Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Defender and Nobel Laureate, has published a report on the human rights situation in Iran in Khordad 1391 [Iranian month beginning 21 May 2012]. According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights [CDHR], Mrs Ebadi embarked on writing this report in the belief that it is an undeniable necessity to publish reports on human rights situation in every country in a bid to determine any increases or decreases in human rights abuses throughout the world.
For that reason, this human rights defender has decided to compile monthly reports on human rights situation in Iran. The reports will appear in both English and Persian.
Highlighting the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Khordad, Mrs Ebadi's report emphasizes that protecting national interests and ending the current crisis in Iran warrants respect for individual rights and freedoms and human dignity of citizens. The following is the text of Mrs Ebadi's report for Khordad 1391. The report was published on 3 Tir [23 June].
A Brief Report on Human Right Situation in Iran in Khordad 1391
It is an undeniable necessity to publish reports on human rights situation in every country, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a bid to determine any increases or decreases in human rights abuses throughout the world. This task was accomplished by the CDHR in the past years in accordance with one of its three primary aims, i.e. "regular and continuous reporting on human rights situation in Iran". That aim, however, could no longer be realized after the CDHR office was sealed in 1387 [Year beginning 20 March 2008] and several of its members were arrested.
Therefore, in the current circumstances, when political and civil activists continue to protest against the growing scale of blatant human rights violations in Iran, I have attempted to present a report on the human rights situation in Iran to enlighten public opinion, albeit all obstacles facing human rights activists. These reports will be compiled on a monthly basis and published in both English and Persian. They shall contain reports, taken from various newspapers and websites, on instances of human rights violations in Iran. Once the reports have been verified, they are categorized as follows:
Human Rights Situation in Iran in Khordad 1391
Section 1: Political and Civil Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political-Social Activists
1. Omid Dehdarzadeh, member of Pan-Iranist Political Party; Amir Hossein Alavi, Member of Sazman-e Daneshamokhtegan-e Iran [Alumni Organization of Unviersity Students of Iran], Afsahenh Toghir, Zahra Khodabaksh, and Haj Shirollah Dargahi, grand father of imprisoned student activist Arash Sadeqi, have been arrested. Ahmad Esma'ili, Ezzat Rahimi, Farhad Esma'ili, Ghazanfar Alivand and Omid Rahimi, five Gonabadi Dervishes from Esfahan and Amin Abolhasani, a Gonabadi Dervish from the Saghad district of Abadeh. Also arrested are: Mohammad Moradi, Erfan Mohammadi, Mojtaba Sharifi, Abolfazl Garmabi, Rastin A'lami, Pouria Khaleqi, Mobin Rostamian, Diako Khayyat, who are student activists. Moreover, Hasan Amini, Kordestan's mufti and Shari'a judge, has been summoned by security organs and the Special Court for the Clergy.
2. Siavosh Hatam, student activist, Adel Fana'ian, a Baha'i citizen, Mahmoud Dardkeshan, a member of the close associates of the household of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, Mohammad Reza'i, member of Melli-Mazhabi [religious-nationalist] activists' council, and Michael Azimi, have been taken to prison to serve their respective sentences. The prison sentences of Mohammad Reza'i and Michael Azimi are related to their arrest in 1382 [Iranian year beginning 21 March 2003].
3. The Court of Appeal upheld the 13-year prison term handed down to Abdolfatah Soltani, lawyer and member of the high supervision council of the CDHR. It also upheld the 10-year prison term-in-exile of Sedigheh Moradi on charges of cooperating with the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization. Abdolfatah Soltani and Sedigheh Moradi are currently held in Evin Prison. Also Abolfazl Ghadiani, a senior member of the [pro-reform] Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization, was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment on charges of spreading propaganda against the system, and Alireza Raja'i, a Melli-Mazhabi activist and journalsit was sentenced to four-year imprisonment. Abolfazl Qadiani and Alireza Raja'i are currently held in Evin Prison.
4. Nooshin Ahmadi-Khorasani, a women's right activist has been given a one-year suspended prison sentence. Omid Reza'i, a student activist, has been sentenced to two years in prison on charges of spreading propaganda against the system and insulting the Leader. Vahed Kholoosi, activist for the right to education and member of the Campaign against Educational Discrimination, to five-year imprisonment, and Mohammad Ilkhanizadeh, a 'starred' Kurdish student activist to three month imprisonmentand 74 lashes. Ebrahim Rashidi-Savalan, Roozbeh Sa'adati, Mohammad Ahadi, Mehrdad Karami, and Afshin Shahbazi, civil rights activists from Tabriz, have been each given a one-year prison sentence. The one-year sentence of Ebrahim Rashidi is fixed, while six months of the other four's sentences were suspended for four years. The Court of Appeal also handed down a one-year suspended sentence to Sajdeh Kianush-Rad.
5. Yetka Fahendezh, a Baha'i English language and literature student, was expelled from Payam-e Nur University. The managing director, editor-in-chief of 'Sobh-e Farda' newspaper who wrote an "offensive" article in that paper has also been barred from further education. Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh, an imprisoned student from Sharif University has also been barred from attending university to take part in his final term exam despite the prosecutor's consent to be granted prison leave to take part in the exam at the university.
6. The authorities banned a funeral ceremony for Shamsoddin Sadr Haj Seyyed Javadi. They also disrupted a ceremony marking the death anniversary of Hoda Saber, by arresting several participants in the ceremony including Mohammad Ro'in. In another incident, they banned a lecture and debate in Ahvaz on the subject of "Basics of Thinking" by Mohammad Kianush-Rad.
