Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi Sent to Evin Prison to Endure her Five Years Sentence

On Wednesday, December 29, civil activist Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi was sent to Evin Prison to serve her five year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Makvandi was summoned to the Executive Unit of Shahid Moghaddas Courthouse.

On November 12, 2019, along with another civil activist, Raheleh Rahemipur, Makvandi was arrested by security forces in Tehran and sent to Ward 2 of Evin Prison. Thereafter, the security agents searched their house and confiscated some of their personal belongings. Later, they were released on bail.

Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, in a trial in absentia, sentenced the civil activist to six years in prison. This verdict was upheld on appeal. The most severe punishment of 5 years is enforceable, grounded in Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code,

Makvandi has faced other arrests and convictions due to her civil activities.

 

The Latest on the Teachers and Educators’ Protests

After several consecutive days of protests, thousands of retired and working teachers and educators, joined by supporters, demonstrated in more than 100 cities across the country. These protests were held on December 13 by the call of the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, demands included the implementation of an already-enacted plan whereupon the incomes of teachers will be increased depending on rank, to up to 80% of the salaries of faculty members. 

They also asked for unpaid severance payments for retirees who went into pension last year. The implementation of this plan will reduce disparities in income and pay gaps. 

Chants included “teacher wake up, stand up against discrimination”, “Free Imprisoned teachers”, “If our problem is not solved, the school will be closed”.

In these demonstrations, some protesters had some handheld placards with slogans in support of the recent protests in Isfahan against water supply mismanagement.

In Alborz Provinces and in Tehran (in front of Parliament), these protests turned violent due to the interference of security forces.

In Saqqez City, teachers chanted in support of Amanj Amini, the teacher who had been previously arrested, beaten and mistreated by security forces during the protest.

Leila Hosseinzadeh’s Five Year Sentence Upheld by The Court of Appeals

Branch 36 of the Court of Appeals in Tehran upheld the verdict of student activist and former political prisoner, Leila Hosseinzadeh. Hosseinzadeh was sentenced to five years in prison and a two year ban on online social activity by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran due to her attendance at the birthday ceremony of imprisoned Gonabadi Dervish, Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, held at the entrance of the Sharif University of Technology.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Hosseinzadeh’s lawyer, Amir Raisian, was notified about the court;’s decision to uphold the initial verdict.

In February 2021, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran convicted her on the charge of “assembly and collusion for the purpose of acting against national security”.

Amid the nationwide protests which broke out in December 2017, Hosseinzadeh was arrested alongside other student activists and released on bail after spending 16 days in detention. On March 7, 2018, she was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”, as well as one year in prison and a two year ban on leaving the country on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”. The sentence for her first charge was reduced on appeal from five years to two years and six months. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, 30 months of this sentence was enforceable.

On July 28, 2019, she was arrested and detained for 10 days in a facility at the IRGC’s intelligence unit. Afterwards, she was sent to Evin prison to serve her sentence.

On March 11, 2020, while on furlough, she was set free due to her “intolerance of punishment”.

HRANA Recap: This Week’s Protests in Iran

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a number of protests took place this week in Iran, many of which were continuations of ongoing movements.  Read our recap below for details, photos, and videos from the demonstrations.

Saturday, November 27 

A number of seasonal workers at the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company assembled today in Shush City, first before the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare and then in front of the Governorate building. Their demands regarded issues with their contracts. Last Thursday, this group of workers assembled in front of the office of Parliament member Kaab Amir.

A group of personnel at Distribution Electrical Company in Golestan Province assembled in front of their company’s building, asking for permanent, official employment rather than their current temporary agreement.

Workers at petrochemical company Fajr assembled before the company entrance to protest against an increase in working hours. Reportedly, shift hours were increased from 8 to 12 without workers’ consent. According to labour code, shifts longer than 12 hours are forbidden. 

Nurses and other personnel at the Ministry of Health assembled in front of the Planning and Budget Organization building to ask for the implementation of an “extra payment plan”, a reduction in taxes, and a pay raise. Despite being enacted in 2014 by Parliament, the “extra payment plan”, has not yet been put into action after seven years.

Injured veterans of the Iran-Iraq War assembled in front of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs in Tehran to protest against poor living conditions.

The victims of Fardadkar Amitis Company, who lost their money due to fraudulent acts by the investment company, protested before the Qoddoosi Courthouse in Tehran. About ten thousand victims have lost a combined 2500 billion tomansb (594,887,500 USD). The protesters asked to move the case from the Qoddoosi Courthouse to the Economic Crimes Court and the Branch of Economic Corruption of the Revolutionary Court.

