Sunday, August 31, 2014

REFERENCE: UA G/SO 214 (67-17) Health (2002-7) Iran (2011-16) G/SO 214 (53-24)
IRN 4/2014
24 March 2014
We have the honour to address you in our capacity as Special Rapporteur on the
promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special
Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of
physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the
Islamic Republic of Iran; and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 16/4,
24/6, 22/23, and 16/23.
In this connection, we would like to draw the attention of your Excellency’s
Government to information we have received regarding the deteriorating health of Mr.
Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, who has been in prison since 2010.
We wish to draw the attention of your Excellency’s Government to the joint
urgent appeal sent on 10 July 2013 by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and
protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on
the freedom of religion or belief; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or
punishment concerning the deteriorating state of health of Mr. Pourshajari. We regret that
to date no response to this communication has been received from your Excellency’s
According to information received:
Mr. Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, a blogger known by his pen name Siamak
Mehr, faces a very high risk of dying in detention and requires urgent medical
attention. In October 2012, Mr. Pourshajari suffered a heart attack and has
reportedly been denied access to necessary medical treatment including heart
surgery since then. Prison authorities at Ghezal Hesar prison in Karaj, where Mr.
Pourshajari is currently held, have allegedly prevented doctors from performing
an angiogram requested by prison doctors and also denied his request for furlough
to seek medical assistance outside prison and unblock his arteries. Additionally,
Mr. Pourshajari is also suffering from prostate disease, kidney stones, high sugar
level, disc problems, breathing problems and high blood pressure rate. Prison
physicians have reportedly determined that he is not fit to serve his sentence and
is in urgent need of specialized medical treatment.
Mr. Pourshajari, who has been in prison since 12 September 2010, is currently
serving a four-year prison term. He was initially held in Rajae Shahr Prison,
where he was subjected to torture and also mock execution and denied access to
family members and lawyer. He also spent seven months in solitary confinement.
Authorities also reportedly confiscated a computer, satellite receiver and
numerous documents from his home. In December 2010, he was sentenced to
three years imprisonment on charges of “propaganda against the system”, and
insulting the Supreme Leader” by posting writings on his blog. In October 2011,
Mr. Pourshajari was transferred to Ghezal Hessar prison, where hardened
prisoners are held. In April 2012, he was handed down an additional year in
prison on blasphemy charges.
While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations and on
whether Mr. Pourshajari received adequate health care and attention, we would like to
appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee his
fundamental human rights. Of the utmost importance is the right to adequate health care.
We should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to seek clarification of
the circumstances regarding the case of Mr. Pourshajari and stress that each Government
has the obligation to protect the right to physical and mental integrity of all persons. This
right is set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state
With regard to the allegations of the denial of specialized medical care, we would
like to recall that this right is reflected, inter alia, in article 12 of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified on 24 June 1975), which
provides for the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of
physical and mental health. This includes an obligation on the part of all State parties to
ensure that health facilities, goods and services are accessible to everyone, especially the
most vulnerable or marginalized sections of the population, without discrimination.
In this connection, we wish to refer your Excellency’s Government to General
Comment No. 14 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which
provides that States are under the obligation to respect the right to health by, inter alia,
refraining from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to health, 3
from denying or limiting equal access for all persons, including prisoners or detainees,
minorities, asylum seekers and illegal migrants, to preventative, curative and palliative
health services, and from enforcing discriminatory practices as a State policy (para.34).
We would also like to draw the attention of your Excellency’s Government to the
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Rule 22(2) provides that: “Sick
prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions
or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their
equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care
and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers. Rule
25(1) provides that: “The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental
health of the prisoners and should daily see all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness,
and any prisoner to whom his attention is specially directed.” (Approved by the
Economic and Social Council by resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076
(LXII) of 13 May 1977.)
We also refer your Excellency’s Government to the Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by
General Assembly resolution 43/173, which states that: “A proper medical examination
shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his
admission to the place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and
treatment shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and treatment shall be
provided free of charge” (Principle 24). Furthermore, we wish to refer to the Basic
Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly
resolution 45/111, according to which “Prisoners shall have access to the health services
available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation”
(Principle 9).
We would also like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all
necessary steps to secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance
with fundamental principles as set forth in article 19 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, which provides that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom
of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the
form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial
steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of Mr. Pourshajari
in compliance with the above international instruments.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the
Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are
expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for
your cooperation and your observations on the following matters, when relevant to the
case under consideration:
1. Are the facts alleged in the summary of the case accurate?4
2. Has a complaint been lodged by or on behalf of the alleged victim?
3. Please provide details and where possible the result of any medical
examinations, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to this
case. If no inquiries have taken place, or if they have been inconclusive,
please explain why.
4. Please provide details of any measures taken to ensure the enjoyment of the
right to the highest attainable standard of health, including access to
specialized health care and availability of essential medicines to the alleged
5. Please provide legal basis upon which Mr. Pourshajari was sentenced to
four years imprisonment and how that is compatible with the international
norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
We undertake to ensure that your Excellency’s Government’s response will be
available in the report we will submit to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.
While waiting for your response, we urge your Excellency's Government to take
all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of Mr. Mohammad Reza
Pourshajari are respected and, in the event that your investigations support or suggest the
above allegations to be correct, the accountability of any person responsible of the
alleged violations should be ensured. We also request that your Excellency’s Government
adopt effective measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.
Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of
opinion and expression
Anand Grover
Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health
Ahmed Shaheed
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Juan E. Méndez
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or

