Iranian Citizens Run Bandaged-Eye Campaign in Solidarity with Protesters Injured in Violent Police Crackdown in Isfahan

Several citizens have posted photos of their faces with bandages over their eyes as an act of protest against the Regime’s brutal crackdown in Isfahan on Friday, during which several were injured from the direct shooting of military and security forces.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, local doctors and medical staff have reported high numbers of patients in recent days. Official sources say that at least 19 protesters were injured last Friday, and two are reportedly in critical condition. However, the number of injured people are estimated to be significantly higher.

“In just one hospital, there were about 19 patients who were injured by shooting last Friday and Saturday. Therefore, with all likelihood, contrary to what official media have reported, far more than 19 people have been injured,” a specialist and eye surgeon in Isfahan told HRANA. “The distance of pellets on these patients’ faces indicates that they have been shot from a close range–maybe only a few meters. If the bullets are made of lead, even being hit from a 30-meter distance can cause irreparable damages.”

Military forces using pellet guns against protesters is by no means unprecedented. On February 3, 2018, during a protest of Gonabadi Dervishes in front of the home of their spiritual leader, Noor-Ali Tabandeh, security forces fired pellet guns at the protesters, after which several were injured and some even lost their sight.

Since the widespread use of pellet guns by Chile Police in 2019, which led to the injury of the eye injury of 445 people and permanent blinding of 34, the bandaged eye became a rallying symbol in Chile. Iranian protesters have also used this symbol to express their protest against the regime’s brutality.

Security Forces Brutally Suppress Protesters in Isfahan

On Friday, November 26, a farmers’ protest in Isfahan over water mismanagement turned violent after military and police forces used tear gas and live ammunition on protesters.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, internet connection has been intentionally disrupted across the city and in some areas has been completely shut down.

According to video footage obtained by HRANA, numerous military forces attempted to scatter protesters using batons, tear gas, and live ammunition. In this brutal attack, several citizens, some of them elderly, were injured.

The protest began on November 7, when farmers assembled at the office of Hossein Mirzaie, a parliament member who had previously responded to reports of water shortages with directives to simply pray for rain.

“We are waiting for the MP to come here and do rain prayer,” the farmers stated in response. “We (will stay) here on sit-down strike until it rains.”

In the following days, they continued their protest by assembling in dried up stretches of the river Zayandeh-rud to demand their water portion for wheat cultivation and the revival of the river. They also asked for the shut down of a water transfer project which extracts water from the province through two canals, exacerbating the current water shortage. Recently, a video published on social media shows that some farmers are damaging the water pipe, which carries water from Isfahan to Yazd Province, in protest.

Gradually, other citizens joined the farmers until November 19, when thousands of people assembled and marched. The protestors chanted, “Let Isfahan breath, give Zayndeh-rud back”, ” Zayndeh-rud is our inalienable right”, and “We won’t get back home, not until the water gets back to the river”,  and “Shame on the police and death to the dictator”.

According to information obtained by HRANA, as of Saturday, at least 214 protesters, including 13 underage citizens, have been arrested. Most of these arrestees have been transferred to the IRGC’s regional quarter known as Saheb-al-Zaman as well as Ghoddusi Basij Base in Isfahan City. Some of these citizens have been released after taking a solemn pledge and confiscating identity cards until the end of the day. About the 150 detainees were relocated to Isfahan, Khomeini Shahr Prisons and Isfahan women’s penitentiary.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran News Broadcasting (IRIB), The Isfahan chief of police, Mohammad-Reza Mir-Heydari, commended the police, Basij military forces and security agents for suppressing the protest and promised decisive action against the protesters.

The regime’s official and affiliated media outlets, such as Fars News Agency and IRIB, claimed that the protesters are not Isfahan farmers and these protests have been held by the call of “anti-revolutionary groups”.

Last Wednesday, security forces set fire on some of the farmers’ tents, who went on sit-down strike under Khaju Bridge.

In addition to denying the news about the death of one protester, Spokesman of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences stated, “According to the latest reports, all injured people, including police forces, have been discharged from hospital and only 19 people are still hospitalized, of which one is on critical condition.”

Chia Agha-Beygpour Sentenced to Imprisonment, Fines and Flogging

Recently, the Revolutionary Court of Bukan sentenced Bukan resident Chia Agha-Beygpour to one year and two months in prison, 70 lashes and paying a fine.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Chia Agha-Beygpour was charged with “propaganda against the regime in favour of one of the opposition political parties”. He was denied access to an attorney and phone calls during his detention.

On July 29, 2021, security forces arrested and held him in a detention center at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence in Bukan. On September 6, he was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.


Omar Sharifi Bukani Arrested in Tehran and Transferred to Unknown Location

On Thursday, November 11, security forces arrested Tehran resident Omar Sharifi Bukani and then transferred him to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, security forces arrested 70-year-old Sharifi Bukani without a warrant at his home in Tehran.

Mr. Sharifi Bukani was reportedly arrested once previously, in 1992, on a charge of “membership in one of the opposition political parties” and then sentenced to seven years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Mahabad City. He was released in 1998 after serving out his sentence in Urmia Prison.

The reasons for yesterday’s arrest, along with Mr. Sharifi Bukani’s current whereabouts, are unknown as of this writing.

Rahil Mousavi Arrested By Security Forces in Khorramshahr City

On November 9, photographer and media activist Rahil Mousavi was arrested by security forces in Khorramshahr City.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mousavi was transferred to an unidentified location following the arrest.

Ms. Mousavi had previously faced other arrests. On December 8, 2016, intelligence agents detained her for a while due to taking photos of a protest against Karun water transfer.

