Iran Human Rights Monitor, monthly report – January 2018
Iran Human Rights Monitor, monthly report
The most noticeable development in January was the regime’s crackdown on Iran protests which started from Mashhad, the second largest city of Iran in the North East. The people took to the streets protesting against skyrocketing prices while the general public’s purchasing power is next to nothing.
Iran Human Rights Monitor published a special report on violations of the rights of Iran protesters. This bulletin just supplements it.
In addition to the arrest of more than 8,000 people and the killing of at least 50 during the nationwide protests, other systematic violations of human rights continued in January.
This bulletin makes brief references to rights abuses including the amputation of a thief’s hand, 13 executions, crackdown on minorities particularly Dervishes, continuing arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of political prisoners.
Crackdown on protesters continued
The regime started crackdown on unarmed protesters from the very beginning of the demonstrations, by firing teargas and using water cannons.
Some 8,000 protesters were arrested and at least 50 were shot dead or killed under torture by the State Security Force as anti-government demonstrations erupted in 142 cities.
In the following days plainclothes and intelligence agents went door to door to homes and stores, arresting people on a daily basis. They have tortured the detainees to the brink of death, reports indicate. In some cases, the young people were put in a refrigerator or a freezer room to make confessions, reports indicate.
Commenting on the deaths under torture, Iranian regime claims the detainees committed suicide or they were drug addicts.
Some of the slain protesters were covertly buried while some others’ bodies were abandoned in front of their homes or found in rivers.
Mahmoud Sadeghi, an outspoken MP who has scrutinized the authorities’ conduct of the crackdown, has said that around 3,700 people were arrested in the recent unrest (protests).
According to a classified report obtained from inside Iran, 35% of those arrested during the uprising of the Iranian people are students. Earlier, IRGC brigadier Hossein Zolfaghari, security deputy Minister of Interior, announced that more than 90% of the detainees are juveniles and teenagers with an average age of under 25.
Protesters forcibly disappeared
- Neda Ahmadi, student of Economics at Tabriz University, was arrested on Saturday, December 30, 2017, in Urmia, capital of West Azerbaijan Province, NW Iran. There has been no information available on her since she was arrested.
- Farshid Tajmiri, student of Economics at Tabriz University, was arrested on Saturday, December 30, 2017, in Urmia and transferred to an unknown location.
- Abdollah Fallahi, was arrested on December 30 in Dezful in southwestern Khuzistan Province. There is no news available on his fate.
- Ebrahim Dodangeh was arrested on December 29 in Gohardasht of Karaj. He was transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison on January 20 after being tortured.
- Majid Rahmatabadi, student of Hamedan Faculty of Engineering, was arrested on January 1, 2018 and was transferred to an unknown location.
- Amjad Yousefi was arrested in Piranshahr, no news is available on his whereabouts.
- Babak Ebrahimpour, is a young teacher who was arrested in the northern city of Noshahr. No news of him yet.
- Arash Mohammadi, 24 was arrested on January 3, in Karaj west of Tehran. He called his family and told them he was tortured. Iranian officials have denied his arrest and refused to provide any response to his family. He was transferred to Ghezelhesar Prison after two weeks.
- Ashkan Absavaran, 20, called his family and told them he had been arrested. It was the last time he contacted his family.
- Majid Rahmat Abadi, student of Hamedan Faculty of Engineering was disappeared during the uprising.
- Ramezan Azizi was also disappeared after being summoned to the intelligence department of Mahabad on January 10, 2018. No news is available on his whereabouts or condition.
- Ayoub and Edris Ghasemi were arrested on January 1, from their office in Karaj. On January 3, they called their friends and informed them of their arrest. There is no news available on their condition or whereabouts.
- Salar Mobaraki, a student of accounting at Rasht University was arrested on January 3. There is no news available on their condition or whereabouts.
- Behnam Nouri, 22 was arrested by intelligence on January 14, from his home in northern city of Talesh. There is no news about him at the time of publishing this report.
- Javad and Amin Ashrafi, two engineers at Hamedan’s Power Plant, were detained and have been kept in an unknown location since January 11. According to sources close to their families, the two are under pressure to make forced confessions.
