First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Posted on: September 13th, 2019

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha aramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

Amnesty – Iran: Brother of prominent filmmaker arrested

Posted on: November 29th, 2012

http://en-hrana.org/images/1350821572.jpgAMNESTY URGENT ACTION

Behrouz Ghobadi, brother of internationally acclaimed Iranian film maker, Bahman Ghobadi, was arrested on 4 November 2012 by men in plain clothes, believed to belong to the Ministry of Intelligence. He is reportedly being held in a Ministry of Intelligence detention centre, placing him at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

Behrouz Ghobadi, father of a newborn baby boy and a member of the Kurdish minority in Iran, was arrested in the early hours of the morning of 4 November. He was in a taxi driving from Sanandaj, the capital of the north-western Kordestan province, to a Tehran airport. Plain-clothes men, who were reportedly following him, stopped his car and arrested him around 15 kilometres outside Sanandaj. Judicial officials claim that they had an arrest warrant but the reasons for his arrest do not appear to have been disclosed to his family or lawyer.

link story

http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/069/2012/en/f6f53cbf-b29e-4daa-b0bb-dae60ceb7819/mde130692012en.html

LETTER

Object: Brother of prominent filmmaker arrested

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you as supporter of Amnesty International, the non governmental organization which since 1961 has been working in defense of human rights, wherever they are violated.

I call on you to ensure that Behrouz Ghobadi is protected from torture and other ill- treatment and is granted adequate medical treatment.

I urge you to allow Behrouz Ghobadi immediate and regular visits from his family and a lawyer of his own choosing.

I stress that if Behrouz Ghobadi has been arrested solely in connection with his or his brother’s film-making activities, he is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Thank you for your attention.

(your name)

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 8 DECEMBER 2012 TO:

Address:

Salutation: Your Excellency

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: “#Iran leader @khamenei_ir

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

[care of] Public relations Office

Number 4, 2 Azizi Street

Vali Asr Ave, above Pasteur Street intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected] (Subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani) or [email protected]

And copies to:

Salutation: Your Excellency

Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights

Mohammad Javad Larijani

High Council for Human Rights

[Care of] Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737,

Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]humanrights-iran.ir

(subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

IRAN (Repubblica Islamica dell’)

Via Nomentana, 361/363 – 00162 Roma

Tel. 0686328485-6-7 – Fax 0686328492

E-mail: [email protected]

Iran – Iranian lawyer on hunger strike / URGENT ACTION

Posted on: October 25th, 2012

HRANA News Agency – Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and has been imprisoned in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. On September 25 she began a hunger strike to protest being denied visits and phone calls from her family. On October 31 Ms Sotoudeh continued to protest her detention and ill treatment. In January 2011 Ms. Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in prison in addition to the block to exercise its right and to leave the country for 20 years. Her sentenced has been reduced to 6 years in prison, and a 10 year ban from practicing law. The 20 year ban for her to leave the country has not been mentioned in the appeals court’s decision.

(more…)

HRW: Proposed Penal Code Deeply Flawed in Iran

Posted on: September 13th, 2012

HRANA News Agency – (Beirut) – Proposed amendments to Iran’s penal code would violate the rights of accused people and criminal defendants, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.  Iranian authorities should suspend enactment of the proposed amendments and undertake a major overhaul of the country’s abusive penal laws.

The48-page report, “Codifying Repression: An Assessment of Iran’s New Penal Code,” says that many problematic provisions of the current penal code remain unaddressed in the proposed amendments. Some of the amendments would weaken further the rights of criminal defendants and convicts and allow judges wide discretion to issue punishments that violate the rights of the accused. Lawmakers and judiciary officials have cited the amendments as a serious attempt to comply with Iran’s international human rights obligations.

“These amendments do little to address penal code provisions that allow the government to jail, torture, and execute people who criticize the government,” saidJoe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “If Iran wants to comply with its human rights obligations, it should completely and categorically ban deplorable practices like child executions, limb amputations, and stoning.”

In January 2012 the Guardian Council, an unelected body of 12 religious jurists charged with vetting all legislation to ensure its compatibility with Iran’s constitution and Sharia, or Islamic law, approved the final text of an amended penal code. Parliament and other supervisory bodies have approved and finalized the text of the amendments, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet signed the amended code into law. Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who is the head of Iran’s judiciary, has ordered Iran’s courts to apply the old penal code until  Ahmadinejad signs the new amendments into law, which could happen at any time.

Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which went into effect in 1991, reflects the ruling clerics’ interpretation of Sharia law, based on the Jafari or Twelver Shia school of jurisprudence. It includes discretionary (ta’zir) punishments not specifically laid out in Sharia law that apply to most of Iran’s national security laws, under which political dissidents are convicted and sentenced in revolutionary courts.

The latest amendments address changes in three types of punishments specified in Sharia law:hadd – crimes against God, such as adultery and drinking alcohol,  for which Sharia law assigns fixed and specific punishments);qesas– retributive justice, often reserved for murder; anddiyeh – compensation to victims in the form of “blood money.”

The most serious problems with the new provisions include their retention of the death penalty for child offenders and for crimes that are not considered serious under international law, Human Rights Watch said. The amendments also fail to define clearly and set out in the code several crimes that carry serious punishments, including capital punishment.

They also include broad or vaguely worded national security-related laws criminalizing the exercise of fundamental rights. And they would permit the continued use of punishments that amount to torture or cruel and degrading treatment, such as stoning, flogging, and amputation.

The amendments also reinforce previously discriminatory provisions against women and religious minorities.

Contrary to official assertions that the amendments will prohibit the execution of people less than 18 years of age, the new law retains the death penalty for children in certain circumstances. Children convicted ofta’ziror discretionary crimes such as drug-related offenses may no longer be sentenced to death but instead to correctional and rehabilitation programs.

But the new code explicitly pegs the age of criminal responsibility to the age of maturity or puberty under Sharia law, which in Iranian jurisprudence is 9 years for girls and 15 years for boys. A judge may, therefore, still sentence to death a girl as young as 9 or a boy as young as 15 convicted of a “crime against God” orqesascrime such as sodomy or murder if he determines that the child understood the nature and consequences of the crime.

Iran remains the world leader in executing people convicted of committing an offense while under the age of 18. The government maintains that Iran does not execute children because authorities wait for child offenders to reach 18 before executing them. In 2011 at least143 child offenderswere on death row in Iranian prisons, the vast majority for alleged crimes such as rape and murder. Death sentences for those crimes would not be affected by the amendments.

“The absolute prohibition on the execution of child offenders convicted of discretionary crimes such as drug trafficking is long overdue,” Stork said. “But it is of little consolation to the dozens of child offenders currently on death row for other crimes, and their families.”

The new amendments continue to allow the death penalty for activities that should not constitute crimes at all – certain types of consensual sexual relations outside of marriage – or that are not among the “most serious” crimes (typically those that cause the death of a victim) under international law. Other crimes that carry the death penalty under the new provisions include insulting the Prophet Mohammad and possessing or selling illicit drugs.

The revised penal code allows judges to rely on religious sources, including Sharia law andfatwasissued by high-ranking Shia clerics, to convict a person of apostasy or sentence a defendant convicted of adultery to stoning. This remains the case even though there is no crime of apostasy under the penal code, and stoning as a form of punishment for adultery has been removed from the new provisions.

The new provisions also expand upon broad or vaguely defined national security crimes that punish people for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, or assembly. One troubling amendment concerns article 287, which defines the crime ofefsad-e fel arz, or “sowing corruption on earth.” Legislators have expanded the definition ofefsad-e fel arz, a previously ill-definedhaddcrime closely related tomoharebeh(enmity against God) that had been used to sentence to death political dissidents who allegedly engaged in armed activities or affiliated with “terrorist organizations.” The new definition also includes clearly nonviolent activities such as “publish[ing] lies,” “operat[ing] or manag[ing] centers of corruption or prostitution,” or “damage[ing] the economy of the country” if these actions “seriously disturb the public order and security of the nation.”

Under the current penal code, authorities have executedat least 30 peoplesince January 2010 on the charge of “enmity against God” or “sowing corruption on earth” for their alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups.At least 28 Kurdish prisonersare known to be awaiting execution on national security charges, including “enmity against God.” Human Rights Watch hasdocumentedthat in a number of these cases, the evidence suggests that Iran’s judicial authorities convicted, sentenced, and executed people simply because they were political dissidents, and not because they had committed terrorist acts.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because it is unique in its cruelty and finality, and is plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error. In addition, Iranian trials involving capital crimes have been replete withserious violationsof due process rights and international fair trial standards.

