The Iranian regime stepped-up repression by the soaring executions and widespread arrests of civil activists and protesters, on the one hand, and escalated pressure on prisoners, especially those incarcerated on political grounds.
January saw the clerical regime ratchet up social clampdown in step with the growing discontent and the spread of popular protests.
Arbitrary killings, violations of prisoners’ rights, as well as torture and ill-treatment of civilians continued.
Prisoners also experienced greater pressure than before. New prison sentences were issued for civil activists in various cities, and some were summoned to serve their sentences. In some cases, security forces used brute force to transfer them to jail.
The clerical regime also violated the principle of separation of crimes by banishing political prisoners to remote prisons and among ordinary convicts.
This month’s report is a brief review of the abysmal conditions of human rights in Iran.
The stepped-up repression in January 2022 was vividly evident in the soaring executions. The Iranian regime executed at least 47 people including 17 for drug-related offenses and 24 for murder. Two men were executed after being found guilty of charges related to homosexuality.
The number of executions of Baluch prisoners in Zahedan and Zabol prisons were significant.
Also, among the shocking cases this month, we can mention the execution of a 70-year-old man in Urmia Prison, which was carried out at dawn on Thursday, January 27.
Mir Soltan Amiri, 70, was hanged for drug charges. His son, 42-year-old Shahriar Amiri had previously been executed for the same charges on July 3.
At least 22 civilians have been arbitrarily killed or wounded by the state forces.
The State Security forces in Zanjan opened fire on a passenger car on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, killing an innocent 8-year-old girl named Mezgin Palangi, and injuring her 16-year-old sister, Falak Palangi. Falak was seriously injured and is receiving medical care in one of Zanjan’s medical centers.
A 10-yr-old boy was shot and killed by Iran’s border forces in Milak, southeast Iran. A Baluch group said the child was carrying fuel when he was shot in the head without warning. His identity is not yet known.
The identity of the child is unknown, but he is said to have been an Afghan immigrant.
Iran security forces kill Baluch citizens including children with impunity.
In yet another case in early January, dozens of military vehicles attacked the Shuro region near Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province. The news indicates that two women and a child were killed in the attack.
A heavy confrontation broke out in the early hours of Saturday, January 1, 2022, in Saeedabad village in Kurin County. The military forces launched an assault, clashed with the Baluch residents, and asked for reinforcements. They used light and heavy weapons in this attack. The confrontation then expanded to the Shuro village where the military forces shelled people’s homes using artillery.
Cruel and degrading treatment and punishments continued in Iran in January.
Shapoor Waqar, director of the Moghan Voice of Justice group, was sentenced to 74 lashes for insulting a member of parliament, and the sentence was carried out on January 21.
Freedom of expression
Mohammad Taghi Fallahi, the secretary-general of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association in Tehran, has been taken to Evin Prison to serve a six-month prison sentence.
Taghi Fallahi was arrested in February 2020 and held in Tehran’s Evin Prison for his participation in a peaceful teachers’ protest. He was later released on bail.
Last year, a court in Tehran sentenced him to two years in prison after convicting him of “conspiracy and collusion through membership in an illegal organization.”
In another case, a court in Tehran has sentenced financial reporter Amir-Abbas Azarmvand to three years and seven months in prison after convicting him of “spreading propaganda against the system.”
Azarmvand, who works for the state-run financial newspaper SMT, was also banned from leaving the country for two years. Azarmvand, was arrested in September over his reporting and held in Tehran’s Evin prison, a primary site for political detainees. He was later released on bail before his trial began on January 8. His sentence was handed down on January 19.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned his arrest, saying that the jailing of journalists for doing their jobs was “an outrageous form of censorship that must end.”
Pressure on prisoners, especially political prisoners, increased in January. The deaths of at least four prisoners this month confirm the catastrophic situation of prisoners in Iran.
Adel Kianpour died in Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, on January 1, 2022, after a weeklong hunger strike to protest being imprisoned without due process or a fair trial.
That same day, Baktash Abtin, 48, a board member of the persecuted Iranian Writers Association (IWA), was put into an induced coma in a Tehran hospital after being transferred there from Evin Prison on December 14 with severe symptoms of COVID-19. He died on January 8. Iranian authorities have a history of endangering the lives of political prisoners by deliberately denied them adequate or timely medical access.
Denial of visitation and furlough
In the last month, the deprivation of political prisoners from being sent on leave has been reported in several cases. Zeinab Jalalian in Yazd prison, Saeed Masouri in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, Khaled Pirzadeh in Sheiban prison in Ahvaz and Maryam Akbari Monfared in Semnan prison are among those denied temporary leave.
Iranian women’s rights defender Saba Kordafshari was deprived of leave for three months by the Qarchak Prison Disciplinary Council for protesting against the “lack of hot water in prison.”
Former political prisoner Arash Sadeghi tweeted on Friday evening that “The meeting of the disciplinary council was held without Saba about forty days ago at the request of the warden of Qarchak Prison, Soghra Khodadadi, and she has just been informed of the council’s ruling.”
It should be noted that Maryam Akbari Monfared, a political prisoner in exile in Semnan Prison, started her 13th year in prison. Ms. Akbari Monfared has been in prison without a single day on furlough since her arrest in 2009. Meanwhile, Benjamin Briere in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad and Sam Rajabi in Evin Prison have been denied telephone calls.
Zeinab Jalalian has been detained nearly 550 days incommunicado, under physical and mental torture. Her family is gravely worried about her conditions and health. She has been deprived of calling her family despite her physical and mental conditions. There is no information available on her.
Prison authorities have declared that nothing will change for her so long as Ms. Jalalian does not express remorse in a televised interview.
Denial of access to medical treatment
Many prisoners, including Fatemeh Mosanna, Hassan Sadeghi, Behnam Moosivand, Ebrahim Sediq Hamedani, Hamid Haj Jafar Kashani, Mahmoud Ali Naghi, Abbas Dehghan, Ali Ahmadi in Ghaemshahr have been denied medical access.
Political prisoner Khadijeh Mehdipour has reportedly contracted the Coronavirus. Despite showing symptoms, including fever, weakness, and sore throat, she is deprived of medical attention and care in the Prison of Ilam.
The latest headlines on child marriages in Iran referred to the painful phenomenon of young child marriage.
The Department of Registry of Sistan and Baluchestan Province announced it had registered 18 marriages of young girls between 5 and 9 years old since March 2021. (The state-run ROKNA news agency – January 4, 2022)
The Department of Registry of Sistan and Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran, has also registered 2,405 marriages of girls between 10 and 14 years old during the same period.
Between one and three girls, under 15 years old, get married every day in Ahvaz, the capital of the oil-rich Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.
The head of the Women’s Committee in the Governorate of Ahvaz explains that the underlying cause for these early marriages is widespread unemployment caused by water shortages, poverty, and inflation.
Pooneh Pilram says, “When families cannot provide for their children, they first get rid of their daughter.” (The state-run Fararu website – January 2, 2022)