In continuation of its monthly reports, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Dey 1394.
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has referred to the disqualification of about sixty per cent of the participants in the tenth Majlis election by the Election Supervision Boards and announced that the Guardian Council's actions were contrary to the Constitution and prevented the entry of real representatives of the people into the Majlis.
This people-instituted organization has referred to Article No.62 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and stressed that the right to self-determination and governance, as one of the fundamental human rights criteria, can be ensured only through the free election of representatives, and called for the revocation of mandatory supervision [by the Guardian Council].
Article No.62 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran declares that “the Majlis should be formed by the representatives of people who have been elected directly by a secret ballot”.
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 center for the month of Dey 1394, which has been published on 3 of Bahman 1394 [23 January 2016], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in December 2015-Janury 2016
The disqualification of about sixty per cent of the aspiring candidates in the tenth Majlis election by the Election Supervisory Boards, is indicative of the fact that the Guardian Council has acted against the Constitution and, as a result, has prevented the entry of the real representatives of the people in the Majlis.
This is because According to the Article No.62 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “the Majlis should be formed by the representatives of the people who have been elected directly by secret ballots”. This means that the election of Majlis should be completed in one single phase, because the use of the word “direct”, points to the removal of any other phase or any type of link and relationship.
On this basis, until the third Majlis elections, the people “directly” elected the candidates who met the requirements and criteria stipulated in the election law. Unfortunately, from the fourth Majlis election, the Guardian Council started to put to practice the concept of mandatory supervision. Subsequently, after legislations by the fifth term of the Majlis, from 1374 [year ending 21 March 1996], the Guardian Council was formally granted the authority and mandate to exercise mandatory supervision over the election process. After that year, by exercising extrajudicial intervention in the election process – in a clear violation of. Article 62 of the Constitution, the Guardian Council changed the elections from “direct” to “indirect” and from being a “single phase” process to a “two stage” one; that is to say something which was in clear breach of the Constitution. This method of supervision has always faced popular protests, and the people have been calling for its abolition continually.
These behaviors are taking place while the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is also disregarding its legal responsibility which stipulates it should provide equal opportunities for individuals standing as candidates in the elections. As a result, a certain political faction is able to utilize better and more effective channels for communication with the people because of the relationships it has managed to build with certain circles.
However, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have repeatedly stressed the necessity for all people to take part in the elections, to the extent that even the Leader [Ayatollah Khamene’i], in his remarks about the elections, has on two occasions emphasized that the people should participate in the election, even if they do not accept him.
Nonetheless, the above mentioned issues, together with the doubts and uncertainties which emerge on the actual election day and during the process of counting the votes, could contribute to the sense of distrust and disappointment among the citizens. This is something which can result in the creation of distance between the people and the political system.
This is while on the international scene, a large turnout by the voters in elections tends to create a kind of legitimacy for governments. The Islamic Republic of Iran is certainly not an exception to the rule, and is definitely interested in bolstering its legitimacy and popularity, and showing it off to its enemies, through a high turnout by the electorates, particularly given the critical situation in the Middle East region at the present. If this interpretation is correct, then clearly the only way to gain international prestige and legitimacy is compliance with the will of the people.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Dey 1394 [22 December 2015 to 20 January 2016], 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 December 2015-January 2016
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 39 people were detained, whose names were announced as: Hila Sediqi – a poet; Farzad Purmoradi – a journalist; Faraj Komeijani – a political activist; and Mansur Saki, Ahmadereza Bajelan, Behruz Saki, Reza Nadisar, Ahmadreza Salarvand, Abbas Shirnejad, Akbar Mirzaei, Alireza Fereydunpur, Reza Liriaei, Jalal Qaedrahmat, Aref Dalvand and Ali Hajivand – 12 labour activists -.
In addition, ILNA News Agency has reported the detention of 10 workers and Mehr News Agency has reported the detention of some radiologist following protests by the members of that profession. State-controlled media have reported the detention of a municipal official on the charge of holding a street dance event in Rasht.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Seyyed Kaveh Seyyedzadeh – a citizen; Mohsen Javadi, Elaheh Izadi, Mohammad Golshanikia, Reza Mohammadi, Mahmud Salehi, Musa Saripur, Khalil, Alireza Aliqanbari, Mohammadreza Soltanian and Meysam Hojjati – 10 newly converted Christians; Amjad Soleimani – a painter and designer; and Susan Soleimani, an ordinary citizen.
Parvaneh Rahman, a Baha’i citizen. was arrested during the last days of Azar (November).
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. Meysam Mohammadi – a journalist – was sentenced to four years imprisonment term and Reyhaneh Tabatabaei – a journalist – was sent to prison to spend a term of one year.
3. The three years imprisonment sentence of Reza Aqakhani – a national-religious activist – has been confirmed, after the State Supreme Court had overturned it. Moreover, Ali Faezpur – a labour activist – was sentenced to eight months in prison and Ahmad Tavakoli – the editor in chief of “Alef” Website – was sentenced to six months imprisonment.
4. Doot Mohammad Raeisi – a Sunni religious activist – was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and Seyyed Amin Abbasi Shahebrahimi – a civil activist in the Yaresan Sect – was summoned to the Police Department. In addition, Mohammadreza Khatami – a member of Islamic Iran Participation Front [Jebhey-e Mosharekat-e Iran-e Eslami] – and Hossein Mar’ashi – a member of the Executives of Construction Party of Iran [Hezb-e Kargozaran-e Sazandegi-e Iran] – were summoned by an intelligence institution. It should be noted that all of these individuals were interrogated.
