Eight Citizens Accused of Espionage in Detention in Urmia Prison 

Eight citizens, who were arrested and accused of espionage, have been detained since November 2021. On March 11, 2022, all these detainees but one were relocated to Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, eight citizens identified as Kamran Henareh, Vafa Henareh, Ashkan Othmannejad, Fakhredin Doodkanloo, Aran Omari, Rahman Parhazoo, Hasan Omarpour, Amir Moshtagh have been detained on the charge of espionage. Vafa Henareh is still held at a detention center and the rest are jailed in Urmia Prison. All these individuals have been indicted for espionage.

Although the prosecution of individuals for espionage is not considered a violation of human rights, there are concerns about the validity of these allegations due to the frequent use of such accusations by Iran’s regime in order to suppress its political dissidents and due to the ambiguities in legal proceedings and the lack of transparency about such legal cases.

Political Prisoner at Urmia Prison Mehdi Sane-Farshi Goes on Hunger Strike

On Monday, April 4, 2022, political prisoner Mehdi Sane-Farshi went on hunger strike in Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mehdi Sane-Farshi, imprisoned in Urmia prison, went on hunger strike in protest against increasing pressure on political prisoners and confiscating his personal belongings in prison.

On August 17, 2020, Mehdi Saneh-Farshi who had been back from Turkey to visit his mother was arrested by Intelligence agents and transferred to a detention centre under the Ministry of Intelligence’s control. On September 11, 2020, he was transferred to Urmia Prison after the interrogation ended.

On November 12, 2020, the Revolutionary Court of Urmia sentenced Sane-Farshito to 5 years and 6 months in prison on the charges of “collaboration with one of anti-regime groups and propaganda against the regime.” This verdict was upheld by Branch 1 of the Court of Appeals of West Azerbaijan Province.

Mehdi Saneh-Farshi, age 44, is currently held in Urmia prison in the political prisoners’ ward.

Jailed Turkish National Hatem Ozdemir Sentenced to Death in Urmia Prison

The Revolutionary Court of Khoy city in Azerbaijan province sentenced Turkish national Hatem Ozdemir to death.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, jailed Turkish citizen Hatem Ozdemir was sentenced to the death penalty in Urmia prison.

On March 15, 2022, Branch 1 of The Revolutionary Court of Khoy notified Mr Ozdemir that he had been sentenced to death on the charge of “Baghi”, which is an armed rebellion against the state.”

In the early summer of 2019, the security forces arrested Hatem Ozdemir in Maku city and transferred him to Urmia Prison after two months of interrogation at a detention centre. On September 19, 2019, they relocated him again to a detention centre for a while.

As reported earlier by HRANA, in September of last year, 43 political prisoners refused to receive food rations to protest the lack of medical care for 11 prisoners including Hatem Ozdemir.

In mid-January of this year, he and seven other prisoners were sent to solitary confinement. Subsequently, the prison’s special guards relocated them to a newly-built high-security ward.  

Political Prisoner Firooz Musaloo Sentenced to Death

Recently, Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia sentenced the political Prisoner Firooz Musaloo to death.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the political prisoner, Firooz Musaloo, the resident of Khoy city has been sentenced to death.

According to the verdict issued recently, he has been found guilty of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) and membership in one of the anti-regime political parties.”

On July 11, 2019, Firooz Musaloo was arrested by IRGC’s Intelligence agents and transferred to a detention center in Urmia. On January 1, 2020, he was sent to Urmia Prison.

On June 20, 2020, he was again sent to the detention center for interrogation and on June 27 of that year was sent back to Urmia Prison.

Political Prisoners in Urmia Prison Still on Hunger Strike After 10 Days

Political prisoners in Urmia Prison are on the tenth day of their hunger strike. Since December 12, about forty-seven political prisoners have been on hunger strike in protest of an order from the prison director that would move them to a new high security ward with insufficient space and poor equipment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the prisoners went on sit-down strike on December 22nd. They protested before the prison guard office and after a few hours, went back to their ward after prison officer promised to address their demands.

In a shared open letter, these prisoners announced that they would continue their hunger strike until order for their relocation to a new ward is revoked.

