The issuance of heavy sentences for some civil activist by different branches of the Revolution Court during the month of Khordad (21 May to 21 June 2015), and the continuing detention of some other civil activists point to the presence of a serious resolve for closing and restricting the political atmosphere in the country. This is because whenever the political atmosphere is moves towards restrictions and closure, the civil society invariably encounters many constraints and restrictions. Among these, one can mention the official closure of the offices of the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights and the Association of Iranian Journalists at the time of the disputed presidential elections in 1388 [June 2009]. At the time, the security forces and the Revolution Courts were highly suspicious of the civil society activists, and were accusing them of seeking to overthrow the regime, or acting against national security.
Therefore, it is in this context that one can assess the confrontational approach of adopted against the civil society in recent years indicates the closed political atmosphere and the low tolerance of the political system. The detention of women campaigning for equality, as well as economists and sociologists who have criticized the current situation, or the issuance of jail sentences for them, and in addition, handing down long-term jail sentences for some individuals who are active in the field of their indigenous languages. It appears the political system is engaged in a fully-fledged effort to curtail and suppress the civil society.
This is while, in an effort to appease the public opinion, the authorities have established some ostensibly public and popular institutions, which they believe will be able to fulfil the ruling elite’s objectives and aspirations, in the absence of a genuine civil society.
The report for the month of Khordad 1394 also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the past month. The content of the 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 2015
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about seven people were detained and the names of them have been specified as follows: Mohammad Moqimi – a lawyer; Jafar Azimzadeh – a labour activist; Hossein Rafiei Fanud – a national religious activist – and Solmaz Ikdar – a journalist. In addition, Mohammadreza Moradi – a journalist – was detained during the last days of Ordibehesht [previous Iranian month ending 21 May 2015].
On the other hand, some news web sites have reported the detention of Abd Ali Mazra’eh, Hashem Mazra’eh, and Teymur Khaledian – three civil 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. Hamid Azizi – a Baha’i citizen – was sent to prison to serve one year in prison; Sasan Haqiri – a Baha’i citizen – was transferred to prison to serve his one year imprisonment term; Rauf Shahbazi – a university student – was sent to prison to serve 18 months in jail and Sobhan Zamanian – a university student – was dispatched to jail to serve his 15 months imprisonment term.
3. Marzieh (Minu) Mortazi Langarudi – a women’s rights campaigner and national-religious activist – was sentenced to six years in jail plus two years ban from political and civil activities; Ahmad Heidari – a religious activist – was sentenced to six years imprisonment in addition to 74 lashes; Abbas Salehian – a Gonabadi Darwishes Sect – was sentenced to 74 lashes; Hossein Alimohammadi and Taha Kermani – two civil activists – were sentenced to 13 years in jail each; Hossein Rafiei Fanud – a university professor and national religious activist who currently is serving his sentence in prison – was sentenced to six years in prison in addition to two years ban from membership in political parties and media and press activities – Atena Faraqdani – a civil activist who currently is serving her sentence in prison – was sentence to 12 years and nine months imprisonment term; Omid Alishenas – a civil activist who currently is serving his jail sentence– was sentenced to 10 years in jail; Asu Rostami and Ali Nuri – two civil activists who currently are serving their sentence in the prison – were sentenced to seven years imprisonment term for each of them; Zeynolabedin Qaeimi – a blogger – was sentenced to three years in jail; Mostafa Azizi – a writer and television producer – was sentenced to eight years in prison; and Mehdi Hashemi Bahramani – a civil activist – was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment term.
On the other hand, Ardeshir Shahnavaz was sentenced to five years in jail; Nahid Behshid was sentenced to five years imprisonment term; Abdolahad Jalilzadeh was given a sentence of five years imprisonment; Fahimeh A’rafi was sentenced to five years in jail; Ziba Purhabib was sentenced to three years in prison; Mohammadreza Shokraeian was sentenced to three years imprisonment term; Mohammadreza Afshar was given a two year imprisonment term; Mohammadreza Farahmandnia was sentenced to two years in jail; Ms. Rastgu was sentenced to two years imprisonment term; Ameneh Jaberi was sentenced to two years imprisonment term; Leila Jafari was sent to jail for a period of two years; Zahra Yazdani was sentenced to two years in prison; Seyyed Abdolreza Miraqasi was given a sentence of two years in jail; Narges Farhadi was sentenced to one year imprisonment term plus three lashes; Alireza Lachin was sentenced to one year in prison; Mehdi Nirumanesh was sentenced to one year in jail that is suspended for five years; Zahra Jalili was sentenced to a one year imprisonment term that is going to be suspended for five years; Mehri Sheikhu was also sentenced to a one year imprisonment term which will be suspended for five years. All of these 18 individuals were the members of Mystic Ring [Erfan-e Halqeh] Group.
