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 Aban 1394 [Iranian month corresponding to 23 October to 21 November 2015].
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has pointed to the detention of journalists, and the contradictory statements that were issued about it by different state officials. It announced that the detained journalists have become as tool for the political rivalries within the political system.
Therefore, this people-instituted organization expressed concern about the process of “putting detainees under severe psychological pressure during the early stages of investigations in order to obtain a confession from them, which would be detrimental to the defendants themselves, but would serve to prove the claims and allegations of their captors”.
The Center for the Defender of Human Rights has referred to the solitary confinement of detainees and its negative impact and side effects, and announced that the security officials resorted to the punishment of solitary confinement during the early stages of interrogation mainly in order to put pressure on the defendants and compel them make confessions which would be detrimental to their cases, while serving the interests and objectives of their interrogators.
Therefore, the Center for the Defender of Human Rights considers the practice of extracting confessions from defendants under pressure and duress during the early stages of interrogation to be in contravention of religious and legal principles. The Centre has called for legal action against the offenders, because it believes these offenders are undermining the entire basis and foundation of fair and just investigation.
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 Supporters of Human Rights, the text of the report by the said centre for the month of Aban 1394, which has been published on 1st of Azar 1394 [22 November 2015], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in October-November 2015
With the detention of a number of journalists and the conflicting statements by the state officials during the month of Aban, this assumption has been reinforced that the detained journalists have become as tool in the political rivalries within the state. Therefore, there is the risk of putting detainees under severe psychological pressure during the early stages of investigations to obtain a confession, which would be detrimental to their case, but would lend credibility to the allegations and claims of their captors.
Therefore, when it comes to these detentions or others similar to them, the important factor is the manner that the defendants are kept in detention during the preliminary stages of the investigations. According to the rules and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, keeping the accused in solitary confinement is a clear example of psychological torture and is prohibited but unfortunately, security and judicial officials still resort to such methods. This is while some officials have spoken about the claims of the investigators and the defence offered by the detainees in the court and during the during the early investigations into the charges. It should be noted that, the detainees are not in same position as their captors after being kept in solitary confinement for a long time and after being cut off from any contacts with the outside world.
As we have repeatedly seen, the defendants have often been forced to make false confessions against their own cases and in favour of the wishes and objectives of their interrogators, due to mental torture and the harsh conditions they have had to endure, but subsequently, they have denied and retracted their confessions after their release from prison. Of course, these confessions are against the law and religious principles, and in addition, they have no credibility among the public opinion either.
Therefore, keeping the accused in solitary confinement, is one of the most important criteria that should not be ignored. But unfortunately, in some courts which we have observed, a number of non-judicial factors have been used as the bases for issuing unjust verdicts.
Therefore, the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights has stressed on the necessity of respecting the legal and religious principles during the early stages of investigations, so as to satisfy the fundamental principles of fair hearing. The Centre has called for legal action against those who breach these principles.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Aban [starting from 23 October to 21 November 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 October-November 2015
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 34 people were detained and the names of them have been specified, who were Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Mazandarani and Isa Saharkhiz – four journalists; Siamak Namazi – a civil activist; Sahba Farnush, Negar Baqeri, Nava Monjazeb, Yavar Haqiqat, Navid Aqdasi, Helia Moshtaq, Keyvan Nikaeen, Parvin Nikaeen, Yeganeh Ahi, Matin Janmian, Arshia Ruhani, Navid Hemmat, Sanaz Eshaqi, Nika Pakzadan, Farzaneh Daneshgari and Naqmeh Zabihian – 16 Baha’i citizens.
In addition, Simin Eyvaz Zadeh – the mother of Omid Ali Shenas who is currently serving in prison; Hashem Zeynali – the father Saeid Zeynali (a university student who has been missed after the incident of June 1999); Reza Malek – a previous political prisoner; Mohsen Shoja – a civil activist; and some pupils of Mohammad Ali Taheri were detained due to a protest gathering in front of Evin Prison.
