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 Bahman 1394 [Iranian month corresponding to 22 January to 21 February 2016].
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has pointed to the publication of an opinion by the Supreme Leader’s Secretariat in connection with the elections, and has emphasized that participation in the election is the right of every citizen, all of whom have the right and privilege to use or forfeit it, and this has nothing to do with Islam or religious principles. Therefore, one should not try to bring people to the polling stations by scaring and warning them against the fire of hell.
On 27 Bahman [16 February], the Supreme Leader’s Secretariat announced “participation in the Islamic Republic elections for people who are eligible to vote is a religious and divine duty…” and “if casting a blank vote is going to weaken the Islamic system, then it is Haram to do so.”
The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has continued its report and warned “there is the worry that in the future, voting for a specific group or individual is going to be declared as a religious obligation and a divine decree”. It added: Concepts such as ‘religious obligation’ or ‘religiously mandatory’ have some jurisprudential dimensions, and their principles and tenets have a clear status in the context of the Islamic Shari’ah. Therefore, applying these concepts to affairs such as elections is a kind of using religion as an instrument, and exploiting people’s religious sentiments for fulfilling political objectives is tantamount to an insult against Islamic principles.”
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 Bahman 1394, which has been published on 1 Esfand 1394 [22 February 2016], is as follows:
Human Rights Situation in Iran in January 2016-February 2016
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 51 people were detained and the names of them have been specified, who were Jafar Khaefi – a political activist; Bahman Darolshafaei – a journalist and translator; Hossein Dolati and Reza Zare – two religious activists; Mehdi Nekunam – the son of a prisoner (Mohammadreza Nekunam); Sadeq Khademi – a cultural and religious activist.
In addition, ILNA News Agency has reported the detention of 28 workers of Khatun Abad Copper Complex in Kerman.
On the other hand, some news has reported the detention of Farhad Reza Beigi, Arash Jalali, Ali Molaei, Naser Feizi, Firuzeh Ranjbar, Maryam Davudi Omid, Zahra Shafiei and Mrs. Elahi – eight fans of Mystic Ring; Alireza Najimi and Mohamamd Ali Izadi – two bloggers who have supported the Mystic Ring; Alireza Mansuri – the son of political prisoner (Mohammad Ali Mansuri); Abdollah Baluch – a Baluchi citizen; Fateh Dondari, Saman Pashaei, Farshad Daraei, Nader Majidian and Behruz Risheh Saheb – five locals of Saqez-.
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. Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvaz Zadeh, Ehsan Kheibar, Abdolazim Oruji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shoja, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirqafari, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yamani, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masud Hamidi, Ali Babaei, Esmaeil Hosseini, Farideh Tusi and Zahra Modareszadeh – 18 civil activists – were sentenced to 91 days in jail and 74 lashes. Davud Razavi – a labour activist – was sentenced to five years imprisonment, Osman Esmaeili – a labour activist – was sentenced to one year imprisonment, Yunes Dahmardeh – a media activist – was sentenced to one year imprisonment and two years ban from publishing essay in the media of Sistan Va Baluchestan, Shahnam Jazayani and Sheida Qodosi – two Baha’i citizens – were sentenced to 11 years in jail, Farah Tabinanian, Puneh Sanaei, Mona Amri Hesari, Behnam Hassani, Parisa Shahidi, Mojdeh Zohuri, Parivash shojaei, Tina Mohebati, Hana Aqiqian, Bita Hedayati, Vasaq Sanaei, Hana Kuchak Baghi and Navid Moalemi – 13 Baha’i citizens – were sentenced to nine years imprisonment term; Rofia Pakzadan, Sudabeh Mehdinejad, Mitra Nuri, Shiva Ruhani, Hushmand Dehqan, Maryam Dehqan, Nazi Khalaki, Kamelia Bideli and Shohreh Samimi – nine Baha’i citizens – were sentenced to six years in jail; Saeid Ardeshir – a fan of Mystic Ring who is currently in jail – was sentenced to six months imprisonment, Ali (Amir) Amirqoli – a civil activist – was sentenced to long-term imprisonment and Yusef (Mostafa) Kakehmami – a political activist – was sentenced to five years imprisonment term again.
3. The Appeal Court of Hossein Rafiei Fanud – a national-religious activist – and the court trial sessions of Esmaeil Abdi – a union activist; Esmaeil (Zartosht) Ahmadi Ragheb – a civil activist – and Misaq Yazdan Nejad – a political activist – were held.
4. Another bail was issued for Narges Mohammadi – a defender of human rights who is currently in jail – due to a new case. Moreover, Roqayeh Alizadeh – the wife of Abbas Lesani (a political prisoner) – was summoned to the magistrate court; Behnam Sheikhi – a civil activist – was summoned to the court, Mohammad Najafi – a lawyer – was summoned to the magistrate court and Sara Saei – a fan of Mystic Ring – was summoned to the court.
5. Fariborz Raeis Dana, Mohammad Nurizad and Mohammad Maleki – three political activists – were detained for some hours.
6. Police prevented a group of individuals from staging a gathering in front of the Oil Ministry. They were calling themselves Basiji Students.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The licenses of “Jutiaran” and “Forsat-e Barabar” monthly publications were revoked by the relevant officials. Mohsen Ranani’s Website – a university professor - and “Eshq-e Mardom” website were blocked.
2. Press Jury found the editors in chief of four media – “Goal”, “Shohaday-e Iran” Website, “Serat News” Website and “Vatan-e Emruz” Daily guilty.