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Iranian Workers Rights Advocate Behnam Ebrahimzadeh a Political Prisoner is on Hunger Strike Since August 9 ..........

Free Behnam Ebrahimzadeh!
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh on hunger strike since August 9, 2014

The Iranian labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations and a Children's Rights advocate, has been incarcerated since June 2010.  In the infamous attack of the security forces on Evin prison’s ward 350 on April 17, 2014, Behnam was also targeted, physically attacked, and sent to solitary confinement in ward 209 for interrogations. He was brought up on new charges and was forbidden from any visitation. After he was briefly returned to the general prison population of Evin on May 2, 2014, he was sent to solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin again for 54 days and was transferred back to the general ward of Evin on June 17, 2014.
Behnam’s family has also been targeted. On Saturday, June 29, 2014, Behnam’s wife and son arrived at Evin prison and in the end of their visitation, six security agents in civilian clothing hold them hostage,took them back to their house, raided their residence, confiscated and taken away all of their belongings. Security forces pressured Behnam’s fifteen years old son, Nima, who is afflicted with Leukemia, to hand over all of his father’s documents including the flash drives. During the attack Behnam’s wife and son were also interrogated and threatened repeatedly.
Following the raid, the prison authorities once again without any legal justification or court order transferred Behnam to the ward 209 of Evin prison, in which led to Behnam’s decision to go on hunger strike on August 9, 2014. Instead of taking Behnam grievances into consideration, the authorities transferred Behnam to a section for highly dangerous inmates at Rajaee Shahr’s prison (formerly known as Gohardasht). He has been on a hunger strike since then. 
Behnam has recently received a new charge of causing unrest in his prison and that can be used as a pretext to issue a new sentence against him.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh demands to be returned to ward 350 (his previous ward in Evin Prison) and to receive the medical treatment he needs. Behnam suffers from severe headaches and kidney and intestine problems.
Behnam’s health is rapidlydeterioratingand he has been taken to the prison’s hospital on August 26 and there he was threatened by the prison’s authorities that if he does not end his hunger strike, he would be transferred to solitary confinement. Due to the pressure that Behnam is gravelyunder, he has announced that if his demands and needs are not going to be met by September 1, 2014, he would declare a dry hunger strike.
The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh Defense Committee have strongly condemned this inhuman treatment of Behnam and his family. His wife Zobeideh Hajizadeh and son, Nima Ebrahimzadeh, in an open letter addressed to workers’ organizations, Amnesty International, and other concerned individuals and organization, have pleaded for international support to help free Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.
IASWI strongly condemns these acts of violence towards labour activists and their family members in Iran. As we have emphasized previously, this is part of a coordinated policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to maximize pressures on jailed labour activists, their colleagues and family members in order to make their voices silent and continue with the oppression of the working class movement in Iran. 
Please demand immediate and unconditional release of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh by signing this petition.
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
August 29, 2014