The Iranian authorities should abolish punishments retained or permitted under the new penal code that amount to torture or cruel and inhuman treatment, such as flogging, amputation, and stoning, Human Rights Watch said.

“These penal code amendments are nothing but a continuation of Iran’s reprehensible track record when it comes to administering justice in the courts,” Stork said. “Real criminal reform in Iran requires a wholesale suspension and overhaul of the Iranian penal code that has been a tool of systematic repression in the hands of the authorities, including the judiciary.”

Amnesty: IRAN TV “Confessions” breach suspects’ rights

Posted on: September 10th, 2012

Amnesty's Urgent Action - IRAN: Gholamreza Khosravi is scheduled to be executed on 10 SeptemberHRANA News Agency –Iranian businessman Mazyar Ebrahimi and 11 others have been held incommunicado since their arrest in June 2012. On 6 August the five women and seven men appeared on Iranian state television “confessing” to the killing of five Iranian nuclear scientists and academics since 2010. Amnesty International fears they could face the death penalty.

On 12 JuneMazyar Ebrahimi, founder of a cinema and television production company in Iraqi Kurdistan, was arrested in Tehran by Ministry of Intelligence security forces for “reasons of national security”. His family have not been informed of his whereabouts since and their requests for contact have been refused. Mazyar Ebrahimi has not been allowed a lawyer of his choosing since his arrest because his case is still “under investigation”.

On 6 August, Iranian state television channel IRTV1 broadcast a 39-minute documentary called “Terror Club” showing the alleged “confessions” of Mazyar Ebrahimi and 11 other men and women also arrested in June 2012 for involvement in the killings of five Iranian nuclear scientists and academics since 2010. The group said they had received weeks of military and intelligence training in Israel before carrying out the assassinations in Iran. The documentary did not show any evidence to support these claims, nor did it state whether they have been tried.. Another man who appeared in the documentary,Majid Jamali Fashi, was executed earlier on 15 May 2012. He had also appeared in an earlier broadcast in January 2011, aired before his trial in August 2011.

The use of televised “confessions” grievously undermines defendants’ right to a fair trial, in particular the presumption of innocence and the right not to be compelled to confess guilt and are particularly disturbing in cases like this one where defendants are accused of crimes which could lead to their being sentenced to death and executed. Those accused of crimes must be treated in accordance with international human rights law and must receive trials that comply with the most rigorous internationally recognized standards for fair trial, and without recourse to the death penalty.

Please write immediately in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:

Call on the Iranian authorities to ensure that Mazyar Ebrahimi and the other 11 detainees have immediate access to their families and lawyers of their choosing and are protected from torture or other ill-treatment;

Call on them to ensure that all 12 suspects receive fair trials in accordance with international human rights law, without recourse to the death penalty, and reminding the authorities that televised “confessions” violate Articles 14 (2) and (3g) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 OCTOBER 2012 TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid

Keshvar Doust Street,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @khamenei_ir

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

[care of] Public Relations Office

Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Secretary General High Council for

Human Rights

Mohammed Javad Larijani

c/o Office of the Head of the Judicary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave

South of Serah-e Jomhouri

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

(Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad

Larijani)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

IRAN TV “Confessions” breach suspects’ rights

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Majid Jamali Fashi, was executed on 15 May 2012 following a “confession” made on an earlier broadcast on Iranian state television in January 2011. He was arrested in January 2010 and charged with assassinating Tehran University professor, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, who had been killed by a bomb earlier that month.

The 11 other detainees who appear, in the documentary, to make “confessions” to the killings are: Behzad Abdoli; Firouz Yeganeh; Maryam Zargar; Ramtin Mahdavi Moshayi; Arash Kheyratgir; Maryam Izadi; Fouad Faramarzi; Nashmin Zareh; Mohsen Sedeghi-Azad; Ayoub Moslem; and Tara Bagheri. In August 2012, Iranian state television reported that 20 people have reportedly been arrested in connection with the killings but only 12 appeared to make “confessions” in the TV documentary.

Televised “confessions” have repeatedly been used by the authorities to incriminate individuals in custody. Many have later retracted these “confessions”, stating that they were coerced to make them, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment.