The families of the detainees staged protest rallies outside various prisons including Evin and Ahwaz prisons. The prison authorities not only did not respond to them, but fired tear gas and air shots, attempting to disperse the families who sought the release of their loved ones.
Detainees killed under torture
At least 12 protesters have been so far tortured to death. Iranian officials however claim that they committed suicide or lost their lives due to drug addiction.
A series of tweets by Mahmoud Sadeghi, an outspoken MP who has scrutinised the authorities’ conduct of the crackdown since the protests have been a rare source of information from within the country.
“According to the relatives of one of the detainees who died in jail, he had told his family during a phone conversation [prior to his death] that the authorities had forced him and other prisoners to take pills that made them sick,” Sadeghi tweeted on Tuesday.
- Sina Ghanbari, 23, died Saturday night, January 6, 2018, in the notorious Evin Prison’s quarantine section. General director of the organization in charge of Tehran prisons claimed Sina Ghanbari had committed suicide by hanging himself in the lavatory of the prison.
- Vahid Heydari, 22, was a street peddler who was arrested during Iran protests in Arak, in Markazi Province. He later died in custody. The city’s State Security Force claimed he had been arrested for possessing drugs and had committed suicide at 12 police station detention center of Arak.
- Mohsen Adeli, 26, was arrested on January 1, in his home in Dezful, southwestern Khuzistan Province.His body was delivered to his family after two days. Local officials and prison authorities claimed he had committed suicide. His friends and family however said the effects of torture were evident on his body.
- Sarou Ghahremani, 24, was disappeared on January 3. After 10 days on January 13, Sanandaj intelligence informed the family of the young protester that his body is at a morgue.
- Ali Pouladi, 26, was arrested in a village near Chalous, northwest of Iran and transferred to a detention centre. The next morning authorities said he had passed away and even insulted his mother as she sought her son’s whereabouts. They did not provide any information regarding the cause of Ali’s death. His family said Ali had no illness and was in good health at the time of arrest.
- Kianoush Zandi, a graduated in engineering from the University of Sanandaj was disappeared on January 4. Sanandaj intelligence agents warned his family against going public about his death. They did not even deliver Kianoush’s body to his family. A ceremony was held on January 14, 2018, for him.
- Mohammad Nasiri was arrested and murdered by Intelligence Department in Zanjan, northwest of Tehran. The intelligence agents told his family that their son had committed suicide.
- Arya Rouzbehi Babadi, 25, was arrested during Iran protest. His body was found in Karoun River in Khuzistan Province on January 9 while his hands and legs were tied.
- Seyed Shahab Abtahi, 20, was arrested on January 2. His body was dumped outside his father’s house in the western city of Arak on January 5. His body was covered in injuries that appeared to have been caused by baton blows.
- Hassan Tarkashvand, 24, has been identified as another victim of the state-repressed protests in Iran. He was shot by the state forces on December 29, 2017 in Karaj and later died in a hospital due to severe injuries. According to his relatives, security agents covertly buried his body after he died from being “shot in the stomach”.
- Hossein Ghaderi, 30, died in quarantine ward in Sanandaj Prison. Judiciary officials declared that he had committed suicide.
Further instances about violation of human rights of Iran protesters
- More than 50 security agents on December 29, beaten a woman who was filming the demonstration in Golsar Intersection in northern city of Rasht.
- Ali Nouri, an activist who was arrested in ran protests and held in the quarantine section of Tehran’s Evin Prison, suffered a heart attack on January 13, and only received a quick check-up in the prison clinic.
- At least 21 demonstrators detained in Ward 350 of Tehran’s Evin Prison were transferred to ward 4 on January 15. They were put under torture to make televised confessions. Many of them were denied access to legal representative.
- A lawyer and human rights activist was arrested on January 15 for representing the recent detained protesters. He had previously disputed officials claiming Vahid Heydari, a recent detainee committed suicide or died due to drug addiction.
Mistreatment of political prisoners during Iran protest
- Severe security measures have been taken in Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj as of December 30. According to reports, Revolutionary Guards Corps forces have been stationed in the prison and have told political prisoners that they should not be optimistic about recent events. Prisoners were told that “if anything happens, none of you will get out of prison alive.”
