Sunni Prisoner Zaher Roozkhun Released on Bail

On Thursday, October 14, Sunni prisoner Zaher Roozkhun was released temporarily on bail until the end of criminal proceedings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Mahabad resident Zaher Roozkhun was released on bail for 350 million tomans (approx. 13,000 US dollars). He has been denied access to lawyer and family visitation during the detention.

Roozkhun had been previously arrested by security forces before too on August 29, 2021. After completing the interrogation process, he was sent from a detention center in Urmia to Mahabad Prison.

As of writing this, the reason for his arrest and the charges is unknown.

 

Supreme Court Confirms Shaker Behruz’s Death Sentence Despite Evidence Pointing Towards His Innocence

Branch 31 of the Supreme Court of Iran recently confirmed the death sentence of political prisoner Shaker Behruz, who is currently being held in Urmia Prison, despite a strong alibi pointing to his innocence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 31 of the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of 33-year-old Shaker Behruz last Tuesday, October 5. The verdict was confirmed in spite of the alibi statements of 12 witnesses, all of whose testimonies the court refused to hear.

The indictment alleges that Behruz murdered a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to an informed source, security agents threatened the victim’s family’s, who was an IRGC member, to cut their allowance from the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs, if they refused to accuse Behruz.

Another informed source close to the victim’s family also said that the family does not believe he is guilty and are ready to testify to his innocence.

Twelve eye-witnesses signed a statement expressing their readiness to testify that Mr. Behruz was in his shop when the crime was committed. Despite all the above, the court convicted the defendant without the presence of the family as accusers and hearing of eye-witnesses.

 

 

Sentence Alternatives to Prison, Such as Purchasing Supplies for Under-Equipped Schools, Introduced in Urmia

The head of Branch 119 of the Criminal Court of Urmia recently announced that the county’s criminal justice system is introducing a number of sentence alternatives to prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kargar Online, the judicial official has sentenced several men to purchase educational supplies internet packages and cell phones for school children in poor areas instead of serving time.

It is worth mentioning that Chapter 9 of the new enactment of the Islamic penal code has also highlighted similar alternative sentences.

Accordingly, under certain conditions and with the defendant’s consent, judges may enact these kinds of alternative sentences.

43 Political Prisoners Refuse Food Rations to Protest the Lack of Medical Care in Urmia Prison

Earlier this Wednesday, September 22, 43 prisoners in the political ward of Urmia Prison refused to receive their food rations in solidarity with a number of the prison’s inmates.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the prisoners carried out the refusal in protest of the lack of medical care for sick prisoners.

Shaker Behrooz, Nayeb Askari, Nayeb Hajizadeh, Ahmad Tamavi, Mohammad Houshangi, Hatam Ozdemir, Dara Rashidi, Anvar Chaleshi, Kamel Ceylan Maskan, Sirvan Amini, Mokhtar Ebrahimi, and Taher Hosseinzadeh, 12 political prisoners imprisoned in this ward suffer from various diseases. According to the diagnosis of the prison doctor, these prisoners should be sent to a well-equipped hospital outside the prison, but so far they have been barred from being sent.

Nayeb Askari, Ahmad Tamavi, Hatam Ozdemir, Sirvan Amini, and Mokhtar Ebrahimi, have kidney problems. Nayeb Hajizadeh and Dara Rashidi must undergo surgery to remove platinum prosthesis from their legs, and Anvar Chaleshi has TB.

Elmira Habibi goes on a Hunger Strike in Urmia Prison

On Saturday, August 28, a defendant named Elmira Habibi went on a hunger strike in the women’s ward of Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 33-year-old Elmira Habibi,  a native of Urmia, was imprisoned after being convicted of financial crimes.

Ms. Habibi has been on a hunger strike to protest her unfair trial and the lack of accountability from officials.

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Nayeb Askari on a Hunger Strike in Urmia Prison to Protest Authorities’ Refusal to Transfer him to a Hospital

Today, August 26, political prisoner Nayeb Askari went on a hunger strike in Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Askari went on a hunger strike to protest the prison authorities’ refusal to send him to the hospital throughout his battle with kidney disease.

