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 Ordebehesht 1396 [21 April to 21 May 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 and demanded from Hassan Rouhani to fulfil the programmes he promised, by relying on the votes of the public and those Majlis representatives whose ideas and ways of thinking are close to his own.
This people-instituted organization, referring to the need for the president to monitor and supervise the Ministry of Intelligence, as an institution which operates under the authority of government, has demanded from the elected president to exercise greater scrutiny over the performance of that Ministry in the future.
The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has pointed to the existence of parallel and illegal institutions working in the area of security and intelligence, and has asked Hassan Rouhani to resist against their violations and offenses, and introduce these institutions to the people, in accordance with his legal authorities and obligations.
Furthermore, in its report, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, this people-instituted organization has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran under the three main headings of “Civil and political JH 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 center for the month of Ordibehesht 1396, which has been published on 1st of Khordad 1396 [22 May 2017], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in April-May 2017
The 12th presidential elections were held in Iran with all its controversies and side issues, and Hassan Rouhani was duly elected for a second term in office by winning 57 percent of the votes. In view of the fact that Rouhani won more votes than in the previous election before the start of his first term, and given that in the current Parliament, the number of representatives close to the president’s thinking is higher than in the previous Majlis; therefore, Hassan Rouhani should be able to fulfil his duties and the programmes and policies he promised, by relying on the public’s vote and mandate, and also to the representatives of the Majlis. On top of all the programmes of the President stands the task of monitoring all centers and organizations, which, in accordance with the law, are operating under the authority of the head of the Executive Power. One of these centers is the Ministry of Intelligence. The Intelligence Minister is appointed by the president and joins the cabinet formally after receiving the endorsement of the Majlis. Therefore, any illegal activity by the officials in the Ministry of Intelligence will be recorded in the overall performance record of the president. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the president to control and scrutinize this ministry more stringently and, and this needs to be a key part of the president’s agenda.
On the other hand, everyone knows well about the existence of parallel and illegal institutions operating in the area of security, and their illegal activities, including arresting and persecuting civil and political activists. It is evident that the highest person in charge of the judiciary is aware of it too. The introduction of these institutions to the public, and putting up resistance against their illegal conducts are among the president’s key duties under the Constitution.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Ordibehesht 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 April-May 2017
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, more than 64 people were detained and the names and details given for them, are: Rahmatollah Jamshidi Larijani who is famous as Iraj Jamshidi – a journalist; Valeh Zamani – a labour activist; Adib Haqpajuh, Bahador Kamju, Manuchehr Bareqi, Hushang Mokhtari, Bijan Eslami, Ali Anvari and Fahimeh Eshaqi – seven Baha’i citizens.
Moreover, the chief justice of Ilam Province has reported the detention of the presenter at the ceremonies marking the opening of Hassan Rouhani’s electoral campaign HQ. Moreover, the chief justice of Esfahan Province has reported the detention of a cyberspace activist and the local director general of Intelligence [Ministry] in Hormozgan Province has reported the detention of 30 individuals due to the charge of “antireligious activities in cyberspace”.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Saeid Zargani, Ali Zargani, Mehdi Zargani, Hossein Moqtaei (Zargani), Etedal Moqtaei (Zargani), Meysam Khosraji, Reza Zavidat and Hamud Dabi – eight citizens from Ahwaz and Shush; Ramezan Svari, Rasul Savari, Saeid Savari, Abdolkarim Kabi, Bashir Savari, Ahmad Chaldavi, Saeid Savari, Hassan Kabi, Ali Kabi and Saheb Kabi – 10 citizens from Shushtar; Reza Malek – a civil activist; Salahedin Kavani, Mansur Mohammadpur, Mohsen Bardehzard and Ribvar Mohammadi – four citizens from the town of Bukan.