A group of farmers in Bavy County protested for their water allocation for fall cultivation. They assembled before the Karun Irrigation Company, Eastern Lands in Ahvaz City. Despite promises, two months have passed without farmers receiving water allocation. 

A group of physicians and medical graduates working in the government sector assembled before the Medical Sciences Building in Yazd City. They protested against unfair salary calculation methods and heavy taxes.

Sunday, November 28

Families of the victims of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 marched on the Military Courthouse where the trial of low-ranking military officers is being held. The assembly was on surveilled by many security agents. In the early hours of January 8, 2020, Flight 752 was hit by a missile sent by regime military forces. After a few days of covering up the cause of this incident, the regime admitted that the plane was hit by a missile shot from an anti-missile defense base.

 

Several families with children with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) assembled in front of the Parliament building in Tehran to ask that their children’s medicine, necessary to treat SMA, be imported.

A group of retirees of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company assembled at the entrance of the factory. They claimed that the years of service payment is lower than dictated by labour law.

Retirees using the Fulad Company pension fund assembled in front of pension fund offices in the cities of Ahvaz and Isfahan. They asked for a raise in pensions in order to stay above the poverty line, as well as the elimination of pension disparities and issues with supplementary insurance.

A number of truck drivers in Sarbaz County, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, assembled in front of the governorate building to protest against a cut on fuel rations. They said that fuel rations for their trucks have been cut without compelling reason.

Monday, November 29

A number of retirees of airline company Homa assembled in front of Homa’s pension fund offices. They protested against delays in payments and the merger of Homa’s pension fund with the national pension fund.

In Bandar Mahshahr, a number of jobseekers assembled before the refinery tanks of the Persian Gulf Bidboland Gas Refining Company. They protested the company recruitment policy, which discriminates against native workers.

Tuesday, November 30

A number of the victims of financial frauds from financial institution Caspian assembled in front of the judiciary building in Tehran to demand the return of their investment, including profits and loss.

 

A number of residents in a nomadic area known as “Sargachineh” in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province protested in front of the provincial governorate building. Residents said that 57 hectares of land have been unlawfully assigned to one person who is not even a native of this area.

For the third consecutive day, families of children with SMA assembled in front of the parliament in Tehran to ask for the import of required medicine for their children.

A number of seasonal workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company assembled at company premises. They had been protesting for several consecutive days to demand that their contract issues be addressed.

Technical workers from various districts assembled at their workplace, Distribution Electrical Company of Tehran, to ask for permanent employment contracts. One of the workers said that many of workers have not been offered a permanent contract after 20 years.

Municipal workers in Khorramshahr City assembled in front of the governorate building to protest against a four-month delay in payments.

Dozens of workers of three copper mining companies in Varzeqan City assembled on company premises. Reportedly, these workers protested against the return of four fired managers.

 

Workers at two companies that are contracting for Petrochemical Company Apadana in Asaluyeh City went on strike to protest against the employers, who failed to keep promises regarding workers’ demands.

The teachers and educators from the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Fars, Qom and Khuzestan provinces went on strike and assembled before the buildings of the ministry of education in each province. These teachers demanded the implementation of a plan, which has already been enacted in the parliament and whereby teachers’ income will be raised in accordance with a ranking

Wednesday, December 1

About 120 retired workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company assembled before the company entrance to protested a miscalculation in benefits.

For the fourth consecutive day, dozens of families with children with SMA assembled in front of parliament in Tehran to ask for the import of required medicine for their children. During this assembly, President Raisi appeared and promised to address this issue in a meeting with that included three representatives from the families.

 

Municipal service workers and gardeners in Kish protested before the building of the Kish Free Zone Organization to protest against low wages and benefits.

 

For the second consecutive day, educators in Qom City assembled before the  provincial Ministry of Education to ask for the implementation of a plan that, though passed by the parliament, have not yet been enacted.

Several retired and working school teachers in Shiraz City went on strike to demand implementation of the afore-mentioned plan.

For the second consecutive day, a number of workers of three copper mining companies in Varzeqan City assembled on company premises.

Thursday, December 2

In response to a call by the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations, retired and working educators in 73 cities across the country assembled in front of the building of the Ministry of Education (or, in Tehran, Parliament) in each city. They demanded the implementation of a plan already enacted by Parliament whereby teachers’ income will be raised in accordance with a ranking.

