Political Prisoner Abdul Rasoul Mortazavi Sentenced to 2 Additional Years

Political prisoner Abdul Rasoul Mortazavi was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to two additional years in prison in a new case recently opened against him.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the new charges against Mortazavi include “propaganda against the regime” and “disturbing public order”.

Mortazavi, who lost his leg during the Iraq-Iran war, was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj in early April. During the move, prison authorities took his prosthetic leg and did not return it.

Under the pretext of finally giving back his leg, officials then transferred Mortazavi to solitary confinement in Rajai Shahr on April 20th, where he is currently being held. He has been denied requests for sick leave and denied the right to make phone calls while in solitary confinement. His leg has still not been returned.

In mid-August 2019, Abdol Rasoul Mortazavi and 13 civil society activists published an open letter and requested the resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei. He was subsequently sentenced to 26 years in prison, from which 11 years are enforceable.

Mohammad Nourizad, Hashem Khastar, Mohammad Hossein Sepehri and several other signatories to the statement are also currently serving prison sentences.

Political Prisoner Motaleb Ahmadian Denied Medical Care in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj

Political prisoner Motaleb Ahmadian, who is currently in his 11th year of imprisonment in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, has been denied medical care despite his serious physical and mental condition.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ahmadian has been suffering from orchitis during the past years and the infection has now been transmitted to his bladder.

According to a source close to the prisoner’s family, Ahmadian recently reported in a phone call that his physical and mental condition had deteriorated following a lack of medical attention. “Officials promised to take him to a hospital for treatment but as of yet they have not fulfilled their promise and the prisoner’s physical condition is getting worse by the day,” the source said.

Earlier, the infectious disease specialist and general practitioner doctor at Evin Prison Medical Center had repeatedly emphasized that Ahmadian must be visited by a surgeon and urologist and that chemotherapy, sonography, and related tests must be performed. The specialist further emphasized that Mr. Ahmadian needs an MRI every six months due to a spinal complication and should visit a neurologist to prevent the disease from progressing and treatment. This has not been achieved so far due to opposition from Amin Vaziri, the assistant prosecutor in charge of political prisoners.

37-year-old Motaleb Ahmadian was arrested in October 2010 and, after about 230 days in solitary confinement, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment in Minab Prison, far from his hometown of Baneh City in Kurdistan Province.

At his first lawsuit, Ahmadian was arrested on a charge of Moharebeh, a pillar of Sharia Law that is typically applied to those connected to acts of armed rebellion against the state. The term, which can be loosely translated as “waging war against God”, has been used to incriminate members of opposition groups that may have used violence to rebel against the Islamic Regime, even if they themselves have not been involved.

Three more cases were later opened against Ahmadian and he received more sentences, including fines and imprisonment.

 

 Political Prisoner Soheil Arabi Faced with New Charges

On May 31, Soheil Arabi, a prisoner of conscience in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, was taken to a virtual arraignment hearing on new charges.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 3 of the Evin Prosecutor’s Office held the hearing and charged Arabi with “propaganda activities against the regime and disturbing the public opinion”.

Mr. Arabi was accused of creating reports on the poor condition of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, criticizing the conduct of prison authorities, especially the prison’s assistant prosecutor, going on a hunger strike to support political prisoners deprived of  medical treatment, and writing statements in support of the nationwide protests of November 2019.

Arabi was punitively transferred from the Greater Tehran Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj last September. He was then summoned and acquitted by Branch 8 of the Shahr-e-Shahri Prosecutor’s Office for another lawsuit in December.

Soheil Arabi has been imprisoned since November 2013 and has been deprived of leaves of absence throughout his entire imprisonment.

Arjang Davoodi Transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj in Eighteenth Year of Imprisonment

Last week, 69-year-old political prisoner Arjang Davoodi was transferred from Zahedan Prison in Sistan and Baluchestan Province to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary and then to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, in 2016  Mr. Davoodi was transferred to Zabol and then Zahedan Prisons in Sistan and Baluchestan Province to serve his sentence in exile.

