Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Defender and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in continuation of her monthly reports, has reviewed the human rights situation in Iran in Aban 1391 [October- November 2012]. According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights [CDHR], Dr. Ebadi starts her Aban report by addressing the situation in Iranian prisons and the plight of political detainees and prisoners of conscience in the country. As evidence of the appalling prison conditions in Iran, Ms. Ebadi highlights the case of Satar Beheshti, a blogger who was arrested by the police and subsequently died in prison. Several prisoners of Ward 350 of Evin Prison said that they had witnessed the signs of torture on Satar’s body. The human rights defender continues her report on the situation of prisoners of conscience by highlighting the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh who is on a hunger strike in protest at the pressure imposed on her children. Ms. Ebadi notes that while the Islamic Republic has named one of the most important streets of Tehran “Bobby Sands”, after an Irish activist who died on hunger strike while imprisoned, it has punished Nasrin Sotoudeh for her hunger strike by keeping her in solitary confinement for around 19 days.
Ms. Ebadi has named Mir-Hossein Moosavi, Mehdi Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Mir Taher Moosavi as prisoners of conscience whose lives are in danger due to their lack of access to medical facilities.
Humiliation and degradation of prisoners of conscience are among the issues mentioned by the human rights activist in her report. Other issues include: Forcing prisoners to attend trial in shackles and handcuffs, the raid by security forces on the women's ward of Evin Prison, and the improper frisking of female political prisoners.
The human rights activist continues her report by examining the human rights situation under three categories: “civil and political rights”, economic and social rights”, “cultural heritage and environment”. The civil and political rights section, in addition to identifying the political and civil rights activists who have been summoned to prison to serve their sentences, highlights the execution of 40 individuals, most of which took place in public. In relation to the pressures imposed on prisoners of conscience, the report mentions their transfer from the general wards of Evin Prison to solitary confinement in Evin’s Ward 209. The report has also highlights the banning of imprisoned family members from meeting each other.
The following is the text of Mrs. Ebadi’s report for Aban 1391, published on 1 Azar [21 November 2012].
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in Aban 1391[October- November 2012]
Human Rights Situation in Iran in Mehr 1391
The situation of prisoners of conscience has deteriorated to the extent that a young blogger “Satar Beheshti” died under torture in jail several days after his arrest. Nasrin Sotoudeh, an imprisoned lawyer who is on the second of her six-year prison sentence has been on hunger strike since a month ago in protest at the prison authorities’ refusal to allow her to see her children and at the opening of a criminal case against her 13-year-old daughter, who has been banned from leaving the country. Nasrin’s health has been deteriorating owing to her hunger strike.
Whereas the Islamic Republic has named one of the most important streets of Tehran “Bobby Sands”, after an Irish activist who died on hunger strike while imprisoned, the prison authorities have imposed a disciplinary punishment on Nasrin Sotoudeh for her hunger strike by keeping her in solitary confinement for around 19 days.
While ordinary prisoners have the right to go on sick leave and receive medical treatment outside prison, prisoners of conscience’s lack of access to medical facilities has put their lives in danger. Mir Hossein Moosavi, Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mir Tahar Moosavi are among such prisoners.
Humiliation and degradation of political prisoners have increased dramatically. Mojtaba Hosseini, Mohammad Reza Partovi and Vahid Hakaki were led into court in shackles and handcuffs. Several female political prisoners went on hunger strike for a week in protest at the security forces’ raid on Evin Prison’s women's ward and the frisking of the political prisoners in a manner described by the female political prisoners as offensive.
Although regulations in relation to the management of the country’s prisons provide imprisoned family members with the right of visitation, political prisoners have been denied such a right. Kobra Banazadeh, Mohammad Banazadeh, Faran Hesami and Kamran Rahimiyan who are kept in Evin and Raja’i-Shahr prisons are among those who have been denied visitation rights. Unfortunately, the number of such prisoners is high and the names mentioned above are only a few examples.
Received reports indicate that Iran’s officials do not even respect their own laws regarding political prisoners. For almost two years now Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Moosavi and Mehdi Karrubi have been kept in an unknown place without being charged or convicted of any crime. None of the state’s organizations have acknowledged responsibility for their house arrest.
