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 Aban 1395 [October-November 2016].
The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has referred to the ban on a speech by the Deputy Speaker of the Islamic Majlis, based on the orders of Mashhad’s prosecutor, and has stated that it seems the Judiciary has put the elimination of the dissidents and non-conformists on its agenda, instead of confronting those trying to curtail the rights of citizens, and endeavouring to preserve its independence from security institutions. This centre also asked: "How can one juxtapose the actions of the Judiciary officials, which appear to be politically driven, with the efforts to fulfill the fundamental rights of citizens?"
This people-instituted organization has also referred to the speech by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who stated that the Resolution by UN General Assembly's Third Committee on human rights violations in Iran was politically motivated. The centre noted "At a time when even the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament cannot deliver a speech freely in the country, how can one talk about the implementation of a multitude of principles and articles of the Constitution which focus on the freedom of expression, the negation of monopoly and the creation of political, social and judicial security for all citizens?"
Furthermore, in its report, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, this people-instituted organisation 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 Aban 1395, which has been published on 2nd of Azar 1395 [22 November 2016], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in October-November 2016
Available news suggests that the Mashhad’s prosecutor has prevented a speech by the Majlis Deputy Speaker, which was planned to take place in that city.
Mashhad’s prosecutor action in preventing the lecture of the representative of the Parliament – that was hosted by a political entity – has done in a condition that, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson has considered the UN General Assembly's Third Committee resolution on human rights violations in Iran due to the political reasons.
UN General Assembly's Third Committee adopted a resolution by 85 votes and expressed concerns about human rights violations in Iran, including violations of the rights of religious minorities, ethnic groups, political activists, civil activists and human rights activists and journalist, as well as about the high number of executions in Iran.
Now, at a time when even the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament cannot deliver a speech freely in the country, how can one talk about the implementation of a wide range of principles in the Constitution which place emphasis on the freedom of expression, the negation of monopoly and the creation of political, social and judicial security for all citizens? At the same time, how can one juxtapose the actions of the Judiciary officials, which appear to be politically motivated, with the efforts aimed at the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of citizens? All of these are happening at a time when it seems the Judiciary has put the elimination of dissidents and non-conformists on its agenda, instead of confronting those curtailing the rights of citizens, and endeavouring to preserve its independence from security institutions.
Therefore, in such circumstances, it is not correct to say that the resolution issued by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee is political in nature, and pursues some specific objectives. This is because a mere glance at the report on human rights situation in Aban [21 October to 21 November 2016], proves that based on human rights conventions and other international standards, the situation in Iran continues to face serious problems. For example, during the said month, a defendant in Tehran lost his sight while the sentence of Qisas [retribution method according to Islamic laws, similar to the "an eye-for-an-eye" principle] was being carried out. Causing permanent disability, including blinding people as a form of punishment under the pretext of implementing the Islamic law (Shari'ah) is against Iranian government's international obligations in the field of human rights. This is while the issue of fighting against financial corruption in the ruling elite, which the Shari'ah has also emphasised, is being ignored.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in October-November 2016
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, more than 40 people were detained and the names of some of them have been specified. These were: Zartosht (Esmaeil) Ahmadi Ragheb – a civil activist – and Sharif Bajur, an animal rights activist.
Moreover, Iran Labour News Agency (ILNA) has reported the detention of three workers of “Pars Khodro” Factory, while the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has reported the detention of 17 individuals in Arak – without mentioning their names - due to what was called as the holding of the Mystic Ring (Erfaneh Halqeh religious sect) courses. Also, a representative of the parliament has reported the detention of 12 managers who – according to him- have dual citizenships, while the prosecutor of Shiraz has reported the detention of some individuals without mentioning their names, who were described the main elements responsible for a gathering to commemorate the Cyrus Day in the Pasargad Cultural Heritage Complex.
