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 Aban 1393 [October-November 2014].
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 Aban 1393, which has been published on 1st Azar 1393 [22 November 2014], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in October-November 2014
The month of Aban has finished in a situation when the Third Committee of the UN has issued a resolution on human rights violations in Iran again. The resolution will be announced in the United Nations General Assembly next month after approval.
Perhaps, the public frustration at the international level for improving the human rights situation in Iran is one of the reasons for issuing this resolution. The Iranians, like other member states of the United Nations, had hoped that electing a new president could change the social and political atmosphere by providing the possibility for civil activities for the citizens, but unfortunately, this has not happened yet.
This is while civil activities in the framework of civil institutions can help governments and assist them to promote the human rights. Despite the assertion of the political system, and especially the Iranian government, that the people should be entrusted to run their own affairs, not only this has not happened but also, some government agencies including security organizations are not only acting as obstacles to the materialization of that objective, but even worse, these institutions have mobilized themselves to concentrate on the destruction of civil institutions. For example, workers cannot transfer their demands to the government and employers in a situation where the civil institutions are weak and there are no true labour unions. The greatest harm of this situation will be burdened by the economy and the government, as the biggest employer in the country.
In this regard, one can refer to the existing obstacles placed for the activities of the Association of Iranian Journalists, as the independent and genuine journalists’ institution, whose office has been closed down from 1388 [21 March 2009 to 21 March 2010] up to now. Furthermore, the office of Defenders for Human Rights Centre, which is a lawful institution, is still closed and under the official seal, and Narges Mohammadi, the vice president of the Centre [DHRC], has been interrogated several times due to her activities in CSHR.
The civil institutions are being confronted at a time when some civil activists have had to experience imprisonment simply because of their peaceful campaign to bring about an improvement in the country's conditions. In this particular connection, one can refer to the arrest of Mahdiyeh Golru and the other individuals who were detained after staging a rally to protest against the recent acid attacks on young women.
All of this is happening at a time when we see that the lamentable situation in countries such as Libya, Iraq and Syria is the result of the absence of at best weakness of the civil societies in those countries. Therefore, when civil society is not established and then nurtured and developed in a country, in all probability, that country will be on the brink of serious threats almost at all times. On this basis, one expects the new government to understand this principle, and then embark on endeavouring to strengthen the existing civil society, rather than the situation we are witnessing today, where some institutions operating under the government's authority, have themselves become serious impediments to the legal activities of popular, civil institutions.
The report by DHRC has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Aban 1393 [21 October to 21 November 2014]. The report is based on information and news which have been published by several websites and other media outlets, and the validity of these information have been verified. The report is divided into three main parts, and is published in both Farsi and English languages.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in -October-November 2014
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 35 people were detained and the names of them have been specified as follows: Mahdieh Golru, Maryamsadat Yahyavi – two civil activists – Zahra Mohammadi, Arya Jafari and Sanam Farsi – three reporters – Khaled Hosseini – a labour activist – Hamid Azizi and Ata Rajabi – two Baha’i citizens - and Alireza Jahanshahi – a religious activist.
In addition, police has reported the detention of two individuals due to the charge of spreading false news about the acid attacks in Esfahan, without mentioning their names, and also the detention of some individuals in the gathering of the people of Esfahan to protest against the acid attacks, without mentioning their names and the number of the detainees. Also, Fars News Agency has reported the detention of a man with abbreviation name “B.M.B” due to the charge of taking part in a rally for protest against acid attacks.
On the other hand, news have reported of the detention of Adel Mohammadi – a Sunni religion student – Jahangir Salimi and Vahid Forudi – two followers of the Yarsan sect – Sobhan Rahimi – a university student – Ali Heydari, Najib Raisi – two civil activists – Mohammad Timas Alsilavi (Abu Nasar), Nasar Mohammad Timas Alsilavi (Abu Anas), Ghazban Beit Sayah, Hamid Alheidari (Abu Amjad), Amin Alsaedi (Abu Yosra), Shaqiqeh Mohammad Alsaedi, Aqil Alsaedi, Seyyed Jasem Albushokeh (Abu Faruq), Abu Masud Albadavi, Hassan Alhezbavi (Abu Ali), Mohammad Saedi, Hachem Alnaseri, Ahmad Al-Heydari (Abu Hura), Hossein Albavi, Abbas Alsari and Ahmad Albalavi – 16 newly converted Christians – and Saeid Yasaei - a follower of the Mysticism Ring (Erfan-e Halqeh).