Amnesty International is concerned that Mazyar Ebrahimi and the other 11 detainees have been held in incommunicado detention since June 2012, without access to their relatives or to lawyers. Incommunicado detention facilitates torture or other ill-treatment which may be used to coerce a detainee into making a “confession” which may subsequently be used as evidence in court. Prolonged incommunicado detention can itself amount to torture.

Access to a lawyer from the outset of detention is essential to ensuring a fair trial. International fair trial standards require that anyone accused of a serious crime has access to a lawyer not only during the trial itself, but also immediately on arrest and throughout all subsequent proceedings, in particular in cases of offences carrying the death penalty.

Amnesty International urges the Iranian authorities to end immediately their practice of broadcasting “confessions” and other incriminating testimonies obtained from individuals who may have yet to stand trial. Such practice constitutes a gross breach of detainees’ right to a fair trial and of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law. Article 14 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, states that “Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law”, while Article 14 (3g) states that everyone has the right “not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt”.

In Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s TV “confession” broadcast on 11 August 2010, she appeared to implicate herself in the murder of her husband. She is facing execution by stoning for “adultery while married”.

On December 13, 2011, two members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, Hashem Sha’bani Amouri and Hadi Rashidi, were featured in a programme aired by Iran’s state-controlled television station, Press TV, in which they appeared to “confess” to having carried out “terrorist activities”. Subsequently, on 7 July 2012, both men were sentenced by Branch 2 of the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court after conviction of charges including the vaguely-worded offences of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” (moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz), “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”.

Another Ahwazi Arab man, Taha Heidarian, was shown in the same programme making a “confession” in connection with the killing of a law enforcement official in April 2011 amidst widespread protests in Khuzestan. On or around 19 June 2012, he and three other Ahwazi Arab men were executed in Karoun Prison, according to activists close to the family, after apparently being convicted by a Revolutionary Court of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” in connection with the killing.

Name: Mazyar Ebrahimi, Majid Jamali Fashi

Gender m/f: Mazyar Ebrahimi (M); Majid Jamali Fashi (M); other detainees are male and female�

UA: 258/12 Index: MDE 13/062/2012 Issue Date: 10 September 2012

Shirko Maarefi on Hunger Strike After Verbal Confirmation of Execution Order

Posted on: April 30th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Yesterday, Shirko (Bahman) Maarefi, a Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to death, was transferred to solitary confinement.  Previously, Saqqez Prison officials responsible for carrying out executions had verbally informed him of his pending fate.  As the time for his execution approached, Shirko Maarefi started his hunger strike on April 28, 2011.

According to a report by the Student Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners in Iran, Shirko Maarefi was arrested on October 1, 2008 and was subsequently sentenced to death by the lower court for the charges of acting against national security, waging war against God and membership in the Kurdish Komalah party.  Due to objections made by his attorneys to the legality of charges and the trial proceedings, the defendant’s request for a hearing by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, was accepted, and the case was referred to the Supreme Court.

As a result of the decision made by Saqqez’s prosecutor to modify the charges against Shirko Maarefi, the case should have been retried and similarly the death penalty not upheld.  However, since the Appeals court in Kurdistan Province didn’t consider itself qualified, the case was once again referred to Tehran.  Given the fact that the legal objections have been accepted by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, the attorneys have not yet received an official confirmation of death penalty.  Meanwhile, on March 22, 2011, Saqqez Prison officials verbally notified Shirko Maarefi that his death sentence would be carried out on May 1, 2011, the International Workers’ Day.

On April 26, 2011, Shirko Maarefi issued a statement from prison to confirm the verbal notification of his pending execution although his attorney, Ahmad Saeed Sheikhi, hasn’t received an official or legal correspondence regarding this matter.

Despite the fact that Shirko Maarefi’s death penalty has not been upheld, his case has been referred to the officials responsible to carry out executions in Kurdistan Province.  Reacting to this situation, Shirko Maarefi announced his hunger strike on April 28, 2011.

Because some sources have reported that Shirko Maarefi has been transferred to solitary confinement, concerns regarding his imminent execution has increased.  In an interview with Radio Neda, Khalil Bahramian, the consulting attorney on the case, explained, “Any time, the order can be carried out.”