Based on the above-mentioned issues and received information, it seems that owing to the atrocious situation in Iran's prisons, Ahmad Shaheed, the special rapporteur for human rights in Iran has been refused entry into Iran, and international personalities and human rights organizations have been prevented from inspecting prisons.
The report on human rights situation in Iran in Aban 1391, which has been based on material taken from various newspapers and websites, will appear in both English and Persian in three sections, upon verification of the sources.
Section 1: Political and Civil Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political-Social Activists
1. Twenty-one individuals were arrested this month. Some of them were released on bail after several days. Those arrested include the following: Hadi Arab Ghobadi and Ahmad Shahrezai, both of whom had been arrested once before during the 2009 post-election unrest, Mehdi Khazali, a political activist, Majid Said Arabazad, a lawyer, Jamal Ameli, a civil rights activist, Mohsen Ghashghaei Zadeh, Pejman Zafarmand, Hojatolah Nakhostin, Afshin Ghorbani Nejad, Mohammad Parsi, Amin Arman, Mohammad Farid, Mehdi Karimi, Akbar Amini, Mohammad Bagher Moradi, Mohammadreza Ahmadi, Reza Mahjub. The list of those arrested this month also includes the followingfour individuals who had recently converted to Christianity: Shahab Samimi, his wife Fariba Karim Khani, Farshad Rahimdel and Yaser Mirza Zanjani.
2. Yashar Darolshafa, a Masters graduate from Tehran University reported to prison to serve his five and half years sentence. Masood Sadeghi, a supporter of Nehzat-e Azadi [Freedom Movement] began his six-year prison sentence and received 74 lashes. Hakimeh Shokri, a supporter of Park Laleh Mothers and Mourning Mothers was taken to prison to start her three-year prison term. Seyedin Borojeni, Vahid Aligholi Poor, Majid Sedaghat and Abulfazl Ghasemi likewise reported to prison to begin their respective one-year prison sentences.
3. Omid Kukabi, a post-doctoral student of nuclear physics at Texas University, who has been in prison for the past 21 months and had already been sentenced to 10 years in prison, was tried again and sentenced to [another] 91 days imprisonment on charges of obtaining money from illegal sources. The appeal court sentenced Mohammad Hassan Taheri to a four-year prison term in one of the Tehran’s prison. Davar Hosseini Vejdan, a student who is currently in prison, was given a six-year prison term. According to Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), Mr. Saburi, a senior political analyst at the Interior Ministry, was sentenced to a one-year prison term on charges of committing fraud in the 2009 election, and a political activist, named Gudarzi, was convicted to eight years imprisonment; both men’s sentences were endorsed by the appeal court.
4. Saeed Madani, a scholar and member of the National-Religious Movement, who was arrested on 7 January 2012, kept in solitary confinement for two and half months and subjected to sever torture, was twice transferred to the General Ward. However, he was returned to solitary confinement each time after only spending a few days in the General Ward. The University professor has been kept in solitary confinement for around one year already and subjected to sever torture.
5. Another instance of human rights violation concerns the unfair punishment of relatives of political prisoners who attempt to inform the public about the plight of their imprisoned family members. This month, Maryam Sharbatdar Ghods, wife of Feyzollah Arab Sorkhi, an imprisoned member of Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, was summoned to court. Majid Dori, an imprisoned student who has been barred from continuing with his education, wrote a letter of protest regarding the pressures imposed on his family and the mental torture and harassment they had been subjected to. Masumeh Dehghan, wife of Abdolfatah Soltani, an imprisoned lawyer, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, which has been suspended for five years. She has also been barred from leaving the country for five years.
6. According to a warrant issued by the Revolutionary Court, the residence of Ayatollah Shariatmadari a mojtahed who had criticized the Iranian authorities for years before his death under house arrest, is to be evacuated and given to the "Executive Committee of the Imam commands".
7. The court session for Ehsan Hushmand, a member of the National-Religious Movement, was held. Molud Khancheh Zard, a Kurdish teacher from the city of Bukan, was summoned to the city’s investigation office.
8. Semnan University’s Islamic Association of Students has been suspended for two months.
9. An Islamic Republic’s Judiciary official issued a warrant for the National Union of the Bar Associations to be sealed, under the pretext of "illegal activity".
