over by a police vehicle during the 2009 Iranian election protests.
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Arak resident Dariush Darabi, who was arrested in a protest rally in Shohada Square of Arak, central Iran, has been sentenced to one year in prison and 30 lashings, on charges of disturbing the public order and insulting the Supreme Leader. As evidence against him, the court cited text messages retrieved from his phone.
These charges were brought by Arak Criminal Court No. 2 Branch 103 and Arak Revolutionary Court Branch 2. Darabi’s defense lawyer Mohammad Najafi told HRANA that his client was taken to an Arak IRGC detention center after his arrest on August 2nd of this year, and temporarily released on bail thereafter.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) explicitly prohibits inhumane and degrading punishments like lashings.
Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – As they make it past the two-week mark, Iranian trucker strikes look nowhere near relenting, and authorities are taking notice.
As of the date of this report, 244 individuals have been arrested in connection to trucker strikes across multiple cities, including but not limited to Shahr-e Kord, Bandar-e Imam Khomeini, Ahvaz, Susangerd, Najaf Abad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Bushehr, Aligudarz, Urmia, Yazd, Zarrin Shahr, Bandar Abbas, Tiran, Miyaneh, Behshahr and Ghuchan.
While broadcasts from state-sponsored news agencies declared on October 6th that the protests were losing steam, the truckers have yet to back down. The same day, the General and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Shahr-e Kord announced that six more protestors had been detained.
Prior to October 6th, 238 individuals connected with the strike had already been detained and booked on charges of corruption on earth, disturbing public order, and banditry. Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri previously threatened the detainees with heavy sentences, reminding them that their charges are punishable by death. Strikers in multiple provinces are taking the risk: Qazvin, Alborz, Ardabil, Isfahan, Fars, Semnan, Kermanshah, Zanjan, Hamadan, Northern Khorasan, and cities of Nahavand, Bujnurd, Kangan, Pakdasht, Nishabur, Shirvan, Azarshahr, Gorgan, Bandar-e Gaz, Izeh, Razan, and Zaran provinces have seen arrests so far.
At a ceremony for the opening of a tunnel connecting Karaj to Chalus, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi acknowledged truck drivers’ role in the construction of the tunnel, telling a reporter, “the demands of the truck drivers will definitely be addressed.”
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development showed less compassion toward the strikers in an October 6th response to Tehran-based Friday prayer imam Kaze Sadeghi, who stated that the Ministry should answer to their responsibilities and address the issue rather than “saying irrelevant things.” The Ministry’s retort statement read, “truck drivers are hardly struggling.”
In an interview with Mehr news agency, Deputy Head of the Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization (IRMTO) Dariush Amani spoke of his organization’s initiative to meet drivers’ demands for tires, including cheaper import prices on cotton-based tires. “Tires have been placed on the list of essential items which will henceforth be imported at the government-subsidized price of 4200 Tomans [$1 USD].”
Ali Khaneghai, a general manager of the Sistan and Baluchestan provincial transportation and terminals department, acknowledged that high tire prices were one of the industry’s most dire needs, and claimed that 1200 subsidized tires have been distributed to drivers. “The drivers can purchase tires at fair prices through the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade with the presentation of their welcome letter from the Driver’s Union.”
Ahmad Jamshidi, Transportation and Terminals Manager of Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiyari province, also commented on tire influx, stating that 2711 tires had thus far been distributed among regional truckers.
HRANA previously reported on authorities’ reactions to the truckers’ continued strikes, which have been active since September 23rd. On that date, the Iran National Truck Driver’s Trade Union called on truckers to cease their operations until authorities fulfilled a list of 15 conditions, including an increase in pensions, a decrease in part prices, a 70-percent increase in wages, a decrease in insurance premiums, and a crackdown on bribery in the industry.
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Around 300 prisoners in Gachsaran, in the southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, have launched protests and gone on hunger strike in opposition to patterns of injustice plaguing the quality of life in their region.
In phone calls to loved ones, several prisoners expressed discontent with the Gachsaran prosecutor’s unseemly behavior towards their families, the living conditions with which their families were faced, and authorities’ discriminatory treatment of prisoners, including their refusal to grant furlough to those who are eligible.
A source with two family members in the prison told HRANA that protestors were expressing their frustration and despair in very different ways. “During the protests, one prisoner, Hamed Pirayesh, cut his own ear and was subsequently transferred to solitary confinement. Today, another prisoner attempted suicide. Mir Mohammad Miri, an imprisoned political activist from Deyl village in Gachsaran county, is on his third day of hunger strike to protest the rejection of his furlough request.”
Miri was arrested July 21, 2018, to serve his sentence of lashings and two years in prison on charges of “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the regime.” The Gachsaran Revolutionary Court issued his verdict, which Branch 3 of the Appeals Court later upheld the sentence.
Six people arrested in a teachers’ demonstration on May 10th have been issued a suspended sentence of nine months imprisonment and 74 lashings, or the equivalent financial penalty, on charges of “disrupting public order by taking part in illegal gatherings” and “disobeying authorities serving their duty.” Their trial took place in Branch 1060 of the Second Criminal Court of Government Employees on September 5th.
HRANA has identified the arrestees as Ali Eghdamdoost, a member of the retirees’ union; Rasoul Badaghi, a previous officer of Tehran’s Teachers Trade Union; Esmayil Gerami, Javaad Zolnoori, Hossein Gholami, and Mohammad Abedi.
All six took part in a May 10th gathering of teachers and retirees advocating in front of Iran’s Planning and Budgeting Organization against the privatization of the country’s education system, and for wages that would hoist them above the poverty line. Police attacks on the demonstrators led to injuries, hospitalizations, and eight arrests.
Arrestees were held in a security police detention house on Vozara street before being transported to Base Seven of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) a few days later. They were finally taken in shackles and handcuffs to Evin prison, where they eventually accepted to post a bail of 500 million rials (approximately 12,000 USD) to await their trial.
Teachers’ union activist Mohammad Habibi, currently housed in Section 4 of Evin Prison, is a defendant on the same case. He was sentenced July 23rd to 10 years and six months in prison, 74 lashings, and a two-year ban on both civic activities and travel.
At trial, a judge offered freedom to the May 10th activists in exchange for their pledge to cease future involvement with labor activism. In defense of their right to stage and participate in peaceful gatherings, all reportedly refused.
HRANA – The Center of Statistics at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) has published this report regarding the recent seven days of protests in Iran which occurred from December 28, 2017 to January 3, 2018.
At the time of the compilation of this report, there are still protests occurring in parts of Iran. As a result, this report does not provide the most comprehensive outlook possible of the recent protests in Iran and is solely focused on the first seven days of protests. (more…)