Saturday, 2 of Ordibehest, 22 Apr 2017
In continuation of its monthly reports, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Farvardin 1396 [Iranian month corresponding to 21 March to 20 Apr 2017].
The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has referred to the holding of 12th Presidential Election of Iran in the month of Ordibehest [21 April to 21 May] and the procedures for vetting the presidential candidates and has announced that the shaky foundations of democracy in Iran have become weaker because of consultative supervision [by the Guardian Council].
This people-instituted organization has said the consultative supervision and the extension of the powers of the Guardian Council is contrary to the explicit provisions of the Constitution.
Therefore, The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights considered the abolition of the consultative supervision of the Guardian Council as a way for creating a sense of confidence and assurance about the integrity of the election.
Furthermore, in its report, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, this people-instituted organisation has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran under the three main headings of “Civil and political rights”, “social and economic rights”, and “cultural heritage and the environment”.
According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, the text of the report by the said centre for the month of Farvardin 1396, which has been published on 2nd of Ordibehesht 1396 [22 Apr 2017], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in Mar-April 2017
During the last days of the month of Ordibehesht 1396, the Iranian people will vote at their 12th presidential election.
In accordance with Article 114 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the president is elected for four years and with a direct vote of the people. According to Article 99 of the Constitution, the Guardian Council is responsible for monitoring and scrutinizing the election. This monitoring, however, is limited to issues such as the timing and method of holding the elections, and also to ascertaining the validity of the votes that the electorate have cast. For this reason, the first three presidents in the Islamic Republic were elected directly by the people in accordance with the constitution, and the supervision of the Guardian Council was solely limited to the correct implementation of the election process.
However, with the approval of the law on “the supervision of the Guardian Council over the presidential election” and subsequently with the extension of the powers of the Guardian Council, the supervision of this council changed from “executive supervision” to “consultative supervision”, and the right to determine the competence and eligibility of the candidates seeking to stand in the presidential election, was also delegated to that council. Therefore, the presidential election was turned into a two stage process rather than one stage which was characterized by the “direct votes of the people”. That meant from then on, the people could only vote for those candidates who had been “selected” in advance by the Guardian Council.
The approval of this law and the extension of the power of the Guardian Council is contrary to the explicit spirit of the constitution but because, based on Article 94 of the Constitution, it is the discretion of the Guardian Council to determine whether laws are in contradiction of the constitution or not, in a situation resembling a “vicious circle”, the said council did not consider the proposals on the extension of its power to be against the constitution. Furthermore, because the Guardian Council is the legal entity to which complaints and objections against that Council’s actions should be referred, naturally the shaky foundations of democracy in Iran have become weaker. This was to such an extent that some of the citizens lose the opportunity to participate in the electoral process and some do not participate in the election in order to voice their protest against the consultative supervision of the Guardian Council. Therefore, the people whose names come out of the ballot box cannot be definitely considered as a true reflection of the real preferences and opinions of the community.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Farvardin 1396, as follows. This report is based on information published by various media channels and websites, whose accuracy has been verified. The report is appearing under three separate sections, and in Farsi and English languages.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in Mar-April 2017
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Non-conformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, more than 32 people were detained and the names of them have been specified, who were: Mohammadreza Ahangar – a labour activist; Fazlorahman Kuhi – a Sunni religious activist; Ehsan Eshtiaq, Enayat Naeimi, Farzad Homayuni, Sorush Pezeshki, Sohrab Naqipur, Mahnaz Jan Nesar, Nasim Qanavatian, Maral Rasti, Farhad Amri, Arash Rasekhi, Mehrollah Afshar and Omid Afaqi – 12 Baha’i citizens.
In addition, the prosecutor of Kermanshah has reported the detention of six labour activists in this city.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Hamzeh Chaldavi, Abdolnaser Abiat, Hashem Heidari, Sadeq Heidari, Jafar Heidari, Khaled Chayan (Sharifi), Khalil Ghafeli, Mostafa Savari, Kazem Sorkhi, Amir Sorkhi – 10 citizens from Khuzestan; Hiva Kiaei and Mehdi Salahi – two Telegram activists.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days until the date of their trial.
2. The new ten-years imprisonment sentence of Narges Mohammadi – vice president of The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights – was executed exactly after finishing of her past imprisonment on 25 Esfand 1395 (15 Mar 2017).
3. Athena Daeimi – a civil activist who is currently serving a sentence in prison – was sentenced to one year in jail once more; Ensieh Daeimi and Hanieh Daeimi – two citizens – were sentenced to three months and one day of suspended imprisonment; Soheila Karegar – a citizen from Qazvin – was sentenced to five years in jail; Amanollah Baluchi and Hafez Abdolrahimkuhi – two Sunni religious activists – were sentenced to one year in jail. Moreover, the five years’ imprisonment sentence of Ebrahim Firuzi – a newly converted Christian – was confirmed in the appeal court of Tehran Province.