In Qom City, a number of farmers assembled before a production cooperative company to ask for their water portion. They also protested against heavy fines for unauthorized withdrawals from wells.

For the third consecutive day, dozens of workers at three copper mining companies in Varzeqan City went on a strike and assembled at their company premises.

 

Shakila Monfared Denied Access to Medical Treatment in Qarchak Prison

Political prisoner Shakila Monfared, who suffers from gastrointestinal disease and severe stomach pain, has been denied access to adequate medical treatment in Qarchak Prison in Varamin City.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, prison officials have barred her dispatch to a hospital outside the prison as well as leave on furlough for medical treatment.

“For the fifth time, her request for furlough has been rejected,” an informed source told HRANA. “They mentioned a report from the interrogator and judiciary officers on her interview with one of the media as the reason for this rejection. This claim stands at odd with the fact that she never had any interview and the interrogator refuses to provide any proof regarding this claim.”

On August 31, 2020, security forces arrested Monfared while she was leaving her home. They transferred her to one of the detention centers at disposal of IRGC in Tehran. Reportedly, they did not have a warrant for this arrest.

On September 9, of last year she was relocated to the quarantine section of the women ward of Evin Prison. On September 14, she was released on a bail of 400 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings.

In January of this year, the joint court trial of Shakila Monfared, Arsham Rezaei, and Mohammad Abolhassani was held in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. 27-year-old Monfared was sentenced to 6 years in prison and 4 months of probation work in the Agricultural Jihad on charges of “propaganda activities against the system” and “insulting the sanctities of Islam”.

Monfared was granted furlough on August 23 of this year and returned to jail on September 7.

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Pedram Abhar’s House Searched While He Remains Detained in Unknown Detention Center

On Tuesday, November 23, security forces raided and searched Baha’i citizen Pedram Abhar’s house in Tehran. On November 21, security forces arrested Pedram Abhar at his father’s home in Shiraz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, at the time of arrest, they also searched the house and confiscated several family belongings such as identity cards, passports, cell phones, pictures and books related to the Baha’i faith. While Baha’i citizen, Pedram Abahar is still in detention in an unidentified detention center, his house in Tehran was searched by security forces again on Tuesday.

“On Sunday morning, November 21, at 10 am., Mr. Abhar departed from Shiraz to Bushehr,” an informed source told HRANA. “While he was at a rest stop on the road, he was surrounded by three cars. They arrested and transferred him back to his parents’ home in Shiraz. About 13 security agents searched the house. Yesterday, his parents went to the courthouse to find out about their son. However, they did not get an answer. Finally, this morning, Mr. Abhar was allowed to make a short call to his parent.”

Regarding this report, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and Bahai’s citizens in particular, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform their religious acts freely.

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.

The reason for Abhar’s arrest, the charges against him, the security institution responsible for the arrest, and the detainee’s whereabouts are all unknown as of this writing.

Couple Executed in Yasuj Central Prison

On Tuesday, November 23, a couple was executed in Yasuj Central Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the man and woman had previously been sentenced to death after being charged with the murder of two people. HRANA has identified the executed man as Siavash Ardeshiri. The identity of the executed woman is still unknown as of this writing.

Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Yasuj Seyed Ali Malek-Hosseini commented on the verdict.

“On December 18, 2018, a man and his wife are arrested on the charge of murdering two people and subsequently were sentenced to death,” Malek-Hosseini stated. “This verdict was confirmed by the Supreme Court. The convicted man claimed that his motivation for these homicides was to save his marriage relationship.”

The most recent report of the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between October 8 of 2020 and October 9 of 2021, at least 266 citizens, three of whom were juvenile offenders, were executed and 90 citizens were sentenced to death.

As the report points out, Iran’s judicial authorities do not publicly announce over 82% of executions. These unreported executions are known as “secret executions” by human rights organizations.

 

 

Narges Mohammadi Still in Solitary Confinement One Week After Arrest

Civil activist and spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Center Narges Mohammadi is still in detention in Ward 209 of Evin Prison a week after her arrest.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mohammadi was arrested on November 16, during a ceremony honoring Ebrahim Ketabdar who was killed by security forces in Karaj during the November 2019 protests.

According to her husband, Taghi Rahmani, yesterday she was sent to Moghaddas Court to be notified of the charges against her, and then sent back to  solitary confinement.

This year, Branch 1177 of the Criminal Court in the Ghods Judicial Complex in Tehran sentenced Narges Mohammadi to 30 months in prison and 80 lashes, as well as fines. She had been charged with “propaganda against the regime through the issuance of a statement against the death penalty”, “sit-down strike at prison office”, “property destruction by breaking glass” and “libel and assault”.