On the other hand, some residents were detained due to street protests in the neighborhoods where Azarbaijani people live. Moreover, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution has reported the detention of some individuals – unnamed and without mentioning their numbers – due to what they described as “an invitation to create chaos and inflammatory conditions in society and provoke Azerbaijani speakers in Gilan through the channels of cyberspace”.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Saeid Soltani and Maqsud Basirpur – two civil activists; Fatemeh Masani – a previous political prisoner; Amin Eyhavand and Mojgan Abbasbashi – two members of the Yarsan Creed; and Seyyed Taha Karimi, Aminollah Dahmardeh, Amanollah Baluchi and Hafez Rahimkuhi – four 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. Hadi Heidari – a cartoonist – was sentenced to one year in jail and Jafar Azimzadeh – a labour activist – was sentenced to six years imprisonment. In addition, Mohammadreza Purshajari was exiled to Yazd for two years after being released from prison.
3. Esmaeil Gerami Moqadam – a member of the Etemad Melli Party – was sentenced to five years imprisonment term and exclusion from membership in political parties and groups, political factions and activities in the press, media and cyberspace; Solmaz Ikdar – a journalist – was sentenced to three years in jail and Siavash Alikhani – a fan of Erfan-e Halqe (Mystic Ring) was sentenced to two years of suspended imprisonment. Moreover, the two-year imprisonment sentence of Mohammadreza Nekunam – a religious activist – was confirmed.
4. Seyyed Abdolrasul Musavi – a religious activist; Zartosht (Esmaeil) Ahmadi Ragheb – a civil activist – and Seyyed Mansur Musavi – a cultural activist – were summoned to the court. Also, Korush Zaeim – a member of the National Front of Iran (Jebhey-e Melli-e Iran); Jahangir Salimi – a supporter Ahl-e Haq Creed – And parvin Mohammadi – a union trade activist – were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence. On the other hand, Afsaneh Bayazidi – a university student – was briefed about the allegations against her while she was in jail.
5. Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotudeh, Shahin Mahinfar and Mohammad Nurizad were detained for several hours each.
B) Situation regarding cultural rights
1. Access to the "Yek-Bist" [One-Twenty] website, and the "Sufi Jam Khaneh" [The House of Sufi Jam] weblog has been blocked.
2. Images depicting two famous cinema actresses - Baran Kowsari and Pegah Ahangarani - have been cut out of movie trailers broadcast by TV.
3. A planned concert in Tehran by the leader of a Turkish orchestra has been called off.
C) Other instances of violations of human rights
1. During the past month, at least 13 people were executed. The full names of all the executed individuals have not been announced, but the judicial officials or media sources affiliated to the Iranian government, or reliable news websites have confirmed their executions. The details are as follows:
"H.M", "A.Eyn" and "N.H" were executed in public in the town of Baft, while "Eyn.S" was also executed publicly in the town of Khoy. The relevant Judiciary officials said the executed individuals had been found guilty of the crime of rape. Furthermore, media sources affiliated to the Iranian state reported the execution of two individuals in Golestan Province for the crime of rape.
Hamid and Ghorban Ali have been executed in the Raja'ishahr Prison. Media organs close to the Iranian government reported these two individuals had been convicted for the crime of first degree murder.
Moreover, some reports indicate the execution of Barekat Malek Reisi in Esfahan for the crime of possession and transportation of narcotic drugs. According to the same sources, the following individuals have also been executed for the crime of first degree murder: Mohammad Yunes Jamaleddini, in Zahedan; and Sayyad Narimani, Rahim Ahmadi, and Mohammad Ali Moradi in the city of Tabriz.
2. Media sources affiliated to the Iranian state have announced that an execution verdict has been issued against two individuals, without giving their names, for the crime of first degree murder. In addition, the same media sources reported the confirmation of the death sentences against two un-named individuals by the Supreme Appeal Court. According to these reports, the two had been convicted of the crime of first degree murder. Furthermore, a number of news media sources also report that the Supreme Appeal Court has upheld a death sentence issued against Shahram Ahmadi.
