A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 9, 2018

Posted on: December 9th, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 9th,2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Executions in Urmia, Qazvin and Karaj

(2) Two Sunni Prisoners Were Released on Bail

(3) More Arrests Related to Chabahar Attack

(4) Highest Poverty Rate of the Rural Areas is in Three Provinces

 (5) Jail Time and Lashes for Worker Protesters

(6) Shirin Ebadi Wrote an Open Letter to the “Defender of Human Rights Center”

(7) A Baluch Prisoner Was Transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj

(8) 64 Workplace-related Deaths Were Reported in the Last Eight Months

(9) Delayed Paychecks and Layoffs in Three Businesses

(10) Setting the Court Session Date for Aryasb Bavand and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah

    

(1) Executions in Urmia, Qazvin and Karaj

In the morning of December 9, 2018, a prisoner in Urmia prison was transferred to a solitary confinement until his execution. He was accused with drug crimes. Moreover, Qazvin prosecutor confirmed the execution of two prisoners in Karaj and Qazvin. He added that the person who was executed on December 9 was accused with rape and the other person who was accused with murder was executed on December 4th.

(2) Two Sunni Prisoners Were Released on Bail

Two Sunni prisoners were released on bail from Urmia prisonon Sunday December 9, 2018. Rasoul Shaier and Abdolvahed Salamat, were released on bail after two-years imprisonment. They were sentenced to five years in prison by the branch 10 appeal court in West Azerbaijan. In addition, two citizens were released on bail in Kermanshah and Salas-e Babajani cities. The other four are still in prison. 30 years old Salar Ahmadi was released on a 300-million-Tomans[$25000] bail. He was arrested in late November. Ali Sohrabilak, a 29 years old physic student, was released on a 280-million-Tomans [$24000] bail. He was arrested by the intelligence department in October 14th and was accused with, “cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group”. Moreover, Fahimeh Zandiand Sahar Kazemi who were arrested earlier this month are still in prison.

(3) More Arrests Related to Chabahar Attack

The chief of police announced that 10 more people were arrested in Zahedan, in relation to the Chabahar’s attack. Baluch’s activists campaign reported that security officers attacked Adham Narani’s house in Kaffe Baluchi village in Sarbaz city and had beaten and arrested him and his guests. In addition, the intelligence officers arrested two citizens separately in their workplace in Sanandaj and transferred them to an unknown place. According to Kurdistan democracy and human right center on December 8th, Vahid Azimiand Habib Ahmadi were beaten and arrested for “cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group”.

(4) Highest Poverty Rate of the Rural Areas is in Three Provinces

The highest poverty rate in rural areas is in Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad, Ilam, and Sistan and Baluchestan provinces. The parliament research center reported that the caloric intake for 65 percent of the people who live in these provinces is less than 2100. In Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad, nutrition-based poverty is significant. The poverty rate for Kohkiluie and Boyerahmad’s urban area is 2.8 and for rural area is 2.1. The poverty rate in this province is 2.49. Moreover, the lowest poverty rates are in Tehran and Alborz provinces.

 (5) Jail Time and Lashes for Worker Protesters

15 workers of Ilam Petrochemical company were sentenced to imprisonment and lashes. Judiciary Office has sentenced 15 workers of Ilam Petrochemical company to imprisonment and lashes. They were charged with disturbing public order because of their participation in a protest which was organized in April.In addition, a financial criminal, Hamid Bagheri Darmani, was sentenced to death.10 more financially-related criminals were also sentenced to imprisonment and fines. The convicted names are reported as the following: Mohsen Ranjbar for bribery and corruption to seven year and half of imprisonment and 74 lashes,Manuchehr Pourfar and Esmaeil Nasrollahi to 10 years imprisonment, Mehdi Rezaie to three years imprisonment, Naser Habibinasab to one year imprisonment, AsgarBarati to five years imprisonment, Hossein Mansouri Ghiri and Mahmoud Pourmand to eight years imprisonment, Amir Kamali Sarvestani  and MirMohammad Akhoundzadeh, an Afghan citizen, to 20 years imprisonment and deportation. All the above were faced to criminal fines. The chairman of Samenolhojaj Financial institute was sentencedto 15 years in prison.

