In continuation of its monthly reports, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Bahman 1392 [Iranian month corresponding to 21 January to 21 February 2014].
In the introduction to its report for Bahman, this people-instituted organization has emphasized that violent laws themselves will lead to the proliferation of violence and turmoil in society, and has underlined the importance of reviewing the criminal laws, and removing death penalty from these laws. Moreover, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) has referred to the execution of 42 people during the month of Bahman, while voicing its criticisms of the practice of public executions.
In the same connection, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) has emphasized that to rid itself from its current social problems, the Iranian state has no option but to comply fully with the human rights laws and conventions, which it has already signed and undertaken.
Furthermore, in its report, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, this people-instituted organization has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran under the three main headings of: “Civil and political rights”, “social and economic rights”, and “cultural heritage and the environment”.
According to the website of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), the text of the report by the said centre for the month of Bahman 1392, which has been published on 1 Esfand 1392 [22 February 2014], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in January-February 2014
The Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran is undoubtedly one of the harshest set of penal laws in the world. The punishments prescribed in these laws - including for instance stoning, lashing, crucifixion and severance of limbs – are prohibited according to the conventions and norms of human rights, and these are no longer practiced even in the majority of the Islamic countries of the world.
In the Iranian criminal laws, for many crimes the death penalty has been envisaged, and these are so widespread that Iran currently has the highest per capita rate of executions in the world. During the month of Bahman, 42 people were executed. It should be noted that resorting to this kind of punishment does not merely have a criminal dimension, and in addition, it is also used to generate a sense of fear and terror in the society as well. To that end, in some cases, the death sentence is carried out in public and during the busy hours in urban areas. For instance, in the last 30 days, according to official reports received, there have been three cases of public executions in the city of Shiraz, two in the city of Karaj and one in Qazvin. In addition to the fact that the Judiciary Power in Iran is not independent, and the judicial processes involved in these cases were often unjust, the practice of public executions essentially carries a message of fear and terror for all those who happen to observe them.
It should also be noted that two of the executed people, that is to say Hashem Sha'baninejad and Hadi Rashedi, were citizens from Khuzestan Province and members of the scientific and cultural Al-Hawar Foundation. The execution of people such as Hashem Sha'baninejad, who was also a poet, sends a very painful message to all other non-conformist activists. Therefore, once again, we would like to underline the importance of reviewing the existing criminal laws and revoking the death penalty. This is because violent laws in themselves generate and spread violence, and bring about social disorder.
While emphasizing the points made above, what follows now is a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month starting 21 January 2014. This report is based on information published by various media channels and websites, whose accuracy has been verified. The report is appearing under three separate sections, and in Farsi and English languages.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in January-February 2014
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, more than forty people were arrested and the names of 23 of them have been specified, who were: Ahmad Saberi, Abbas Haqiqi, Javad Lotfi, Safaei, Mas’ud Fattahi, Sirus Payam Mani, Bahrman Hassaninejad, Ali Hemmatcheraghi, Mehdi Mozaffari, Naser Sheykhi, Moslem Ghanizadeh, Ahmad Purjena’i, Ramin Heydarjan, Behzad Talebpur, Mahmud Dehqan, and Ahmad Nasirpur (all labour activists); as well as two civil activist from Khuzestan province who were Abdolhossein Baladi and Mehrdad Jamshidpur, and four social network activists, who were Moslem Bushehrian, Sasan Jannatian, Siavash Jannatian and Reza Alenaser.
Also 17 workers of Chadormalu Mine have been detained and their detention is approved by the local governor and the President of the Association of Workers at that mine, but their names are not clear. On the other hand, some young people who intended to attend in official march of 22 Bahman [11 February Revolution anniversary] have been detained. The detainees whose number is not known had posters in support of Hassan Rouhani which had the signature of "the Young Reformers”.
It should be noted that after a few days in detention, some of the arrested individuals were released temporarily on bail until the date of their trials.
2. Kazem Barjesteh, a politic activist, has been transferred to prison to serve his prison term of 5 years, while Hojabr Firuzian, a Baha’i citizen, has been sent to prison to serve his prison term of 40 days in addition to a fine of 12 million rials. A labour activist, Yusef Abkharabat, has been transferred to jail to serve his prison term of one year, while Vahed Seyyedeh and Mohammad Molanayi, two labour activists, have been sent to prison for their two-year jail terms, and Emad Arab, a civil activist, also has been transferred to jail to serve his prison term of three months and one day.