According to an informed source, the head of the prison had announced that within two next weeks, they will be transferred to a newly built high-security ward. Daily time outside will be reduced to two hours.

In Iran’s prisons, hunger strikes are common among prisoners despite causing long-term physical and mental impairment. Hunger strikes are used as a last resort to achieve urgent demands such as unlawful long-term detention without trials, violations of prisoners’ rights and infringement in due process.

 

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Ahmad Tamouei Freed After Fifteen Years in Prison

Political prisoner Ahmad Tamouei was freed on December 16 after fifteen years in prison, ten months before serving his full sentence. He is currently on furlough and therefore, by court order, will not return to Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Tamouei was arrested by IRGC’s intelligence unit  on October 24, 2007. He was arrested by in Mahabad City while on a motorbike.

After spending time in a detention facility at the disposal of the IRGC, he was relocated to Mahabad Prison. On December 31, 2007, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison, exiled in Urmia Prison on the charge of “enmity against the God through membership in Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK)”. The verdict was upheld on appeal. On September 8, 2008, he was transferred to Urmia Prison where he has been held until now.

Forty Seven Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Urmia Prison

On December 12, 47 political prisoners went on a hunger strike in Urmia Prison to protest against their relocation to a new ward with insufficient space and poor equipment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, reporting information from a close relative of one of these inmates, the head of the prison announced that within two next weeks, they will be transferred to a newly built high-security ward. Daily time outside will be reduced to two hours.

In Iran’s prisons, hunger strikes are common among prisoners despite causing long-term physical and mental impairment. Hunger strikes are used as a last resort to achieve urgent demands such as unlawful long-term detention without trials, violations of prisoners’ rights and infringement in due process.

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.

Political Prisoner Saeed Sangar Released After 21 Years in Prison

On Saturday, October 30, political prisoner Saeed Sangar was released on parole from Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Sangar’s release comes after 21 years of imprisonment.

On August 31, 2000, Sangar was arrested. However, in his legal case, October 29 of that year has been wrongly recorded as the arrest date.

On November 18, 2000, the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj, headed by judge Fatemi, sentenced him to death on the charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through membership in The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. Following this conviction, Sangar was transferred from the detention center of the ministry of intelligence in Sanandaj to ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, where he was held in solitary confinement cells until 2003. In the fall of 2003, the appellate court changed the verdict to life imprisonment and sent him to Urmia Prison.

Years later, on December 23, 2016, the executive branch No. 4 of the Department of Justice in Sanandaj reduced the verdict to 18 years imprisonment.

In 2017, a new case was opened against him for the charge of “propaganda against the regime”  of which, however, he was later acquitted.

Despite that by December of 2020, not only he had served out two years more than his 18-years sentence, he was sentenced again to 11 months imprisonment sentence on the charge of ” propaganda against the regime and in favor of dissident groups against the regime”. This sentence was reduced to eight months, which led to his final release this Saturday, October 30.

Three Political Prisoners Transferred from Urmia Prison to an Unknown Location

Sunni political prisoners Mohyedin Ebrahimi, Mohyedin Tazehvared and Davood Jabbari were recently transferred from Urmia Prison to an unidentified location. Given that two of these prisoners have been sentenced to death, this relocation raises concerns about them.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the whereabouts and conditions of these prisoners are unknown as of this writing. This relocation took place following the confirmation of the death sentences for Mohyeldin Ebrahimi and Mohyeldin Tazehvared. They have asked for a retrial.

On October 23, 2017, Mohyedin Ebrahimi was wounded by direct fire from an Iranian officer at Iraq’s border and arrested on a charge of smuggling alcoholic beverages. Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia subsequently sentenced him to death. Following an overturn of the verdict by the supreme court of Iran, the case was sent back to Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court for re-examination. The supreme court confirmed the verdict, and the death sentence was upheld.

On October 29, 2018, Mohyedin Tazehvared was arrested by security forces and transferred to Urmia Prison until the end of legal proceedings. He was also sentenced to death by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia. Until now, his request for a retrial has not been answered.

On June 4, 2017, Davood Jabbari was arrested and then sentenced to 18 years imprisonment on the charge of “membership in ISIS (Daesh)”.