Five Sentenced in Connection to 2017 Armed Attack in Tehran

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Five Sunni prisoners detained in connection to a 2017 attack on both Iranian Parliament and the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum have been sentenced to prison terms in Branch 2 of Urmia Revolutionary Court.

HRANA has confirmed the identity of the prisoners as Ebrahim Moradi, Mohammad Nikzad, Ahmad Ghanbardoust, Mohammad Ghanbardoust, and Ghader Salimi. They have been held in Urmia Prison’s Ward 13 since their arrests one week after the attack.

An informed source detailed their sentences to HRANA: Moradi was sentenced to three years; Nikzad to nine months, Ahmad Ghanbardoust to three years; Mohammad Ghanbardoust to four years; and Salimi to five years. All were charged with “collaboration with ‘Takfiri’ groups [a term commonly used by Iranian authorities to denote Daesh (ISIS) sympathizers].”

The attack in question, which took place on June 7, 2017, injured 52 and took the lives of 17 civilians and parliamentary security agents. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two days later, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence announced that 41 people had been arrested on suspicion of ISIS collaboration in Tehran, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan provinces. Local sources counter that the total number of arrestees was closer to 70. As of now, HRANA has no further information on the arrestee’s interrogations, wellbeing, or access to due process.

Eight people accused of ISIS affiliation were executed July 7, 2018, on charges of “Baqi” [rebellion] and “abetting corruption on earth.” All had been sentenced to death in May 2018 by Judge Salavati of Revolutionary Court Branch 15, a sentence later upheld in Branch 39 of the Supreme Court on June 10, 2018.

Soccer Player Shayan Mosleh Provokes Outcry from Sunni Imams

Posted on: October 2nd, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA)- While moonlighting as a Shia orator, Shayan Mosleh — a soccer player for Tehran’s popular Persepolis club — gave a poetry reading that gained wide circulation on the internet, inciting responses from Sunni scholars, Parliamentary representatives, and the public who found it “insulting [to] Sunni sanctities.”

On September 28th, Mosleh’s name resounded in speeches from Sunni prayer imams (listed below) across the country, who condemned his commentary to the point of asking he be held accountable through the judiciary and state-run news agencies.

Friday Prayer Leaders in Iran who protested against Shayan Mosleh:

Molavi Mohammad Hossein Gargij
Azadshahr, Golestan province

Seyed Abdolbaes Ghatali
Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan province

Molavi Habib al-Rahman Motahari
Head of Ahnaf Khavaf Seminary, Khorasan Razavi Province

Molavi Abdolghafar Sheikh Jami
Kheyrabad village, Taybad County, Khorasan Razavi province

Molavi Khodabakhsh Eslamdoost
Ramin, Chabahar county, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Abdolsamad Damani
Head of Sunni seminary in Haghanieh, Iranshahr county, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Abdolrashid Shahbakhs
Zabol, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Gholam Heyday Farooghi
Birjand, South Khorasan province

Abdolkarim Javar
Gonbad Kavoos, Golestan province

Molavi Abdolahad Sarbazi
Anza, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Seyed Ahmad Abdollahi
Asadieh, South Khorasan province

Molavi Kheyrallah Nikhoy
Friday prayer speaker in Khaf, Razavi Khorasan province

Molavi Abdolhakim Seyedzade
Friday prayer speaker in Gosht, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Mohammad Tayeb
Iranshahr, Sistan & Baluchestan province

Molavi Chahani
Friday prayer speaker in Rameshk, Kerman province

Sheikh Mohammad Saleh Kheradnia
Damahi, Bandar Abbas

Sheikh Mostafa Imam
Head of Masjid Jameh in Bandar Abbas’s Khajeh Atta quarter.

While the Iranian constitution recognizes Sunni as a religious minority, it defends a specific school of Shiism as the country’s official religion. As a result, Sunnis are victim to systematic discrimination and persecution.

Activist in Iranshahr Girls Case Released on Bail

Posted on: September 11th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Abdollah Bozorgzadeh, a civil rights activist who was arrested June 17, 2018 for joining a peaceful gathering in support of the Iranshahr Girls, has been released on a bail of 1,200,000,000 Rials (approximately $12,000 USD).

Upon his arrest, Bozorgzadeh was transferred to a Zahedan detention center run by the intelligence department of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The Iranshahr Girls are a group of 41 girls who were reportedly raped in the southeastern city of Iranshahr. Their case attracted public attention when Sunni Imam Molavi Tayeb Molazehi spoke about them during a sermon at the end of Ramadan, stating the girls had been raped by a group of men “of wealth and power.” The sermon ignited street rallies and social media campaigns against authorities’ failure to prosecute the men accused of the rape.

In July of this year, the IRGC reported the arrest of a number of foreign media heads, releasing video-recorded confessions from Abdollah Bozorgzadeh and six other protester-arrestees.

More than 100 well-known civil and human rights activists have spoken out against the Iranian security apparatus, issued a statement calling for Bozorgzadeh’s immediate release, and demanded an investigation to identify and punish those responsible for the rape. Amnesty International called for Bozorgzadeh’s release in a statement released July 4th.

* Iranshahr is located in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, southeastern Iran. Most of the residents of this city are members of the Sunni religious minority.

Status of Activist Molavi Nasser Rigi Still Unknown

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – According to the Baluch Activists Campaign, though Sunni cleric Molavi Nasser Rigi was arrested by Revolutionary Guard agents more than three weeks ago, his whereabouts remain unknown.

Rigi is a civil rights activist and member of a charity called “School Ambassadors.” He was active in several social initiatives, including the collection signatures for a petition in support of the Iranshahr girls.

He was arrested July 15th in response to allegedly fake social media accounts created in his name, which indicate he is a member of “SAHAB” (Baluchistan Protest Coordinator organization) and responsible for torching the Pasteur Pharmacy in Iranshahr (in Sistan and Baluchestan province). He denied the accusations, demanding the arrest of those responsible for disseminating the misinformation.

Iranshahr residents previously held mass protests in response to the statements of Sunni Imam Molavi Tayeb, who announced after leading a Friday prayer that 41 girls from Iranshahr had been abducted and raped. Security forces detained many of the protesters, including Abdullah Bozorgzadeh.