3. Mohammad Baqer Alavi, a member of Freedom Movement of Iran, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment; Fatemeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, a civil activist, has been sentenced to six months in jail; Reza Aqakhani, a national-religious activist, has been condemned to three years in prison; and Sarang Ettehadi, a Baha’i citizen, has been sentenced to five years in jail. Arash Moghadam Aslani, a cyber-activist, has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment and Bashir Nazari, a civil activist, has been condemned to one year in jail that has been suspended for five years. Also the Appeal Court of Tehran confirmed a six-year imprisonment sentence for Saeed Madani, a researcher and a member of the National-Religious Activists Council. Four years of his term must be spent in Bandar Abbas. The sentence also included ten years of mandatory residence in that city. Saeed Madani is in the Evin Prison at the present.
4. The court hearing has been held for eight labour activists who were: Ahmad Saberi, Abbas Haqiqi, Javad Lotfi, Safaei, Mas’ud Fattahi, Sirus Payam Mani, Aqil Yazdani and Kiumars Rahimi.
5. Ali Mottahari and Seyyed Shokr-e khoda Musavi, two representatives of the Iranian parliament, were summoned to the judiciary. Sadeq Zibakalam, a university professor, was summoned to the magistrate court and then was released with a bail of 50 million Tomans. Some eight labour activists who were Gholamhossein Heydarimusa, Hendijani, Maziyar Rahimzadeh, Alireza Bahadori, Adel Rashedi, Ali Sajedinia, Fariborz Kiyani and Nasim Junaki have been summoned to the magistrate court.
6. The burial of civil activist Naser Minachi has been prevented in Hosseynieh Ershad in Tehran.
7. The offices of Mohammad Naeemipur and Ali Sami’izadeh, two members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front have been inspected by security official. Furthermore, following the breach of the official seal of the central office of the Participation Front in Tehran, the Prosecutor's Office has placed a new seal on the entrance to that office.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. Hossein Zaman, a singer, has announced that he is still banned from his artistic carrier and Fatemeh Mo'tamed Arya, an actress, also has not been allowed to work in the past four years. Also Hossein Pakdel was not allowed to host the Fajr Film Festival's closing ceremonies because he has been banned from appearing on stage.
2. Abdolreza Davari, the former managing director of Shahrvand daily, has been sentenced to pay one million Tomans fine. Also the Press Jury has found the managing director of Bokhara Magazine guilty and has ruled out any leniency towards him.
3. IBNA information web site has been closed and Mohsen Heydari, the manager of the web site, was prosecuted. Also Alireza Khamesian, the managing director of Omid web site, has been summoned to the magistrate court and then released on bail.
4. The managing director of Abrar daily, Mehr-e Taban-e Farda weekly and Khorasan daily have been subjected to legal action, and their cases are under investigation.
5. The Ministry of Intelligence prevented the monthly meeting of the Association of Iranian Writers.
6. The movies “I am not angry”, directed by Reza Dormishian, and “Lovely rubbish” directed by Mohsen Miryusefi, were excluded from the competition of Fajr Film Festival due to pressures by some state institutions.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 42 individuals have been executed in this month. The complete names of some of them are still not clear but judicial authorities or government-controlled media have confirmed their executions. Some of the names are as follows:
“S-B” and “M-R” has been executed in Zanjan and four individuals also have been executed in the city of Kerman. State-controlled media announced that they had been found guilty of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. “H-Lotfi” was executed in public and five individuals have been executed in Kermanshah Province as well. Judiciary official have announced that they were found guilty of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. “F-E” and “M-S” have been executed in the cities of Rudbar and Som’eh Sara. The public relation and information department of the Judiciary in Gilan Province has said they were convicted of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs.
“J-M” and “M-A” have been executed in the city of Nowshahr and two individuals were executed in Kermanshah Province. They were found guilty of the crime of first degree murder according to the judiciary officials. “M-R” and “M-P” have been executed in the city of Rasht. The public relation and information department of the Judiciary in Gilan Province said they were convicted of first degree murder.