Alex Callinicos -Professor of European Studies at King's College London, UK
Amir Mohsen Mohammadi -Writer -Freelance Journalist/Blogger-Australia
Андрей Штокман- -Political Activist-Russia
Ayoub Rahmani- (IASWI), London, UK
Azad Azizyan-Political Activist-Journalist-Kayseri, Turkey
Behrang Zandi- Political Activist-Journalist-Ankara, Turkey
Bibhusit Bista-Political Activist-Kathmandu, Nepal
Daviid McNally -Professor of Political Science, York University-Toronto. Canada
Dimitry Kolesnik - Editor of webjournal
Farid  C.Partovi-President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, CUPE, Local 4772-Spokesperson for the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI).Toonto,Canada
Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, New York City, USA
John Clarke-Founder of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty-Toronto, Canada
Laleh Khalili-Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, UK
Loretta Capeheart-Justice Studies Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, USA
Naomi Levari-Co-Founder/Producer at Black Sheep Film Production Ltd-New York City-USA
Nidal Farah-Political Activist-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Nima Ebrahimzadeh-Behnam Ebrahimzadeh's son-Iran
Majid Farahani-Political Activist-Germany
Mataz Suheil –Spokesperson for Syrian Observatory for Human Rights- Syria
Mehdi Amizesh- ‎Icdahak - ‎‎Society for defending street and working Children-Istanbul, Turkey
Mohammad Amirani-Political Activist-Copenhagen, Denmark
Parviz Shakiba- (IASWI) Toronto,Canada
Paul Le Blanc -Professor of History at La Roche College-Pennsylvania, USA
Peyman Jafari-PhD at International Institute of Social History and PhD at Universiteit Leiden / Leiden University-Netherlands
Pranav Jani -Associate Professor -Department of English-Ohio State
University, USA
Rania Masri-Assistant Professor-Department of Environmental Sciences at University of Balamand- Lebanon
Saeed Kamarn-Political Activist-Sweden
Salah  Mazoji -Member of the Central Committee of Komalah Party
Shadyar Omrani- Poet- Writer & Novelist-Ankara, Turkey
Tikva Honig- Parnass –Author, Journalist-Jews for the Palestinian Right of Return-Writer- Israel
Thomas Harrison-Co-Diector, Campaign for Peace and Democrac-New York-USA
Zhaleh Sahand-Political Activist-Houston, USA
Zobeideh Hajizade-Behnam Ebrahimzadeh's wife-Iran


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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Despite of All Measures by Islamic Regime in Iran to prevent family members of Those political Prisoners murdered in Mass killing and were Buried secretly in Khavaran Cemetery, the family members and friend gathered again in Khavaran to commemorate the memories of their loved one !

Reported by Mansoureh Behkish .
Mansoureh Behkish have lost six members of her family in the mass killing of the political prisoners in the summer of 1987-88 by Islamic regime in Iran. Islamic regime murdered political prisoners in mass by asking them three questions?
If they support Khomeini and his regime?
If they are moslem and do pray daily ?
If they are Marxist ?
The political prisoners lives depended on the answers they gave to three members of judges .
The political prisoners then were classified and those answered Marxist were sent to death row and were murdered in mass , according to a report close to 4000 young Iranian were murdered in a few weeks at the end of August and early september of 1987-88 and were buried hastily at night in mass grave at Khavaran cemetery .

Report in Excerpt -
With the coming of September one , the family members of those political prisoners murdered  and buried in mass planned to gather again at Khavaran. After close to seven years we were able to gather again at Khavaran. Although the number of family gathered compare to previous years were much less but it is important that we are gathered here to commemorate the memories of our loved one and display their pictures close to each other.  We are living under constant threat and force of a regime which does not understand any other means. It is important that we did not become disappointed in all these years and we continued to gather at Khavaran . Regime tried to divide among us ,but despite of our differences we showed our solidarity and unity to commemorate the memories of our loved one.

Although some mothers and fathers have passed away or become ill and could not attend but we will continue to do the event every year and after us the young people will continue to commemorate at Khavaran.
Because of our will and strength to do commemorate the event , finally regime has taken step backward at the end of Ahmadinejad's Government . .......

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Destructive Policies of the Islamic Regime in Iran and the Crisis of Water !