2. Mohsen Omrani – a teacher union activist – was detained and sent to prison in order to serve a one year term in jail.
3. Isa Saharkhiz – a [pro-reform] journalist – has been sentenced to one year in jail once more; Rahim Sharhani – a citizen from Ahvaz – was sentenced to one year in prison and Salman (Yunes) Sorkhi – another citizen from Ahvaz – was sentenced to six months in prison; Khashayar Tafazoli, Shayan Tafazoli and Sina Aqdaszadeh – three Baha’i citizens – were sentenced to one year in jail each; Mohammad Mohajer, Alireza Tavakoli and Mohammad Mehdi Zamanzadeh – three Telegram activists who are currently serving a detention – were each sentenced to 12 years imprisonment; Zartosht (Esmaeil) Ahmadi Raqeb – a civil activist – was sentenced to nine months in jail; Arash Shoa Sharq – a reporter – was sentenced to lashes and Ali Peyravinejad (Savari) and Adnan Bayanat Banisakini – two citizens from Ahvaz – were sentenced to pay a fine of 10,000,000 Iranian Rials (IRR) for each. In addition, Aziz Qasemzadeh – a teacher union activist – was sentenced to exile from Anzali to Rudbar by the administrative violations board.
Osman Esmaeili – a labor activist – has been sentenced to two months in jail after the Appeal Court reduced the original sentence issued by the preliminary court.
4. Abdul Sattar Hosseibar – a Sunni religious activist – and Sheis Amani – a labor activist – were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and were interrogated. Moreover, Fares Guelian – a labor activist – was summoned to the police department.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The relevant officials prevented Mohammad Motamedi – a singer – from holding a concert in Birjand [northeast Iran].
2. Judiciary officials have prevented a number of personalities from delivering planned speeches in different parts of the country. These included: Gholamhossein Karbaschi – secretary general of the Executives of Construction Party (Hezb-e Kargozaran-e Sazandegi) – in Shiraz and Fasa; Faeizeh Hashemi – a political activist [and daughter of late Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani] – in Gachsaran; Mahmud Beheshti Langarudi – a teacher union activist – in Qazvin, and [reformist journalist and activist] Ali Shakurirad in Bandar Anzali. Also, a Judiciary official prevented the holding of a rally by the supporters of Hassan Rouhani [no location was given].
Moreover, some individuals prevented Gholamhossein Karbaschi from attending Hassan Rouhani’s electoral campaign in Qazvin, while the police force did nothing to intervene.
3. The prosecutor of Tehran has reported that Seyyed Mohammad Khatami – former president of Iran – is still banned from appearing on broadcast media.
4. Relevant officials prevented Mostafa Daneshju – the lawyer of Gonabadi Darwishes Sect who has spent some time in jail – from continuing his education at the university. In addition, according to Mohammad Ali Tavusi – a law expert – he was fired from the Cultural Heritage Organisation because of his religious faith, which follows the sect of Darwishes
5. The Ministry of Intelligence prevented the holding of the meeting of the Central Council of the National Front of Iran (Shora-ye Markazi-e Jebheye Melli-e Iran).
6. Relevant officials prevented the attendance of some Sunni religious activists such as Hassan Amini, Hossein Gorgij and Jalal Jalalizadeh who wanted to participate in the graduation ceremony of Dar ol Olum Seminary students in Zahedan.
7. The Press Jury has found the editor in chief of Parsineh News Website guilty.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some five 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:
News media have reported the execution of three individuals in Mashhad for the crime of murder.
“H-R” was executed in public in Babol. Judiciary officials have reported the convict had been found guilty of the crime of murder.
News media sources have reported the execution of one individual in Birjand because of the crime of rape.
On the other hand, some unofficial news websites have reported executions in the prisons of Bandarabbas, Rajaei Shahr, Hamedan, and Khoramabad. These reports have not been confirmed or rejected by the Judiciary officials or state-controlled media.
2. News media sources have reported the issuance of death sentences for two individuals in Rudbar due to murder. In addition, death sentences were also issued against “Arash”, “Mohammadreza” and “Siavash” in Tehran Province because of the crime of murder.
Moreover, the death sentence of Mohsen – due to the crime of murder – was confirmed in the Supreme Court.
3. News media sources have reported the issuance of a hand amputation sentence against “Amir” because of the crime of robbery.
4. News media sources have reported the issuance of lashes sentences for “Kurosh” because of robbery in Tehran; “M-T” because of the crime of insult and slander in Mazandaran; a man and a woman in Tehran due to an illicit sexual relationship outside marriage and three individuals in Tehran due to sexual offenses.
5. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unsatisfactory to the extent that some of them – such as Nushindokht Mirabdolbaqi, Sotudeh Fazeli, Alireza Golipur, Behnam Musivand, Omar Farhang, Fatemeh Masani, Majid Asadi and Ehsan Mazandarani – are sick but no serious action has been taken to provide them with medical treatment.
6. Yusef (Mostafa) Kakehmami was transferred to the central prison of Tabriz. 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.
7. Qasem Absteh, Athena Daeimi, Reza Samiei Monfared, Hengameh Shahidi and Esmaeil Abdi, Seyyed Hassan Hosseini, Ali Jahangiri and Hossein Yahyaei have gone on hunger strike in order to voice their protest against the violation of the legal rights of prisoners.
8. Judiciary officials have reported the detention of 60 individuals in Tustasktan in Gorgan, 55 individuals in Kerman, 44 individuals in Qom, 25 individuals in Ahvaz, 63 individuals in Mashhad and 36 individuals in Abadan due to attending parties.
9. News media sources have reported that a number of school pupils have been dispatched to shooting ranges which are used specifically for military training. It should be noted that the use of children in military affairs is a contravention of Iran’s international obligations, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
10. Hossein Mehrandish, a lawyer, has been arrested and detained.
11. The head of the Election HQ has reported the disqualification of 14,500 people who had sought to stand as candidates in the fifth elections for the local councils in towns and villages. Moreover, news sources have reported the disqualification of 28 individuals out of a total of 30 who belonged to the Parsanha [Sect] and had sought to stand in the local council’s election for towns and villages.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning the situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavorable conditions in these areas. For example, news reports reveal unsatisfactory employment, salaries and legal rights for workers in a number of units such as: Raja contract workers, passenger terminal in Zahedan, petrol stations of the country, the Shomal Haffari [Excavation] Company, Persian Gulf Transportation Company, the phase No. 13 of South Pars in Kangan, the Persian Gulf Star Refinery, “Tulipers” Factory, “Alborz Packaging” Factory, Mashinsazi Cooperation in Arak, retired workers of “Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane” Factory and “Rangin Nakh Semnan” Factory, and 75 fired workers of Takestan Municipality, shareholder workers of “Chromic Mine of Esfandaqeh”, 33 sacked workers of “Arya Steel” Factory and sacked workers of Ashkan Chini and some of the fired workers of Samenolhojaj Financial and Credit Institute, operators of high voltage electricity posts and employees of hospitals and Medical Centers of Medical Sciences in Gilan.
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 been paid (at the time of writing this report) are as follows:
More than 100 workers of Qu Edible Oil for more than two months, workers of rural water department of Semnan for five months, the workers of Borujerd Municipality for five months, 45 workers of “Almas Steel” Factory in Takestan for four months, 60 workers of Iran Switch for five months, Hormoz Bahrgostar Ship Making Cooperation for two months, workers of “Qazvin Glass” for four months, workers of “Azarab” Factory for three months, 100 workers of Ahvaz Municipality for two months and 30 workers of Tabas Municipality for two months until the preparation date of this report.
2. Some 30 workers “Rizmoj” Factory (Zarrin Moj) and 70 workers of Haft Tapeh Agro-Industrial Complex were fired from their jobs.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning the situation regarding cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavorable conditions in these areas during the past month.
1. The density of dust particles in the air reached to 10 times more than the permitted levels in the city of Yazd and the density of micro-dust particles in Bushehr and Gonaveh reached to six times more than the permitted level. The air pollution reached to 10 times more than the permitted level in Ahvaz and Shadegan and the density of dust reached to eight times more than the acceptable standards in the city of Khorramshahr.
2. One individual was killed and another was injured due to a land mine explosion in Sarepolzahab. In addition, five individuals were injured in Qasr-e Shirin, Saqez, Oshnavieh, and Talaeiyeh due to five landmine explosions.
At the end of the report for the month of Ordibehesht of 1396, the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has emphasized that Iranian citizens, both those who did and those who did not vote in the election, must comply with the current laws. At the same time, it also expects the government institutions to respect the law as well and not to engage in any activity outside the scope of their legal powers, particularly in relation to the sensitive security issues.