7. They confiscated the 500 million toman bail money posted for journalist Abdolreza Tajik, who recently fled Iran.
8. The situation of prisoners of conscience in Iran continues to be reported as poor. These prisoners include the following: Nargess Mohammadi, human rights activist and member of the CDHR, who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in Evin. In contravention of the law and her strong protests, she was blindfolded and transferred to Zanjan Prison. Her health has deteriorated in Zanjan Prison owing to the poor prison conditions to such an extent that she can no longer walk - owing to lack of even wheelchairs in Zanjan Prison's clinic, she was taken in her chair by four people from the clinic to the prisoners' visiting area; Hoseyn Ronaghi-Maleki was taken to the prison hospital for a brief period due to his deteriorating physical health. However, he was swiftly returned to prison before completion of his treatment. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, a human rights activist and head of Kurdistan Defence of Human Rights Organization, staged a hunger strike in protest at his deplorable situation; his hunger strike continues to this date (1 Tir 1391). Mashallah Ha'eri, a political prisoner in Hall 12 of Raja'i-Shahr Prison in Karaj, who was once again transferred to hospital, on 11 June of this year, for emergency treatment due to his deteriorating health, has been taken back to Raja'i-Shahr Prison.
B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers and Journalists
1. Fariborz Ra'isdana and Manijeh Najm-Araqi, members of Iranian Writers Association, have been transferred to Evin Prison to serve their respective one-year prison sentences. Arash Raha'imehr, a blogger, has also reported to Evin Prison to start his prison term.
2. Reza Jelodarzadeh, editor-in-chief of banned weekly 'Sobh-e Azadi', has been sentenced to a one-year prison term on charges of spreading propaganda against the system.
3. The licence of Cheshmeh Publications has been revoked. This publishing house can no longer apply to the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry to obtain permits for new books. The Books Department of the Islamic guidance ministry also rejected the competence of Hormouz Homayonpour, the head of 'Ketab-e Roshan' Publications.
4. Ten internet cafes in North Khorasan were sealed owing to use of filter breakers. Also the office of the internet TV site of Jebhe-ye Paydari was sealed.
5. The authorities banned a ceremony in Babol, in honour of renowned 11th century epic poet Ferdowsi.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
The rise in executions in the month of Khordad is another instance of human rights abuse. Based on reports by government websites and news agencies, the following individuals have been executed: Amroddin Hedayati, Ali Kas-Parizadeh, Hasan Naghizadeh-Varzghani, Parviz Emami-Moqaddam, Hamid Yari, Mohammad Ebrahim Ebrahimi, Mohammad Ali Ba-Iman, Mostafa Golestani, Najaf Fathi-Bizdan, Abbas Ali Fathollahi, Ahmad Khosravi-Nasab, Gholamhoseyn Sanchuli, Seyyed Ahmad Shahuzehi, and Majid Aqa'i. They were all charged with drugs smuggling; it not clear whether or not any of them received a fair trial. Another four, identified as: 21-year-old Farshid, 21-year-old Mohammad, 25-year-old Iman, and 35-year-old Behzad, were hanged in public. They were charged with rape. In addition, 26-year-old Abbas Heidarian, alias Jasem, 28-year-old Taha Heidarian alias Jamshid, 22-year-old Abdolrahman Heidarian, alias Naser, and Ali Na'ami-Sharifi, all natives of Khuzestan, were also executed.
Section 2: Economic and Social Rights
1. In the month of Khordad, more workers lost their jobs, while some workers failed to receive their overdue salaries. For instance, 50 workers of Ahvaz Municipality's Green Space [Project] downed tools and gathered in front of Ahvaz Municipality's services department in protest at their three months overdue salaries. In another instance, over 200 workers from Bojan's fridge manufacturing factory have not been paid for the past four months. In addition, 67 workers of Pars Industrial Cast Iron factory lost their jobs when their contracts were not renewed.
2. Eighty stalls in the first Traditional Persian Food festival at Tehran's International Exhibition Centre were sealed because those present in it were not wearing proper [Islamic] clothing.
3. Two production factories, "Poyanvar" owned by Fariborz Vahdadsho'ar, and "Farzan Lenz" owned by Afrasiab Khanjani, both Baha'i citizens, have been sealed and shut down.
4. Imprisoned teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari was dismissed from his job. His dismissal order was communicated to him in prison.
5. Some 60 activist workers and members of coordination committee for assisting the formation of workers' associations, including Mitra Homauni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Sa'id Moqaddam, Sirous Fathi, Ghaleb Hosseini, Mohammad Abdipour, Jalal Hosseini, Alireza Asgari, Mas'ud Salimpour, Abbas Andariani, Sediq Amjadi, Fattah Soleymani, Maziar Mehrpour, Mohammad Molana'i, Vahed Seyyedeh, Jalil Sharifian, Sediq Khosravi, Yousef Abkherabad, Faramarz Fetratnejad, and Jalil Mohammadi, have been arrested.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment in the month of Khordad also serve to indicate the unfavourable situation in those sectors. The following are two such instances: The historical Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan is in danger of being removed from UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. The reason the square may be removed from UNESCO's World Heritage Sites is because the responsible officials' failure to pay attention to the existence of a private building and Esfahan intercity railway track in the vicinity of the square. Meanwhile, Orumiyeh Lake continues to dry up, in which regard, not only the authorities have failed to pay sufficient attention to the issue, but, instead, they have arrested several environmental activists, including Hasan Ahmadian, Ali Hamed Imani, Mohammad Eskandarzadeh, and Ms Afsaneh Towfiq.
In conclusion of this monthly report, I would like to draw the attention of the Islamic Republic's authorities to their international obligations in respect of observance of human rights principles. I would also like to reaffirm that securing national interests and resolving the current crisis warrants respect for individual rights and freedoms and the dignity of citizens.
Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
23 June 2012
Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.