- On Thursday Evin Prison security officials asked political prisoners to participate in a televised interview in support of the leader and government officials in exchange for their freedom. An informed source said that political prisoners had refused the request. According to the source, all prison leaves for political and nonpolitical prisoners have been cancelled until further notice.
- On Saturday, January 6, prison guards attacked Section 7, Hall 21 in Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj. The prison guards severely beat Sunni prisoners in this section and broke some of their personal belongings. The guards also broke the heads of several prisoners, while some prisoners were injured in their hands and feet with batons.
- Prison agents raided political prisoners in Central Prison of Urmia, insulting them and taking away them to prison gym. The guards searched their cells thoroughly.
Iran Human Rights Monitor registered 17 executions during January, including one in public and 5 covertly hangings. Two young men Amirhossein Pourjafar, 18, and Ali Kazemi, 22, and a young woman, Mahboubeh Mofidi, 21, who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes, are among those executed.
UN human rights experts in a statement appealed to Iran to halt the execution of Amirhossein Pourjafar, who was sentenced to death when he was 16 years old. “International standards unequivocally forbid imposing the death sentence on anyone under 18 years of age,” the statement reads in part.
Iranian teenager Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi remains at risk of execution after his execution scheduled for 17 January was postponed. He was 14 years old at the time of the crime of which he was convicted. Since 2014, he has been subjected to the anguish of being transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution four times.
Two political prisoners, Zaniar and Loghman Moradi has also remained at risk of Imminent executions. Zaniar and Loghman Moradi were sentenced to death nine years ago for being members of Kurdish parties, the accusations which have been denied by the two. According to reports they are considered hostages of the Ministry of Intelligence to force Zaniar’s father to hand himself in.
- The State Security Force opened fire on two tradesmen in their car on January 3, killing one identified as Sirvan Pasandi and injuring the latter.
- the State Security Force opened a barrage of bullets on a car without any prior notice on January 4, led to the death of two men in Sanandaj, west of Tehran.
- The state Force of 11 police station in Iranshahr, deliberately ran over a motorcyclist to stop him. The victim identified as Naeim Saygani was killed.
- A man identified as Seyed Ibrahim Rasouli was shot dead on January 18, 2018, in an assault by state forces in Eqlid, in Fars Province. According to eyewitnesses, Seyed Ibrahim Rasouli was shot after he defended himself against the state security forces who intended to forcibly enter his house. The clashes between the man and state forces lasted over 10 hours.
Deaths in custody
- On January 1st, Abdul Rahman Narui 30-year-old prisoner, who had been charged with drug crimes in Birjand Central Prison 9 years ago, was transferred to solitary confinement. Ahmed Ansari, Head of the Special Prison Guards, hit this political prisoner in the head and chest with an electric shooter to in front several other prisoners. Abdul Rahman Narui fainted and after transferring the prisoner to a health center it became clear that he had died.
- A Balouch prisoner, Abdolghodus Amiri took his own life due to the pressure caused by prison authorities refusing to provide him any medical care. Amiri and his brother were held in Zahedan Prison despite the fact that the charges brought against them had not been approved and all evidences support their innocence.
Inhuman treatment and cruel punishments
- Iranian authorities amputated the hand of a convicted thief on January 17, 2018, in the Central Prison of Mashhad, northeastern Iran, according to the state-run Rokna news agency. The amputation, was conducted by guillotine. The state-run Fars news agency on the same day cited Judiciary Spokesperson Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’I as saying that there would be a strict punishmentfor anyone who created insecurity in the community.
Referring to the punishment of offenders according to religious law, he said that “a leg and hand can be amputated.”
At least seven flogging sentences were issued by Iranian courts in January
- A man and a woman student who had a secret relationship were sentenced to flogging, forced exile and work at a mental hospital. The man has been identified only by his first name as Hamed while the woman has been identified as Mana. The judges sentenced both defendants to 99 lashes each while Hamed was sentenced to two years of forced residence in a region in Kerman and Mana to one year of forced labor in a home for mentally ill patients in Amin Abad. The verdict was upheld by the judges of the 47th Branch of the Supreme Court.
- A young [taxi] driver identified as Adel, has been sentenced to 25 years of prison and flogging. After the session was over, the judge condemned the defendant to 80 lashes for drinking wine and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for kidnapping. The court verdict was approved by the judges of Branch 24 of the Supreme Court on January 3.