In addition, the following individuals were sentenced to different imprisonment terms in the Appeal Court: Masumeh Zia to one year imprisonment term plus 74 lashes; Mohammad Tajik Pazuki to five years in jail; Vida Pirzadeh to one year in prison that is suspended for five years; Parvin Baharzadeh to one year in prison which will be suspended for five years; Leila Jama’at to one year in jail; Sorush Azemikhak to two years in jail and Seyyed Morteza Hojat Najafi to five years in prison. All of these seven individuals are the members of Mystic Ring Group. On the other hand, Abbas Lesani, a civil activist, was sentenced to one year in jail in the Appeal Court; Farshid Fathi – who currently is serving his sentence in the prison – was sentenced to one year imprisonment term in the Appeal Court, and Arash Moqadam Aslanpur – currently jail serving his sentence – was sentenced to one year imprisonment term in the Appeal Court.
4. Foruzan Alizadeh and Shabnam Bodaqi – the wife and daughter of Rasul Bodaqi, a political prisoner – were interrogated in the magistrate court. In addition, Korush Zaeim – a member of the National Front of Iran [Jebhey-e Melli-ye Iran], and Ahmadreza Ahmadpur – a religious activist – were summoned to the court, while Keyvan Bajan, a member of Iranian Writers’ Association, was summoned to the Intelligent Ministry.
5. The trial sessions of Jason Rezaeian – an Iranian-American journalist – and Kazem Dehqan – a member of the Gonabadi Darwishes Sect – have been held.
6. Ahmad Zeidabadi – a journalist – who was welcomed by the local people of Gonabad after he was sent there on exile – has received threats.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. Ahmad Tavakkoli – the editor in chief of “Alef” website – was sentenced to a six months imprisonment term which is going to be suspended for two years, and Ahmad Sattari – the editor in chief of “Mardom-e Emruz” daily newspaper – was sentenced to pay a fine of two million Tomans.
2. The Press Jury found the editor in chief of Iran and Hamshahri daily newspapers guilty.
3. Zakaria Qaderi – a professor at the Islamic Azad University of Kermanshah – has been barred from taking on more lectures and teaching classes at the said university.
4. The police force have refused to issue a permit for a concert by [Iranian musician] Kayhan Kalhor and Brookline. Furthermore, the Judiciary officials have prevented a concert by Saeed Jafarzadeh, who is widely known as “Parvaz-e Homay”. In addition, the relevant officials have prevented a concert in the city of Rasht by the Payvar Band [classical Persian ensemble], which is led by Saeed Sabet and their vocalist, Vahid Taj. Finally, the authorities did not allow Saman Jalili’s planned concert in the city of Khorramabad.
5. The relevant officials prevented the staging of the opening induction ceremonies for the first year freshers at the University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. At least 42 individuals were executed in this month. The complete names of some of them are still not clear but the judicial authorities or government-controlled media have confirmed their executions. Some of the names are as follows: “H-Q” and “Q-P” were executed in Rasht, “A-Q” and “N-R” were executed in Sari and “Jomekhan-H” – an Afghan national – was executed in public in Sari. The Judiciary officials announced that they had been convicted of the crime of transportation and possession of drugs. The Judiciary officials have reported the execution of one individual in Ardabil and the execution of eight individuals in Bandarabbas for the crime of transportation and possession of drugs.
“Javad-V” was executed in public in Fasa City, “Ali-H” and “Sohrab-Sh” were executed in public in Shiraz and “Hassan-J” was executed in public in the town of Oqlid. The Judiciary officials have said they had been found guilty of the crime of rape. In addition, the state-controlled media reported the execution of two individuals in public in Shahr-e Babak. Furthermore, according to the Judiciary officials, one person was executed in public in the town of Jiroft due to the crime of rape. A Judiciary official has reported the execution of three individuals in public in Mashhad after they were convicted of the crime hooliganism, insurgency and violent crimes.
“B-Hamidi” was executed in Qazvin, “M-K” was executed in Qaemshahr and “M-D” was executed in Sari. The Judiciary officials have said they had all been convicted of the crime of murder. “Ruhollah Gashtasbi” was executed in Gachsaran. State-controlled media announced that they had been found guilty for the crime of first-degree murder. In addition, a Judiciary official has reported the execution of one individual in Zanjan and the state-controlled media have reported the execution of one woman for the crime of murder.
On the other hand, Mansur Arvand – a political prisoner – has been executed.
Furthermore, according to some news, some individuals – Reza Karegari, Ali Kushki, Masud Zibaei, Abbas Heidari and Ahmad Ebrahimi – were executed in the Qezel Hesar Prison in Karaj due to the crime of transportation and possession of drugs. Mohammad Abbasnejad was executed in Tabriz due to the crime of transportation and possession of drugs and Nowruz Basiri was executed in Tabriz for the crime of murder; Mansur Fatihirad and Ardalan Rahdar were executed in Orumieh for the crime of transportation and possession of drugs; Farzad Parvin was executed in Zahedan for the crime of first-degree murder and Ali Nowruzi was executed in the Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj due to the crime of murder.