(6) Shirin Ebadi Wrote an Open Letter to the “Defender of Human Rights Center”

Shirin Ebadi who received the Nobel Prize for Peace, wrote an open letter to the “defender of human rights center” on Wednesday, December 5th. She requested Javid Rehman, United Nations special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, to acquire all possible means to help releasing the workers in Iran.

(7) A Baluch Prisoner Was Transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj

MohammadSaleh Shahdadzehi, a Baluch prisoner, was transferred to Rajaie Shahr prison in Karaj. He was arrested by the intelligence officers in in Iranshahr city earlier in June 2017.  A person close to Shahdadzehi told that he was detained in the Intelligence Office’s detention center for 7 months and had been tortured to confess that he had killed a Basij member.

(8) 64 Workplace-related Deaths Were Reported in the Last Eight Months

In the last eight months, 64 workers have died in their workplaces in Mazandaran province. Ali Abbasi, the director of forensic medicine department of Mazandaran province confirmed that Sari with 10 deaths, Amol with 9 and Tonekabon with 8 deaths had the highest number of workplace-related deaths while Savadkuh county, Neka, and Jooybar and Galoogah counties had the lowest with one death. Moreover, a middle-aged worker in Mahabad city was killed because of falling from an elevator while two other workers were injured in a mine in Khorasan Razavi province.

(9) Delayed Paychecks and Layoffs in Three Businesses

55 workers of the social emergency unit of Golestan province Welfare Organization have not received their salaries from June.Also, the workers of Sanandaj municipality announced that their salaries payments are delayed and expressed their concerns. In addition, 30 workers of Sadid factory in Tehran were laid off.

(10) Setting the Court Session Date for Aryasb Bavand and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah

The second hearing session of the accusations of Aryasb Bavand, a political prisoner in ward 4 of Evin prison, and Mahizadeh Poshtpanah was held in the Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Salavati. Bavand’s accusations are “Forming a group to act against the national security, propaganda against the regime and dissemination of falsehood”. He and Poshtpanah were arrestedwhen returning to Iran

Urmia Authorities Turn Deaf Ear to Prisoner Fighting Infection

Posted on: November 7th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- “What do you need an ear for?”, the Urmia Prison director said to Sadroldin Teymourpour, a prisoner complaining of an ear infection secondary to an assault by security agents.

Needless to say, Teymourpour’s request to be transferred to a hospital was not taken seriously.

Initially sentenced to death, Teymourpour is currently serving a commuted sentence of 30 years plus a 200-million toman [approximately $13,500 USD] fine.

Forcing ailing prisoners to make do with the short-staffed, underequipped prison clinic has led to multiple prisoner deaths. HRANA reported on a number of these fatal neglect cases in September 2018.

Iran: An Overview of Human Rights Abuses September – October 2018

Posted on: October 29th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran between September 23rd and October 22, 2018, per information compiled and verified by the Statistics, Publications, and Achievements Division of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI).

Domestic restrictions in Iran on independent human rights reporting make it difficult to capture the full extent of these issues on the ground. The following overview draws on the work of HRANA reporters, as well as a network of independent and verifiable sources, including other human rights associations operating outside Iran’s borders.

Summary

Human rights violations continued all across the country over the past month, and included, but were not limited to: executions, child abuse, mass arrests, violation of prisoners’ rights, violation of freedom of expression, labor abuses, and unchecked environmental pollution.

Death Penalty

Capital punishment remains the most egregious violation of human rights in Iran. On October 10th — the World Day against the Death Penalty — the Center of Statistics at HRAI published its annual report to sensitize the public about the situation of the death penalty in Iran. The report provides statistics about executions carried out in this country between October 10, 2017, and October 9, 2018.

More than 25 citizens, including a juvenile offender, were executed in the last month (between September 23rd and October 22, 2018). More than 20 individuals, including a juvenile offender, were sentenced to death. Four people were executed in public.

HRANA was able to identify or gather details about death row prisoners, including a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Arsalan Khodkam, the ex-spouse of Leila Tajik, Hedayat Abdollahpour and three individuals convicted of financial crimes. New details on the executions of Zanyar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi were also reported during this period.

Freedom of Thought and Expression

Freedoms of thought and expression were also widely restricted over the past 30 days.

Arrests: Arrestees in this category included a Shiraz city council member, Ahmad Alinejad and his wife, at least 20 residents of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, writer and Mashad resident Abbas Vahedian, Zahra Majd in Isfahan, and six individuals involved in the Freedom Movement of Iran, arrested in Nain (near Isfahan).