- Payman Zarin, Head of the Environmental Protection Bureau for Kabudur Ahang said that the judge of the first general court condemned a pernicious hunter to 50 lashes, 91 days of imprisonment at grade 6, and a six-month jail term at grade seven. According to Payman, after a lawsuit was filed against the hunter who refused to introduce his accomplices, the judge punished the accused due to disturbing public order, causing fears, and hunting in the unlawful season.
- The Head of the Garmeh Judiciary Public Relations Department, Zafari, said that the provincial court of review sentenced a young man to 99 lashes and six months of exile to Sistan and Baluchistan Province on charges of harassment on Telegram.
- Three young men, charged with murder and robbery 14 years ago will soon go to the gallows. They have been identified as Nima, Farzad, Mansour and Mahmoud. The defendants were put to trial and the victim’s family requested retribution for them. They were also sentenced to 10 years of prison and 74 lashes.
- A university student was tried in Tehran on charges of harassing a young girl. After he read out his defense, the young man was acquitted of rape and sentenced to one year of exile and one hundred lashes. He appealed the sentence but the 42nd Branch of the Supreme Court Branch dismissed his appeal.
- A 19-year-old afghan national convicted of rape was sentenced to 10 years in prison, flogging and execution by Branch 11 of Tehran’s penal court.
In addition to the arrest of at least 8,000 people during the nationwide demonstrations, Iranian regime has made more arrests based on religious, ethnic or social grounds. Hundreds of arbitrary arrests were also reported.
- 17 social arrests
- 30 arrests on religious and ethnic grounds
- 146 arbitrary arrests.
Arbitrary arrests include:
- 36 partygoers including 28 men and eight women were arrested on January 8, for attending a mixed gender party in Northern Khorasan Province.
- 21 underground singers were arrested in Hormozgan. on January 11.
- Six people who were active in modeling were arrested on January 7, by the Khorasan Razavi Revolutionary Guards Corps.
- The Khorasan Razavi Revolutionary Guards Corps arrested two heads of the music groups on January 18, in a surprise attack in Mashhad.
- Political Prisoner Ali Moezzi was summoned to appear in a court on January 10, 2018. He refused to wear inmate uniform as well as handcuffs and shackles. But prison guards forcibly dressed the 64-year-old political prisoner in jail uniform and took him to court.
- Despite needing urgent medical care political prisoner Majid Assadi held in Rajaei Shahr Prison of Karaj has been deprived of adequate treatment. After being visited by a medic, he was sent back to prison, despite further need of medical examinations.
- Political prisoner Ramin Hossein Panahi, who spent 200 days under torture in solitary confinement, has reportedly lost his memory. During a prison visit on January 9, 2018, in Central Prison of Sanandaj his mother noticed that Ramin Hossein Panahi suffers kidney infection as well as amnesia due to the blows to the head.
- Prison authorities in Saqez Prison severely beaten up a prisoner identified as Jamal Alipour, for possessing three cigarettes.
- Saeid Shirzad is in critical health condition as he has been deprived of medical care after his hunger strike. Prosecutor’s Office did not provide any response to the repeated referrals of the prisoner’s family, seeking their son’s transfer to a hospital outside the prison.
- Political prisoner Mohammad Nazari held in Urmia Central Prison became very ill & was transferred to the jail clinic on January 11. Authorities are depriving him of medical care despite his need of dire surgery.
- Imprisoned trade unionist, Reza Shahabi, has been denied hospitalization despite suffering a second stroke in prison. Iran’s judiciary has refused to release him despite medical recommendations indicating he is not healthy enough to endure prison condition.
Rajaei Shahr Prison
Several months after the transfer of political prisoners in Rajaei Shahr Prison of Karaj to a maximum-security ward equipped with surveillance cameras, they are deprived of heating system, fresh air and adequate medical care. The official shop in prison has recently added blankets to its selling items. However, according to an order issued by the head of prison, blankets will not be sold to political prisoners. Notably, political prisoners have currently launched a strike by refusing prison food ration, protesting the inhuman conditions they have been forced to endure at the ward. They have announced that they will continue their strike until their demands are met.
