The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Dey 1397 [December 2018 – January 2019]:
Individuals responsible for showing the ridiculous video of confessions of detainees can be prosecuted
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 Dey 1397 [Iranian month corresponding to 22 December 2018 to 20 January 2019]
The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has referred to the public screening of the confessions of two people who have been arrested for labour protests and declared that, no official even Judicial authorities has the right to announce the name of a defendant before the issuance of a final verdict according to the rules of criminal procedure, and for this reason, the display of this ridiculous film is against the law, and those who committed such violations can be prosecuted.
This people-instituted organizationhas referred to severe censorship and financial mismanagement in the huge budget and revenues of the state Radio and Television Organisation [IRIB] and announced that this organisation has committed violations that have been condemned in various courts, even in the international arena for violating the laws on freedom of expression and human rights and its chief is also on the list of human rights violators and therefore subject to the relevant sanctions that are applicable.
The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights also has written in its report:“Unfortunately, since the head of the Judiciary is appointed by the Supreme Leader, and this institution has lost its independence since several years ago, and has become part of the security institutions, there is no hope of that justice can be fulfilled in Iran in the current situation. However, on the international scene, this issue can be followed up and the Iranian state cannot act as usual and accuse other countries of political hostility or double standards.”
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 Dey 1397, which has been published on 1st of Bahman 1397 [21 January 2019], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in December 2018-January 2019
According to Article 175 of the Constitution and the interpretation of the Council of Guardians in the year 1379 (2000-2001), Radio and Television is a state-run organisation whose director is appointed by the Supreme Leader, and the establishment and operation of private radio and television networks is prohibited in any way. In this way, the management of this most important and inclusive media is under the control of the Supreme Leader, who as it happens, is not accountable to any institution.
The Radio and Television Department has been run over the past 40 years in a way that people have repeatedly shouted at street gatherings and rallies: ”Our Radio and Television; Our shame”. In addition to severe censorship and financial mismanagement in the huge budget and revenues of Radio and Television, this organisation has committed violations that have been condemned in various courts, even in the international arena for violating the laws on freedom of expression and human rights and its chief is on the list of human rights violators and therefore subject to the applicable sanctions.
Recently, the organisation has committed another offense and released a video of the confessions of two people who have been arrested in connection with workers’ protests. Meanwhile, these two individuals have previously stated several times that they have been tortured in prison and have demanded public prosecution. Regardless of the accuracy of the material which has been shown, the televising of individual confessions in prison without the presence of a lawyer is not legally legitimate and its broadcast is also unacceptable and indefensible. On the other hand, no official, even Judicial authorities, has the right to declare the name of a defendant before the issuance of a final verdict, according to the rules of criminal procedure and for this reason, the screening of this ridiculous film is against the law, and those who committed such violations can be prosecuted.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Dey 1397, 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 December 2018-January 2019
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
- A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
- During this month, more than 33 people were detained and the names of them have been specified, who were:
Esmaeil Bakhshi – labour activist; Sepideh Qolian – a civil activist; Mehdi Qolian – a citizen; Edris Mohammadi – an environmental activist; Masud Shamsnejad – a lawyer; Moein Mohammadi, Kiana Rezvani and Kimia Mostafavi – three Baha’i citizens; Amir Amirqoil – a former political prisoner; Korosh Karampur – a poet and teacher; Mohammadreza Nematpur – a labour activist; Abbas Lesani – a citizen from Azarbaijan; Amirhossein Mohammadifar and Sanaz Allahyari – two media activists; Farhad Mohamamdi – a lawyer and a member of National Unity Party; and Hamidreza Rahmati, Hadi Khayat Mashhadi and Ahmad Taqavi – three teacher union activists.
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Iraj Mohammadi – a citizen from Miandoab; Amanj Qorbani, Rashed Montazeri, Hossein Kamangar, Farhad Mohammadi, Isa Feizi, Hadi Kamangar, Fazel Qeitasi and Reza Asadi – eight citizens from Kordestan Province; Sahand Ma’ali, Vahid Nurahmadi, Heidari Mazini and Mohamamd Ranjbari – four citizens from Azarbaijan; and Arsham Rezaei and Mohammad Hosseinzadeh – two citizens from Tehran Province.
There are other cases of arrest of protesting citizens in Dey 1397: the detention of some citizens in Tehran because of gathering in front of the Tehran University and the detention of some citizens in Esfahan due to protesting against the economic problems and high prices, the detention of some citizens in Kermanshah, Oromieh, Oshnavieh, Maku, Piranshahr, Ilam, Sarpolzahab, Baneh, Marivan, Sarvabad and Paveh because of various reasons such as communicating and cooperating with Kurdish opposition parties and the detention of some citizens in Ahvaz and Omidieh.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days until the date of their trial.