Convictions: Leila Mir-Ghaffari was sentenced to 2 years in prison, Ejlal Ghavami to 8 months, Hassan Abbasi to 35 months (five 7-months prison terms), an Arak resident to 1 year and 30 lashings, Hamidreza Amini to 11 years. Women who protested this past August were sentenced from 6 months to 1 year in prison, Mohammad Mahdavifar was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months, a dual-nationality defendant faces 8 years and 6 months in prison, Soheil Arabi faces 3 years in prison, 3 years in exile, and a fine; the prison sentence of Abdolreza Ghanbari was increased to 15 years, Alireza Moeinian was sentenced to 8 months in prison; a new 6-month sentence extended the prison term of Saeed Shirzad through 2020; six Arak residents arrested amid the January protests were collectively sentenced to a total of 6 years in prison and 444 lashings, and a group of political activists in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province were sentenced to exile and prison terms ranging from 8 to 18 years.

Eleven civil activists, including Mohammad Najafi, Ali Bagheri, and Abbas Safari were sentenced to 3 years in prison and 74 lashings. Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Mohammad Yaghoubi, Yousef Shirilard, Neda Yousefi, Davoud Rahimi, Massoud Ajlou and Mohammad Torabi were sentenced to 1 year in prison and 74 lashings, suspended over five years. Kian Sadeghi faces 3 years in prison and 74 lashings, suspended over five years. Morteza Nazari was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison, 2 years of exile, and a fine; Zahra Zare Seraji, on the same convictions, to 8 years in prison and a fine. Their co-defendants Ali Kabirmehr and Ali Bazazadeh were both sentenced to 13 years in prison and exile.

Summons: Hamid Farrokhnezhad, Parastoo Salehi, a number of reformist political activists, Tehran city council member Kazem Imanzadeh, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, and Mohammad Najafi were all summoned by courts and the Ministry of Intelligence.

Censorship: The weekly magazines “Nabze Bazaar” and “Paytakht Kohan,” as well as the website “EntekhabKhabar,” were convicted in press court. Courts also issued indictments for the Chief Executive Officers of “Shargh” and “Shahrvand” newspapers for their reporting on sexual tourism. The National Front of Iran was prevented from holding its Central Council meeting in Tehran, a journalist was beaten by Qazvin municipal agents, and a Kurdish student was barred from education, presumably for his political affiliations.

Prisoners’ Rights
Prisoners are rarely protected from cruel and unusual punishments, and their rights to proper nutrition, hygiene, and medical treatment are systematically violated. A few of these victims are detailed below by category of violation.

Raids and beatings: Prison agents punched Arash Sadeghi on his cancer surgery site; Urmia prison authorities attacked political prisoners and injured them severely, inciting them to hunger strike by the dozens; another Urmia prisoner was assaulted; a prisoner was beaten and injured by Rajai Shahr Prison personnel; Bandar Abbas Prison authorities broke an inmate’s fingers; an Urmia prisoner suffered a TBI after a beating by authorities; and prisoners were forcefully undressed and beaten in Zahedan Prison.

Withholding of medical treatment: A prisoner died after being denied medical care in Zahedan Prison. Farhad Meysami, Arash Sadeghi, and a prisoner in Sanandaj were also denied medical treatment.

Going without: Dozens of Gachsaran prisoners launched protests and hunger strikes in opposition to prison conditions. Six Gonabadi Dervish prisoners continued in an ongoing hunger strike. Reza Sigarchi, also in an act of protest, refused food and medicine in Great Tehran Penitentiary, while 8 Gonabadi Dervishes at the same penitentiary and 8 Baha’i prisoners of Karaj disappeared off of the administrative radar for 30 days. Houshmand Alipour was denied access to an attorney. Three prisoners in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison were blocked from receiving visits, and the fate of sequestered labor activist and Sanandaj resident Zanyar Dabbaghian was still unknown.

Three prisoners attempted suicide in Zahedan, Urmia, and Saravan prisons. Local sources consistently impute prisoner suicides and suicide attempts to the violence and oppression of prison life.

Religious and Ethnic Minorities

Religious and ethnic minorities remained under threat and consistent judicial pressures this past month.