Destructive policy of the Islamic regime in Iran in the last 35 years is showing its real faces and challenges now . Construction of many dams in Iran without proper studies and analysis and its effect on water supplies and environment caused at least two famous river and lake like Zayandeh Rood in Isfahan and Orumieh Lake in Azarbayejan to dry and the people living in the two area have been on protest against these policies of the regime for some times now .
Recently People of Isfahan ,including 500 environmental activists gathered in the Zayandeh Rood to protest and demand the regime and Government of Rohani to find a quick solution for the Zayandeh Rood water . It is reported that there were clashes between people and riot and security forces of the regime.
People signed a long petition demanding regime to find a quick solution and chanted or carried signs which reads : Bring back the water to Zayandeh Rood, Mr. president ! solve the water problem of Isfahan,  Mr. President ! We only need water - The land is dry , We need our river , live and flowing /running.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

5000 Iranian Workers on Their 9th Days of Protest Since Last Wednesday !

Since last Wednesday 5000 workers of Bafgh Iron Ore Mine are on protest , they are protesting against the arrest of nine of their colleagues by security forces of the Islamic regime in Iran and also against the privatization of the mine as well as job security . Its been 9 days since the start of the protest. News coming from Bafgh indicating that Islamic regime has brought  more security and riot forces to the city. The workers and the family members of those arrested are in front of the Governor building day and night demanding their son,brother ,husband and colleagues be released and to stop privatization of the company .


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fundamentalists Including Ayatollah's - Clergies The Enemies of High Speed internet in Iran !

Will Iranian People Let these Ayatollah or Clergies make decision on their behalf  or call the government and the ministers as a public officers to listen to them and fulfill their need and serve them well !!???

Although Iran has one of the lowest internet speed even lower than Dubai ,South Korea and...and Iranian people suffer most from this , yet the fundamentalist forces including ayatollahs and clergies in their prayers issues Fatwa against high speed internet and call the communication minister to lower the internet speed and for more control .

Recently Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi told Mr. Vaezi the communication minister to lower the internet speed for moral reason and the minister in response have assured ayatollah he won't allow it happen.


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08/08/2014 Press Releases

UN rights experts condemn the recent wave of arrest and sentencing of civil society actors


GENEVA (8 August 2014) – United Nations human rights experts* today expressed grave concern over the recent escalating trend of arrest and sentencing of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly and association.
Since 22 May 2014, at least 36 individuals that include journalists, bloggers, filmmakers and authors, many of whom are also human rights activists, have been arrested summoned or sentenced in connection with their journalistic activities or for simply expressing their opinion on social media websites. Some of them have also been charged for ‘gathering and colluding against national security’ following their participation in peaceful assemblies.
“Convicting individuals for expressing their opinion is absolutely unacceptable,” the experts stressed. “Freedom of expression and opinion is necessary for the realization of all human rights, and it is a right reserved for all individuals, even if that individual expresses an opinion with which the Government disagrees.”
A number of these cases include situations where persons are held in solitary confinement or unknown locations and for unknown charges. Many of the trials were allegedly riddled with procedural irregularities, including deprivation of legal representation and exclusion from attending one’s own sentencing.
These individuals have been sentenced from six-month to over twenty-year prison terms. Furthermore, at least one individual who was sentenced to 50 lashings and another sentenced to death.
“The imposition of sentences in conjunction with unfair trial and lack of due process, on charges that do not warrant death or lengthy prison terms, constitutes a dismal violation of international human rights law,” the independent experts noted.
Iranian author Mr. Arzhang Davoodi was recently sentenced to death on the charge of ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity against God), in connection with his alleged membership and support to an Iranian dissident group, an allegation based on a comment he made about the group. Neither he, nor his attorney was reportedly present during the trial.
“It is completely unacceptable that an individual be sentenced to death on charge of Moharebeh for merely speaking one’s opinion,” the UN human rights experts said.
“Not only is this a blatant violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it also breaches the country’s own Islamic Penal Code, which reserves the death penalty only for those who have actively taken up arms.”
The human rights experts stressed that “such extreme convictions are simply intolerable and must be overturned.”
On 22 July 2014, Jason Rezaian, a reporter with the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, were arrested, along with an unidentified American-Iranian photo journalist and her husband. Mr. Rezaian and Ms. Salehi are reportedly held in unknown locations.
“These cases exemplify the alarming negative trend taking place in Iran. Individuals and journalists exercising their right to freedom of expression and opinion must be protected, not arrested and prosecuted,” they noted.
“This behavior strengthens our belief that the motive behind these cases is to solely suppress the freedoms protected by national and international law,” they said, stressing that it also goes against the pledges and commitments made by senior Government officials to decrease restrictions on freedom of expression as well as increase the security of the press.
The experts reminded the authorities of their obligations under international human rights law, which guarantees the rights to hold opinions, assemble peacefully and associate freely, without interference.
“We urge the Iranian Government to “immediately and unconditionally release all individuals held in connection with their exercise of freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and those charged for carrying out their legitimate activities as journalists,” they concluded.
(*) The experts: The Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mads Andenas, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

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Alert..........Alert.......Political Prisoner Arjang Dawoodi's Life in Great Danger !