3. The concerts of Tondar Band, Kaveh Taghmaei and Salar Aqili were cancelled by relevant officials. In addition, Sahar Mohammadi – a female singer - still is facing a ban on her professional and teaching activities, despite being acquitted by the court.
4. The officials of the IRIB censored the speech of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani - Chairman of the Expediency Council – and Hassan Rouhani – the president. In addition, the relevant officials of IRIB prevented the presentation of Majid Barzegar – a moviemaker – Hamed Behdad and other crew of the movie “It happens during the midnight” in various programmes of television. On the other hand, the officials of IRIB have imposed a ban on the appearance of Mahnaz Afshar’s face – an actress – on TV screens.
5. Some individuals prevented the lectures of Elaheh Kulaei and Mohammadreza Khatami – two political activists – by inciting clashes in some cities. Moreover, some individuals prevented the presentation of Fatemeh Motamad Arya – an actress – in Kashan. This is while the police has not done anything to address these issues.
6. Some 16 students in Lotf Abad of Sardasht were deprived of education due to the lack of facilities such as suitable road.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some four individuals were executed during the month of Bahman. 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:
The spokesman of the Judiciary has reported the execution of one individual in Kermanshah due to murder. In addition, state-controlled media has reported the execution of one individual in Yasuj due to first-degree murder.
Furthermore, some news media have reported the execution of Khaled Kordi and Moslem Abarian in Yazd due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs.
2. Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Tehran have reported the issuance of a public execution decree against an individual identified as “H”.
3. State-controlled media have reported the public parading of four victims in Tabriz due to “disturbing the public peace”; “A-Sh” was paraded publically in Mahmudabad due to providing and publishing a movie in social networks, and two teenagers in Sari were paraded before the public due to hurling bricks at the window displays of 12 shops.
4. Some 25 lawyers have not been qualified for Central Bar Association's Board of Directors Election by the Judiciary such as Qasem Sholesadi, Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, Farideh Gheirat, Ramezan Haji Mashadi, Mahmud Kashani, Saleh Nikbakht, Abdollah Samami, Ali Hamed Tavasoli and Mitra Zarrabi.
5. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Hamid Babaei, Farzad Purmoradi, Mostafa Azizi, Saeid Hosseinzadeh and Alireza Golipur - are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment. In addition, Hossein Ronaghi was returned to the prison while he was on medical leave and without the completion of his treatment process.
6. Saeid Madani and Saeid Razavi Faqih – two political prisoners – were transferred to Evin Prison. It should be noted this transfer has been carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons internal affairs.
7. The relevant officials did not approved Behnam (Asad) Ebrahimzadeh’s leave, so that he could visit his sick child. In addition, the relevant officials did not allow Hafez Abdolrahim Kuhi’s family to visit him after 70 days of his imprisonment.
8. The lawsuit related to the burglary of Dariush Foruhar and Parvaneh Eskandari house – two political prisoners who were killed [in the late 1990s] by rogue agents of Ministry of Intelligence according to government officials – has not been investigated despite several follow-ups.
9. The relevant officials prevented the entry of women to the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Kish.
10. The Ministry of Intelligence has reported the detention of the manager of one of a Persian-language satellite TV network. Also, the prosecutor of Pardis town has reported the sealing of the biggest restaurant in the eastern districts of Tehran due to issues that are contrary to public decency and failure to comply with legal and religious laws. Furthermore, seven individuals have been arrested in this connection.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. Reports concerning the situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month to the extent that, unfavorable conditions employment and workers’ rights of Gach Bijar Factory, public transportation workers of Abadan, unemployed workers of Kavir Yazd Tile Factory, the workers of Ehdas Cooperation, previous workers of Urban Train Project of Ahvaz, contract workers of phases No. 21 and 22 of Asaluyeh, retired and employed workers of Alborz Sharqi Coal Mine, the workers of Haft Tapeh sugarcane, official workers of petrochemical that are delegated to the private sector in Asaluyeh and Mahshahr and the workers of soap factory in Khoramshahr.
1. The salaries of workers of Sodium carbonate plant in Semnan have not been paid, 130 workers of the Bagh project have not received their wages for two months, the payments of 150 workers of maritime industry have been delayed for eight months, some workers of Zemestan Yurt Coal Mine have not received any wages for 11 months, the workers of Lushan Steel Plant have not received their salaries for five months, 400 workers of “Mazandaran Textile (Qaemshahr)” have not been paid for three months, 40 workers of Municipality of Abadan have not received their wages for three months, 85,000 retired workers of Fulad (Steel) Fund have not been paid for two months and 170 workers of Agh Darband Coal Mine in Sarakhs have not received their salaries for 10 months until the preparation of this report.
2. Some 75 workers of Khazar Tile were prevented from entering their factory.
3. The relevant official in the Ministry of Education has reported the existence of 120 nomadic schools in Khuzaestan Province that are in trouble with electricity and drinking water.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning situation regarding cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month to the extent that, according to a governmental official, Major parts of the country are involved in long-term drought. It is while that, another governmental official has reported the flow of 1,500,000 liters of urban and rural sewage into Zarivar Lake.
In conclusion to its report for the month of Bahman 1394, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has emphasized that the Iranian state has a duty to stage elections in the country based on the rules stipulated by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It announced that to that end, removing the stage of supervision and vetting [by the Guardian Council] should be seen as the first step. Unfortunately, in the forthcoming elections, a large number of aspiring candidates have been disqualified by the Guardian Council. This process will not only lead to violating the rights of those individuals whose competencies have not been endorsed, but it also creates restrictions and limitations for the voters as they strive to exercise their right of self-determination.