First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Posted on: September 13th, 2019

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha aramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

Three women rights activists were sentenced to 55 years imprisonment

Posted on: August 2nd, 2019

Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz, detained civil rights activists of Qarchak prison in Varamin, were sentenced to 55 years and six months imprisonment, combined, on July 31, 2019.

At the branch 28 of Revolutionary Court, judge Moghiseh, sentenced them for “encourage and promote corruption by de-veiling” to 10 years in prison , for “propaganda against the state” to one year imprisonment and for “collusion and assembly to act against national security” to five years in prison. Moreover, Mojgan Keshavarz was sentenced to additional seven years and six months in prison for the charge of “blasphemy”. Lawyer of Aryani and Arabshahi, Amir Reissian, said to HRANA that their lawyers were not allowed to attend their interrogation and trials. Their trials were scheduled without any prior notice.

During the trial, judge Moghiseh insulted them and threatened them to more prison years in Qarchak prison. He added that their lawyers can not have access to their cases until the appeal’s court.

Yasaman Aryani and Monireh Arabshahi are a mother and daughter who were arrested in early April 2019 because of their civil activities including commemorating the international women’s day and have been detained in Qarchak prison ever since. Before being transferred to prison, Yasaman Aryani was detained for nine days in a solitary confinement cell in Vozara detention center where she was under interrogation and pressure to do a forced confession on her civil activities. She was also threatened that her friends and family members will be detained if she is not cooperating. Her mother, Monireh Arabshahi, was also arrested and was transferred to Qarchak prison. They have been resided in Ward five of this prison where the majority of the detainees are foreign citizens.

It has been claimed that her interrogation was on basis of the charges such as “to encourage and promote corruption by de-veiling”, “propaganda against the state” through civil activities and her activities regarding her opposition to the mandatory hijab and appearing in public without wearing a hijab during the international women’s day celebrations in the Tehran’s underground railway. Arabshahi’s charges, as they were announced by the Branch 21 of the General and Revolutionary Court of Tehran, are “to encourage and promote corruption by de-veiling”, “propaganda against the state” and “collusion and assembly to act against national security”. There has been no proof offered to verify such charges. Although a 500 million Tomans bail was set for the release of Monir Arabshahi, she is still being kept in the Qarchak prison.

Mojgan Keshavarz was arrested in her house on April 25, 2019 and was transferred to Qarchak prison on May 1.

They received their sentences on July 31, 2019 without the attendance of their lawyers. based on Article 134 of Iran’s Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered which means that they should serve 10 years in prison, each.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 31, 2019

Posted on: January 31st, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 31st, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Arash Sadeghi, a detained civil rights activist, was deprived from medical care which health professionals have said he desperately requires. He is suffering from bone cancer and infection in a surgical wound on his arm. Also, he has an urgent need for chemotherapy.

(2) Of the one million phone calls the Emergency Social Services Hotline received last year, 21 thousand were regarding child abuse and domestic violence.

(3) Saba Kord-Afshar and Yasaman Aryani, political prisoners, wrote an open letter reacting to a newspaper article that described the political prisoners’ conditions ‘favorable’, giving an overview of the hardship they face in the Evin’s women’s ward.

(4) The director of the Department of Environment of Tabas announced that two poachers were arrested in Tabas city along with a carcass of a chinkara.

(5) Parvin Mohammadi, a labor activist and the vice-president of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, was transferred to the Kachoui prison in Karaj to serve her one-month detention. She was arrested on January 29.

(6) Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, a teacher’s rights activist in Shiraz, was sentenced to two years imprisonment and one year of exile. His accusations are  “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Founder of the Islamic Republic”.

(7) Shahin Barzegar, an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, began his three-months imprisonment sentence in the Tabriz prison. His charge was attending the funeral ceremony of a former prisoner, Hasan Damirchi.

(8) Soroush Agahi, a Baha’i prisoner of the Evin prison, was released on bail. He and Neda Shabani, another Baha’i citizen, have been arrested in Karaj on November 28, 2018.

(9) Amnesty International requested the release of Iranian labor activists Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian who spoke out about abuse and torture they suffered in detention. They have been rearrested and are at risk of severe torture.

(10) A prisoner was executed in Nowshahr and a 24-year old was sentenced to death in Birjand. A prisoner who was accused of murder, was spared from hanging on gallows by consent of next of kin in Karun after 12-year in prison.

(11) A member of Iranian Parliament representing Nishabur, Hajar Chenarani, confirmed that 200 workers of Khorasan Exhaust Manufacturing Company have been laid off.

(12) A 66-year old Christian converted, Esmail Maghrebi-Nejad, was arrested by security forces in Shiraz on January 15 and his whereabouts is still unknown. His home was raided, and his belongings confiscated.

(13) Saeed Sadeghifar ,an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, was released on bail. The security forces on Tuesday, arrested him in Ardabil. His court was on January 24, on the charge of “establishing illegal groups with the intention to disturbing national security”.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for January 15, 2019

Posted on: January 15th, 2019

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on January 15th, 2019 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

(1) Abbas Lesani, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist, was arrested after his court session. He was tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment on the charge of ‘propaganda against the state’.

(2) A car transporting student crashed leaving four students injured in Qaleh Ganj in the Kerman province.

(3) A report of mistreatment in Zahedan prison: Zobeir Hout, a prisoner with severe skin disease, was denied medical care. Alireza Bampouri, Zabihollah Rigi, and Rashid Ahourani have been beaten and transferred to quarantine, punitively.

(4) Mohammad Najafi court was in session today. He is a lawyer and human rights activist who is serving his three years sentence in prison and faced 74 lashes and 14 more years imprisonment for his new charges of ‘spreading lies and disturbing public opinion’.

(5) The attorney for the plaintiffs in the Social Security Organization case, Mostafa Turk Hamedani, was sentenced to 40 lashes and 6-months imprisonment for the complaint filed by Saeed Mortazavi, the former general prosecutor of Tehran.

(6) Two workers died and eight have been injured in their workplaces in the cities of Karchan and Yazd, because of negligence in the oversight of safety conditions.

(7) An accused individual in the city of Salmas received an alternative sentencing to prepare banner and brochures about ‘crime prevention’. Otherwise, he would be sentenced to support two recovering addicts and meet their basic needs.

(8) Saba Kord-Afshar, Yasaman Aryani, and Azar Heydari wrote an open letter from Evin prison about people’s financial and political situation. They were arrested in August 2018 while taking part in a public protest in Tehran.

(9) Amir Hossein Mohammadifar and Sanaz Allahyari who were arrested by the security forces on January 9, have been transferred to Evin Prison, section 209. They were working as editors of “Gam” journal.

(10) More than five protests were organized all over the country: several teachers in Yazd, firefighters in Abadan, workers of inter-city rail in Ahvaz, Nishabur municipality workers, and the shareholders of financial institution of Caspian.

(11) Habib Ahmadi, a labor activist, was released on bail after 40 days detention. He was charged with ‘cooperation with a Kurdish opposition group’.

(12) A prisoner was publicly executed in Falavarjan county in Isfahan province. He was accused of murdering a 5-year old girl, Melika. In 2018, at least 236 people have been executed and 195 people have been sentenced to death in Iran.

(13) A landmine explosion injured two army soldiers in Qasr-e Shirin city in the Kermanshah province. More than 42 thousand square kilometers of the lands in the Iran ‘s western provinces contain landmines left from the Iran-Iraq war.