In continuation of its monthly reports, the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Mehr 1393 [Iranian month from 23 September to 22 October 2014].
Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) , which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has referred to acid attacks in Esfahan and has considered it as the most violent actions against women and girls in recent weeks.
This people-instituted organization also has referred to the approval of a general law for “Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice” in the Iranian Parliament [Majlis] and has considered the possibility that if this law receives final approval, it could be used as a pretext for extremist groups to interfere in the private lives of the people with many different justifications such as Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice.
The Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) has concluded that the daily verbal attacks of the some senior clergymen on the civil rights of the citizens, and especially women’s human rights, and making the principle of “Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice” into a law – while the principle has been confined merely to confronting improper Hijab [the Islamic dress code for women] - could be perceived as a sign of approval and encouragement for the individuals who attacked girls with acid in Esfahan.
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 Mehr 1393, which has been published on 1st Aban 1393 [23 October 2014], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in September-October 2014
The city of Esfahan was witness to the most violent acts against women and girls in recent weeks. Some unknown individuals attacked women with acid in a significant and chain move. This is while some of the Friday Imams, such as the Friday Imam of Esfahan and Mashhad still continue their verbal attacks on improper Hijab from the tribune of the Friday prayers every week.
In addition, the Iranian Parliament Majlis is going to make a law for Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice that could be as a pretext for extremist groups to interfere in the private life of the people. The law for Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice is close to approval, without giving consideration to the citizenship and individual rights.
In a general conclusion, the daily verbal attacks of some senior clergymen of the political system on the civil rights of people, and especially women’s rights, and making the principle of Enjoining Good, Proscribing Vice into a law - while emphasizing only the aspect of confronting improper Hijab - could be seen as encouragement and approval for the individuals who attacked girls with acid in Esfahan.This is while a lot of violence occurs in various forms frequently in Iran. The death penalty or the lashing sentence that occurs every month is one of these instances of violence. During the month of Mehr, the relevant case which can be mentioned is the death sentence of Mohsen Amiraslani, who has been executed on charges of heresy in religion, according to his relatives . Or one can mention or the sentence of lashes in public in Hormozgan Province. Also, reference can be made to the detention of some individuals due to their activities in the virtual networks and broadcasting of films which are called their "confessions" is concluded in this field.
In addition, it seems the tolerance and interaction of the government vis-à-vis the dissidents from any group or guild is gradually has been declining. The violence against the Sunnis - such as prohibition of Eid al-Adha’s prayers in some neighbourhoods - could exacerbate religious conflicts that unfortunately have spread in the Middle East for quite a while. The violence against Gonabadi Darwishes Sect is also one of the other examples.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Mehr [Iranian month from 23 September to 22 October 2014], as follows. 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 September-October 2014
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 66 people were detained and the names of them have been specified as follows: Mohammad Reza Jafari, a retired military person; Mohammad Nurizad, a moviemaker and journalist; Hiva Fuladi, a media activist; Soraya Nakhaei, Masumeh Zia, Maliheh Biganian, Narges Farhadi, Iraj Amidi, Atena Daeimi, Asu Rostami and Ali Nuri, eight civil activists; Nahid Gorji, a cyber-activist.
Also, the Iranian officials have reported the detention of 12 individuals in Shiraz due to sending and sharing funny SMS texts about Ayatollah Khomeini, without mentioning their names; some 22 Facebook users, whose names have not been mentioned, in Malayer and six individuals, whose names have not been announced, who were active in virtual networks in Esfahan. This is while the Provincial Television of Fars Province has broadcast a film in which the individuals who were said to have insulted Ayatollah Khomeini, condemned their own actions..
On the other hand, there are some news about the detention of Saeed Kordestani, Hamed Naderi, Habibollah Eslamifar and Abdolhamid Khorasani - four Sunni students; Heshmat Shafiei, Shahram Qaeidi and Emad Haqi - three newly converted Christians; Abdolhay Atabay, Yunes Nafsi ,Vahid Yazdanparast, Hafez Tohidqoreishi, Salar Saeedi, Shuresh Aeineh and Mohammad Modaresi - seven Sunni religious activists.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days, until the date of their trial.
2. Masumeh Qolizadeh - a university student- was sent to prison to serve her 10 months imprisonment term, and Mostafa Mehdizadeh - a student activist - was detained and sent to prison to serve his six months imprisonment term.