In addition, a Judiciary spokesperson has reported the summons and interrogations of some political activists – without mentioning their names or specifying how many were involved. Some of these individuals have been released on bail for the time being.
5. The court trial sessions of Davud Razavi – a labour activist – Ali (Amir) Amirqoli – a civil activist who is currently in the prison – and the sessions of appeal requests of Hossein Alimohammadi Alvar and Taha Kermani have been held. ILNA News Agency has reported the holding of the sessions to investigate and discuss the charges against nine detained workers from the town of Bafq.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The press jury has cancelled the publication license of “Ya Lesarat” Weekly. “Bahar” newspaper has also been banned by a judicial decree.
2. Some 10 Iraninan cinema activists were summoned to the magistrate court due to broadcasting their video teasers from the satellite networks.
3. The movie “Khaneye Dokhtar” – The Girl’s House – was banned by the relevant officials. The permission of “Khorush” Album – which was composed by the musician Majid Derakhshani - was not issued by relevant officials.
4. The relevant officials have prevented Dana Lenjabadi – a university student who has been released from jail recently – to continue his studies. Moreover, Roein Otufat – a political prisoner – was prevented from attending the final university examinations.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 43 individuals were executed in 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:
“H-S” was executed in Zanjan. The judicial decree has said he was found guilty of Moharebeh [Declaring war against God].
“V-R” was executed in Khoy in public, “A-B” was executed in Yazd in public and “A-B” was executed in Surak in public. State-controlled media has announced that their crime was murder. In addition, state-controlled media has reported the execution of one individual in Shabestar in public, one individual in Nowshahr, two individuals in Mashad and five individuals in Karaj due to first-degree murder.
“Sajjad-H”, “Ali-B”, “Maher-B”, “Habib-M”, “Hossein-A”, “Vahid-A”, “Rahim-K-M”, “M-Rahnama”, “M-Faryab”, “V-Hajrafiei”, “E-Baqerzadeh”, “B-Chakanlu”, “S-Kalhor”, “A-Habibzadeh”, “Gh-Moradi” and one individuals - without mentioning his name – were executed in Qazvin and “V-A” and “A-T” were executed in Rasht. The relevant judicial decrees have said that they had been convicted of the crime of possession and transportation of drug. In addition, the judicial officials have reported the execution of three individuals in Ardabil, three individuals in Sari and three more in Karaj; and the state-controlled media have reported the execution of three individuals in Larestan. These were all due to the crime of possession and transportation of drug.
2. The state-controlled media have reported the issuance of death sentences against “Behnam” and “Sohrab” in Tehran Province and one unnamed individual, due to the crime of murder. The state-controlled media have also reported the issuance of a lashes sentence against “Susan” due to illicit sexual relations.
3. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Athena Daeimi and Reyhane Hajebrahim Dabagh – are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. Also, Farzad Moradinia was returned to the prison after his surgery.
4. Zahra Rahnavard – who is under house arrest – has been facing difficulties to visit her elderly mother.
5. Abolahad Jalilzadeh was transferred to the Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj. It should be noted this transfer was carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons internal affairs.
6. Sosha Makani – a soccer player of the national soccer team – has been detained after some photographs showing him at a private party were published without his permission.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. Reports concerning the social and economic situation also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month, to the extent that the relevant officials have reported the unemployment of a group of workers after the bankruptcy of some industrial production units. For example, 30 workers of the Steel Factory of Khorramabad lost their jobs due to the closure of that factory.
1. At the time of compiling this report, some 240 workers of “Iran Sadra Ship Making Plant” have not been paid their wages for five months; 250 workers of “PVC” Factory have not received any salaries for six months; some of the workers of Khazar Tile Factory have not received any payment for their labour for about two months; 150 workers of municipal services of in Kangavar town have not received their wages for three months; 55 municipal workers in the town of Eslamieh have not been paid for three months; a group of workers at the “Alborz Steel” plant have not been paid for six months; and around 200 workers of Pabdana principle mines have not been paid for two months. In addition, some workers of the contracting company of Zemestan Yurt coal mine have not received their payments for 10 months; 40 contract workers of Malch Aram coal mine have not received any wages for a period ranging from three to six months; 34 workers of Ardel Company have not been received their salaries for six months and around 103 municipal workers in the town of “Sisakht” have not been paid for about four months.
2. In addition, Morteza Ahvaraki – a worker at the Gostaresh Manasaz Factory – 200 workers of “Madan Ju” coal mine with wage arrears of about three months, and 18 contract workers at the “Iran Chub” Factory have been sacked from their jobs. In addition, 130 workers of “Nakh Alborz” plant and around 300 seasonal workers at the Aq Darreh gold mine have also been sacked after the termination of their contracts.
3. The police have sealed five traditional tea houses due to improper attires worn by their customers.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning the situation in the areas of cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these fields during the past month, to the extent that, a government official has reported the death of “Hossein Ali”, “Sadeq Jalilipur” and “Kianush Shayegani” – three disable students – due to air pollution.
1. “Mohammad Jafar Cheraghi” – a citizen – was injured due to landmine explosion in the town of Qasr-e Shirin [on the border with Iraq].
2. The Sofla traditional bath in the town of Baba Heidar has been destroyed.
At the end of the report for the month of Dey of 1394, The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has emphasized that the right of self-determination and governance, as one of the fundamental criteria of human rights, is possible only through the people electing their representatives freely. The Centre has called for the revocation of mandatory supervision, which on the basis of laws that contravene the Constitution, provide the Guardian Council with wide-ranging power and authorities.