Moreover, some news websites have reported the detention of Narges Shahsavari and Ali Lorestani – two citizens from Kermanshah – during the last days of the month of Azar (Dec 2018) and Leili Khatami – a child rights activist – during the last days of month of Aban (Nov 2018).
- Afsaneh Rezaei – a university student – was sent to prison to spend six months in jail; Delnia Saburi and Rojin Ebrahimi – two citizens from Kamyaran – were sent to jail for three days imprisonment; Sohrab Naqipur – a Baha’i citizen – was sent to prison for five years; Mohsen Mehregani, Manuchehr Rahmani and Farzad Homayuni – three Baha’i citizens – were sent to jail to serve 20 months terms; Ata Rahmanzadeh – a citizen from Saqez – was sent to prison for three months imprisonment and Saber Naderi – a citizen from Qarveh – was sent to jail to spend four years there.
In addition, the 10 years and six months imprisonment, 74 lashes sentence, two years ban from leaving the country and two years deprivation of political and social activities of Mohammad Habibi – a teacher union activist who is currently in prison – was confirmed by the appeal court.
Mostafa Borumand – a citizen from Mashhad who was detained during the protests of Dey 1396 [Jan 2018] – was sentenced to six and half years imprisonment and 74 lashes sentence; Morteza Parhizgar – a citizen from Mashhad who was detained during the protests of Dey 1396 [Jan 2018] – was sentenced to nine years in jail and 74 lashes sentence; Aryasb Bavand – a prisoner in Evin Prison – was sentenced to 22 years and six months incarceration; Mahi Zadeh Poshtpanah – a prisoner in Evin Prison – was sentenced to seven years in prison; Hamed Aynehvand – a political prisoner in Evin Prison – was sentenced to six years imprisonment; Ahmad Rastegari – a citizen in Oromieh Prison – was sentenced to six years incarceration. Kianush Salatini – a prisoner in Evin Prison – was sentenced to 19 years and half in jail and 80 lashes sentence and two years ban from leaving the country and two years deprivation from activity in the cyber space which only seven years and half of his sentence in executable due to the implementation of the Article 134.
On the other hand, the lashes sentence of Mohammad Hossein Sodagar – a reporter from Khoy – was executed.
- Seyyed Hassan Aqamiri – a religious activist – was sentenced to two years incarceration and stripped of his clerical status; Mohammad Dorosti – a citizen from Azarbaijan – was sentenced to six months in prison; Sajjad Monadi – a citizen from Azarbaijan – was sentenced to one year imprisonment; Jafar Rasulpur, Mohammad Leilaneh, Mohammad Suyru and Rasul Mohammad Amini – four citizens from Sardasht – each were sentenced to one year and half in jail; Vafa Heidari and Ayub Ahmadi – two citizens from Sardasht – each were sentenced to five years incarceration; Elham Ahmadi – a member of Gonabadi Darwishes Sect who is currently in prison – was sentenced to 148 lashes sentence in another case; Shapur Rashnu – a political and civil activist – was sentenced to 10 years incarceration, two years exile to Sarakhs and two years deprivation from membership in parties and political and social groups; Ehsan Mirzavand – a political and civil activist – was sentenced to three years in prison, two years exile to Bam and two years deprivation from membership in parties and political and social groups; Hassan Tafi, Dariush Jafarpur and Iman Mirzavand – three political and civil activists – each were sentenced to six months in prison; Behzad Qalavand and Siavash Qalavand – two political and civil activists – each were sentenced to four months incarceration; Azad Salehian – a citizen from Saqez – was sentenced to two years in prison; Ebrahim Nuri – a citizen who was arrested because of a rally in Qaleh Babak – was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and two years exile to Nahbandan and deprivation from membership in parties and political and social groups; Jafar Rostamirad – a citizen who was arrested because of a rally in Qaleh Babak – was sentenced to six months imprisonment and two years exile to Nahbandan and deprivation from membership in parties and political and social groups; Khalil Karimi – a labour activist – was sentenced to one year incarceration; Musa Mahmudi – a citizen from Oshnavieh – was sentenced to four years in prison and Mohammad Ebrahimi – a citizen from Piranshahr – was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
On the other hand, the appeal courts confirmed the four months imprisonment of Hossein Dehbashi – a documentary filmmaker; six months imprisonment and 40 lashes sentence (which has been suspended for one year) for Mostafa Tork Hamedani – the lawyer of the workers of Tamin Ejtemaei (Social Security Organisation); one year incarceration of Mehran Bandi Amirabadi and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi – two Baha’i citizens; four and half years imprisonment and four years exile to Sarbaz for Mohammad Mahdavifar – a civil activist who is currently in jail because of another case; six years imprisonment for Afshin Bolbolan, Saham Armin, Milad Davardan, Farhang Sahba and Anush Rayneh – five Baha’i citizens; four years incarceration of Bahareh Zeini (Sobhanian), Fujan Rashidi and Sepideh Ruhani – three Baha’i citizens; six years imprisonment of Ali Sani – a Baha’i citizen; six months incarceration for Hushang Mokhtari, Bijan Eslami Mehdiabadi, Alimohammad Anvari Aliabadi, Bahador Kamju, Manuchehr Bareqi and Fahimeh Eshaq Nurabadi (Fahimeh Eshaqi) – six Baha’i citizens; and three years imprisonment of Amirali Moradi – a citizen from Karaj.