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. Roham Barchakizadeh – a university student – was sent to prison to serve seven and half years in jail, Adnan Rahmatpanah – a Baha'i citizen – was sent to prison to serve one year in jail, Amir Mabudi – a Baha'i citizen – was sent to prison to serve his six months imprisonment term and Masud Rezaei – a newly converted Christian – was dispatched to prison to serve his five-year term. Also, Salehedin Moradi – a Darwish – was summoned to the court to serve two years in exile and receive 30 lashes.
3. The Appeal Court has confirmed a ten years imprisonment term for Roein Otufat – a national-religious activist – one year imprisonment for Susan Tabianian – a Baha’i citizen – payment of a fine of 5,000,000 Toman for Sadeq Zibakalam – a university professor – 17-year imprisonment term for Kianush Rostami and Mohsen Khodabandehlu – two political activists – and 10 years imprisonment term for Nemat Fathi – a political activist . In addition, Tanaz Mohammadi – a Baha’i citizen - was sentenced to one year in jail and Iraj Lohrasb – another Baha'i citizen – was sentenced to two year imprisonment term.
4. The trial session for Molavi Naqshbandi and Abdolqafar Naqshbandi – two Sunni religious activists – was held. Also, Narges Mohammadi - the CSHR Vice President– was interrogated in the magistrate court, and Reza Ferdos Moqadam – a member of the Gonabadi Darwishes Sect – was interrogated in a security organ's premises. On the other hand, some news indicate that Mahmud Muhmudi, Sohrab Jalali, Anvar Saedmocheshi and Jalal Qavami – four civil activists – were summoned by police; Kazem Dehqan and Aman Cheraghi – two Gonabadi Darwishes Sect members – were summoned to a security institution and Abdolhamid (Abdolhadi) Khorasani, Hamed Nderi, Habibollah Eslamifar and Saeid (Masud) Kordestani – four Sunni seminary students – were summoned to the court.
5. Mikaeil Azimi – a university professor – was barred from teaching in the university. Mohammad Tavangar – a university student – was barred from studying for two and half years, and Mohsen Moslehi – a university student – has been barred from the use of the university's facilities until the end of his course.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The managing editor of the Aseman newspaper has been sentenced to payment of a fine in lieu of custodial imprisonment The Press Jury has issued a guilty verdict against the managing directors of the “Tabnak” News web site, “Tehran Emruz’ newspaper and “Zanan-e Emruz”, “Afkar” and “Gol” monthly magazines.
2. The officials have prevented the screening of the movie “I Am Not Angry” [Asabani Nistam].
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. At least some 15 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: “Reihaneh Jabari” has executed in the prison; “B-N” has been executed in Bandarabbas and “H-S” has been executed in Amol City. The judiciary officials have said they were found guilty of murder. “Nader Haqiqatnaseri” was executed in Mashad. The judiciary officials have announced that he was found guilty of the crime of "waging war against God" [Moharebeh; which is mostly for armed opposition to the Islamic regime]. “R-M” was executed in public in Qaemshahr City. The judiciary officials have announced that he was guilty of the crime of rape. The chief justice of Hormozgan Province has reported the execution of three individuals for the crime of rape in public in Bandarabbas.
Also, some sources have reported the execution of “Salahodin Behnamkerdar”, Rashid Alizadehkerdar”, “Reza Tahmasebi” and “Yunes Golbahar” due to the crime of transportation and possession of drugs; “Latif Mohammadi” because of the crime of armed robbery and “Ebrahim Chupani” and “Yusef Hajilu” because of the first degree murder in the Orumiyeh Prison.
2. The bodies of the two Baha'i citizens – Mahna Samandari and Narges Khatunbarqi – were buried without informing their families.
3. The situation of political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Mohammad Hossein Yusefpur, Hamidreza Ahmadi, Rasul Abdolhai, Alireza Seyedian, Shahin Zoqitabar, Afshin Sohrabzadeh and Mohammad Hossein Rezaei - are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. In addition, Hassan Tofah – an 85 years old prisoner who is suffering from cancer – was returned to the prison due to the refusal to extent his medical leave.