Abbas Lesani – a civil activist - was detained and sent to prison due to failure to honour his bail.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Rasul Iraji, Morteza Shabani Khalkhali and Behnam Sheikhbeglu – three civil activists; Gharib Sharifzade, Kamel Sharifzadeh and Hiva Dastbaz – three citizens from Saqqez [in Iranian Kurdistan]; Ahmad Heidari – a citizen from Ahvaz – and Homayun Panahi, a cultural activist.
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. Esmaeil Abdi – a trade union activist – was sent to prison for six years imprisonment; Behnam Sheikhi – a civil activist – was transferred to prison to serve six months in jail; Majid Abedinzadeh Moqadam – a civil activist – was sent to prison for three years; Ali Shariati – a political activist – was sent to jail to serve his five years imprisonment and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraei – a civil activist – was sent to prison for six years.
3. Hamed Ataei – a journalist – was sentenced to four months imprisonment; Ali Hamzehzadeh and Milad Akbari – two civil activists – were sentenced to four months in jail; Shahriar Sirus – a Baha’i citizen – was sentenced to five years in prison; Reza (Robin) Shahini – a citizen with dual nationality – was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and Alireza Omidvar – one of the managers of Samsung in Iran – was sentenced to 10 years in jail. In addition, the prosecutor of Tehran has reported the issuance of a 10-years imprisonment sentence and 74 lashes for an “underground vocalist” [singer].
4. Parastu Foruhar – the daughter of Dariush and Parvaneh Foruhar - who were killed by some officials of the Ministry of Intelligence 18 years ago – has been summoned to the magistrate court.
Moreover, some news reports indicate the summons of a group of participants at the fourth meeting of Sunni religious assembly in north west Iran, and Sholeh Pakravan – a citizen – to the Ministry of Intelligence.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The prosecutor of Mashhad prevented a speech by Ali Motahari, the Deputy Speaker of the Islamic Majlis - in the city of Mashhad
2. The Press Jury has found “Jahan News” and “Ruydad 24” publications guilty.
3. Relevant officials entered the publication and distribution centre of Sadeq Shirazi’s books – a religious activist – and seized the books there.
4. The advisory office council of reformist in Khorasan Razavi Province was closed down and placed under official seal by the order of the prosecutor.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 17 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:
A Judiciary official has reported the execution of six individuals in Mashhad due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. In addition, state-controlled media have reported the execution of two individuals in Rasht because of possession and transportation of drugs.
State-controlled media have reported the execution of one individual in Rasht and two individuals in Ahvaz due to murder. “Karim-A” was executed in public in Chamleh Sang Village in Mashhad and “Hassan” was executed in Qazvin. State-controlled media have reported that their crime was murder.
“Mostafa-K” was executed in public in Shiraz. The magistrate court of the Shiraz Province has said his crime was rape. Moreover, “Reza-N”, “Mohammad-A” and “Hashem-P” were executed in Shiraz. State-controlled media have reported that their crime was rape.
On the other hand, some unofficial news websites have reported some executions in the prisons of Orumiyeh, Kerman, Qarveh, Mahabad, Khorramabad, Salmas and Karaj. These news reports have not been confirmed or rejected by the Judiciary officials or state-controlled media.
2. State-controlled media have reported the blinding of both eyes of a prisoner in Tehran in connection with the enforcement of the law of Qisas.
3. State-controlled media have reported the issuance of death sentences against four individuals in Tehran because of murder, one individual in Kermanshah due to armed robbery and one individual in Shurabad because of murder.
4. State-controlled media have reported the issuance of lashes sentences for three individuals in Tehran because of armed robbery; Saeid Mortazavi – the former prosecutor of Tehran – for the offence of mismanagement; a woman in Tehran because of sexual affair outside marriage; and three individuals in Tehran due to attacking the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and one individual in Tehran because of abuse of children.
5. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as – Habib Sassanian – are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment.
6. Rasul Razavi and Morteza Moradpur were transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison. It should be noted that this transfer has been carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons' internal affairs. In addition, the personal effects and hand-written manuscripts of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh were seized by the relevant officials of the prison.