Davoodi is currently serving his 18th year in prison.

HRANA Recap: Recent Hunger Strikes in Iranian Prisons

Khalid Pirzadeh on a hunger strike in the Greater Tehran Prison

 

On May 31, political prisoner Khaled Pirzadeh went on a hunger strike for the second time this year in the Greater Tehran Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Pirzadeh has been denied visitations and leave in the 25 months since his imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Pirzadeh went on a hunger strike following the failure of authorities to fulfill their promise to agree to parole. Pirzadeh ended his hunger strike in March after authorities promised that his demands would be met.

In May of 2019, the political prisoner was sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, to 5 years in prison, and an additional 2 years for “insulting the leadership”.  According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, of the 7 total years, 5 can be enforced on Pirzadeh on the charge of “conspiracy and collusion”.

Khaled Pirzadeh underwent foot surgery in August 2020. His legs and spine were severely damaged during detention and required further surgery and physiotherapy. He was also barred from being hospitalized in December 2020 despite having a heart problem.

 

 

Iraj Hatami on a hunger strike in protest of continued imprisonment in Rajai Shahr Prison 

 

On May 30, Iraj Hatami, currently being held in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, went on a hunger strike to protest his continued imprisonment and the fact that previous time served in detention has not been counted towards his 10 year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  Hatami was arrested by security forces in October 2010 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “collaborating with a hostile US government”.

Before his arrest, Hatami worked for the Ministry of Defense and spent two years and three months in military detention. Had this time been counted by prison officials, Hatami’s 10 year sentence would have ended last year. Mr. Hatami suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

 

Farzad Samani on a hunger strike in the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center in Urmia

 

Farzad Samani, a student detained in one of the IRGC intelligence detention centers in Urmia, went on a hunger strike on May 30.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Samani has been on a hunger strike to protest pressure from the IRGC’s intelligence services and the extension of his and Sakar Eini’s imprisonment for the sixth consecutive time.

The undergraduate student was arrested in his dormitory at Kharazmi University in Karaj in December 2020, and was later transferred to the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center in Urmia.

So far, no information is available on the charges against Samani and Eini.

 

 

Hossein Hashemi on a hunger strike in Tehran Prison after his punitive transfer

 

On Tuesday, June 1, political prisoner Hossein Hashemi went on a hunger strike in the Greater Tehran Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  Hashemi is one of the detainees from the November 2019 nationwide protests.

Per the report, Hashemi was taken from the ward under the pretext of going to interrogation, but was then transferred to the 4th section of the Greater Tehran Prison, which holds prisoners accused of violent crimes.

It is said that Mr. Hashemi’s transfer took place following a verbal argument with Eliassi, the supervising prosecutor of the Evin court. Eliassi had previously threatened to move Hussein Hashemi to a place where he would regret his actions.

 

 

Abolfazl Ghasali went on a hunger strike in Evin prison in Tehran

Tehran resident Abolfazl Ghasali, currently serving out a sentence in Evin Prison, has been on a hunger strike since May 27.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ghasali demands to be granted leave of absence during the COVID-19 outbreak, release on parole due to family’s financial problems, and a retrial.

Ghasali has had several nosebleeds since the day he started the hunger strike. The prisoner is also said to have suffered heart and lung problems during his detention due to poor nutrition and poor prison conditions. He also went on a hunger strike in December last year to protest the failure to address his needs.

In 2018, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, sentenced Ghasali to a total of 7 years in prison on charges of “Gathering and colluding and disturbing public order with the intention of committing a crime against national security”, and “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

3 years and 6 months of imprisonment are enforceable under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

 

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Reza Mohammad Hosseini Beaten by Doctor in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRA), Reza Mohammad Hosseini, a political prisoner in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, was beaten by a prison doctor on May 29 after objecting to the lack of medical treatment for fellow prisoner and labor activist Ali Ishaq.

