Iran Human Rights Monitor, Monthly Report May 2021
Over May 2021, Iranian authorities continued executions, torture, the suppression of minority groups, arrest and conviction of civil and political activists and the internet censorship.
Group arrests at private parties, summonses, interrogations, and detentions of religious and ethnic minorities also continued. The following report is a summary of the human rights situation in Iran over the past month.
This report will provide statistics and facts, including the execution of at least 19 citizens. Executions were mostly carried out in secret, with 13 executed on drug charges.
The authorities issued flogging sentences this month. Widespread arrests on social or politically motivated charges also continued.
In May 2021 Monthly Report, we look at those in more detail.
Executions – Monthly Report May 2021
At least 21 people were executed in Iran in May; 15 for drug-related offenses and two for rape charges, which are not capital crimes under international law. Four people were executed on murder charges.
Iran has the highest number of executions per capita in the world.
One of the most important cases last month was the execution of Behzad Adl in Adelabad Prison in Shiraz.
One of the most important violations of the right to life in the past month is the execution of a man on rape charges in Adelabad Prison.
25-year-old Behzad Adl was executed on May 15, in Shiraz, south central Iran on rape charges that he denied in court. He was denied access to legal counsel. He said he confessed to the charges under severe torture.
In another development, Mehran Naroui from Iran’s Baluchi ethnic minority, was executed on May 17, in Dastgerd Prison of Isfahan. He had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment to extract “confessions” used to convict and sentence him to death in unfair trials.
His execution was carried out despite social media users calling the authorities to halt the execution.
According to Amnesty International, Naroui had been subjected to serious human rights violations including enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment to extract “confessions” used to convict and sentence them to death in unfair trials.
Executions carried out in May 2021 in Iran
|R||Name||Surname||Age||Gender||Charges||Place of execution||Date of execution|
|7||Ghasem||B||31||m||rape||Mashhad Central Prison||5/19/2021|
|10||Sajjad||25||m||murder||Mashhad Central Prison||5/19/2021|
|11||Kobra||Fatemi||41||f||murder||Yazd Central Prison||23-May-21|
At least 540 people were arrested for various charges, including peaceful activities, or for believing in a religion other than Islam. Among those arrested are more than 13 civil and labor activists. At least 331 people have also been arrested for social crimes. Other arrests relate to ethnic and religious minorities.
Internet censorship – Monthly Report May 2021
An internet freedom activist tweeted on May 19 that confidential letters were leaked from Iran, revealing orders by the deputy head of Tehran’s Justice Department to filter Instagram, Google Play, and VPNs.
“According to a very classified letter I received, Tehran’s Judiciary has ordered relevant organizations to filter Instagram, Google Play, VPNs and anti-filtering tools. They have one week from May 15 to execute the orders. More info soon,” the activist tweeted.
The letters were also confirmed by the state-run Mehr News website. Iran’s Chief Justice, Ebrahim Raisi, is a presidential candidate in the upcoming June 18 elections and is a favorite of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
The May 15 letter asks managers of major telecommunication and cellular companies to carry out as quickly as possible “orders issued to filter cyberspace, including Instagram, Google Play, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and internet circumvention tools.”
The letter has tasked the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with “guaranteeing the execution of the order”. IRGC Commander in Chief Hossein Salami as well as other IRGC officials have been asked to “follow up the implementation” of the order and deal with telecom companies that do not carry out the orders in one week.
In the letter, the Judiciary threated companies that refuse to comply with the order with closure adding that company managers would be prosecuted.
The judiciary has ordered Internet Service Providers to filter Instagram in such a way that all access through any anti-filtering tools including VPNs would not be possible. Most Iranians use anti-filtering tools to access political news or many of the websites already filtered by the regime.
Discrimination against religious minorities
Increasing pressure and detentions and summonses of Baha’i citizens continued in Iran last month. In May 2021 Monthly Report, Iran human rights monitor briefly glances the situation of religious minority groups in Iran over the past month.
- Baha’i citizens living in Tehran Mahvash Adalati Aliabadi, Sepideh Keshavarz and Farid Ismaili were sentenced by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals to 3 years and 7 months in prison each, on charges of “acting against national security through managing a Baha’i organization.”
- Also, in another case, six Baha’i citizens living in Shiraz and Borazjan, identified as Borhan Ismaili, Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Hayedeh Ram, Minoo Bashir and Dorna Ismaili, were sentenced by the Borazjan Revolutionary Court to a total of 73 years and 6 months in prison.
- Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced a Baha’i woman to 8 years imprisonment on the charge of forming a group to empower women. The court examining the charges of Atesa Ahmadaii Rafsanjani convened in March 2021 and issued its verdict for her efforts to register a non-governmental organization for the empowerment of women.
- The trial of Kiana Shoaei, a Baha’i citizen living in Shiraz, was held on May 15, at the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz.
- Reza Zaimi, a Christian convert, was summoned to serve his sentence. Shula Assyri, a Baha’i citizen living in Hindijan, Khuzestan Province, was detained by security forces.
Discrimination against religious minorities
Iran Human Rights Monitor will present a report on the repression of ethnic minorities in a separate report. May 2021 Monthly Report, briefly mentions some cases.
- Azerbaijani Turk activist Siamak Seifi was sentenced by the Meshginshahr Revolutionary Court to two years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion to disrupt public order.”
- The sentence issued against Alireza Farshi, an Azerbaijani Turk activist imprisoned in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, was upheld by the Tehran Court of Appeals. While serving a two-year sentence, Mr. Farshi was sentenced by the Tehran Revolutionary Court to four years and two months in prison and a supplementary sentence in another case.
- Azerbaijani Turk activist Roozbeh Piri was sentenced by Branch 103 of the Tabriz Criminal Court to pay a fine of 5 million Tomans for “publishing lies on social media.”
- Azerbaijani Turk activist Davood Shiri, a resident of Tabriz and one of the detainees of the November 2019 protests, was summoned to the Tabriz Criminal Court on May 15, to start serving his sentence. Mr. Shiri was previously sentenced by Branch 1 of the East Azarbaijan Court of Appeals to six months in prison.
Iranian authorities have embarked on a wave of arbitrary arrests of more than a dozen citizens in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Khuzestan Province. Among those arbitrarily arrested is the mother of one of the November 2019 uprising martyrs. The clerical regime arrested some at least 26 young men and the elderly mother of one of the November 2019 uprising martyrs in Ahvaz and the Port of Mahshahr from Friday, May 14 to Sunday, May 16.
- Reza Taleshian Jalodarzadeh, a journalist imprisoned in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, went on a hunger strike on April 28, to protest the authorities’ failure to comply with his demands and the lack of access to medical services.
- H uman rights experts on May 4, expressed serious concern over the condition of imprisoned Iranian filmmaker and political activist Mohammad Nourizad and called for his immediate release. His health has reportedly deteriorated so severely that he risks serious complications and possible death if he remains in prison and does not receive appropriate medical care. “We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion,” the experts said. “Furthermore, his continued detention despite medical professionals finding he cannot stay in prison given his serious health condition, and the resulting denial of adequate medical care, may amount to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. “His case is emblematic of the situation many Iranian political activists face in detention. He must be immediately released.”
- Saba Kord Afshari went on hunger strike to lift the pressure it imposes on families of political prisoners. Despite a bleeding stomach ulcer, she refused food and medicine to have her sick mother released from Evin Prison. Hunger strike is a last resort for prisoners.
- The trial of Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, three protesters arrested in November 2019 protests, was postponed for the second time on May 12, due to the absence of a second judge. The three political prisoners, who are currently being held in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, have previously been sentenced to death, a total of 38 years in prison and 222 lashes by the Tehran Revolutionary Court. The authorities halted the executions of the three men last year after accepting their request for a retrial.
- Hossein Hashemi, an Iranian protester who is detained in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary was summoned and interrogated after revealing the horrible conditions of political prisoners in a letter published in May.
At least 16 people were killed by the police without arrest or trial, while 15 were injured. The security forces have a long history of this and there are daily reports of border porters being killed or injured.
Iran Human Rights Monitor will publish these arbitrary killings in detail in a separate report.
Iranian police and security forces continued to shoot Iranians with impunity.
Two Iranian men who were detained for drinking alcohol were shot by the police near Tehran after being transferred to a police station in chains. The men were identified as 38-year-old Ghobad Rezaie Farzad and 32-year-old Behnam Karimi. The two men were detained for drinking alcohol on May 20 and were taken to the Valad Abad Police Station in Alborz Province near Tehran. Ghobad Rezaie was shot above his knee four times while Karimi was shot twice above his right knee after a scuffle broke out. The two men were taken to a hospital in Karaj with cuffed, wounded legs. They were both shot at very close range.