- Zahra Asadi – a civil activist – was summoned and to the Security Police of Saqez; Abbas Mirbaqeri – a citizen from Tehran – was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence; Borzu Naderi, Ehsan Darabi and Fahim Naseri – three citizens from Saqez – were summoned to the Intelligence Office of Kermanshah; Saeid Vojdani, Tahereh Pashaei, Radman Forughi, Sheida Motlaq, Taraneh Badiei, Sepehr Foruhari, Masud Zakerian, Badiolah Tashakor, Parvin Tashakor, Farinaz Khoshfetrat, Taranom Hashemi, Kambiz Safaei, Sarmad Sadeqian, Nahid Farhangi, Hasti Mandegari, Nasim Zabihi, Ruhieh Anvari, Shole Emamverdi, Shirin Khols, Forutan Bayani, Armin Ruhani, Aydin Ruhani, Nazanin Sharifi, Nima Sharifi, Ramtin Monzavi, Parnian Badiei, Mahsan Mokhtari, Arman Purmoradian, Mahmud Fashami, Samie Ehsani, Puya Eslami, Delkash Behbahani – 32 Baha’i citizens – were summoned to the Intelligence Office in Karaj and Abdoljalil Na’mani – a Sunni religious activist – was summoned to the Intelligence Office of Rask. It should be noted that, all these individuals have been interrogated after their summons.
- The houses of Jalil Bahamin, Bakhtiar Ruhani and Sasan Dastpish – three Baha’i citizens – were searched by relevant officials and some of their personal belongings were seized.
- Relevant officials prevented Emad Sharqi – an Iranian-American citizen with dual citizenship who has been detained since Farvardin 1397 (Mar-Apr 2018) – and Bahareh Amidi – a civil activist – from leaving the country.
- Mohammad Rahmanian – a play writer and theatre director – was released on bail until his trial date, after he was briefed about the accusations against him. Similarly, Nader Faturehchi, a cultural activist, was released temporarily until his court date, after posting the required bail, and once the allegations against him were explained to him. after he was briefed until the end of their trials.
- B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
- The Press Jury found the editor in chiefs of Shoot Sport Journal, Shahrvand Newspaper and Varzesh Bank (Sport Bank) news website guilty. Also, a person who was interviewed by Shoot Sport Journal as well as the writer of an item in Varzesh Bank website have also been found guilty by the Press Jury.
- As a result of performing a concert with Haleh Seifizadeh, Ali Qamsari – an Iranian musician – has been banned from artistic activities by relevant officials. Similarly, Iranian singer Mehdi Yarahi has received the same ban due to his support for the workers protests
- The documentary movie “Like a Woman” (Mesleh Yek Zan) was banned by the relevant officials.
- Relevant officials prevented Sima Nazifi, Badie Safaju, Shayan Manavi, Shirin Baninejad – four Baha’i citizens – from studying. Moreover, relevant officials prevented the delivering of graduation certificate of Behruz Farzandi – a Baha’i citizen who was a prisoner of war for more than two years during the Iran and Iraq war, and has lost around 25 per cent of his normal physiological abilities as a result of his war injuries.
- Relevant officials prevented the holding of a ceremony marking the death anniversary of Abbas (Shahram) Farajzadeh Tarani – one of the victims of the incidents of 1388 [June 2009 political turmoil in the wake of the disputed result of presidential election].
- Relevant officials prevented further activities by the Ferdowsi Shahnameh Society in Basht because of what has been called as the use of musical instruments and dancing. Also, officials have halted further activities by the “Jam-e Sabz” Institute because of requesting “Pareh Sang” Music Video.
- The General Manager and a number of employees of Kish IRIB were reprimanded and dismissed due to what has been called their negligence and failure to prevent the broadcast of banned images in a [televised] cinematic movie.
- All music concerts were canceled on 5th Dey (26 Dec 2018) by the order of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance due to the death of Seyyed Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi – Chairman of the State Expediency Council.
