Report on the Anniversary of Death of Mahsa Amini

On Saturday, September 16, 2023, the nation observed the anniversary of the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amini, marked by scattered protest gatherings amidst an environment of heightened security, leading to the detention of several individuals across various cities in the country.

Reports obtained by HRANA reveal an extensive police presence and increased security measures in multiple urban centers, including Saqqez, Sanandaj, Tehran, Ardabil, Rasht, Arak, and Lahijan.

Despite these security measures, sporadic gatherings took place in cities such as Karaj and Kermanshah. In Tehran, attempts by some citizens to organize protest gatherings were met with intervention by security and military forces.

Local sources have reported that traders and shopkeepers in several Kurdish cities, including Sanandaj, Saqqez, Divandareh, Dehgolan, and Baneh, staged strikes by refraining from their daily activities. Additionally, residents of Saqqez received threatening text messages from the Ministry of Intelligence, warning of potential legal consequences if they participated in gatherings or rallies.

Several news outlets, including Dideban, have reported instances of gunfire being heard during the Kermanshah protest.

Furthermore, local human rights sources in the Kurdish region have documented an incident involving an individual named Fardin Jafari, who sustained injuries after entering a restricted area and subsequently being struck by gunfire from security forces. Shortly after this incident, Mehdi Ramezani, Deputy Governor of Kurdistan, confirmed the shooting but refuted reports of a fatality. He asserted that Saqqez remained entirely calm, with no gatherings or protests transpiring. Ramezani attributed the shooting of Fardin Jafari to his “entry into a restricted military area and disregard for warnings.” Jafari has since been hospitalized and underwent surgery due to the severity of his injuries.

Security forces also briefly detained and then released Amjad Amini, Mahsa Amini’s father after he left his home today.

Ramezani justified the brief detention of Amjad Amini by alleging that “several members of a ‘terrorist group’ had planned to ‘assassinate’ Amjad Amini on his way to visit his daughter’s burial site. Security forces intervened and apprehended them, foiling their sinister plot.” However, IRNA, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic, contradicted the Deputy Governor of Kurdistan by denying any short-term detention of Amjad Amini.

Ramezani also reported the detention of several individuals in various cities of Kurdistan Province on charges related to their alleged membership in anti-regime groups. He explained, “These individuals were detained early on Saturday as they filmed and photographed businesses and industrial facilities. Security forces identified and subsequently detained them.”

The Public Prosecutor of Ardabil also informed the media of the detention of two individuals in the city on charges of “actions against national security.”

Furthermore, an intelligence official affiliated with the IRGC issued a statement announcing the detention of several individuals in Marvdasht county. These individuals were apprehended for what the statement described as “widespread propaganda and inscribing protest slogans on city walls aimed at disturbing public opinion.”

The Public Prosecutor and Revolution Prosecutor of Qarchak county also reported the detention of one individual on the charge of “membership in anti-regime groups” in their jurisdiction, along with several other detentions across various counties in Tehran Province.

Meanwhile, the IRGC’s intelligence unit in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province reported the detention of fifteen individuals in this region, citing their alleged intention to incite insecurity.

HRANA has received reports indicating that, in commemoration of the anniversary of the protests, thirteen inmates in Qezal Hesar Prison in Karaj have embarked on a hunger strike.

Prior to this, Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi, incarcerated students, had publicly announced their intention to undertake a three-day hunger strike in solidarity with nationwide protests.

Additionally, on Saturday, some female inmates at Evin Women’s Ward ignited their scarves within the prison compound as a symbolic protest act.

Background on the 2022 Nationwide Protests

The arrest of Mahsa Amini by Tehran Morality Police for her improper hijab and her suspicious death on September 16 sparked protests sweeping across Iran. Protesters came to the streets with the central slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in protest against the performance, laws, and structure of the regime. During the nationwide protests, thousands of people, including journalists, artists, lawyers, teachers, students, and civil rights activists, were arrested.


Two Instagram Bloggers Sentenced to a Total of 21 Years in Prison

The Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Instagram bloggers Astiaj Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, to a total of 21 years in prison and additional punishments.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Astiaj Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi were sentenced to imprisonment and additional punishments.

According to this verdict, each of them received ten years and six months for “promotion of impurity and indecency, assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.” They have also been banned from social activities on the Internet and leaving the country for two years.
An informed source told HRANA that they were denied access to a lawyer during legal proceedings.

On November 1, 2022, security forces arrested this couple violently at their home in Tehran. This arrest occurred after they published a video on social media showing them dancing in a city square.

A while after their arrest, Mrs Haghighi was relocated from Evin Prison to Qarchak Prison in Varamin.


Shakila Monfaed Fined and Sentenced to Imprisonment

Political prisoner Shakila Monfared was fined and sentenced to two years and eight months in prison on charges in a new case recently opened against her.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran Monfared to two years and eight months in prison and a 10 million toman fine.