Focusing on Iranian Political Prisoner  Arjang Dawoodi's Case !!

Arjang Dawoodi is an Iranian political prisoner ,he had spend 12 years of his life in different prisons , He is now at ward 12 of  Gohardasht - Karaj prison. He is being sentenced to death for carrying political activities inside the prison. Regime sentences political prisoners to death because of their political activities inside the prison , no one knows what it means , perhaps regime is trying to intimidate other political prisoners to "behave " ???!!! And that scares all human rights advocates around the world.
An Iranian in Tehran Writes on the wall No to the execution of Arjang Dawoodi 
In the past Mr. Dawoodi  was under intense interrogation and torture and several times he went on hunger strike .
Don't Let Islamic Regime in Iran Hang Arjang Dawwodi !

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Islamic Regime in Iran & Opportunity for the Growth of Iranian Fundamentalist Isis Style .....

The Islamic regime in Iran is creating a golden opportunity only for  Islamic fundamentalist Isis style in Iran while making it hard for Islamic reformists in Iran to breath . Like the Monarchy regime before the revolution which gave opportunity to Islamic groups only in Iran by letting the Islamic group have their prayer and gatherings and denying any opportunity to progressive and democratic Iranian political groups.
It was reported that recently a man ( named as M. N ) in the town of Abarkuh in the Yazd province was sentenced to  a year in prison and some fine as well as losing fingers of hand for robberies and fraud . This mans fingers were cut off in public by Guillotine.  
These kinds of act by Islamic regime in Iran will only feed to the growth of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran and its responsibilities lay only on Khamenei and his regime.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Iranian Workers protest for The Arrest of their Colleaguegues and Islamic Regime Sends Its Anti Riot Police !

Workers of Iron Ore Mine in "Bafgh" region protested when the Islamic regime arrested two of their colleagues and planned to arrest 16 other workers .

There are more than 5000 workers working in Bafgh Iron Ore Mine. Earlier the workers left their job for 39 days because of the management plan to privatize the mine . The two workers who are arrested are : Amir Hosein Kargaran and Ali Sabri.
One worker who didn't want to be named said: "Regime sent riot forces to arrest 16 other workers who are currently among workers in the mine to escape persecution and one of them Hosein Tashakori is the president of Bafgh City Council. 
According to this person , these 18 workers are under arrest because of a complaint sent by employer.
The Bafgh Iron Ore workers left their job since Tuesday in protest to a broken promises earlier made by police chief not to arrest the workers and keep his promises .

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

For Immediate Release

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City’s Prisons
Others Imprisoned on Suspect Charges, Trials

(Beirut, August 19, 2014) – Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said.

The 59-page report, “Locked Up in Karaj: Spotlight on Political Prisoners in One Iranian City,” is based on a review of 189 cases in three prisons in the city of Karaj, near the capital, Tehran, including the charges they faced, details of their trials before revolutionary courts, and information from lawyers, prisoners’ families, and others. Human Rights Watch concluded that in 63 of these cases, authorities had arrested the prisoners, and revolutionary courts had convicted and sentenced them, solely because they exercised fundamental rights such as free speech and rights to peaceful assembly or association. In dozens of other cases, including 35 prisoners sentenced to death on death row for terrorism-related offences, Human Rights Watch suspects egregious due process violations that may have tainted the judicial process.

“The election of a new, avowedly moderate president a year ago raised hopes that many of Iran’s political prisoners would soon walk free, but many remain behind bars,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The lion’s share of responsibility for releasing these prisoners rests with the judiciary, but President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet should be doing more to press for their release.”

The political prisoners include members of the political opposition, bloggers and journalists, a lawyer, and labor and religious minority rights activists. They are serving prison sentences on vague and sweeping charges for acts that Iran’s judiciary claims threaten the country’s national security, and are among several hundred political prisoners detained in prisons throughout Iran, according to reports released by UN rights experts.