According to a report published by HRANA, in an open statement, Narges Mohammadi stated of these charges that she will not, “under any circumstances”, attend any court hearing, and will refuse to accept any verdict from the judiciary courts.

From May 5, 2015, until October of last year, Narges Mohammadi was imprisoned.

In December 2019, Mohammadi and seven other political prisoners in the women’s ward of Evin Prison announced in a letter that they would go on a sit-down strike in support of bereaved families who lost loved ones in November 2019 national protests. Evin Prison officials threatened to deport her and others who participated in the strike to prisons known for their harsher conditions. Subsequently, she was punitively transferred from Evin Prison to Zanjan Prison in December 2019.

Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code and the charges against her, the severest punishment of 10 years was enforceable, but after five years and six months in prison, Narges Mohammadi was finally released from Zanjan Prison. Mohammadi has since been denied a passport and barred from leaving the country to visit her husband and children even though her previous conviction did not mention a supplementary ban on international travel.

 

One Worker Killed, Sixteen Workers Injured in Three Workplace Accidents

On Saturday, November 20, in three separate workplace accidents, sixteen workers were injured and one worker was killed. In one of these accidents, the owner of a building was also killed.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Borna News Agency, in Qazvin Province at the construction place of a wheat silo, a crane fell on the silo, which lead to the death of one worker and the injury of 12.

Qodratollah Mehdikhani, the head of Crisis Management Organization of Qazvin Province commented on the tragedy.

“Around 1:15 am, in Lak Village a crane fell over an under-construction silo and a part of the walls collapsed. 12 workers were injured and one other was killed,” Mehdikhani said.  “The rescue mission lasted until 6 am. Five workers were sent to a hospital in Qeydar City and seven others to several hospitals in Qazvin City. Unfortunately, one worker was killed from severe injuries and five of twelve workers have critical injuries. The crane did not meet the required safety standards.”

In another workplace accident, three workers were injured from an explosion, which caused a fire, in an old building in the Atabak District in Tehran.

“At 21:22, the fire department 125 of Tehran was alerted about a fire incident in an old building, in which the first floor was used as a warehouse by a workshop for bags and textile and leather products, ” the spokesperson of Tehran Municipality Fire Department said. “The  second floor was used as a restroom for workers from Afghanistan.”

“The fire took over the entire building and two of three workers were surrounded by fire in their room and could not leave.” the spokesperson added. “The firefighters reached the room by extinguishing the fire and rescued two workers. All three injured workers were hospitalized. Part of the building walls collapsed due to heat and explosions.”

In another workplace accident in Isfahan, during construction work in a building, the roof fell on the owner and a worker. In this accident, the owner was killed and a worker was injured severely.

Iran ranks 102nd in workplace safety out of 189 countries.

Prisoner of Conscience Soheil Arabi Released From Rajai Shahr Prison

On Tuesday, November 16, prisoner of conscience Soheil Arabi was released from Rajai Shahr Prison after completing his sentence and sent to Borazjan to await the court decision about his two-year exile sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Soheil Arabi was sent to Borazjan City accompanied by a police guard. It is yet to be decided whether he should stay in exile in Borazjan, and if so, how long. Because Arabi’s prison term was longer than the sentence required, either the difference will be subtracted from the current exile period, or the charge will be dropped altogether.

Arabi has been imprisoned since November 7, 2013, and never been granted leave. On January 21, 2020, he was relocated from Evin Prison to the Greater Tehran Prison.

While serving out the seven and a half year sentence, Soheil Arabi was convicted on charges from two new cases. In the first case, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to five years imprisonment on the charge of “blasphemy, propaganda against the regime and an offensive statement against the Supreme Leader”. For the second case, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, two years of exile in Borazjan City, and paying a fine of 4 million tomans on a charge of “spreading lies in the purpose to disturb public opinion and propaganda against the regime”, and one year and eight months on the charge of “the destruction of public property”.

On September 18, 2020, Arabi was punitively relocated from the Greater Tehran Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. On October 20, 2020, after being held for 33 days in a solitary confinement cell, in a phone call to his family, he informed them about his relocation to the detention center at the disposal of IRGC, known as Ward 2 A of Evin Prison. On November 8, 2020, he was sent back to a solitary confinement cell in Rajai Shahr Prison. After 9 days, he was sent to the public ward of this prison.