An informed source spoke to HRANA about the reasons for Mr. Askari’s hunger strike.

“Mr. Askari, who suffers from kidney disease, has been denied being sent to the hospital despite the prison doctor’s diagnosis following opposition of the prison’s supervisor judge,” the source said. “Askari has gone on a hunger strike to protest.”

Nayeb Askari was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in Urmia in April and transferred to one of the detention centers of this security institution. He was eventually transferred from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center to the city prison in June, after completing the interrogation process. Mr. Askari has been charged with “collaborating with an opposition party”.

On July 12, Branch 119 of the second Criminal Court in the city of Urmia sentenced Mr. Askari. Nayeb Hajizadeh Yangjeh, and Keyhan Mokarram al-Nabi, to three months each in prison and 50 lashes on a charge of “disturbing the order of the prison” after they protested the beating of Nayeb Hajizadeh by two prisoners accused of violent crimes.

Ebrahim Sedigh Hamedani Facing Medical Negligence in Urmia Prison; Family is Concerned

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, political prisoner Ebrahim Sedigh Hamedani is currently facing medical negligence from authorities in Urmia Prison.

On Wednesday, August 25, a source close to Hamedani’s family told HRANA, “Mr. Hamedani has diabetes and, despite passing two months (without medical care), he has been denied access to his medicines, and is in poor physical condition.”

According to this informed source, doctors in Urmia Prison have been on strike and have been refusing to attend the prison for about a month. Ebrahim Sedigh Hamedani, along with his son and daughter Salar and Maryam, was arrested in February 2019. They were transferred to the city’s central prison in late April after two months of interrogation, where Maryam released on a bail.

Branch 2 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court sentenced Ebrahim and Salar Sedigh Hamedani to 16 years each in prison on charges of “acting against national security through membership in an opposition organization,” and “propaganda activities against the regime”.

During interrogation, a new case was open against the two political prisoners. They were charged on “propaganda activities against the regime in prison” and sentenced by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia to 11 additional months in prison.

It is said that Ebrahim Sedigh Hamedani was arrested earlier in 2005 on charges of “collaborating with an opposition organization” and was sentenced to six years in prison. After serving two years, he was released on parole.

HRANA Report: COVID-19 Vaccinations Underway in Iranian Prisons

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the vaccination of inmates in different prisons throughout the country has started this month.

A number of prisons, including Evin in Tehran, Rajai Shahr in Karaj, Qarchak in Varamin, Lakan in Rasht, Urmia in Urmia, and Qom Coastal Prison, have been examined as a statistical sample in this report.

According to reports received by HRANA, in some prisons in the country, prisoners have been forced to receive the Iranian vaccine “Barekat”, and many others have refused to receive the Barekat vaccine due to doubts about production conditions and the lack of WHO approval. In some prisons, vaccination has been partially abandoned due to the lack of enough dosage per the Ministry of Health.

Although this action of the Prisons Organization has given a bit of hope to the prisoners and their families, reports received by HRANA from various prisons across the country indicate that -regardless of the quality and type of vaccine used- a small percentage of inmates have been vaccinated and that most of the inmates still have not been vaccinated against COVID.

Prisoners in the women’s ward of Lakan Prison in Rasht were vaccinated with the Barekat vaccine. According to an informed source, the vaccination process has started in this prison in late July this year; first the prison officials, then the male prisoners, and finally the female prisoners have been vaccinated.

As of this writing, a small percentage of inmates in Urmia Prison are vaccinated. An informed source about the vaccination process in this prison told HRANA, “At first, the Iranian vaccine Barekat was sent for Urmia prison, but prisoners refused to inject, then a small number of Chinese vaccines arrived which only was enough for a few. Though the vaccine was given to all prisoners in the political prison, and any of them who wished was vaccinated.”