Baha’is: Eight Baha’i citizens were arrested in Baharestan (near Isfahan), four were arrested in Karaj, one of whom had his business forcibly shut down, and three were arrested in Shiraz.
[Some of these arrests reflect coordinated or group arrests, and linked articles will reflect that information overlap].
A Baha’i resident of Yazd who had been blocked from pursuing education was fired from work for their faith, and the parents of a Baha’i prisoner were temporarily detained following a search of the prisoner’s home.

Sunnis: Five Sunni scholars were sequestered for hours in the Zahedan-Khash road patrol office. Three Baluchi citizens, who are scholars of the Ghalamouei seminary, were arrested in Sirik County (southern Iran). Sunni scholars expressed outcry over the public statements of a soccer player they alleged to be disparaging of Sunni sanctities.

Six members of the Yamani Religious Group in Izeh County were also arrested, presumably for their beliefs.

Ethnic minorities: Arab citizens were arrested, and are still being arrested en masse in wake of the Ahvaz Parade Attack. HRANA is still in the process of confirming the identifies of the arrestees, which according to local reports number into the hundreds. Other arrests suspected to be ethnically discriminatory include Nasim Sadeghi, Mohammad Abdolmohammad-Zadeh, Mojtaba Parvin, Ebrahim Divazi, as well as residents of Ilam, Ahvaz, Marivan, Urmia, Sanandaj, Kermanshah, Saqqez, Pevah, Oshnavieh, and Sardasht.

News emerged on the convictions of Abbas Lasani, Kiumars Eslami, Eghbal Ahmadpour, Keyvan Olyali, Hossein Ali Mohammadi Alvar, as well as defendants in Sanandaj, Urmia, Kamyaran, and two detainees of the Afrin battles in Syria. Turkic activist Javad Ahmadi Yekanli was summoned by county security police in the city of Khoy.

Children’s Rights

Children are among the most vulnerable to human rights abuses in Iran. Over the past month, four wrongful child deaths were reported in the cities of Tehran, Falavarjan (Isfahan Province), Qaem Shahr (Mazandaran province) and (Isfahan Province).

The national director of Iran’s social emergency hotline said that 30% of reports called into the center are flagging some form of “domestic violence,” 30% of which turn out to be child abuse cases. Of this 30%, 50% were related to educational negligence, 30% to physical abuse, 15% to psychological abuse, and 4% to sexual abuse of children.

Maryam Sedighi, deputy director of the social welfare department of Alborz Province, said that 12% of “123” social emergency calls made in Alborz — i.e. an average of 40 calls per month — are child abuse reports.

Reports indicate the rape of a young girl by her father in Tehran; a boxing coach accused of raping his teenage student; a father pouring boiling water over his 7-year-old daughter in Genaveh, Bushehr Province; and a teacher using corporal punishment on a pupil in Kazeroon, Fars Province.

Three juvenile suicides were also reported: one student in Rigan County, Kerman Province, and two teenage girls, aged 14 and 16, in the cities of Abadan and Sanandaj.

The Iranian education system allocates fewer and fewer resources to its pupils, and educational facilities across the country — particularly in rural or underprivileged areas — can be found in varying states of wear and disrepair. One pupil in Razan, Hamadan province was injured in the chest, neck, and shoulders when he was caught in falling debris of a school wall that suddenly collapsed. The Razan director of education said that he is currently stable, but will require surgery.

Elementary-school student Donya Veisi of Garmash village, Kurdistan Province, fell victim to her own school’s disrepair when one of the walls surrounding her school yard collapsed, killing her. Later — amid allegations that Donya had in fact been raped and killed — the Kurdistan Prosecutor verbally engaged to investigate the matter.

Women

The question of women’s rights at sporting events gained heightened public attention this past month when, under pressure from FIFA to permit their entry into stadiums, a select number of Iranian women (most of them family members of players and federation employees) were finally allowed to witness a kickoff in person (Iran vs. Bolivia). Authorities’ exclusive selection criteria were highly criticized.

Meanwhile, Shiraz-based activist Maryam Azad was arrested by security forces at a Tehran Airport as she was leaving the country for Turkey.

The managing director of the office of forensic medicine in Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province indicated that, of the 429 domestic violence crimes recorded in his office over the past 6 months, 404 were incidents of violence by husbands against their wives.

Additional cases of violence against women included a man’s murder of his ex-wife when he failed to meet “mehrieh” obligations [a type of alimony settlement], and the circumstances surrounding one woman’s decision to set herself on fire in Mashad.