3. Arjang Davudi- a political activist - who is currently serving his imprisonment term in prison was sentenced to two years in jail and Farhud Yazdani - a Baha'i citizen - who is serving his imprisonment term - was sentenced to one year in jail; Behnam Irani - a newly converted Christian - who is currently in jail was sentenced to six years imprisonment term in addition to exile to Zabol; and Abdolreza Alihaqnejad and Reza Rabbani - two newly converted Christians - were sentenced to six years in jail each in Minab. Also the Appeal Court has confirmed the three year imprisonment term of Soheil Arabi, a cyber activist.
4. Nasrin Sotudeh was barred from practicing law for three years according to the Lawyers' Disciplinary Court. Also, the Judiciary has issued a writ of "culpability" for lawyer Vahid Abolma'ali.
5. The trial sessions of Ghoncheh Qavami - a civil activist - was held. Also, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) has reported the holding of the Appeal Court sessions for eight Facebook activists without mentioning their names.
6. Mahmud Parhizgar and Jafar Rafati - two Shia religious activists - were barred from travelling abroad.
7. The security officials have prohibited the Sunnis who live in Tehran from the Eid al-Adha’s Prayers in the Sadeqieh and Sa’adatabad districts [northwest Tehran].
8. Ahmad Montazeri - a cleric critic of the government - was summoned to the magistrate court and was released on bail after interrogation. Kaveh Darolshafa - a political activist - was summoned to the magistrate court and briefed about the charges against him.
9. The officials have prevented a speech by Mohammad Reza Khatami - a member of the Islamic Iran Participation Party [Jebheye Mosharekat] in Esfahan.
10. Bahman Ahmadi Amu'i - a journalist - was kept in the prison two days more than his imprisonment term. The house of Mohammad Hossein Panahi - a civil activist - was searched by security officials.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The officials have prevented a concert by the “Erfan Band” due to the presence of female musicians there, and also a concert by Shahram Nazeri concert during the Cultural Week of the town of Neyshabur. In addition, the Fars News Agency has reported investigations into the case of an unidentified woman, for allegedly singing a solo song.
2. The play “Shakheh Nabat” was banned by the Judiciary.
3. The Press Jury has issued a guilty verdict for the “Sharq” and “Hafte Sobh” newspapers, and also the managing director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
4. The Mizan News Agency, which is affiliated to the Judiciary, has reported the start of legal action against two media activists, without mentioning their names, by the order of the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces.
5. The Entekhab Website became inaccessible for users by the order of the Tehran Prosecutor.
6. The filtering of the “WhatsApp” software was approved by the relevant officials.
7. The Qalam student publication has been banned.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some four individuals were executed during 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: Mohsen Amiraslani was executed on charge of heresy in religion according to his relatives. Khorasan News has reported the execution of two unnamed individuals because of the crime of murder in Mashhad. Also, some news websites have reported the execution of Fardin Jafarian due to first degree murder in Tabriz.
2. IRNA, the official Islamic Republic News Agency has reported the issuance of a death sentence by the Criminal Court of Tehran Province for an individual whose name is “Ehsan” due to the crime of first degree murder.
3. The Public Relations Department of the Magistrate Court in Hormozgan Province has reported that the lashing sentence against a young man, whose name was not given, has been carried out in public.
4. The situation of political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Mehdi Sajedifar, Seyyed Mohammad Seifzadeh, Misaq Yazdan Nejad, Mostafa Daneshju, Mashallah Haeri and Ali Salanpur - are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. In addition, Karim Marufaziz - a political prisoner - was returned to the prison despite the fact that he still needed to continue his treatment.
5. The journey by some members of the Gonabadi Darwishes Sect of Bidokht to Tehran has been prevented.
6. The locations of jails of some prisoners have been changed. For instance, Farhad Eqbali, Rasul Abdollahi, Alireza Seyedian, Ebrahim Firuzi, Soheil Babadi, Ali Kazemzadeh, Ali Lavimi and Arash Moqadam were moved to the Raja'i Shahr Prison; Mohammad Darabi's prison was changed to the Dizel Abad jail in Kermanshah; Saeed Matinpur was transferred to the Central Prison of Zanjan, while "Ayat" was moved to the Tabriz Prison.
7. The Dana Website, one of news networks which is close to the Iranian regime, has reported the detention of 26 boys and 21 girls, without mentioning their names, because of attending a party; and the Public Relation Department of the Sufian Judicial District has reported the arrest of 35 men and women in a party. The chief of the FATA Police of Gilan Province too has reported the detention of a person responsible for staging a modeling competition in social networks.
8. The prison authorities have prevented Davar Hosseinivojdan - a jailed university student - from attending his semester exams.