10. Farid Mohammad Zadeh, who was accepted on an undergraduate program at Isfahan University in 2007 and a Masters program at the same university in 2011, was expelled from the university because of his faith (Baha’i).
11. The authorities barred the Sunni Id al-Adha prayers in Tehran. Moreover, the Arafeh prayer ceremony in Hoseyniyeh Ershad mosque in Tehran was also prevented by officers from Nilufar police station.
12. A memorial ceremony marking the seventh night after the death of Ahmad Ghabel, a religious intellectual who had developed cancer in prison following his arrest after the 2009 presidential election, and died whilst released on bail, was cancelled on the orders of the security forces. Women were also prevented from visiting the grave of the late Ayatollah Montazari, a dissident source of emulation.
13. Mahsa Amrabadi and Masood Bastani, Jila Baniyaghub and Bahman Ahmadi Amooi, Kefayat Malek Mohammadi and Asghar Mahmudiyan, Motahareh Bahrami and Mohsen Daneshpur, Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabagh and Ahmad Daneshpur, Soghra Gholam Nejad and Vali Gholam Nejad, Faran Hesami and Kamran Rahimiyan are among imprisoned married couples who have either been totally banned from meeting each other or have only been granted the occasional restricted visitation time. Shabnam Madadzadeh and Farzad Madadzadeh, Lava Khanjani and Foad Khanjani, Kobra and Mohammad Banazadeh are imprisoned siblings who have not seen each other. Imprisoned father and daughter Mashalah and Negar Haeri have also been barred from visiting each other.
B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers and Journalists
1.Satar Beheshti, a young blogger died in prison under torture following his arrest by the police. Several prisoners of Ward 350 of Evin Prison said that they had witnessed the signs of torture on Satar’s body.
2. Alireza Roshan, a poet and journalist, reported to Evin Prison to serve his one-year prison term.
3. “Neday Garus” weekly in the city of Sanandaj was closed down on the orders of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
4. Mosayeb Naeimi, editor-in-chief of Iran newspaper, was sentenced to pay a cash fine of 100,000,000 Rials instead of prison, while a court session was held with regards to a complaint lodged against the editor-in-chief of “Hemat va Moje Andisheh” publication. Meanwhile, Mohammadreza Taghavifard, editor-in-chief of Khorshid Newspaper, was also summoned to court.
5. The seventh death anniversary of Manouchehr Atashi, modernist poet, critic and member of the Iranian Writers' Association, was cancelled by the security forces.
6. A concert by Vahid Taj and “Sepid va Siyah” group was cancelled in the city of Ahvaz, while another concert by“Ahang-e Eshtiyagh” group, conducted by Ali Ghamsari, with Alireza Ghorbani as its lead singer, was cancelled in the city of Mashhad’s Ferdusi University.
7. The program of “Sara-ye Ahl-e Ghalam” centre was cancelled and 70 participants were arrested by the security forces. However, a large number of them were released later. Mehdi Khazali, who had already been arrested several times before, was arrested again and, according to his family, he has been on hunger strike since his arrest.