Two women, long hounded by the judiciary for participating in a rally on International Women’s Day, were recently acquitted of their charges.

Laborers and Guilds

This past month was rythmed by strikes, sit-ins, and rallies organized by guilds and employees across sectors who demanded more secure working conditions.

Commercial Transport: This past month, truck drivers in Iran went on a nationwide strike for the third time [in 12 months]. Over the course of their 20-day strike, at least 261 striking drivers in 19 different provinces were arrested and threatened with heavy sentences, including the death penalty. Strikers’ demands did make significant headway: after years of guild activism, the High Council of Transportation Coordination approved a new freight transport measurement rate known as the tonne-kilometre (tkm) method, which was among the most pressing demands of truck drivers. Despite this partial victory, the fates of the 261 detained protesters are still unknown.

Education: Six Educator-Activists who participated in demonstrations May 10th were sentenced to 9 months in prison and 74 lashings. Also reported was the conviction of schoolteacher and University of Tehran student Ruhollah Mardani, who was arrested earlier this year in connection to nationwide protests. Five teachers were summoned by the Bureau of Public Places in Saqqez.

Following a call to strike by the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI), Iranian teachers staged sit-ins [on October 14th and 15th] to demand more liveable salaries and justice for their persecuted colleagues. Strike activity was recorded across the provinces of Kerman, Lorestan, Khuzestan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Kurdistan, Alborz, Hamadan, Fars, Zanjan, Qom, Mazandaran, Tehran, North Khorasan, Ilam, East and West Azerbaijan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Bushehr, Gilan and Hormozgan.

Merchants: Merchants went on strike against the many interconnected symptoms of Iran’s current recession, including unstable exchange rates, inflation, rising prices, and unemployment. Merchant strikes went on for two consecutive days in the cities of Karaj, Shahreza, Shahriar, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Tabriz and Sarab.

Two street vendors were reportedly beaten by municipal agents in Qazvin and Gorgan.

Health and Environment:

Five environmental activists arrested 8 months ago have been indicted with charges of “corruption on earth,” which can carry the death penalty.

Intelligence agents halted a group of environmental journalists, including Javad Heydarian, before they could board a flight to Germany for work. Their passports were confiscated.

Public concern over pollution and waste issues is ballooning, and [many citizens are critical of the government’s inaction in face of myriad threats to the public health].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iranian Ministry of the Interior, Iranians surpass the worldwide average of daily waste production (300 grams) by a whopping 400 grams every day.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency of Miandoab (West Azerbaijan Province) announced that contamination of the Zarrinehroud River from the city’s sugar factory, coupled with poor ecological management of the river and its dam system, has caused thousands of fish to die in the river.

High levels of air pollution were reported this month in the cities of Kerman, Mahshahr, Ramshir, Rigan, and the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman.

Cultural Rights and Censorship

A number of photographers from Shiraz faced persecution for their instagram activity this month [which was cited as “improper”].

Two cultural directors from Sistan and Baluchestan province were summoned to the Intelligence office for attempting to host a peaceful community celebration.

Pending content modifications and the resolution of charges against the Home Video Entertainment Network, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned distribution of the network’s TV series “13 Shomali” (Northern 13), which previously aired on Saturdays.

Military and Law-Enforcement Power Abuses

Several citizens were killed as a result of power abuses and negligence by security forces this past month.

Police car chases, inappropriate shootings by border authorities, and authorities’ failure to warn civilians of road barriers led to 2 civilian injuries and 5 civilian deaths in Iranshahr (Sistan and Baluchestan Province), Jask (Hormozgan Province) and Azadshahr (Golestan Province) and Razavi Khorasan.

Security forces reportedly assaulted fuel vendors in Saravan (Sistan and Baluchestan Province).

More than a dozen “Kulbars” [laborers who make their living carrying goods across border areas] were wounded and killed across the country, namely in Sardasht (West Azerbaijan Province), Piranshahr (West Azarbaijan Province), Urmia (West Azerbaijan Province) Nowsud (Kermanshah Province), Marivan and Baneh (Kurdistan Province) and Ilam (Ilam province).

A prisoner in Urmia was sentenced to hand amputation, and a robbery convict was dealt 74 lashes in public in the Zeberkhan Rural District (Nishapur County, Razavi Khorasan Province).

