In continuation of its monthly reports, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Mordad 1394 [Iranian month corresponding to 23 July to 22 August 2015].
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has announced that not implementing the amended version of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code is among the evident manifestations of arbitrary detentions and the misuse of power, which in itself is a grave charge against the judicial officials.
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights believes that not enforcing Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code is an extrajudicial conduct, which is being committed by some security forces and judicial officials. The Centre also criticized the presence of multiple standards and criteria in dealing with judicial issues.
Therefore, this people-instituted organization said the extrajudicial conducts of some officials of the judiciary and security forces have led to the double oppression and injustice against political prisoners and the prisoners of conscience.
Accordingly, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights emphasised on the need for an independent Judiciary and called for structural reforms in the Judiciary and non-interference by the security forces.
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 Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, the text of the report by the said centre for the month of Mordad 1394, which has been published on 3 Shahrivar 1394 [25 August 2015], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in July-August 2015
The extrajudicial conducts of some officials of the judiciary and security forces have led to double oppression and injustice against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in general. A clear example and manifestation of this illegal activity is the refusal to implement Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code (together with its supplementary amendments) by the relevant officials.
The amended Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code provides that in cases of multiple offences, only the severest punishment should be applicable to the offender, but this amendment is not being applied to the cases of some of the convict, who are invariably given the whole set of sentences and punishments together. It is surprising there is no single and consistent procedure in this regard either. In other word, Article 134 is implemented for some prisoners and not implemented for the others, and this clearly indicates the existence of multiple standards in dealing with judicial issues.
This is while, some of the prisoners will return to their families by the implementation of Article 134 but unfortunately, their release has been prevented without specifying any specific reason. Based on information provided by their families, Bahareh Hedayat and Rasul Bodaqi are two examples who can be mentioned in this connection.
Therefore, not implementing the amended version of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code is among the clear manifestations of arbitrary detentions and the misuse of power, which in itself is a grave charge against the judicial officials. Of course, many prisoners do not have any legitimate judicial authority to hear their cases and restore their rights, since the formal authority to investigate judicial offences and misconduct is the Disciplinary Court of Judges, which of course has not been immune itself from political interference and influence.
This is while, the most important guarantor of democracy is the independence of the judiciary.
Unfortunately, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the amendments that it underwent in the subsequent years, and also the Employment Law of Judges, both tend to undermine the independence of the judiciary. For example, the existence of the Islamic Revolution Courts, and especially their procedures and approach with regards to political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. In addition, the selection of judges who are working at the said Revolution courts in recent years has been such that we have rarely witnessed the restoration of justice. In this regard, it is particularly important to mention the influence of security agents over the course of political trials.
This is while, the law on determining political crimes has not been approved yet. Therefore, security forces and the courts have a free hand to label political prisoners as security suspects and then deal with them harshly and severely. In their memoirs, many of the defendants tried in the Revolution Courts have spoken about the influence of the security agents. They state that the fate of the people on trial is not really in the hands of the judge but instead is controlled by the security and intelligence interrogators, whose opinions are largely based on the confessions they have extracted mostly during the interrogations, which were carried out under considerable s during and while receiving psychological and physical pressures, and without the presence of a defence lawyer. It is as a result of these circumstances that justice in the judicial apparatus has been disregarded and trampled on, time and again.
This is while even after the passage of 36 years since the Islamic Revolution, in the way judges are selected, the current laws gives priority to those who have graduated from Islamic seminaries over the graduates of different law schools and faculties.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Mordad [starting from 23 July and ending on 22 August 2015], 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 Jul-August 2015
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. Some news sources have reported the detention of Ali Piruz Ahmadi – a union activist; Payman Fatahi, Morteza Rasulian, Amir Reza Almasian, Haydeh Shadnia, Shahin Bashiri, Mona Chahar Dovali, Esmaeil Falahati, Nematolah Yusefi and Razmik – nine newly converted Christians; and Bayram Qarachelu, Behnam Abdolmohammadi, Asghar Bidel, Mehran Bambaei, Abbas Shadmand and Akbar Abolzadeh – six 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. Aram Zandi and Foad Zandi – two labour activists – were sent to jail to serve their four months imprisonments; Farzad Moradinia – a labour activist – was transferred to jail to serve three years imprisonment term; Mehdi Hashem – a political activist [and son of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani] – was transferred to prison to serve 10 years in jail; and Naser Piri – a Sunni cleric student – was sent to prison to serve his five years imprisonment term. Moreover, Abbas Lesani – a civil activist – were detained and transferred to prison to serve one year in jail on the last day of the month of Tir [22 July].
3. Feizollah Arabsorkhi – a member of the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization of Iran – was sentenced to one year imprisonment plus two years ban from political and social activities; Korush Zaeim – a member of the Iran National Front – was sentenced to one year in jail; Nameq Deldel – a Sunni citizen who is currently serving a prison term – was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment; Saeed Purheidar – a journalist who is currently in prison – was sentenced to five years in prison; Majid Mohammadi Moein – a journalist who is currently serving in prison – was sentenced to one year imprisonment once again; Javad Qanbar – a cyber-activist who is currently in prison – was sentenced to two years in jail; and Majid Matin – a civil activist who is currently serving a prison term – was sentenced to four years in jail.