9. The Police of Azarbaijan Sharqi (East Azarbaijan) Province have reported the arrest of a homosexual in the province, without mentioning its name.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
The economic conditions in the country are still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that the government’s spokesperson has reported the existence of at least two million and 257 thousand unemployed young people in the country.
1. The salaries of 3,000 workers of “Mehvarsazan” Cooperation have been delayed for three months; the salaries of 350 workers of the phase No.17 and phase No.18 in Asaluyeh [petrochemical project] have not been paid from the month of Tir (June-July) until now; the salaries of 300 contract workers of the Yasuj’s Municipality have not been paid for six months; the salaries of 43 official workers of “Rangin Nakh” Factory have not been paid for four months; the salaries of the workers in Ilam Petrochemicals have not been paid for several months; the wages of 120 workers of “Sanaye-e Kam Masraf-e Iranian” have not been paid for three months; the money due to the workers in “Kashi Tabriz Kaf” Factory have not been paid since the year 1391; some 1400 workers of the coal mines in Alborz Sharqi region have not been paid for more than two months; the salaries of about 900 workers of the Wagon Pars in Arak have not been paid for three months; 300 contract workers of the urban railway project in Ahvaz have not been paid their wages since the month of Khordad (May-June); the salaries of 200 workers of the Nakh Parsilun Factory have not been paid for three months; the salaries of 1100 workers of the Luleh Va Navard Safa have not been paid for three months and their insurance contributions also have not been paid for 18 months; and some 180 contract workers of the “Qata’at-e Betoni Gilan” have not been received their wages for two months. In addition, the total number of months when the legal wages of 160 workers at the “Kashi Gilana” tiles factory have not been paid has now reached 16 months.
2. Mehdi Kazemi and Ahmad Mirzaei - two workers of the Kashi Gilana Factory; Jafar Molaei, Abbas Shafiei, Hossein Amiri, Mohammad Faraji, Alireza Rezayei, Kambakhsh Kamaliha, Javad Qalenoei, Aslan Nurizadeh and Zahra Qafari - nine official workers of the Gaz Luleh Saveh Company; and Ali Barani, Gholamreza Noruzi, Tumaj Bahrami and Mehdi Badavi - four workers of the Kisun Contracting Company; were sacked from their jobs. Also, the contracts of about 100 contractual workers at phase No.3 in Abadan’s Refinery have been downgraded.
3. Some four students were injured and transferred to the hospital due to the collapse of the ceiling of the cement water tank in a primary school in “Barmak” village of the Dashtestan township in Bushehr Province. In addition, an official of the Education Department in Maraveh Tappe in the east of Golestan Province has said the buildings of at least 33 rural schools in the district are close to collapse and they need urgent reconstruction in order to safeguard the lives of their pupils.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during the month of Mehr.
1. The Shahrvand Daily has reported the birth of disabled infants in “Kazaz” village in the Markazi Province due to the industries in the city of Arak.
2. The Director of the National Project for Iranian Wetlands Protection has reported that about 70 per cent of the wetlands in the country are in a critical condition.
3. The Head of the Environment Organization has reported that the urban and rural sewage are entering into the rivers and this is an environmental disaster which has turned some rivers into sewage canals. Also, the spokesperson of the Environment Fraction in the Iranian Parliament Majlis has reported the risk of the groundwater pollution by the sewage material which is being released into the open by housing estates and settlements close to Tehran.
4. The head of the Iranian Meteorological Organization has announced that the "noise-based" [satellite TV transmission] jamming waves have made one third of the capital's meteorological images unclear.
5. A representative of the Iranian Parliament has said that the residents of 200 villages have left their homes due to the water crisis in the Sistan va Baluchestan Province.
6. A representative of the Iranian Parliament has reported that “the world's largest artificial forest” is on the brink of destruction in north of Kerman. In addition, the Director of the Environmental Protection General Office in Fars Province has reported the start of a fire in pastures and protected areas of the Maleh Galeh region in Fars Province and announced the cause was negligence and lack of support from some organizations which had responsibilities to fight fires.
In view of the review of human rights conditions in Iran during the month of Mehr 1393 the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) believes that stability and security in the country would not be possible without respect to the rights of citizenship. This is because a peace and clam that is achieved in the shadows of intimidation and imprisonment will be broken soon. Since any kind of violent behavior is bound to lead to an even more violent reaction, the approach of the political system to different issues and its use of violence can create the suitable platform for undermining the relative peace which prevails in the country.
Therefore, it is recommended to the state officials to learn from the fate of the other governments in the region and, as soon as possible, put an end to human rights abuses and provide the grounds for national reconciliation.
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.
Translated by: Hamid Reza Mohammadi