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 Khordad 1393 [Iranian month corresponding to 21 May to 21 June 2014].
In its report, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) refers to the bloody clashes which are taking place in some of Iran's neighbouring countries, and has urged the authorities in Iran to avoid any kind of action which can fan the flames of conflict between the Shi'i and Sunni followers.
This people-instituted organization also emphasized that putting an end to any kind of discrimination based on religious faith was one of the most important principles and tenets of human rights. The report then noted that the Iranian state has formally joined the international conventions on human rights and as such it is committed to adhering to them. The Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) called on the Iranian authorities to attach importance and priority to the policy of ending discriminations, and ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all religious minorities, including the followers of the Sunni faith.
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 center for the month of Khordad 1393, which has been published on 1st Khordad 1393 [22 June 2014], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in May-June 2014
The attack by the fundamentalist group, ISIS, on Iraq, and the events which are taking place in Iraq and Syria under the guise of tension and conflict between the Sunni and Shi'i followers, can all be a warning to the Iranian regime.
Unfortunately, in the Islamic Republic, there is discrimination on the basis of religious faith, as a result of certain laws, or because of some practices and conducts. Among these discriminations, one can for instance point to the fact that it is prohibited to establish a mosque especially for the Sunnis in the city of Tehran. In addition, since the majority of Iranian Sunnis belong to the ethnic groups of the Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis, they are the ones who endure this discrimination, which is confounded by another unfair discrimination, namely the fact that contrary to the Constitution, they are deprived of learning their mother tongues at school.
A glance at the names and other details of the executed people also reveals that unfortunately, the majority of them are from ethnic groups and non-Shi'is. Clearly, the absence of economic development in the areas they come from is among the most important causes of prevalence of narcotics trafficking. Furthermore, a number of our Sunni compatriots have also been arrested merely because they had promoted their religious beliefs and faith. Some have been sentenced to death and their execution verdicts have already been confirmed, and as such, they are in serious danger.
On this basis, the developments which are currently unfolding in countries very close to Iran are a warning to the Iranian regime to end all types of discrimination which are driven by religion, nationality or ethnicity; to treat all the citizens of the country equally; and to attach more value and importance to creating employment opportunities and the grounds for economic development in areas which are inhabited by the ethnic groups of Iran. In other words, as the proverb says, "one must have the cure in place before affliction with the disease", the Iranian authorities should not allow the breakout and spread of fighting between Shi'is and Sunnis in Iran. After all, such an eventuality will only produce civil war, and the aggravation of violence and fratricide.
While emphasizing the points made above, what follows now is a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Khordad [starting 22 May 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 May-June 2014
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, some 22 people were detained, whose names were: Abdolhossein Harati, a cultural activist; Jalal Mohammadlu and Davud Roshani- two members of Jebhey-e Mosharekat Party [Islamic Iran Participation Party]- Saba Azarpeik, a journalist; Masumeh Qolizadeh, a civil activist; Mehdi Khaz’ali, a cultural activist, Dari Amri, Meykholusi, Shayan Tafazoli and Susan Tabianian- four Bahai citizens- Faryar Salehi, Mostafa Safari, Farzin Farzad, Mahmud Salehi, Akbar Abolzadeh, Nima Abbaspur, Saeid Shirzad, Bahman Tafazzolinasab, Afshin Zemanati, Reza Tojareh, Davud Afruz and Abdolghani Vahid, 12 civil activists. Also, the Jomhuri-ye Eslami Daily reported the detention of some of the president’s supporters on the eve of 14th Khordad [3 June; anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeyni's death in 1989] in the shrine of the late leader of Islamic Republic.
The Deputy Minister of Intelligence reported the detention of 30 individuals who were linked with the Al Qaeda group by the intelligence forces. Furthermore, the Chief of Police in the town of Astara has reported the detention of a cyberspace activist without specifying the person's identity. On the other hand, some websites have announced the detention of the participants in a protest rally and a human chain formed by the environmental activists in Esfahan in the dried up parts of Zayandeh Rud [river]. The names of these individuals were not given.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days, until the date of trial.
2. Seyyed Mehdi Tadayyoni, a civil activist, was detained and was sent to the prison to serve his two years imprisonment. Mahnaz Mohammadi, a documentary movie maker, was detained and has been transferred to the jail to serve her five years imprisonment term. Shahab Dehqani, a Baha'i, citizen was sent prison to serve four years in jail. Reyhaneh Tabatabaeu, a journalist was sent to the prison to serve her six months imprisonment and Danial Babayani, Habibollah Beygzadeh and Nematollah Kami, three cyberspace activists were detained and transferred to the prison to serve their 23 months imprisonment for each of them.