4. The court trial sessions of Mahmud Salehi – a labour activist; Omid Dabaghchi Mokri – a citizen who is currently in prison; Alireza Rasuli – a political activist who is in jail right now – were held.
5. Qorban Behzadian Nejad – a political activist – was summoned to the court during his last days in the prison; Korush Bakhshandeh – a labour activist – was summoned to the office of the prosecutor; Mohammad Ayub Kazemi – a religious activist – was summoned to the court; Amin Anvari – a civil activist – was summoned to the court and finally Nasrin Sotudeh – a lawyer – was summoned to the magistrate court.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The “9th of Dey” weekly publication has been banned by the Press Supervisory Board.
2. The Press Jury has found “Basij News Agency” and the previous editor in chief of “Iran” daily newspaper guilty.
3. The relevant officials prevented the continuation of the theatre "Pinokia" due to the failure to comply with some religious and moral tenets.
4. Sunni prayer halls have been destroyed by some authorities in Tehran.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 39 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:
“S-J” and “M-M” were executed in Rasht. The Judiciary’s official said they had both been convicted of the crime of possession and transportation of narcotic drugs. On the other hand, Judiciary officials have reported the execution of six individuals without mentioning their names in Bandar Abbas; four un-named individuals in Minab; four other unidentified individuals in Yazd; one un-named individual in Ardabil; two individuals who were not named in Rasht. Accordingly, these executions were for the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. State-controlled media also have reported the execution of three individuals without mentioning their names in Rajei Shahr Prison, and the public execution of an un-named individual in the town of Oqlid. The crimes of all convicts were the possession and transportation of drugs.
“Z-P”, “M-P”, “M-M” and “A-M” were executed in Rasht. The Judiciary official said they had been convicted of the crime of murder.
“R-B” and “A-N” were executed in Mashhad in public; while “A-K”, “R-A” and “N-Sh” were executed in Ilam. State-controlled media have announced that their crime was rape. On the other hand, the Judiciary officials have reported the public execution of three individuals without mentioning their names in Alborz Province and two other un-named individuals in Zanjan due to the crime of rape.
Sirvan Najavi – a political prisoner – was executed during the past month.
In addition, some news sources has reported the execution of “Omar Parastandeh Khial” in the city of Shiraz due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs.
On the other hand, the relevant officials has reported the execution of “S-B” because of the crime of rape in Esfahan on the last day of the month of Tir [22 July 2015]. State-controlled media have reported the execution on nine individuals without mentioning their names in Rajaei Shahr Prison due to the crime of murder on the last day of the month of Tir [22 July 2015].
2. The left leg and right hand of “Rahman-K” were amputated in Mashhad for the crime of robbery. Moreover, state-controlled media have reported the hand and leg amputation sentence against one unidentified individual in Mashhad because of the crime of robbery.
3. State-controlled media have reported the issuance of a death sentence against “Mohammad Ali Taheri” – the founder of the Mystic Ring (Erfan-e Halqeh).
4. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Atena Daeimi, Mohammad Sediq Kabudvand, Narges Mohammadi, Afshin Baymani, Babak Asiaei and Alireza Golipur – are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. Moreover, Saeed Razavi Faqih was returned to prison before the completion of the necessary course of medical treatment, and Mehdi Karrubi was returned to house arrest after undergoing surgery.
5. Saeed Malekpur was transferred to the Ward No.8 of Evin Prison and Samku Khelqati was transferred to Arak 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.
6. The relevant officials have prevented Mohammadreza Nekunam from visiting his family.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. Reports concerning the social and economic situation in the country also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month to the extent that the supreme head of the Workers' Associations has announced the workers receive only one million Toman per month in the best case scenario, while the cost of living is 3,200,000 Toman per month. This is while the wage and the fringe benefit of 140 workers of Parand Power Station in Tehran have been decreased in comparison to last years. On the other hand, the Director of the Association of Retired Employees and Pensioners at the State Welfare Organization has said the current cost of living and the salary of pensioners are disproportionate.
2. The salaries of 400 workers of Qeshlaq Mine in Azadshahr City have not been paid for seven months and the wages of some workers of Golgohar Mines in Sirjan – that is to say mines No.2 and No.4 - have been delayed for several months.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
1. The concentration of dust particles has reached 46 times more than the permissible limit in the city of Ahvaz, while in Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, this level has reached three times more than the permissible limit during some days of the month of Mordad [July-August].
2. The right leg of Daryush Ardelpur – minesweeper – was severed due to a land mine explosion in Baneh [western Iran] and Yadollah Gholaminasab – another minesweeper – was injured due to a mine explosion in Sardasht. In addition, a relevant official has reported that two individuals are experiencing the “shell shock” syndrome after being in the vicinity of a mine explosion near the town of Qasr-e Shirin. Furthermore, the state-controlled media have announced the death of a teenager and the injury of another young person due to a land mine explosion in Sarvabad.
3. Some 37 trees, aged between 30 and 70 years, have been cut down in the city of Rasht.
4. The Maharlu Lake near the city of Shiraz has dried up.
At the end of the report for the month of Mordad of 1394, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has stressed that structural reforms of the judiciary, and the non-interference of the security forces in the judiciary, is one of the most urgent reforms that needs to be carried out. The Centre declares that no political system could be called democratic unless it possesses an independent Judiciary which has the trust and confidence of the population. This is because the presence of an independent Judiciary is an absolute must for confronting unlawful and extrajudicial conducts.