February saw the Iranian regime ratchet up social clampdown in step with the growing discontent and the spread of popular protests.
The increasing repression was vividly evident in the regime’s persistent use of the death penalty and widespread arrests of civil activists and dissidents.
Torture, degrading punishments, and persecution of citizens continued in Iran. The regime violated the right to peaceful assembly by the arrest of a number of teachers, during the nationwide sit-ins and demonstrations of Iranian teachers.
The regime also escalated pressure on prisoners, especially those incarcerated on political grounds. Meanwhile, new prison sentences were issued for civil activists in various cities, and some were summoned to serve their sentences.
The clerical regime also violated the principle of separation of crimes by banishing political prisoners to remote prisons and among ordinary convicts.
Iran HRM Monthly Report, February 2022, is a brief review on the abysmal conditions of human rights in Iran.
The Iranian regime executed at least 23 people including 3 for drug-related offenses and 18 for murder. Tew prisoners were executed on the charge of Moharebeh.
The regime’s lack of transparency in reporting executions meant the real number could be much higher.
A woman was among those executed last month in Iran. The authorities of the Central Prison of Qazvin (a.k.a. Chubindar) hanged a young woman by the name of Khatoun Hamidi on the morning of February 5, 2022.
Khatoun Hamidi, 23, was accused of deliberate murder for which she was sentenced to death.
The execution of Khatoun Hamidi brings to 130 the number of women executed in Iran since summer 2013. An informed source said Khatoun Hamidi was arrested and detained five years ago after killing her fiancé. She did not love her fiancé and had been forced by her father, a drug addict, to marry him because he was rich.
Torture and degrading punishments
Iranian authorities in Gorgan (northern Iran) paraded a young man around the city’s streets on February 7. In a bid to mock and disgrace the young man as well as to humiliate his dignity the regime’s agents put a long stick through his sleeves and paraded him around the streets.
Other degrading and curule punishments namely floggings were carried out last month.
Kurd political prisoner Chia Aghabigpour was lashed 70 times in a prison in Bukan, western Iran on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state”. He has also been sentenced to one year and two months of prison and a heavy fine.
Violation of the tight to freedom of assembly and association
Iranian teachers held nationwide protest gatherings last month despite massive control by security forces.
On February 22, in most cities, including Tehran and Karaj, the State Security Forces blocked all the roads leading to the gathering place to prevent students and other people from joining the protests of Iranian teachers. They also seized teachers’ mobile phones so that they could not shoot any films from the rallies.
In Karaj, several teachers were beaten and brutalized before being arrested. In Rasht, the capital of Gilan Province in northern Iran, the authorities took the protesting teachers inside the Department of Education to prevent people from joining them.
The security and intelligence forces arrested at least six teachers, including some women. The spokesman of the Teachers’ League, Mohammad Habibi, reported the arrests of three female teachers in Alborz Province. Their names are Shabnam Baharfar, Azadeh Mokhtari, and Zahra Ajorlou.
Security forces and plainclothes agents on February 17, attacked and arrested mourners who were holding a ceremony on the 40th day of the death of dissident writer and poet Baktash Abtin. They were chanting “down with tyrants, viva Abtin” when they were attacked in a cemetery in Shahr-e-Rey, Tehran.
The regime continues to harass and torture dissidents with impunity. Prisoners were denied basic medical care. Some were deprived of quarantine and medical leave due to the spread of the spread of Omicron variant.
In some cases, prison officials used the cold weather to make conditions more difficult and pressure the prisoners.
Security and prison officials increased pressure on political prisoners by failing to respect the separation of crimes. The authorities of Qarchak Prison have shut off the hot water on political prisoners, forcing them to take cold showers. Prison officials do not provide hot water to political prisoners in Qarchak Prison to increase pressure on them.
Political prisoner Fariba Assadi went on a hunger strike in protest of being beaten by one of the prisoners accused of ordinary crimes and the violation of the principle of separation of crimes in Qarchak Prison. Ms. Assadi began her strike on Sunday, February 27, 2022.
Several ordinary prisoners beat political prisoner Yasaman Aryani on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. A well-informed source inside the prison reported that Ms. Aryani had recently been deprived of the small privileges granted to prisoners for participating in the prison’s cultural activities, including the library and theater. She objected to this and intended to meet with the head of the ward but was beaten by several ordinary women prisoners.
Saba Kord Afshari was beaten on Sunday, February 20, 2022, by one of the prisoners accused of public crimes. Prison officials stood by and watched Saba being beaten without taking any action. They had also ignored the verbal conflict between this prisoner and Saba Kord Afshari in the preceding days.
Political prisoner Forough Taghipour, who contracted Omicron in Qarchak Prison, was transferred to a very dirty and unsanitary ward. It is very likely that she contracts infectious and skin diseases. An informed source reported: “In this room, which is called the quarantine, they have spread a filthy carpet, the restrooms and the environment are filthy. Despite her critical condition, she is detained in the quarantine room without any facilities.»
Political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared, serving her 13th year in prison, is in exile in Semnan Prison. Mrs. Akbari has the fatty liver disease but cannot procure and cook the food the doctor has prescribed for her. She has been eating bread and cheese for about a year since she cannot eat prison food.
Prison officials use this leverage to pressure and harass this prisoner as much as possible. So far, the judiciary has not responded to any of the political prisoner’s family pursuits. They also deny the responsibility for her banishment.
The horrifying murder of Mona Heydari, a 17-year-old child bride from Ahvaz, made headlines in early February. Iran’s state media, facing an outraged public, tried to downplay this heart-wrenching crime to the level of an individual, family, or tribal issue.
On February 5, the girl’s husband beheaded her and showcased the severed head on the streets while holding a knife with a grin on his face.
Mona Heydari was forced into marriage at age 12 and had a 3-year-old son who now lives with his grandmother.
Mona was a victim of domestic violence. She had filed for divorce several times, but her family persuaded her to continue living with her husband for the sake of her child. Eventually, Mona fled to Turkey to escape her husband’s violence.
According to Abbas Hosseini Pouya, the prosecutor of Ahvaz, Mona’s father returned her to Iran. When her husband found out Mona was in Ahvaz, he dared to kill her.
None of the Iranian regime’s top leaders or officials have condemned or taken a stand on it. Conversely, in a virtual meeting entitled “Investigating the Background and Consequences of a Social Tragedy,” some misogynist clerics justified the murder, calling the killer “oppressed.”