Human Rights Watch asked the head of the Iranian judiciary in May for information on the cases of 175 prisoners, most of whom are covered in this report, including details of the charges and any evidence against them. The judiciary has not responded.

Most of the political prisoners are in one ward of Rajai Shahr prison, also known as Gohardasht prison, including 33 members of the beleaguered Baha’i community, Iran’s largest non-Muslim minority. They include five Baha’i leaders serving sentences of up to 20 years on charges that included spying, “insulting religious sanctities,” and “spreading corruption on earth,” all arising from their peaceful activities as Baha’i leaders.

At least 11 other Baha’is held in the same prison ward are faculty members and administrators affiliated with the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education, an alternative university created in 1987 for Baha’is that the government had excluded from state university education. The Baha’i International Community says that as of May 2014, 136 Baha’is were in Iranian prisons solely on religious grounds.

Karaj prison authorities are also holding two Christian pastors and two Christian converts. One of the pastors, Saeed Abedini, is serving an eight-year sentence for “intent to endanger the national security” by establishing and running home churches, his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, told Human Rights Watch.

Masoud Bastani, one of nine journalists and bloggers unlawfully imprisoned in Karaj, worked for the Jomhuriyat news website before his arrest in July 2009. Mahsa Amrabadi, his wife, also a journalist, said her husband was sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against the national security.”

Human Rights Watch identified seven rights defenders and a veteran human rights lawyer among those in Rajai Shahr prison. The human rights lawyer, Mohammad Seifzadeh, 67, cofounded the Defenders of Human Rights Center with Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace laureate, and other lawyers. An initial sentence of nine years was reduced to two, but six more years were added after he wrote letters and signed statements critical of the government while in prison, Ebadi told Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch also identified 126 prisoners convicted of more serious crimes, some on death row for terrorism-related offenses, whom the authorities may have targeted for their peaceful activities. While Human Rights Watch was unable to obtain sufficient information to refute the authorities’ accusations in many cases, it documented egregious due process violations in some of their cases, calling into question the legitimacy of the convictions.

One of them, Mohammad Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri, is serving 17 years for supporting the outlawed Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), an opposition group that the Iranian government considers a terrorist organization, his daughter, Masoumeh Mansouri, said. She told Human Rights Watch that a revolutionary court convicted her father of moharebeh, “enmity against God,” which can incur the death sentence, and “insulting the Supreme Leader” after two short court sessions.” The court referred to Mansouri’s visit to Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where members of the group lived in exile for years, to visit his wife and sisters, and his attending a 2007 speech at a ceremony at Khavaran cemetery in Tehran commemorating the 1988 execution of thousands of prisoners, many of them MEK members, as evidence of his guilt, she said.

Many others among the 126 describe themselves as Sunni activists or “missionaries” who support a strict, literalist interpretation of Sunni Islam. Most are from Iran’s Kurdish or Baluch minorities but others are foreign nationals, according to a source familiar with their cases. The authorities say that some participated in armed activities, including assassination attempts and murders, and that others assisted armed groups or threatened Iran’s security by other means.

Thirty-five of the 126 prisoners are on death row and at imminent risk of execution, Human Rights Watch said. Many are believed to have been held for weeks or months at Intelligence Ministry detention facilities, and tortured or otherwise ill-treated, several sources familiar with some of the cases told Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch has closely reviewed the cases of several of these men, including Zaniar and Loghman Moradi, Hamed Ahmadi, Jahangir Dehghani, Jamshid Dehghani, and Kamal Molaei, who are all accused of terrorism-related activities on behalf of opposition groups, but deny the charges and allege, in vivid detail, that security and intelligence forces subjected them to months of incommunicado detention and torture to secure coerced confessions from them.

On June 12, Human Rights Watch and 17 other rights organizations asked the Iranian government to halt the executions of the listed prisoners in Karaj prisons, and impose an immediate moratorium on all executions.

At least one of the prisoners on death row, Barzan Nasrollazadeh, is believed to have been under18 at the time of his alleged crime. International law, including under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a party, prohibits the execution of offenders who were under 18 at the time of their alleged crime.

“President Rouhani should speak out clearly for an immediate moratorium on executions given the serious doubts about the fairness of revolutionary courts trials,” Stork said. “And Iran needs to release anyone being held for exercising their legal rights.”

“Locked Up in Karaj: Spotlight on Political Prisoners in One Iranian City” is available at:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:

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