4. Khaled Hosseini – a labour activist – was interrogated in the intelligence office of the police.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The voice call facility of Telegram application was banned by an order from the Judiciary.
2. Relevant officials have prevented the holding of the graduation ceremony of clergy students in Maki Darololom in Zahedan, as well as a planned speech by Hossein Shariatmadari – the editor in chief of Kayhan Newspaper – at the Shahid Rajaei Teacher Training University.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. At least three individuals were executed in this month. The complete names of some of them are still not clear but judicial authorities or government-controlled media have confirmed their executions. Some of the names are as follows:
State-controlled media have reported the executions of one individual in Mashhad and one individual in Arak in public.
The Judiciary officials have reported the execution of one individual in Kerman because of the crime of rape.
On the other hand, some unofficial news websites have reported the issuance of execution sentences in the prisons of Tabriz, Khorramabad, Borujerd, Bandarabbas, Shiraz and Rajaei Shahr. This news has not been confirmed or rejected by the Judiciary officials or state-controlled media.
2. Some news sources have reported the issuance of death sentence for one individual – his nickname is Ferdos – and the confirmation of the death sentence for one individual in the Supreme Court due to Moharebeh (Declaring war against God) in Tehran.
3. Some news sources have reported the issuance of lashes sentences for one individual in Tehran Province for kidnapping a five-years old girl and sexually assaulting her, six individuals because of robbery, two individuals in Tehran Province due to sexual relationship outside marriage, two individuals in Tehran on charges of fraud and abuse of a girl and one individual in Tehran Province because of the crime of assistance in murder.
4. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them – such as Kamran Qaderi, Foad Rezazadeh, Ayub Asadi and Alireza Golipur are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment.
5. Mohammad Saber Malakraeisi was transferred to Evin Prison, Amir (Ali) Amirqoli was transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj. It should be noted that, this transfer has been carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons internal affairs.
6. News media have reported the detention of around 30 individuals in Esfahan due to attending a party.
7. The police in the city of Hamedan have reported the detention of two tourists because of singing in the street and six tourists due to what has been described as frivolous behavior and violation of norms.
8. Ladies who travelled to China to participate in an open tournament, have been banned from participating in all sports competitions for one year because of their failure to comply with the rules of the Islamic Republic.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas for example, news reveals unsatisfactory employment and legal rights of then retired and sacked workers such as: of Yasuj Sugar Processing Factory, Semnan Rangin Nakh Factory, Zagros Steel Factory and Shiraz Telecommunication Factory, and workers of Parsilun Textile, Qu Edible Oil, Mamasani Dugar Loaf Factory, Masjed Soleiman Cement Factory, a crystal and glass manufacturer, Baqeran Cement Producing Project, lead and zinc mine of Anguran, and finally some teachers on casual contracts, and drivers of the municipality services in Abadan.
1. Many workers have not received any payments for several months. The names of the offending units, number of workers affected, and the period of time when they have not paid (at the time of writing this report) are as follows: bus drivers of Zabol for four months, around 400 workers of Shushtar Municipality for three and half months, 150 workers of Ardakan Wood and Metal Factory for two months, around 4,000 workers of Ahvaz International Steel Industrial Group for two months, more than 80 workers of Ahvaz Municipality for two months, 34 workers of Abadan Refinery for one month and nurses of Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Kashan for eight months.
2. Some 40 workers of Qazvin Glass Factory, 30 workers of Kosar Pharmacy, seven workers of Yasuj Sugar Processing Factory, four employees of Tania Shafaq Parand Factory, 27 workers of Darugar Factory and 35 workers of “Tulipers” and “Alborz Packaging” were sacked.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning situation regarding cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during the month of Farvardin.
1. A member of the Majlis has reported that around 50 per cent of all wetlands in Iran have dried up.
2. During some days of Farvardin, the air pollution levels reached to one and half time more than the permitted levels in Mehran and Dehloran [towns in western Iran near the Iraqi border].
3. A farmer was killed due to mine explosion in Shush. In addition, in Marivan, Baneh, Paveh, Mehran and Sardasht; the legs of a soldier, farmer and citizen were severed and four other individuals were injured too due to mine explosions.
At the end of the report for the month of Farvardin of 1396, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has emphasized that the consultative supervision of the Guardian Council is contrary to the constitution and limits the free choice of citizens, and therefore its abolition will lead to the creation of a sense of confidence and assurance about the integrity of the election.