__________________________________________________________________________

The above-cited reports are only a few examples of dismally more widespread trends. Their mention in this overview by no means implies their significance over those incidents which went unreported, due to tight restrictions on investigative journalists on the ground.

Among available reports of human rights abuses, however, some are more oft-cited due to their sensitive nature or predominating presence in public opinion. It bears mention that all human rights abuses are worthy of the news coverage and social media activism that has come to the aid of so relatively few. Bearing in mind their roles as public opinion influencers, social media activists and human rights reporters must be wary not to underlie existing human rights abuses with unintentional discrimination in their reporting.

Urmia Prisoner Dies by Suicide

Posted on: October 13th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the night of Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Mohammad Ahoupah, 33, died by suicide in Urmia prison.

Ahoupah was a native of Urmia, northwestern Iran, serving his sixth of a 25-year sentence in Ward 15 of the prison on drug-related offenses. He is survived by his wife and two children.

An informed source related to HRANA the running theory among Ahoupah’s ward mates: that when he took his own life in the showers of Ward 15, he had lost hope of stepping foot outside the prison before his time was up. “Four months ago, he submitted a request to be transferred to Zanjan prison from Urmia, and had requested furlough several times to resolve family problems,” the source said. “His requests were denied every single time.”

Recent months have seen the suicides of several prisoners who, despite family emergencies and lawful eligibility, were repeatedly denied the right to furlough. In Sanandaj, western Iran on August 18th of this year, five prisoners desperate to attend to family problems outside the prison made attempts at their own lives when their furlough requests were denied by the supervising judge. One of the five, 36 -year-old Eghbal Khosravi of Ward 6, did not survive the attempt. In another case just three days earlier in Zahedan, southeastern Iran, a prisoner completed suicide by pill overdose when, racked with exasperation over authorities’ continued neglect of his case, his name was removed from a list of prisoners scheduled for a sit-down with the prison prosecutor.

Former IRGC Member Faces Death Penalty on Spying Charges

Posted on: September 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Confirming the sentence issued two months ago in Branch 1 of the Military Court of Urmia, the Supreme Court has issued an execution sentence to former IRGC member Arsalan Khodkam, who was charged with “collaborating with an anti-regime party through espionage,” allegedly on behalf of a Kurdish opposition party.

The Supreme Court delivered the execution order to Khodkam’s attorney on September 25, 2018, a close source told HRANA.

Khodkam was detained in April of this year by the Intelligence Office of IRGC and is currently imprisoned at Ward 3-4 of Urmia Prison. He alleged that his interrogators subjected him to torture.

Earlier, an informed source reported on Khodkam’s background to HRANA. The married, 50-year-old resident of Mahabad was formerly a member of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), which eventually “surrendered to the forces of the Islamic Republic.” Later, in the 2000s, he switched allegiance by joining the IRGC, which he served for 16 years before being accused of spying on behalf of the KDP.

Alcohol Charges Evolve into Death Sentence for Urmia Political Prisoner

Posted on: September 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Forty-two-year-old political prisoner Mohyeddin Ebrahimi has been convicted of cooperating with a Kurdish opposition party and sentenced to death by Judge Ali Sheikhloo in Branch 2 of Urmia’s Revolutionary Court. He is currently being held in Section 12 of Urmia Prison in northwestern Iran.

A close source told HRANA that Ebrahimi has been recovering from three gunshot wounds for the better part of a year in the Urmia Prison clinic. He was shot during his arrest on October 23, 2017, at the Iran-Iraq border, where he was found to be carrying a walkie-talkie and accused of alcohol possession.

HRANA’s source indicated the court was flippant in its verdict on Ebrahimi’s case, verbally presenting the charge of “cooperating with a Kurdish opposition party” — punishable by death — while skipping over portions of the judicial process provisioned by law, e.g. formal questioning, providing him with a hard copy of his charge sheet, or the hearing of any statements in his defense.

Ebrahimi’s record shows a history of alcohol charges: a 2010 arrest for which he spent 11 months in Urmia prison before being acquitted, and a 2014 charge that was eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.

According to Amnesty International’s annual report, Iran ranks first in the world in executions per capita.

Mohyeddin Ebrahimi is from the village Alkaw, near the city of Oshnavieh, West Azerbaijan Province.

Guards Pilfer Food and Property from Political Prisoners at Urmia

Posted on: September 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In an unannounced and atypical search of the political ward of Urmia Central Prison on Tuesday, September 18th, prison guards confiscated prisoners’ food and destroyed some of their property.