According to the source, prison officials, along with a limited number of other detainees were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since mid-August of this year, some prisoners in various wards of Evin Prison have received the first dose of the vaccine. Initially, the vaccination was carried out with the Barakat vaccine, but this process was stopped due to the refusal of many prisoners to inject the Iranian vaccine. A few days later, some prisoners were injected with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm. According to an informed source, in many wards of the prison, even prisoners with underlying diseases who are at risk of infection have not been vaccinated yet.

Political prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj have also been injected with the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine. According to an informed source, in other wards of the prison, vaccination was going on based on the age priority and people with underlying diseases until prison officials announced that the vaccination would be halted and postponed until the Ministry of Health and the Prisons Organization were able to provide the vaccine.

The HRANA investigation shows that most of the prisoners in Qarchak Prison in Varamin have been injected with the Sinopharm vaccine, but new inmates, whose numbers are very high, are still not vaccinated as there are not enough vaccines for them.

In Qom Coastal Prison, only the clergy prisoners being held in the special ward for clergies have been fully vaccinated. According to an informed source, 20 prisoners in this ward, along with a small number of prisoners from other wards, have been vaccinated so far. Prisoners in Bushehr Prison in Bushehr Province have not yet received any vaccine.

These are the reports from prisons while in early August, Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, head of the Prisons Organization, claimed on his Twitter account that 50 percent of the country’s prisoners had been vaccinated.

Although the prisoners’ vaccination could help to control the spread of coronavirus in prisons, the effectiveness of vaccination is still unclear as spaces in prisons are closed, pre-and post-vaccination health protocols are not met, principles of quarantine are not observed, and prison populations are large. Also, some prisoners have received the Iranian Barekat vaccine, whose effectiveness is highly questionable.

The negligence of the authorities towards the situation of sick prisoners, lack of proper medical care in prisons, the strictness of the authorities in sending prisoners to medical leave and hospitals, and the lack of adequate sanitary facilities in prisons have all contributed to and intensified the spread of the disease.

 

Supreme Court Rejects Hamed Ghareh Oghlani’s Request for Retrial 5 Days After its Submission

The Supreme Court rejected political prisoner Hamed Ghareh Oghlani’s request for retrial five days after its submission. Oghlani is currently serving out a 13 year sentence in Urmia Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Oghlani’s sentence was previously upheld by Branch 41 of the Supreme Court in February of this year.

In the first part of the case, Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia sentenced Oghlani to death for membership in the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). In the second part of his case, he was sentenced to 14 years and one month on charges of “participating in military courses and attacking Basij bases”, “propaganda against the regime”, “blasphemy”, “and insulting the leadership”.

Finally, after the judges’ session, Oghlani was sentenced to a total of 14 years and one month in prison including 13 years in prison for participating in the insurgence group (MEK), and to 13 months in prison for insulting the leadership. The most severe punishment 13 years of imprisonment applies to him after Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Mr. Ghareh Oghlani was installing CCTV cameras before his arrest. He dropped out of Shahid Beheshti University in 2016 due to financial issues.

Hamed Ghareh Oghlani was arrested in June 2020 by Ministry of Intelligence agents and was transferred to the detention center of this security institution in Urmia. He was transferred to Urmia Prison in July of the same year after the interrogation process.

Three Political Prisoners Sentenced to Additional Prison Time and Lashes in Urmia Prison

Political prisoners Nayeb Hajizadeh Yangjeh, Keyhan Mokarram al-Nabi, and Nayeb Askari were sentenced to a new sentence of prison time and flogging in connection with a recently opened case against them.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the prisoners are currently being held in Urmia Prison in West Azerbaijan Province.

According to Branch 119 of the Criminal Court of Urmia, these prisoners were each sentenced to three months in prison and 50 lashes on a charge of “disrupting the prison order”.

According to HRANA’s report in July, per an informed source, the lawsuit was filed at the request of Urmia Prison Director Amir Sohrabi after several political prisoners protested the beating of Nayeb Hajizadeh by two prisoners accused of violent crimes.

It was said that one of the assailants was also summoned to the court as a witness in the case.