Hosseini, who is serving a seven-year sentence, was beaten, insulted, and humiliated by prison officials for refusing to wear prison uniforms, handcuffs, and shackles last November.

In May of 2019, Reza Mohammad Hosseini was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 16 and a half years in prison on charges of conspiracy, insulting the leadership, illegally leaving the country, illegally entering the country, and disobeying the orders of agents.

The verdict was upheld by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ahmad Zargar in May 2020.

Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment will be imposed on him on charges of conspiracy and collusion.

Farzin Rezaei Roshan Transferred to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital

Exiled political prisoner Farzin Rezaei Roshan, who has been held in solitary confinement in Rajai Shahr Prison since May 10, was recently transferred to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Roshan was sent to Rajai Shahr Prison on the pretext of being transferred to a hospital, and then held in one of its solitary confinement cells until his move to Aminabad.

Roshan was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in June 2017 and held in Ward 2A of Evin Prison until he was released on bail 8 days later. Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, sentenced Roshan to four years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the system and assembly and collusion against national security”.

Roshan was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to endure his sentence in March, 2019. He had been imprisoned until his transfer to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital, where he currently resides.

Arash Sadeghi freed from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on May 1, 2021, political prisoner Arash Sadeghi was freed from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. After serving 5 years and 6 months in prison, including his previous detention, Mr. Sadeghi was released under Article 12 of the law on reducing sentencing. Previously, he was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 15 years, of which 7 years and 6 months were enforceable with the application of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code. Since Mr. Sadeghi’s previous suspended sentence of 4 years had been served, only 7 years and six months of imprisonment remained enforceable after sum up of the issued sentences.

Despite the early release, Sadeghi’s time in prison has not been without cost. Until he was freed, Arash Sadeghi had been denied the right to visit and call his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Erayi, a political prisoner in Amol Prison. The couple had been prohibited from visiting, despite legal provisions for meetings between imprisoned family members residing in different prisons.  In 2017, Sadeghi went on a hunger strike for more than seventy days to protest her re-arrest, and the prolonged hunger strike caused irreparable damage to his physical health.

While in Rajai Shahr, Sadeghi also developed a malignant type of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma. Sadeghi underwent surgery to combat the disease, but prison officials denied him access to the tri-annual post-surgery treatment recommended by physicians, leading to myriad complications. The lack of adequate treatment, coupled with the permanent physical damage from his 2017 hunger strike had devastating effects; Sadeghi’s chrondrosarcoma returned, and he needed to undergo an additional 30 sessions of radiotherapy and kinesiotherapy.

This is the most recent release of political prisoner Arash Sadeghi, who has spent the last decade serving a series of sentences for his human rights work. Sadeghi was first arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents in July 2009 in front of Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran along with several students protesting the 2009 election results. He was released on bail 90 days later. In 2010 he was re-arrested and imprisoned in ward 350 of Elvin Prison for 15 months. Sadeghi was arrested yet again in 2014 by IRGC intelligenge, and released on a bail of 600 million tomans in March of 2015. Finally, and most recently, he was arrested in June 2016 and sent back to Elvin Prison, and then transferred to Rajai Shahr, where he  remained until his May 1st release.

Whether Sadeghi is able to recover from his time in prison remains to be seen, but a recent bone marrow scan test confirms promising signs in the body.

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.

Three Prisoners Were Executed in Sirjan and Karaj

A prisoner charged with murder was executed on December 25, 2019 in Sirjan Prison. The prisoner was sentenced to death for three murders four years ago.

Moreover, two prisoners of Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj were executed on December 18, 2019. A man and a woman who were cousins were sentenced to death for murdering the woman’s husband.

According to international organizations, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita. From October 10, 2018, to October 8, 2019, the Iranian authorities issued the death penalty sentence to 134 individuals and have already carried out 242 executions including 16 public executions.  At least five of the executed were juvenile offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the crime. Secret executions of prisoners reported by the independent sources and the human rights association indicate that 72% of executions are carried out in secret or without any public notice.