An informed source told HRANA that the search, which took place in section 12 of the prison, was presided by two prison officials known only as Khanzadeh and Bayramzadeh.

“Prison guards sifted through their belongings and food, eventually breaking some of the items and confiscating food that the prisoners had purchased, such as cookies, yogurt, cans of tuna, milk, cake, and the like,” the source said. “The prisoners protested, but officials ignored them.”

The source added that prisoners wanting to replenish their pilfered stores will face much higher prices at the prison shop due to rising inflation in the suffering economy.

“Many basic items such as cleaning supplies are no longer in stock at the prison shop due to inflation,” the source said, adding, “and because of the rising prices, the prison kitchen does put meat in its meals, and serves only potato, eggplant, and crushed tomatoes that are barely edible, if at all.”

The frisking of prisoners and search of their cells is permissible under Iran National Prison Bureau regulations. Such regulations, however, are subject to conditions intended to protect prisoner rights.

While inspections aim to uncover prohibited items such as weapons and narcotics, several reports indicate that these procedures, particularly in political wards, often result in harassment, insults, and the destruction or confiscation of prisoners’ belongings.

Three More Deaths in Urmia Prison Attributed to Medical Neglect

Posted on: September 13th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Urmia central prisoners Gholamreza Tubaragh Ghaleh, Reza Malek Rezaie, and Sajjad Jamali Fard have died due to authorities’ refusal to arrange for appropriate medical treatment, joining a dismal trend of detainee deaths related to medical neglect.

Fard died on Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 after his transfer to an outside hospital. Rezaie and Ghaleh passed away inside the prison.

Ghaleh was being held on alcohol-related charges; the charges of the other victims have yet to be confirmed.

Prisoner deaths related to detention-related disease and restrictions on hospital transfers have reached a total of five since March 2018, the beginning of the Iranian year. Moloud Vanousheh of Mahabad died of a long-neglected colon condition while being held on alcohol-related offenses. Ghorbanali Mir Esmaeili also died of unattended conditions while in Urmia’s psychiatric ward 2.

Prisoners at Urmia Central Prison continue to be exposed to the elevated health risks of a short-staffed prison clinic without a resident physician. On June 12, 2018, Bahaoldin and Davood Ghassemi, two brothers on Urmia’s death row, requested to be executed as soon as possible when prison authorities refused their transfer to an outside clinic for treatment. Both are suffering from foot infections secondary to spinal injuries which have been further exacerbated by the sanitary conditions of their quarters.

Ex-IRGC Member Sentenced to Death in Urmia

Posted on: September 6th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – HRANA reports that ex-member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Arsalan Khodkam received news last week that he is to be sentenced to death on charges of spying for a Kurdish opposition party. Khodkam, who served the IRGC of the West Azerbaijan Province, has appealed the sentence.

Khodkam was arrested in late March by IRGC’s intelligence unit and is currently in Section 3-4 of Urmia Prison. He claims to have been tortured during his interrogation.

A source close to Khodkam revealed that the married 50-year-old resides in the city of Mahabad. He is among a group of former Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) members who changed loyalties during the 1990’s by joining the IRGC. After 16 years with the IRGC, he has been issued the death penalty for his alleged connections with the KDP; specifically, he stands convicted of “Cooperation with anti-regime political parties by espionage.”

Two Political Prisoners in Urmia Sentenced to Prison Exile

Posted on: August 14th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On August 1, 2018, political prisoners Hassan Galvani and Vahed Bebahani were reportedly sentenced to a total of eleven years of prison exile by branch 2 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court. They were reportedly arrested on May 4th and transferred to Urmia’s central prison.

The Judge, Ali Sheikhloo, sentenced Mr Galvani to five years of prison exile in the northwestern city of Ardabil and Mr Behbahani to six years of prison in exile in the north-central city of Qazvin. They were both charged with “Cooperation with anti-regime political parties”.

The details of their case were given to HRANA by a credible source who said Mr Galvani and Mr Behabhani were respectively held in sections 3-4 and 14 of Urmia’s central prison.

According to the source, both Mr Galvani and Mr Behbahani have exercised their right to appeal.

Hassan Galvani and Vahed Bebahani spent two months under detention by the forces of the Ministry of Intelligence before being transferred to Urmia’s central prison.