3. Mostafa Tajzadeh-a member of the Jebhey-e Mosharatk Party who is currently serving his jail term, was sentenced to one year imprisonment and Maryam Shafipur, a civil activist who is currently in prison was sentenced to four years in jail by the Supreme Appeal Court. Sadeq Zibakalam, a univerdity professor, was sentenced to 18 months in jail; Dana Lenjabadi, a civil activist was sentenced to one year imprisonment term; Mohammadali Dehqan Buraki, Mohsen Esmaeili, Mohammad Ali Sadeqi and Ebrahim Bahrami, 4 members from Gonabadi Darwishes sect, have been sentenced to seven years in exile each. Abbas Salehian, a member of the Gonabadi Darwishes sect, was sentenced to six months imprisonment term, and Hassan Rasulnejad, a labour activist, was sentenced to one year in jail. Peyman Aref, a political activist was sentenced to one year imprisonment. On the other hand, 35 individuals belonging to the Gonabadi Darwishes sect, were sentenced to imprisonment and the payment of restitution money. Their names and sentences are as follows: Hamidreza Arayesh, Mohammad Ali Shamshirzan, Kazem Dehqan, Seyyed Ebrahim Bahrami and Mohammad Ali Dehqani were sentenced to four years in jail for each of them. Omid Aliakbari, Mehrdad Keshavarz, Mohammad Ali Sadeqi, Amir Hamzeh Dehqan, Manuchehr Zare, Abuzar Malekpur and Behyar Rajabi were each sentenced to three years imprisonment.Reza Pishkar, Mehdi Qanbari, Ali Dehqan, Isa Dehqan, Mehdi Dehqan, Mehdi Marand, Qasem Daghtan, Shahram Dehqan, Nasrollah Golshan, Khorshid Dashtaki, Zabihollah Gordpur, Hamid Mehdizadeh, Ahmadreza Kuhi, Mohammadreza Zahediankish, Ali Ajdari, Sohrab Dehqan, Esmaeil Dehqan, Amanollah Cheraghi, Mohammad Arayesh, Abdolreza Arayesh, Keramat Moradi, Mohsen Esmaeili and Gholamali Beyrami were sentenced to three months and one day in jail each.
Jamal Minashiri and Hadi Tanumand, two labour activists,were sentenced to three years and half in jail and Qasem Ebrahimpur, Ebrahim Mostafapur and Mohammad Karimi, three labour activists; were sentenced to two years imprisonment term. Kazem Barjesteh - a political activist - was sentence to five years imprisonment; Mohsen Rahmani, a civil activist, was sentenced to seven years in jail and Hamzeh Zargani, Saleh Tamvali (Tarafi) and Adel Sa’aduni, three civil activists, were sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Supreme Appeal Court.
According to the news of some websites, eight cyberspace activists were sentenced to imprisonment and their names are as follows: Arash Moqadam Aslanpur (Arash Ashaei) was sentenced to eight years in jail, Amin Akramipur was sentenced to 13 years and one day in jail, Amir Golestani was snenteced to 20 years and one day in jail; Mas’ud Qasemkhani was sentence to 19 years and 91 days imprisonment, Seyyed Mas’ud Talebi was sentenced to 15 years and one day in jail; Fariborz Kardarfar was sentenced to 18 years and 91 days imprisonment term;, Mehdi Reyshahri has been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, Roya Saberi was sentenced 20 years and one day imprisonment and Naghmeh Shahsavandi Shirazi was sentenced to seven years and 91 days imprisonment term.
Furthermore, the Prosecutor General of the country has reported that case files have been compiled for 27 political activists involved in the incidents of 1388 [disputed presidential election in June 2009]. He added that verdicts had been issued against 13 of them, while the sentences of three or four of them were issued in absentia The prosecutor of Kerman also has reported that one individual was sentenced to 10 years in jail because of the crime of spying for Great Britain and another individual has been sentenced to five year imprisonment term because of the crime of spying for Israel and also, eleven cyberspace activists were sentenced to imprisonment from one year to 11 years. The Prosecutor General of the country and the Prosecutor of Kerman did not give the names of the victims.
4. Sessions to hear the charges against Hossein Nuraninejad, the member of Jebheye Mosharekat Party, and Mohammad Nuri, a member of the Gonabadi Darwishes sect, have been held.
5. Mashallah Shamsolvaeizin, a journalist, was summoned to the magistrate court and was barred from travelling abroad. Hassan Amini and Abdolhamid Mas’umi Tehrani were summoned to the Special Clergy Court and Saeed [as written] Zibakalam, a university professor, was summoned to the magistrate court. Narges Mohammadi, the vice president and spokesperson of the Centre for the Supporters of Human Rights, has been summoned to in the magistrate court where she was briefed about the accusations against her.. Also, Reza Sharifi Bukani and Sahar Sa’adati, two political activists, were interrogated in the Ministry of Intelligence. Davud Razavi, a labour activist, was barred from travelling abroad and has been summoned to the court as he was about to leave Iran.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The Jury of the Press found the banned daily, “Bahar”,guilty and decided that it did not deserve any leniency in the verdict against it. Furthermore, the writer in the Abrar daily and the editor of Mehr-e Taban publication were found guilty by this Jury.
2. The performance of the play “The Hot Egg Tango” was stopped for several days due to the judiciary's order. For this reason, Hadi Marzban and Ali Nasirian - the director and the lead actor of the play, were summoned to the magistrate court.
3. The one-day workshop for Philosophy of Religion by Kelly James Clark - the American philosopher - and the ceremonies in honour of Richard Nelson Frye - the American Iranologist - were cancelled by the relevant officials.