- C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
- At least nine 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:
Hamidreza Baqeri Dormani was executed in Tehran. The Judiciary officials said his crime was economic corruption.
One individual was executed in Mashhad, one individual in public in Falavarjan, one individual in Tehran and one individual in Babol. State-controlled media have reported that the crime of these convicts was first degree murder.
In addition, one individual was executed in public in Kazerun. State-controlled media have reported his crime was violent rape and kidnapping.
Three individuals were executed in Yasuj. State-controlled media said he had been found guilty because of the crime of armed robbery.
On the other hand, some unofficial news websites have reported executions in the prisons ofRajaei Shahr in Karaj, Nushahr, Oromieh and Esfahan; these reports have not been confirmed or denied by the Judiciary officials or state-controlled media.
- News media in Iran have reported the issuance of death sentences against four individuals in Tehran Province because of murder and five individuals in Azarbaijan Gharbi Province (West Azarbaijan) due to possession and trafficking of narcotic drugs.
- News media in Iran have reported the issuance of lashes sentences for five moneychangers in Tehran because of economic corruption, a member of Yazd City Council because of spreading of false and defamatory material, and 11 individuals in Tabriz due to financial corruption.
- The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them – such as Saeid Shirzad, Alireza Golpur, Mostafa Daneshju, Reza Malek, Motaleb Ahmadian, Hassan Momtaz Sarvestani and Hassan Shahreza – are sick but no serious action has been taken for their treatment.
- Some prisoners such as Narges Mohammadi, Nazanin Zaghari, Mehdi Khanipur (Halafi) and Nasrollah Lashani went on hunger strike in protest at what they claim to be undesirable conditions for prisoners and violations of their legal rights.
- Nasrin Sotudeh was banned from receiving face to face visitations in jail.
- Qasem Beytabdollah and Abdollah Karmalachoab were transferred to Evin Prison. Nazar Zaka who was in General Ward of Evin Prison was transferred to the Ward 2A of IRGC and Nameq Deldel who was in general ward of prison was transferred to Intelligence Directorate’s detention centre of Sanandaj. It should be noted that, these transfers have been made without mentioning a specific reason and are contrary to the internal rules of the prisons.
- Police have reported the detention of a woman whose shop sells women’s clothing in Astaneh Ashrafieh, because she had given pictures and videos advertising her business to a foreign media outlet. The shop has been closed and put under official seal too.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning the social and economic conditions in Iran also point to the continued presence of unfavourable situation in these areas. For example, news reports reveal unsatisfactory employment and pay conditions of workers in a number of units such as:
Dredging ships in Bandar Abbas, Ahvaz Urban Railway, Lushan Municipality, Khuzestan Pipe Making Factory, Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Complex, Dorud Railway, “Egzoz Khodro” Factory, Yazd Supportive Schools, personnel of the Central Municipality in Abadan, drivers of Abadan Transfer Company, sacked workers of “Parsan Rasht” Factory, drivers of machineries in Phase 12 of the South Pars (Pars Jonubi), fired workers of Ahvaz Qand [sugar] Factory, six sacked workers of Tulipers Factory, sacked workers of Aqdareh Gold Mine and Hood-e Mes Factory [copper mill].
- 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:
Some workers of Borujerd Municipality for nine months, some fire fighters of Abadan Municipality for three months, workers of Dezful Municipality for four months, 80 workers of “Malch Aram” Coal Mine for four months, around 470 workers of Karun Cement Factory for four months, workers of “Palud” Dairy Products Unit for five months, workers of Tabriz Ball Bearing Factory for four months, fire fighters of Marivan for three months, workers of “Travers” Technical Line from Bafq to Bandar Abbas for two months.
- Some 10 workers of Hood-e Mes [copper] Factory, around 100 workers of Kavosh production units of pressure vessels, 180 workers of Marliksan Qazvin Manufacturing Plant, 108 workers of Mahshahr Pipe Making Company, one worker of Karun Cement Factory (Masjed Soleiman), 23 workers of Irku Wagon-making of in Abhar and 36 workers of Bushehr Municipality were sacked from their jobs.
Moreover, 35 workers of “Sani Electric” Factory became unemployed after the closure of this unit.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Two soldiers of Army border guards were killed due a mine explosion in Qasr-e Shirin. In addition, five individuals were injured because of five mine explosions in Dehloran, Mehran and Ravansar.
Unfortunately, since the head of the Judiciary too is appointed by the Supreme Leader, and this institution has lost its independence since many years ago, and has in effect become a part of the security institutions, there is no hope of implementing justice in Iran in the current situation. However, on the international scene, this issue can be followed up and the Iranian state cannot accuse other countries, as it always does, of political hostility or double standards.