8. A movie named “Khasteh Nabashid”, in which Baran Kosari acts, was forbidden.
9. The court session for Fatemeh Kheradmand, a journalist was held.
10. According to ILNA the per capital study time in Iran has dropped to two minutes a day.
c) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1.Forty individuals were executed in the month of Aban. Ahmad Tahri, son of Ali Akbar, Shahram Yadolahi, son of Ali, Yusef Karimkhani Zarnaghi, son of Mahmud, Ghader Maleki, son of Moharam, Asgar Faraji Nayeri, son of Soleyman, Abdolghader Hadi Tajik, son of Abdolah (Abdol), Seyyed Jalal Hosseini, son of Enayatolah, Hamid Gholami, son of Yarvali, Ghahreman Ghasemi Karam Javan, son of Aliasghar, Ebrahim Barahoei, son of Siyah Khan, Farshid Rostami, son of Hossein, Farhad Mashhadi Abolghasem, son of Javad, Ali Darvishi, son of Reza, Abas Abasi Namaki, son of Alahgholi, Saeed Sadighi, son of Ebrahim, Hamid Rabie, son of Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Ali Rabie, son of Ali, Alireza Molaei, son of Ali, Eshagh Loregi, son of Darabas and Yusef Parmar , son of Gholam in Tehran, “F. B” in Neyriz, “A. A”, “SH. M”, “N. T”, “N. H”, “Parviz. K”, “Majid. D”, “Feyz Mohammad. M”, “Ali. M” and “Reza. D” were executed in Shiraz. Government news agencies declared their charges as possession of drugs. Public Relations and Communications department of Ministry of Justice in Ardebil province declared the execution of one person in Ardebil. Deputy Public Prosecutor of Qazvin has announced the death of three individuals in Qazvin. The above mentioned legal entities declared their charges as possession of drugs. “Behzad. A”, “Mehdi. M” and “Meysam. M” were executed in public in Arak. According to news agencies affiliated to the government they were charged with rape. Three Baluchi prisoners namely Abdolbaset Rigi, Abdoljalil Kahrazehi and Yahya Chari Zehi were executed in Zahedan Prison. According to some websites, they were charged with membership in political groups.
2.Ali and Razgar (Habib) Afshari, both Kurdish prisoners, have formally received their death sentences from the executive office of Orumiyeh Prison. The Chief Justice of Yazd Province announced that two persons, who were charged with rape, are awaiting execution. The Public Prosecutor of the city of Ravar announced that a married couple had been sentenced to death, on charges of transport and possession of drugs.
3. The Chief Justice of Yazd Province declared that the punishment of amputation of four fingers of two individuals, charged with theft, would be carried out in public. Deputy Public Prosecutor of Ghaemshahr announced that the punishment of flogging in public for an individual identified as “A”, would be carried out in public; the said individual has been charged with illegal relationship.
4. The Police chief of the city of Kashmar announced the arrest of a number of students; without mentioning the identity or the number of the arrested students, he ascribed the arrest to the students’ behaviour.
5. Parasto Foroohar’s passport was confiscated in the airport upon her arrival in Tehran. She is a well-known artist and daughter of Parvaneh and Daryush Foroohar, who were killed 13 years ago by the security forces. She was barred from commemorating the death anniversary for her parents.
6. The Public Relations Office of the Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of a group, which he described as "terrorists elements affiliated to foreign intelligence services".
Section 2: Economic and Social Rights
1. According to the vice-president of the economic commission of the Majles, between 60 to 70 percent of the factories in Iran have been closed and the rest are in recession or on the verge of closure.
2.Due to the bad economic conditions and shortages of raw materials, mainly because of adverse economic management and political sanctions, many workers have not been paid their overdue salaries for several months. For instance, more than 200 workers of Samand tile factory have not received any salaries for four months. Thirty-seven workers of Partis Semnan factory have not been paid for three months. The number of workers at the aforementioned factory has been reduced from 2500 to only 37 individuals. Moreover, 300 workers of Fajr Petrochemical factory have left their jobs in protest at lack of increase in their salaries.
3. Following a strike by workers of the Safa tube-rolling factory, which ended after five hours with the employer's pledge to pay the unpaid salaries of the workers, factory guards prevented Mohammad Rauf, a worker’s rights activist from entering the factory.
4. Naser Mohammad Zadeh, Vahid Fereydoni and Ali Noorani, three members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company were dismissed from their jobs. Similarly, 30 workers of Palvar Company in the industrial city of Kaveh were fired.
5. Pedram Nasrollahi, a worker’s rights activist, was arrested.
6. Ali Nejati, a board member of the syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Company, was questioned at the first branch of the court in the city of Shush.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment in the month of Aban also serve to indicate the unfavourable situation in those sectors.
1.The Head of the Environmental Organization announced that 90 percent of measures adopted to restore the Lake Orumiyeh have not been implemented.
2. The head of Khoram Abad Rural Water and Sewers Organization declared that 75 to 100 percent of surface water, springs and canals in the city have been dried up.
In conclusion of this monthly report, I would like to draw the attention of the Islamic Republic's authorities to the growing crisis in political, economic and social spheres. To overcome the crisis, it is essential to respect human rights and adhere to its standards. The first step to that end would be the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
21 November 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.