Zahedan Court Considers Case File Deficiencies of 3 Death Row Prisoners

Posted on: September 28th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Judge Mashhadi presided over two lengthy court sessions September 24th and 25th in order to resolve deficiencies in the case files of Zahedan prisoners Abubakr Rostami, Sajjad Baloch and Bandeh Chakerzehi (Chakeri), who were issued death sentences in August 2017 from Branch One of Zahedan’s Revolutionary Court.

In the initial trial, all three were charged with “acting against national security by collaborating with anti-regime groups” and “Moharebeh” (enmity against God).

An informed source told HRANA that authorities at the court sessions, which lasted more than five hours each, pored over evidence submitted against the prisoners by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). So far, the evidence submitted is not anticipated to adequately support their convictions. “Barring any more reliable documentation to substantiate the claims of the IRGC representative, including documentation of the location of their arrest, it is looking more likely that they could be acquitted of the Moharebeh charge,” the source said.

When the last court session drew to a close, the three prisoners were transferred back to Zahedan Prison and told that the court’s decision–or request for further information–would be forwarded to them in the prison.

On August 30, 2018, HRANA reported on the transfer of death row prisoner Abubakr Rostami back to the general ward. He had been sent August 28th from Zahedan’s Ward 4 to the Detention Center of the Intelligence Office of the IRGC for unknown reasons.

Earlier, Baluch, Chakerzehi, and Rostami proclaimed their innocence in an open letter, saying that the accusations against them were baseless, and relating physical and psychological tortures they had experienced at the hands of the IRGC. All three were arrested December 13, 2017, in Pakistan.

In the aforementioned letter, Rostami wrote of his trip to Pakistan, which was planned amid arrangements for a study abroad: “Due to border limitations, I was forced to travel through Pakistan to get to [another] foreign country, but I was arrested midway and handed over to the IRGC,” he wrote.

A second-year medical student at Zabol University of Medical Sciences, Rostami has spent the past three years in prison.

“We still can’t believe it” Imprisoned Lawyer Reacts to Death of Homa Soltani

Posted on: August 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA) — Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist who has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since June 13th on charges of collusion and propaganda against the regime, has written an open letter in reaction to the sudden death of Homa Soltani, daughter of fellow Evin prisoner Abdolfattah Soltani who is also a lawyer and activist. Ms Soltani recently died from a heart attack at the age of 27.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent human rights lawyer who has a history of arrests and imprisonment for her outspoken defense of human rights. Below is the English translation of Ms Sotoudeh’s letter:

My darling girl, my dear Homa,

It has been three days since you flew away from this world and we still can’t believe it. In our disbelief, we still wish that it could be a lie. Ah, if only it could be a nightmare, if only…

The women’s prison mourns for you. You had lost the embrace of your father years ago, my dear one. You know what, Homa? A father’s embrace gives one security and you were without it for years. This was something no one else could give you.

Many only knew about the seven years that you had been deprived of your father thanks to the revolutionary courts of injustice. But as far as I remember, your father was always dealing with his cases – cases for activists, colleagues and those they made against himself. You were raised with this news around you, you grew up like this and anxiety filled your childish existence. The temptation of human rights, the rights of dissidents, the rights of the accused and the rights of this person or that didn’t leave your father, Abdolfattah Soltani, alone. He had so honestly given his honor to the community of lawyers that he had forgotten himself and his family; how sad is this story.

Your father was once sentenced to three months in prison. Another time, the revolutionary court of injustice gave him five years but the appeals court repealed it. But the machinery of violence didn’t stop working against this freedom-loving lawyer. During the election crisis of 2009, they once more sought him first and he had to spend two months in detention. He was freed and two years later again arrested. Prison, prison, prison…

I don’t think of what made your father tick because I know it so well. I think of the world of your childhood, your teenage years, your youth; how innocently it was crushed under the weight of our ideals and their violence.

My dear Homa,

What happened to you every time your father was arrested? To you, your sister, brothers and mother?

I have asked myself many times: If Homa had her father by her side every morning when she woke up; if her father took her to university, school or work on some days and was with her throughout her daily problems; if they had dinner together at nights and then slept under the same roof; would the same happen to Homa? No, never…

Nasrin Sotoudeh
Women’s Prison
August 2018

***

Abdolfattah Soltani, who is being held in Evin Prison, was granted a furlough to take part in his daughter’s funeral.

Amnesty International reacted to Homa’s death and asked for the immediate release of Abdolfattah Soltani and all human rights defenders.

On August 5th, Saeed Dehqan, Mr Soltani’s lawyer, wrote to President Hassan Rouhani to say his client had been arrested by the political decisions of people such as former judge Saeed Mortazavi.

Mr Soltani is spending his seventh year in Evin. He has contracted many illnesses in prison.

Abdolfattah Soltani was first arrested on September 10, 2011. He was accused of having accepted the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award, speaking to the media about his clients and taking part in the founding of the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison and barred from practising law for 20 years. An appeals court reduced his sentence to 13 years and it was further reduced to 10 years based on the provisions of the new Iran penal code. His disbarring has also been reduced to two years.

Conditional Release for Political Prisoner Mohammad Mozaffari

Posted on: August 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Mohammad Mozaffari, political activist serving a two-year sentence since June 18, 2018, was conditionally released from Tehran’s Evin Prison. A source close to Mr Mozaffari confirmed his temporary release to HRANA.

According to HRANA, Mr Mozaffari was sentenced on May 3, 2016, by branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Salavati, to a two-year prison term, a 2,000,000 Tomans cash penalty (approximately $600 USD) and 74 lashes. His lashing sentence was reportedly carried out on August 5, 2018.

Mohammad Mozaffari was arrested on February 15, 2015, and transferred to the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Unit in Evin Prison. After three months of interrogations, he was transferred to Ward 8 of this prison until his release on July 12, 2015.

The Case of Ahmadinejad’s Former VP Sent to Revolutionary Court

Posted on: August 6th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Abbas Pouriani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, has announced that the case file for Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei was sent to the Revolutionary Court, according to the state-run news agency, Young Journalists Club. Mr Mashaei is a close ally of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his former Vice President.

Earlier, Adel Heidari, Mr Mashaei’s lawyer, had stated: “After the prosecution was completed and the indictment was issued, I was not given the opportunity to access [my client’s case] or meet with my client, despite several follow-ups.”

“My client was arrested after setting the judicial verdict for Hamid Baghaie on fire in front of the British embassy. He has been detained for almost four months and the response we received to our objection to his arrest was the approval of [my client’s] continued detention. Due to the termination of an investigation by the Prosecutor’s office…[my] client should have been released. His continued detention is no longer justified,” said Mr Heidari.

On March 17, 2018, the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s office announced Mr Mashaei’s arrest by police forces for the purpose of conducting further investigation on his case. On July 1, 2018, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the Tehran Prosecutor, announced that the indictment of Rahim Mashaei had been issued.

Two days before his arrest, Mr Mashaei demonstrated in front of the British embassy in Tehran in objection to the judicial verdict issued to his ally, Hamid Baghaei, Mr Ahmadinejad’s former deputy president. Mr Mashaei accused Iran’s Judiciary of taking orders from Britain and the Queen of England to issue the verdict against Mr Baghaei.