Hasti Tale-Talab Detained Without Clarity in Vakilabad Prison

Hasti Tale-Talab, a resident of Mashhad, has been detained in Vakilabad Prison for over three weeks without a clear legal status.

According to a source close to Tale-Talab’s family who spoke to HRANA, she has been held in Vakilabad prison for 25 days. Her family has been kept uninformed about her legal case.

On March 17, 2024, Tale-Talab was summoned by the Public and Revolutionary Court of Mashhad and detained during her appearance.

Reports obtained by HRANA indicate that Tale-Talab is facing multiple charges, including “provoking impurity and indecency,” and “propaganda against the regime.”

In October-November 2023, the Ministry of Intelligence raided Tale-Talab’s residence, conducted a search, and confiscated some of her belongings.

Tale-Talab, aged 51, is a mother of four.

Update on Political Prisoner Shirin Beyraghdar’s Legal Status in Vakilabad Prison

Shirin Beyraghdar is presently serving her term at Vakilabad Prison.

Initially apprehended by security forces at her shop in Mashhad in June-July 2022, Beyraghdar spent approximately six months in detention before being released on bail amounting to one billion tomans (roughly 20,000 dollars).

Following her release, the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad convicted her on charges including “forming groups to act against national security,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, she received a sentence of four years and six months for the primary charge.

In June-July 2023, Beyraghdar commenced serving her sentence at Vakilabad Prison.

Extension of Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri’s Detention Continues Legal Limbo

Political detainee Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri’s confinement in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad, has surpassed 168 days, with his uncertain legal status persisting. Recently, authorities prolonged his detention for an additional month.

Asghar Sepehri confirmed to HRANA the extension of his brother’s detainment by the Public and Revolutionary Courthouse in Mashhad.

Sepehri was apprehended by security forces in Mashhad on September 28, 2023, facing charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.” Moreover, on January 20, 2024, his employment was terminated by the Ministry of Education.

Notably, Sepehri’s sister, Fatemeh Sepehri, also languishes as a political detainee in the same prison.

Update on Abdolbaset Avarsan’s Situation in Vakilabad Prison

Sunni prisoner Abdolbaset Avarsan is currently serving a 15-year prison term in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad. Recent developments reveal that his request for release on probation has been rejected by judicial authorities, with sources citing influence from the Ministry of Intelligence.

A close family source, speaking to HRANA, confirmed that the judge, under the Ministry of Intelligence’s influence, dismissed Avarsan’s release request. Hailing from Torbat-e-Jam and a father of three, Avarsan’s family faces financial struggles. Despite holding a Master’s degree, his wife’s job application with the Ministry of Education was rejected during the interview due to her husband’s legal case, further complicating the family’s situation.

In 2019, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Avarsan to 15 years in prison for his alleged involvement in “armed rebellion (Baghi) through membership in a Salafi-ISIS group.”

Update on Six Death-Row Prisoners in Vakilabad Prison

Malek Ali Fadaie-Nasab, Farhad Shakeri, Isa Eyd-Mohammadi, Abdolhakim Azim Gorgij, Abdolrahman Gorgij, and Taj-Mohammad Khormali, currently incarcerated in Ward 1/6 of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, face imminent execution. In late July 2023, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced these defendants, part of the same legal case, to death in a retrial.

These six individuals, along with six others—Abdolbaset Avarsan, Mohammad-Reza Sheikh Ahmadi, Morteza Fakoori, Hamid Rast Bala, Kabir Saadat Jahani, and Mohammad-Ali Arayesh—were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in 2015 and imprisoned in Vakilabad Prison after one year. Except for Fadaie-Nasab, all these prisoners are members of the Sunni minority in Iran.

In 2019, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Ahmadi, Avarsan, and Fakoori to 15 years in prison for “armed rebellion (Baghi) through membership in a Salafi-ISIS group.” The remaining 9 defendants were sentenced to death for “armed rebellion through membership in the Salafi group known as Al-Furqan and the Iranian Sunni front known as Hambastegi Melli.”

Rast-Bala, Saadat Jahani, and Arayesh were executed in this prison on December 31, 2020. The case of the six other defendants was overturned by the Supreme Court, and it was forwarded to another court branch for a retrial. In July 2023, Branch 4 of the Mashhad Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Ahmadian Salami, sentenced these six prisoners to death again. The verdict is currently under review by branch 39 of the Supreme Court.

A source close to one of their families informed HRANA that after the issuance of the death sentence, Shakeri and Abdolrahman Gorgij initiated a hunger strike that lasted for a while.

“The case has many flaws, and there is no substantial evidence to support the charges,” the source clarified. The source also confirmed that the prisoners have been subjected to torture during their detention.

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Political Prisoner Mohammad-Javad Vafaie at Risk of Death Penalty

Political prisoner Seyed Mohammad-Javad Vafaie, currently held in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad, is facing the threat of execution. The Revolutionary Court of Mashhad handed down a death sentence after a retrial in July 2023.