“N-J” and “A-R” were executed publicly in Alborz province. State-controlled media announced that they were found guilty of the crime of rape. “R-A” and “M-D” have been executed in public in the city of Shiraz. The media sources affiliated to the Iranian state announced the convicts had been found guilty of murder and rape. “E-Z” was also executed in public in Shiraz. State-controlled media announced that he was convicted of armed robbery and first degree murder.
Also some web sites reported the execution of seven individuals who were: Bahram Soltani, Mohsen Davudi, Hadi Beygi, Meysam Haji, Feizmohammad Saberzehi, Nazarali Fakuk and Yunes Karamin in Qezelhesar prison in Karaj because they were found guilty of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. Furthermore, five individuals were also executed in the prison of Orumiyeh because of the crime of murder. They were: Karam Resa'i, Javad Qasemzadeh, Hamid Eslamsokan, Rashid Keramat and Khezr Ahvas. The web sites also reported the execution of two individuals with abbreviated identities of “R-H” and “M-SH” in the city of Delfan due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs and a person who has been convicted of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs from Abdolhesseini village in the district of Khaveh in Malayer city.
Hashem Shabaninejad and Hadi Rashedi, two members of the academic and cultural institution of Al-Havar have been executed in Ahvaz.
2. One individual has been sentenced to amputation of hand and leg in Shiraz. State-controlled media have reported that he has been convicted of armed robbery.
3. The conditions of political prisoners are still reported to be undesirable. For example, female political prisoners in the Evin Prison faced cold weather and absence of hot water due to the breakdown of heaters there. Also some prisoners in the Raja'i Shahr prison have suffered from infectious diseases due to the water condition. On the other hand, Asghar Qatan and Omid Behruzi have been prevented from transfer to hospital.
4. Abdolghafur Qalandarinejad, a member of the sect of Gonabadi dervishes, has refused to attend his court session in protest against the legal procedures and the fact that his court summons was not given to him in writing.
5. Rasul Bodaghi and Shahrokh Zamani, two prisoners of Raja'i Shahr prison in Karaj, were transferred to solitary confinement. Also the authorities of the prison, in contravention of prison’s rules, declared that the prisoners in Ward No 350 could not take their books with them after completion of their sentence or when they went on prison leave.
6. The secretary of the Committee to Determine Criminal Contents has said that the two social network websites, Facebook and Twitter, have been blocked.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. The economic conditions in the country are still reported to be unfavourable. The Labour Minister of the 11th government has said that, according to the official statistics, there are 3.5 million of unemployment individuals and 4.5 million newly-graduated individuals would also enter the job market very soon. This is while the Deputy Health Minister has also said that high health costs each year bring 13 per cent of families down to below the poverty line in Tehran.
2. Some 250 workers of Iran Tire Factory have lost their jobs. Also some of the contract workers in phases No 17 and 18 of the South Pars Project have been subjected to downsizing and mandatory time off (without pay). On the other hand, 50 workers of petrochemical zone of Ilam have been fired.
3. Payment of salaries of some 1400 workers of East Alborz coal mines in Semnan province has been delayed for more than 2 months. Other delayed payments include; 200 workers of Zagros Steel for 7 months; 650 workers of “Luleh Gostar” in North Khorasan province for 3 months; and 220 workers of “Ajor Jil” factory in Ahvaz for 8 months. Also workers of the “Agahan Niru” Contracting Corporation, workers of the sugar cane agro-industry in Shushtar in Khuzestan province, workers of sodium sulphate processing plant of “Safa’iyeh Golshan” have been facing delays in receiving obtaining their legal benefits.
4. Additional teaching salary for many teachers have not been paid in May and also for the four months of October, November, December and January.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas in months of January and February.
1. The Senior Advisor of the World Health Organization has announced that lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury have been found in the milk of breastfeeding mothers who were exposed to air pollution in Esfahan.
2. Secretary of the National HQ for the Revival of Orumiyeh Lake has mentioned that the lake is unhealthy, adding that geologists believe the lake is now dead due to the replacement of sodium with magnesium.
At the end of this report we would like emphasize that for the Iranian government, the only way out of the current social deadlock in the country is compliance with human rights standards and conventions that it has already signed, and has committed itself to their implementation.
[Signed and dated] Shirin Ebadi, The head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), 1 Esfand 1392 [20 February 2014]