4. Qoncheh Qavami – a civil activist – was moved to the Qarchak Prison, Seyyed Serajedin Mirdamadi – a journalist and political activist - was moved to the ward of financial offences prisoners in the Evin Prison, Ali Ebadi and Mehdi Jalili – two political prisoners – were transferred to the Dargaz and Sarakhs prisons.
5. The relatives of Mir Hossein Musavi – the opposition candidate in the presidential election of 1388 who is under house arrest – have expressed their concerns about the deterioration of the place where he and his wife – Zahra Rahnavard – are interned.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
The economic conditions in the country are still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that the Minister of the Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare has announced the existence “five or six millions wealthy people as rich as the foreign wealthy individuals” and “Seven million individuals in extreme poverty” in Iran. This is while the government’s spokesperson has reported the existence of two million and 257 thousand unemployed young people in the country.
1. The benefits of 60 workers of the Iran Zak Factory have not been paid in Shahrivar (August-September) and Mehr (September-October) months; the salaries of 200 workers of “Tractor manufacturer Industry of Tabriz” [Mashinalat-e Sanati-e Tractorsazi-e Tabriz] for two months, the overtime payment of teachers for the months of Ordibehesht (April-May) and Khordad (May-June) have not been paid; the salaries of 140 workers of the Abfay-e Abadan for five months; the salaries of 100 municipal and green spaces workers of the town of “Fasa” have been delayed for two months and the insurance contribution payments, and additional pay for working on Fridays and shift working for 445 workers of the Maintenance and Repair Unit of Razi Petrochemical [Vahed-e Negahdari Va Tamirat-e Mojmtama-e petroshimi-e Razi] have been postponed for 15 consecutive months.
In addition, the Melli and Mellat Banks, which are the shareholders of the Sugar Factory in Ahvaz, have delayed the payment of 700 million Toman overtime benefits to 99 workers.
2. Reza Golestani – the workers’ union representative at Abfa [factory] – Hassan Salimi and Mohammad Layeqi – two worker representatives of the beverage distribution company “Khoshgovar” – Mohammadali Kazemi, Javid Zolqarni, Karim Mafidust, Mosayeb Kalhor and Mehdi Moafibordbar – five official workers of the “Iran Zak” Factory – and Jafar Molaei, Abbas Shafiei, Hossein Amiri, Mohammad Faraji, Alireza Rezaei, Kambakhsh Kamaliha, Javad Qalenoei, Aslan Nurizadeh and Zahra Qafari – nine official workers of the Saveh Gas Pipe Manufacturing company [Sherkat-e Tolidi-e Gaz Luleh-e Saveh] were sacked from their jobs. Also, the representatives of Marivan in the Majlis has reported the issuance of the dismissal decrees for 300 employees of the Medical Sciences University in Kordestan Province, while the Iranian Labour News Agency – ILNA – has reported the dismissal of 20 contract workers of the Gilana Tile [Kashi Gilana] Factory, 36 contract workers of the Karun Cement [Siman Karun] Factory and 115 workers of the Madanju Coal Company.
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 Aban.
1. Minister of Health and Medical Education has reported the seriousness of air pollution in Ahvaz. This is while the deputy of the Medical University in Ahvaz has reported the increasing number of people with respiratory diseases in this region in comparison to last year. The Reporters Club, which is affiliated to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Broadcasting, has announced that acid rains have forced some people of Khuzestan Province to go to the hospital. He said the main reasons for the acid rain was oil and industrial installations pollution, and litter and waste accumulation in the city of Ahvaz.
2. The governor of Qasr-e Shirin has reported the explosion of a landmine, and the wounding of two individuals in this incident.
In view of the review of the human rights conditions in Iran during the month of Aban 1393, the Defenders for Human Rights Centre believes that the weakness of civil society will create a bleak future for the country.
Therefore, giving recognition to professional and guild unions, and strengthening civil institutions, not only will improve the overall atmosphere in society, but will also increase the level of satisfaction of the citizens. In fact, the government should have a sense of responsibility and strengthen the civil society, as this will enable them to build a better future for the country.
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