2. State-controlled media have reported the issuance of a death sentence against “Jalal” in Tehran Province; “Hamid” in Fars Province; “Khalil”, “Amir”, “Ehsan Shah Qasemi” and one unnamed individual in Tehran Province for the crime of murder. In addition, the state-controlled media have reported the issuance of death sentences for two individuals in Zanjan due to the crime of rape. The Judiciary officials have also reported the issuance of a death sentence against “A-Kh” for the crime of first-degree murder in Kerman. On the other hand, a government official has reported the confirmation of a death sentence issued against the murderer of an environment protection guard in the town of Shirvan.
3. The police commander of Pakdasht city district has reported the public parading and humiliation of three individuals due to the crime of hooliganism and thuggery in the town.
4. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them – such as Alireza Rasuli, Piruz Mansuri, Saeed Purheidar, Abolqasem (Javad) Fuladvand, Mohammad Saeed Hosseinzadeh and Yusef Abkharabat – are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. Serajoddin Mirdamadi was returned to the prison after surgery and Mehdi Karrubi and Zahra Rahnavard were returned to house arrest after undergoing surgery. Reza Entesari was not sent to hospital by the officials of the Evin Prison because he refused to wear prison’s uniform.
5. Mohammadreza Nekunam was transferred to the Evin Prison and Masud Garmsiri was transferred to Mahabad Prison. It should be noted these transfers have been carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons internal affairs. Moreover, Kambiz Chakani, Anvar Badri, Rahman Khoshkalam and Yunes Malak – four residents of Mahabad who have been detained in the protests during the previous month – were transferred to Mahabad Prison and Mosayyeb Vatankhah, Abdolsattar Bahramzi, Najibolrahman Raeisi, Mohammad Amin Raeisi, Amin Bahramzehi, Abubakr Molazehi, Abubakr (Sediq) Bahramzehi, Amer Gahramzehi, Edris Balidehei, Bashir Balidehei, Davud Bahramzehi and Omid Bahramzehi – 12 residents of Nasirabad who had been detained in the wake of the recent incidents in the town – were transferred to Zahedan Prison.
6. The spokesperson of the Judiciary has reported the detention of five individuals in Tehran and other provinces such as Kerman for engaging in what he described as the promotion of vice and prostitution. In addition, a Judiciary official has reported the detention of 89 individuals due to the crime of organizing and holding “night parties” in the eastern regions of the Tehran Province.
7. The relevant officials prevented women’s entry into the 12,000-capacity Azadi Stadium, in order to watch the games of Volleyball World League.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning the situation regarding social and economic rights also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas. For example, a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Provinces has spoken about the availability of only one hospital (a general and non-specialized one) for some 300,000 people and three towns in the Sistan Va Baluchestan Province. A representative of the Majlis has also reported the increasing number of homeless women in Tehran, who sleep rough in cardboard boxes.
1. Around 10 workers of the Luleh Va Navard-e Safa [pipeline] Factory have been sacked from their jobs.
2. The salaries of 190 workers of Fulad Alborz Factory (Steel Factory) have not been paid for three months and the wages of more than 200 workers of the “Quadrilateral Green Complex” [Mojtama-e Chaharganeh-e Sabz] have been delayed for 11 months. Moreover, around 900 workers of the Sahand Foundry have not been paid their salaries for the month of Esfand last year (February-March 2015).
3. Mahmud Amidi, Karim Abedini, Mohammad Nazari Eshtehardi and Hamid Tajedini were disqualified as candidates standing in the fourth elections for the management boards of the National Nursing Council.
4. The business premises of 11 Baha’i citizens have been closed down and placed under official seal. The citizens affected were: Ziaollah Khoshbin, Kamal Akbari, Ehsanollah Sanaei, Vahab Darabi, Taraneh Zahedi, Saeid Goli, Aramesh Zohuri, Farshad Kamali, Mehran Kamali, Ehsan Izadi and Pedram Qanbari.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
1. Aziz Golestani was killed due to mine explosion in the town of Paveh.
2. The ancient historical zone “Sayadeh” in Firuzkuh has been destroyed.
At the end of the report for the month of Khordad of 1394, Defenders of Human Rights Centre emphasizes that the aggravation of the confrontational approach against the civil society institutions and activists indicates the presence of a certain resolve to restrict and close down the political atmosphere in the country. The DHRC declares that civil society is one of the essential components of democracy and the flourishing of democracy in the country will not be possible without it.
Therefore, weakening or eliminating civil society is not in the national interests of Iran; especially at a time when the enemies are seeking to undermine the independence of Iran. Therefore, the Iranian political system should not see civil society as its Achilles’ heel and then set out to destroy it.
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.