7. Morteza Moradpur, Rasul Razavi, Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, Hossein Rajabian, Mehdi Rajabian, Ali Shariati, Arash Sadeqi, Mohamamd Ali Taheri, Amir (Ali) Amirqoli and Hossein Alimohamamdi started hunger strike in protest at what they called their living conditions.
8. Security forces and police prevented the gathering of the supporters of Mohammad Ali Taheri, the founder of the Mystic Ring sect.
9. Police has reported the detention of 23 individuals in Dezful and 17 individuals in Tehran due to attending in a party.
10. The prosecutor of Qazvin has reported the sealing of seven complexes that were active in modeling in Qazvin and the detention and summons of dozens in relation to that topic. In addition, a Judiciary official has reported the detention of four individuals in Mashhad because of what is called the “setting up of three Telegram channels with pornographic content with some 341,000 members”.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas for example: news reports reveal unsatisfactory salaries as well as employment terms and conditions for many workers in the country, such as in Dashtestan Cement Factory, Saman Kashi Factory in Borujerd, Ahvaz Abfa, Bojnurd municipality, ball bearings Factory of Tabriz, Golnaz edible oil Factory, Haft Tapeh agro-industrial complex, Karaj urban train, Neyshabur municipality, Zahedan municipality, Raja railway transport company, the casting factory of Mashinsazi in Tabriz, Tarzeh Coal Mine, Tabriz ball bearing making, car making factory of HEPCO Arak, Iran Chuka Factory, Chamsir Dam project in Gachsaran and Qahestan Sugar Factory and fired workers of “Parandak Khazar” slaughterhouse and Tang-e Bijar oil and gas field and the workers of Agricultural Insurance funds brokers.
1. At the time of preparation of this report, the salaries of 130 workers of Asalem Wood Industries have not been paid for five months; around 1000 contract workers of Persian Gulf Star Refinery have not been paid for three months; nine workers of Soha Teb Company in Mashhad have not received their salaries for five months; more than 100 workers of Sepid Nylon have not received any pay for four months; some workers of Omidieh municipality have not been paid for around 2 to 5 months; 118 workers of restoration project of the old citadel of Bam have not received their wages for three months; 10 workers of Iran Osveh Industries have not been paid for five months; 150 workers of transmission line of Friendship Dam have not received their wages for four months and the nurses of Rajaei Hospital in Gachsaran have not received any salaries for four months.
2. Some 40 workers of Tabas Cement Factory were made unemployed by the closure of that industrial unit.
On the other hand, 280 workers of “Barfab” Factory, 200 workers of “Parto Daneh Khazar” Factory, 15 workers of “Apadana Seram” Factory and 100 workers of “Alborz Steel” were sacked from their jobs.
3. Baha'is’ International Community has reported the official closure and sealing of more than 100 business venues of Baha’is in different cities of Iran.
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.
1. According to relevant officials, the density of dust particles in Ahvaz was seven times more than the permitted level and it has even reached to 11 times that level in some areas of Sistan Va Baluchestan Province during some days of the month Aban.
2. Mehran Mazarei – a mine detector – was injured by landmine explosion in Sardasht, one farmer was injured by mine explosion in Bukan and a citizen was wounded in Marivan after a mine exploded.
At the end of the report for the month of Aban of 1395, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights recalls that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has joined international conventions on human rights and is committed to their implementation. It then declares that, unfortunately, neither the adopted laws nor the executive performance of the political system indicate the presence of such a commitment, and this is an issue that for many consecutive years, has led to the condemnation of the Iranian state in numerous international resolutions.
Therefore, the only way to get rid of the issued resolutions is the implementation of the international obligations and commitments, which, at the same time, will also lead to domestic calm and tranquility.
[signed] Shirin Ebadi, President of Centre for Defenders of Human Rights, 2 Azar 1395