While serving her prison sentence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin City, she faced a new case and was charged with “membership in one of the anti-regime groups and spreading lies”, for which she was respectively sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and paying a fine of 10 million.

On August 31, 2020, the security forces arrested Monfared while she was leaving her home. They transferred her to one of the detention centers at disposal of the IRGC in Tehran. Reportedly, they did not have a warrant for this arrest.

On September 9, of last year she was relocated to the quarantine section of the women ward of Evin Prison. On September 14, she was released on bail of 400 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings.

In January of this year, the joint court trial of Shakila Monfared, Arsham Rezaei, and Mohammad Abolhassani was held in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. 27-year-old Monfared was sentenced to 6 years in prison and 4 months of probation work in the Agricultural Jihad on charges of “propaganda activities against the system” and “insulting the sanctities of Islam”.

Monfared was granted furlough on August 23 of this year and returned to jail on September 7.

Mojgan Keshavarz Granted Leave on Bail from Qarchak Prison in Varamin

On Wednesday, October 6, civil activist Mojgan Keshavarz was granted a five-day leave on bail from prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Keshavarz is serving out her five-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin.

On April 25, 2019, intelligence forces raided Keshavarz’s home and arrested her. She was under interrogation in the detention facility of the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards, known as the 2A section of Evin Prison, until May 1, and then transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin. She was relocated to Evin prison on August 12, 2020, and sent back again to Qarchak Prison on December 5, 2020.

Branch 28 of the revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced the civil activist to a total of 22 years in prison. She received 5 years on a charge of “assembly and collusion in the purpose of acting against national security”, 10 years on a charge of “provoking and provision of impurity and indecency”, and 7 years and six months on a charge of ” blasphemy”.  Later the sentence was reduced to 12 years and 7 months on appeal.

According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the severest enforceable punishment for the charge of ” provoking and provision of impurity and indecency ” is five and half years imprisonment.

Mojgan Keshavarz is 38 years old and a mother of a ten-year-old daughter.

Inmate Dies of COVID After Facing Medical Negligence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin

Today, Wednesday, September 22, Ms. Giti Haj Rahimi died of COVID in the quarantine section of Ward 9 of Qarchak Prison in Varamin after facing medical negligence from prison authorities.

According to HRANA, the news agency of the Human Rights Activists, Haj Rahimi had been convicted for financial crimes. HRANA has verified Ms. Haj Rahimi’s identity.

Ms. Haj Rahimi, who had been serving her sentence in Ward 6 of Qarchak Prison, was recently transferred to a solitary confinement cell for quarantine after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ms. Haj Rahimi was also diabetic and had previously lost one of her fingers to this disease during her imprisonment.

Haj Rahimi’s death has not been announced by the Iranian media or official sources as of this writing.

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Saba Kord Afshari Sent on 15 Day Leave from Qarchak Prison in Varamin

Yesterday, imprisoned civil activist Saba Kord Afshari was sent on a 15-day leave from Qarchak Prison in Varamin.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, yesterday, August 11, the activist was allowed medical leave after receiving a positive COVID test.

Saba Kord Afshari is a civil activist and prominent critic of the compulsory hijab in Iran. On September 5, 2019, Afshari  was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by judge Iman Afshari, to 15 years imprisonment for “promoting corruption and obscenity through appearing without a headscarf in public”,  and 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment for “propaganda against the regime” and 7 years and 6 months in prison for “assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against national security” to a total of 24 years in prison along with other social deprivations, from which, after applying Article 134 and adjustment of the sentences, the most severe punishment of 7 years and 6 months in prison is enforceable to her.

On May 8 of this year, 22-year-old Kord Afshari began what would be a 10 day hunger strike to protest the increasing pressure on her family and family of fellow political prisoners, and to demand the release of her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi. Upon finishing her strike, the young activist said, in a statement, “I am fully aware that human lives are of no value to the Islamic Republic, so I am ending my hunger strike, but I am still seeking to fulfill my demands.”

Despite the widespread prevalence of COVID-19 within Iran’s prison system, inmates are frequently deprived of adequate and timely medical treatment.

Azadeh Zeinali on a Hunger Strike in Qarchak Prison in Varamin

Azadeh Zeinali, a theater director who is currently serving out a sentence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin, has been on a hunger strike since July 22. 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Insaf News, Zelani was imprisoned on financial charges and is using the hunger strike to protest delays in the processing of her case.

“My case is being processed very slowly, otherwise I should have gone on leave by now,”  Zeinali (whose stage name is Elena Javid) said. “I have been on a hunger strike to protest this. I am currently in Qarchak prison. I was told I will be released on bail.”