They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds. They are also barred from having in-person family visits and denied access to telephones, which are usually available in other parts of the prison. According to reports the prisoners in wards 2 and 6 haven’t had hot water for more than 50 days.
Urmia Central Prison
The prison is overcrowded with some wards holding two or three folds more than the maximum limit.
According to the warden’s admissions the problem is especially acute in the wards 1, 4 and 15 where the inmates are being forced to sleep on the floor, corridors next to the lavatories and even on the stairs, as overcrowding grows increasingly severe. In some wards which originally designed and built for 120, more than 450 individuals are held, prisoner’s families say. In a ward known as “psychotherapy” 180 prisoners are held in space meant for 100 people.
In reaction to the inmates’ repeated objections, the prison’s observing judge told them “The rules here are different from all other prisons and we have our own rules.”
Persecution of religious and ethnic minorities
- Four religious minority activists, Kasra Nouri, Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, Mohammadreza Darvishi and Faezeh Abdipour were violently arrested while visiting a Gonabadi Dervish hospitalized at Tehran’s Day Hospital on December 31, 2017. They were first taken to the Ministry of Intelligence office at Enghelab Ave. and subsequently transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. The four launched hunger strike from the very first hours of their arrests.
- Ali Jamshidi and Reza Souri, two Gonabadi Dervishes residing in Khorramabad, capital of Lorestan Province in western Iran, were arrested in their homes.
- Mohammad Ali Roshan and Mahmoud Hashemi were arrested in Shiraz, southern Iran, by plainclothes of Intelligence Department who did not present any legal warrant or identification cards.
A number of Dervish Gonabadi community members staged a rally, protesting the detention of other Dervishes across Iran which responded violently by the State Security Force as they beat and wounded them using batons, electric shockers and tear gas. The SSF also arrested a number of the protesters including Zabihollah Kordpour, Abdollah Rezaeian and Mohsen Azadifar. A pregnant woman, Raheleh Merrikh, was among those wounded because of the beatings. Some other injured protesters are Nourollah Golshan, Nasrollah Golshan, Kheirollah Karami, Gholam Azadi, Ahmad Dehghan, Amin Nadoumi, Iman Nadoumi, Sajjad Pourfarjam and Mehdi Nouri.
- Abdolhamid Aryamanesh, a 33-year old Sunni man was arrested for Teaching children prayer and Quran in Semnan north central Iran.
- Three Baha’i owned businesses were closed in Tabriz, northwestern Iran.
- Baha’i citizen Faramarz (Houshang) Sabet Rasekh, whose business was shut down last year by agents, went to court to follow up the closure. The Baha’i man, who was treated with disrespect by court employees, was arrested on January 16 and transferred to prison.
- Sima Kiani, a Baha’i citizen residing in the city of Ray, who was arrested in March 2016 and released on bail in April this year, was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court yesterday and was taken to prison to serve her prison term.
- Neda Eshraghi Broujni, a computer science Baha’i student at Kashan University, was expelled from university for following the Baha’i faith, according to news published on January 20, 2018. After taking away her student ID, university officials also denied her access to the university website and banned her from coming into the university dorm. According to an informed source, her sister, Mana Eshraghi Broujni, was also banned from enrolling at university.
- Sadaf Vojdani, an Architectural Engineering Baha’i student at Razi University of Kermanshah, was expelled for adhering Baha’i faith.
Violation of basic rights
- A video posted on Social media shows how Municipality patrol attacks a street vendor for no good reason in northern city of Talesh. This is the viciousness practiced by Iran’s authorities towards people trying to make ends meet.
- A video shows municipality agents throw the properties of a vendor to the street stream.
- In a video disseminated on social media Municipality patrol can be seen as attacking a street vendor and his wife is trying to prevent them to confiscate their car and items.
- A street vendor was beaten by municipality agents in Bijar. The vendor was injured and taken to
- The State Security Force in Ahwaz, attacked and severely beat a man by the name of “Jafar,” while mistaking him for a wanted suspected by the name of “Jafari.”
- During a protest by a group of people who had lost their money to the Valiasr Institution, a female protester was run over by police. Despite this, the West Tehran Police Information Center accused the woman of feigning illness in a statement, saying that a criminal case was filed for her.