3. The conditions of some prisoners are still reported to be unsatisfactory. For example, several of them are currently ill now, but nothing is being done to provide them with the necessary course of treatment. The names of some of these inmates are as follows: Omid Kowkabi, Abolqasem Fuladvand, Atena Daemi, Mostafa (Keyvan) Davudi, Zeynab Jalalian, Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabbagh, Soheyl Babadi, Alireza Golpur and Gol Mohammad Shahvazehi. In addition, the dispatch of Seyyed Serajeddin Mirdamadi to a clinic to receive treatment was prevented because of his refusal to wear a handcuff and shackles around his feet. At the same time, Mashallah Haeri was also returned to the prison without being allowed to complete his course of treatment.
4. Abbas Lesani and Misagh Yazdan Nezhad have been transferred to the Shiraz jail and the Evin Prison, respectively. It should be explained that these transfers have taken place without any specific reasons, and in contravention of the prisons' own internal regulations.
Section 2: Economic and Social Rights
1. Reports concerning the social and economic situation also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during the month of Aban. For example: the wages and benefits of workers of the International Sepanta Company of Khuzestan have not been paid for 12 months. In addition, other instances of delayed payment of wages and benefits to workers include: wages of workers at the Abdaran Plant of Landeh township in Kohgiluyeh va Boyer Ahmad Province have not been paid for between four and nine months; workers at the Lowshan Cement Plant for 12 months; workers employed at the Kavir Tiles Factory of Yazd for three month; workers at the Kumeh Iran Factory for a period of around 6 months; and the fixed term contract employees of the Shushtar Municipality, whose wages have been delayed now by around eight months.
Furthermore, the payment of wages and benefits of 40 workers at the South Pabdana Mine have not been paid for three months; around 60 workers of "Araf Iran" Company have not been paid for two months; 200 workers at the Asaluyeh Especial Zone have gone without pay for six months; around 800 workers at the Safa Pipeline Factory have not received pay for five months; around 80 workers at the Tang-e Sorkh Dam Project near the city of Yasuj have not been paid for around eight months; 300 workers at the Negin Mining Company have not received wages for two months; and finally nearly 200 workers employed at the Pars Train Carriage Factory have not received any pay for a period of around four months, at the time of compilation of this report.
2. Fifty workers at the Qazvin Steel Factory, 30 workers at the "T" Company, and 54 workers employed at the "Pars Gas Control" Factory have been fired from their jobs. In addition, with the closure of the seventh unit of the Tehran Cement Factory, 113 contract workers were laid off, while they were still owed two months wages. Also, with the closing down of the Tabriz Kaf Plant, 200 workers lost their jobs.
3. The business premises of Zahra Golabian and Zekrollah Babai -- two Baha'i citizens - were closed down and officially sealed off. In addition, the Judiciary officials confiscated the equipment at the Glass Making Factory of Afrasiyab Khanjani, a Baha'i citizen.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
The news received about the environment still point to the continuation of adverse conditions in that particular area. For instance, according to the experts, the crisis of shortage of water and draught in some parts of the country is bound to lead to mass migration of the inhabitants of the affected areas, as well as the occurrence of land subsidence in other regions of the country.
1. A state official has said that the construction of dams, lack of attention to the ecological consequences of water exploitation, and the continued excavation of unauthorized wells were among the main factors responsible for turning the Jazmurian Marshes in Kerman Province into one of the main sources of generation of dust and harmful particles in the country.
At the end of its report for the month of Aban 1394, the Center for the Defender of Human Rights has emphasized the implementation of domestic laws and regulations, and the international treaties and agreements. It has declared that the security officials keep defendants in solitary cells during the preliminary stages of the investigations, mainly in order to put pressure on the defendant and extract a confession out of him. The Centre emphasized that this practice in itself is a clear example of torture.