4. The Press Supervisory Board has cautioned three publications-Kayhan, 9th Dey and Afkar.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 16 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 (and their news websites) have confirmed their executions. Some of the names are as follows: “Majid-Q” has been executed in Sari ana lady with the initials “S-T” was executed in Amol. State-controlled media said that they were found guilty of the crime of murder. “Abbas-M” has been executed in Qazvin and “J-L” has been executed in Semnan. State-controlled media reported that they have been executed for the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. Also, the magistrate court of Qazvin announced the execution of one individual due to the crime of first degree murder. The Khorasan daily newspaper has reported the execution of one individual in Mashad because of the crime of murder. On the other hand, three political prisoners - Gholamreza Khosravi, Ali Chebishat and Seyyed Khaled Musavi - have been executed. Furthermore, Mahafarid Amirkhosravi was executed after she was deemed to be "Mofsed fel Arz" [Source of Corruption on Earth; active hostility against Islam or the Islamic regime]. The officials did not allow any funeral or memorial ceremonies for her.
In addition, news websites have reported the execution of Davud Sotvan, Kurosh Rustaye and Mahmud Ebrahimi in Bandarabbas because of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs; and Rasul Azizi, Mehdi Ashuri and Jalal Azarmehr were executed in Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj because of the crime of murder.
2. Mehr News Agency has reported that the death sentence for a person known as “Ali” - a bogus medical doctor - has been issued by the Supreme Court.
3. The situation of political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Abdolfattah Soltani, Omid Behruzi, Zeynab Jalalian and Shahram Radmehr are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. In addition, Keyvan Samimi was admitted to hospital and although his medical treatment had not yet ended, he was returned to prison.
4. Reza Shahabi, Reza Akbarimonfared, Javad Fuladvand, Asghar Qatan, Asadollah Hadi, Gholamhossein Asadi and Ali Salanpur, Behzad Arabgol, and Mehdi Farahi Shandiz were exiled from the Evin Prison to the Rajaei Shahr Prison. Also, Aliasghar Mahmudian was exiled from the Evin Prison to the Semnan prison.
5. Ceremonies marking the death anniversary of [reformist Islamic intellectual] Ali Shariati was cancelled by the officials in Hosseinieh Ershad in Tehran. In addition, the commemoration ceremony for 2nd and 3rd of Khordad [22 and 23 May; anniversaries of President Khatami's election victories in 1996] were canceled in both Sari and Bushehr.
6. The mosque of Rezvanshahr in the town of Talesh, which belongs to the Sunnis has been closed down and placed under official seal.
7. The officials have prevented women from entering the Azadi Sport Complex to watch the volleyball match between Iran and Brazil, and also Iran against Italy. Moreover, some women who asked to enter to the stadium and some men who were defending their rights, have been detained. On the other hand, on the basis of a new decision by the authorities, female journalists have been barred from entering the volleyball stadium.
8. Kasra Nuri, an activist for the rights of the Gonabadi Darwishes sect,is still deprived of the right to have visits from his family [in jail]. Mohsen Qashqaei Zadeh, a political prisoner, has announced the start of his hunger strike to protest against the lack of attention to his request to investigate the disappearance of his mother.
9. The brother and child of Ali Chibshat - the executed political prisoner - were detained for one day, and were released after they gave a formal undertaking not to hold any memorial services for their recently executed family member.
10. The police chief has reported the police forces have tackled three million and 600 thousand individuals, which he described as "bad hijab" [people with inappropriate dress code]. He also said that in 1392 [year which ended 21 March 2014], some 18,000 Iranian citizens were handed over to the Judiciary by the police force after their arrests for the offence of improper hijab.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
The economic conditions in the country are still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that according to the Minister of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare, 6.5 million individuals who are recent graduates will be seeking jobs next year.
1. The salary of more than 220 workers of “Ajor Jil” of Ahvaz factory has not been paid for 11 months and the salaries of contract workers of the subway train factory of Ahvaz has not been paid for five months.
2. Some 275 workers of the iron foundry plant of Ardabil lost their jobs due to the closure of the factory. Some five official workers of “Luleh Mashinsazi of Iran” - Saleh Jamshidi, Hassan Nuripur, Qasem Qal’enoye, Asgar Mirzaei and Mostafa Mojtaba were fired from their job.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and the environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas in the month of Khordad.
1. The Water and Sewage Corporation has reported that the process of supplying drinking water to 12 major cities of the country is now in a critical condition.
2. The historical castle “Bandbon” in Gilan and the access road to this zone is about to collapse due to natural factors.
3. More than 12 million oak trees in Zagros forests in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad Province have died due to an attack by wood-eating insects.
In conclusion, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) would like to emphasize that ending all kinds of discriminations based on religion is one of the most important principles and tenets of human rights. The Iranian state has formally joined the international conventions on human rights and as such it is committed to adhering to them. Therefore, the policy of ending discriminations, and ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all religious minorities, including the followers of the Sunni faith, must be considered as a high priority policy by the Iranian authorities.
Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.