The reasons for Mousavi’s arrest, the charges against her, and her whereabouts are still unknown as of this writing.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Workers’ Rights Activists Hirad Pirbodaghi and Asal Mohammadi Arrested by Security Forces

Two workers’ rights activists were arrested by security forces on Saturday, November 6.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, Hirad Pirbodaghi and Asal Mohammadi were arrested yesterday after security forces searched their homes. Hirad Pirbodaghi made a phone call to his family earlier this morning and informed them that he is currently being held in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Mohammadi’s situation and whereabouts are still unknown as of this writing.

An informed source told HRANA that security forced raided and searched their houses violently. Sunday morning, Hirad Pirbodaghi was notified about the charges against him, which include “assembly” and “collusion”.

Asal Mohammadi and Hirad Pirbodaghi have previously faced other arrests and convictions for their non-violent activism and worker’s rights advocacy.

Yesterday, before their arrest, Pirbodaghi and Mohammadi, along with seven other civil activists, filed a complaint in a judicial office against using solitary confinement as a tool of torture.

As of yet, the reason for these arrests is unknown.


Arash Gangi Detained and Sent to Evin Prison to Endure 11 Year Sentence

On Monday, November 1, translator and board member of the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA) Arash Gangi was sent to Evin Prison to endure his 11-year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, recently, PEN America in a statement condemned Arash Gangi’s summons and asked for the quashing of this “wildly disproportionate” sentence.

Gangi had been previously sentenced to eleven years in prison by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a severest punishment of five years is enforceable.

Following the summons he received on October 16 of this year, Arash Gangi appeared at the Executive Unit of Evin prison and from there he was sent to Evin Prison.

On December 22, 2019, the security forces raided his house, and then arrested and transferred him to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is at the disposal of the intelligence ministry.  Security agents searched his house and confiscated some of his personal belongings during the arrest.

After a while, he was transferred from the Ward 209 to the public section of Evin Prison. On January 19, 2020, he was released on a bail of 450 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings.

In the first court session, on June 14, 2020, the judge increased the bail to 3 billion tomans, and hence he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison until providing the new bail. He was released on bail on June 21, 2020.

In the second court session, which took place on November 29, 2020, only his attorney attended the court and Mr Ganji could not appear at the court due to having COVID-19 symptoms.

Ultimately, in December 2020, the court, headed by judge Mohammad-Reza Amoozad, sentenced Gangi to five years in prison on a charge of “assembly and collusion in purpose to act against national security”, one year on a charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on a charge of “membership in and collaboration with one of the ant-regime groups.”, for a total of 11 years imprisonment. In February 2021, this verdict was upheld by the court of appeals of Tehran.

According to Naser Zarafshan, Mr. Gangi’s lawyer, all these charges were invoked from his translation of a book under the title of “A Small Key Can Open A Big Door: The Rojava Revolution”, which is about Kurdistan upheavals in Syria.

The non-governmental organization IWA was founded by a group of intellectual writers in 1968, originally with the objective of promoting freedom of speech and fighting against censorship.

Although IWA was banned in 1981 by the Iranian authorities, a group of writers created a “consulting assembly” to revive the banned IWA in 1993. On September 8, 1996, 12 writers who had gathered to draft a new charter for the IWA were arrested, interrogated and warned not to hold further meetings for the advancement of the IWA. Since then, the members and board members of IWA have been subject to systematic persecution, long prison sentences and even targeted killing from 1988–98, when certain Iranian dissident intellectuals who had been critical of the Islamic Republic disappeared and their bodies found afterwards.

Four Baha’i Citizens Released on Bail in Shiraz

On Tuesday, October 27, Baha’i citizens Moeen Misaghi, Negareh Ghaderi, Hayedeh Forootan and her son Mehran Mosala-Nejad were released on bail in Shiraz until the end of legal proceedings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, each of these citizens has been granted a bail of 800 million tomans.

On September 22 and 23, security forces arrested the citizens and transferred them to solitary confinement cells in block 201 of the police detention center in Shiraz City, where were held until their release.

On September 22,  after the inspection of their house, Moeen Misaghi and Negareh Ghaderi were arrested and transferred to an unidentified location. Meanwhile, security forces raided Hayedeh Forootan and her son’s house to arrest them, but they were not at home. The security forces searched the house and confiscated some of their belongings. These citizens were summoned to the Shiraz CID Police of NAJA office to give some explanations. She was arrested upon arrival. Twice before, their house had been searched by security forces. According to an informed source, during the search, the security forces behaved brutally and carelessly so that they caused their two-year old daughter to be burnt by a bowl of hot soup.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Workers’ Rights Activist Othman Esmaeili Arrested by Security Forces

On Wednesday, October 20, workers’ rights activist Othman Esmaeili was detained by security forces.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Esmaeili was transferred to an unidentified location following the arrest.

As an informed source told HRANA, ten security agents arrested the activist at 6 pm in front of his home in Saqqez City. According to the source, the security forces had been monitoring the house all day.

As of this writing, the reason for the arrest and charges against him are unknown.

Activist and Teacher Aziz Ghasemzadeh Still Incommunicado in Detention

After eight days, teacher and union activist Aziz Ghasemzadeh is still  incommunicado in a detention facility of the intelligence office in Rudsar County in Gilan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ghasemzadeh has so far been denied access to a lawyer, phone calls and in-person visits.

On September 26 this year, security forces arrested the educator at his parents’ home in Rudsar. During the arrest, security forces inspected the house and confiscated several of Ghasemzadeh’s personal belongings.

The arrest took place the day after working and retired teachers held protests in 36 cities across the country, which were organized by the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations.

According to HRANA, Ghasemzadeh is still being denied access to his lawyer and his temporary detention period has been extended. As of this writing, the charges against him are unknown.