Vafaie, a 28-year-old boxing coach, was arrested by security forces in Mashhad in March 2020 and subsequently incarcerated in Vakilabad Prison. In January 2020, Babak Paknia, Vafaie’s lawyer, revealed that his client had been convicted of “spreading corruption on earth through arson and intentional destruction of public property, including the penitentiary building.” However, the Supreme Court later overturned the initial verdict, leading to a retrial in another branch.

Despite the retrial, the Revolutionary Court once again sentenced him to death. Notably, following the verdict, Vafaie was granted a substantial bail, which he was unable to afford.

The reissuance of the death sentence after the retrial has raised serious concerns about the potential imminent execution of Mohammad-Javad Vafaie.

Lawyer Khosrow Alikurdi Receives One-Year Prison Sentence

The Court of Appeal in Razavi Khorasan Province has confirmed a one-year prison sentence for lawyer Khosrow Alikurdi (Alikordi), coupled with a two-year prohibition on practicing law, exile, and restrictions on internet and social media usage.

Alikurdi has been found guilty of alleged “propaganda against the regime in favor of anti-regime groups.” Additionally, the court has mandated a two-year residence in Nehbandan, South Khorasan province. During the trial, interviews with media outside Iran were presented as evidence for this charge.

The initial verdict was issued in September 2023 by the Mashhad Revolutionary Court.

Alikurdi was arrested on August 1, 2023, after his presence in the Publish and Revolutionary Courthouse in Mashhad. Subsequently, he was detained in Vakilabad prison and released on bail after four days.

In a separate aspect of this legal case, Alikurdi had earlier been sentenced to pay a fine for “disseminating false information and breaching confidentiality.”

Update on Fatemeh Sepehri’s Health in Vakilabad Prison

In an open letter addressed to the head of the Judiciary on Thursday, January 4, Khosrow Alikurdi appealed for the release of his client, Fatemeh Sepehri, a political prisoner currently held in Vakilabad Prison. Alikurdi expressed deep concern about Sepehri’s deteriorating health, emphasizing the denial of access to proper medical care.

Alikurdi’s letter detailed, “The use of medications to regulate her high heart rate has led to multiple physical and mental issues, including extended periods of unintentional sleep and depression.” The lawyer urged an end to Sepehri’s imprisonment, advocating for her release to receive essential medical treatment.

Sepehri’s brother, Asghar Sepehri, had previously voiced concerns regarding the inadequate medical care provided to his sister in prison. Despite being granted a one-week medical furlough in October 2023, Sepehri was re-arrested by security forces at her residence on the third day, interrupting her medical treatment.

Imprisoned since September 21, 2023, in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, Sepehri received ten years for “collaboration with hostile foreign governments,” five years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” two years for “insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran” and one year for “propaganda against the regime.” The ten-year sentence was enforced based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, following an unsuccessful appeal.

Additionally, Sepehri faced convictions from the Mashhad Criminal Court for “disseminating false information to disturb public opinion on the Internet and having interviews with foreign media,” resulting in one year of imprisonment and a fine.

Sepehri, known for her role as one of the signatories of a letter demanding Ali Khamenei’s resignation, has previously experienced arrests and convictions on similar grounds. The plea for her release is grounded in the urgency of addressing her declining health and securing appropriate medical attention.

Execution of Four Inmates Takes Place in Mashhad and Shiraz

Four individuals were executed for murder at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad and Adelabad Prison in Shiraz.

According to the Iran Human Rights Organization, Adelabad Prison officials recently executed four inmates, Saeed Akbari, 27, Mojtaba Malek Pour, 34, and Jamil, an Afghan national whose last name is unknown. They had been convicted of murder. The executions occurred on different dates, with Malek Pour executed on December 7, Akbari on December 11, and Jamil on December 14.

In addition, Haal Vsh reported the execution of Mosafer Zargar, 29, for a murder conviction at Vakilabad Prison on December 14. Zargar had reportedly been convicted of murder six years prior.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. The lack of official information raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

According to data compiled by the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), between October 10, 2022, and October 8, 2023, a total of 659 individuals were executed by hanging in Iran, representing a 24% increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Seven of these executions were conducted publicly. Concerningly, many of the defendants were denied access to a fair trial and due process. For details and statistics, read HRANA’s report.

Attorney Khosrow Alikurdi Receives One-Year Sentence and Additional Restrictions

Lawyer Khosrow Alikurdi has been sentenced to one year in prison by the Mashhad Revolutionary Court. In addition to the imprisonment, he faces several other penalties, including a ban on practicing law, a travel ban, mandatory residence in Nehbandan, South Khorasan province, and a prohibition on engaging in social media activities, all enforced for a period of two years.

Alikurdi disclosed this verdict to the public, revealing that he was convicted of “propaganda against the regime in favor of anti-regime groups.”
On August 1, 2023, Alikurdi was arrested and incarcerated in Vakilabad Prison following his presence at the Mashhad Courthouse. He was released on bail from Vakilabad Prison after spending four days in custody.
Another facet of this legal saga involves a previous sentence imposed on Alikurdi, requiring him to pay a fine for “disseminating false information and breaching confidentiality.”