Monthly Archives: June 2011

Three Kurdish Political Prisoners on 26th Day of Hunger Strike in Rajai Shahr, Karaj

Human Rights House of Iran –  Today, three Kurdish political prisoners in Rajai Shahr ‘Gohardasht’ (Karaj) prison entered their 26th day of hunger strike. The political prisoners reportedly plan to be on hunger strike until their demands are met by prison officials who have so far ignored the prisoners.

Alnoor Khaziri, Kamran Sheikhi, and Seyed Ebrahim Seyedi are three Kurdish political prisoners who began a hunger strike to protest the unacceptable living conditions in prison. They are held among criminals charged with rape, murder, and drug-dealing. The main demand by the three prisoners on hunger strike that has gone ignored by authorities is to be transferred to the political prisoners’ ward. The situation for these three men on hunger strike has been unknown for the past two years. The prisoners are also demanding for their files to finally be processed.

According to the Kaleme website, the three political prisoners, Alnor Khaziri, Kamran Sheikhi and Seyed Ebrahim Seyedi, were previously held behind bars in ward 350 of Evin prison. They were illegally transferred to Rajai Shahr prison; a location where even the basic rights of people are not upheld.

These three Kurdish prisoners were kept in the quarantine area of Rajai Shahr prison for 50 days. This is a location in the prison with substandard conditions with lack of basic health and sanitary standards. Usually, when prisoners are first transferred to Rajai Shahr, they spend one day in the quarantine ward before they are transferred out. But the three Kurdish prisoners were locked up in the quarantine ward for 50 days before being the transfer to ward 6 of Rajai Shahr prison (a ward that usually hold criminals, not political prisoners.

Ramzan Ahmadkamal, Davood Abdollahi, and Ramzan Saeedi are another three Kurdish political prisoners held behind bars with dangerous criminals. who have their time behind bars housed with regular prisoners consisting of criminals. They have also not been transferred to the political prisoners’ ward.

Based on the alleged crimes of these Kurdish citizens, they are incarcerated for political reasons and they should therefore be held with prisoners who are accused of similar crimes.

Human Rights House of Iran 

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki transferred back to Evin prison before ending his medical treatment

Human Rights House of Iran – Blogger and human rights activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was transferred to Evin prison even though he was still in treatment.

Hossein Ronagi Maleki was transferred from the hospital back to Evin prison despite his medical treatment not having been completed.

This prisoner’s family told Human Rights House of Iran that their son is suffering from severe kidney disease that could result in kidney failure. Despite being told of the danger, security agents ordered that Hossein be transferred back to Evin prison before the end of his medical treatment.

Added to his kidney disease, Hossein is suffering from stones in his gallbladder. According to the attending physicians, Hossein has already lost 80% of the function in one kidney and 20% in the other, and if he continues to be held in prison without medical attention, he will end up loosing his kidneys.

While he was in the hospital and receiving medical attention Hossein’s hands and feet were shackled to the bed.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has been suffering from kidney disease and in desperate need of medical attention with hospital care for months. The first time he was finally allowed to seek medical attention it took four months for him to be transferred to a hospital. This time his treatment was postponed for one month until he was taken to the hospital, then transferred back to prison before ending his treatment.

This blogger and human rights activist was arrested on December 13, 2009 and spent 10 months in solitary confinement in Evin prison. He received a 15-year prison sentence that was upheld by the Tehran appeals court. He is now serving his 15-year sentence in ward 350 of Evin prison and to date he has not had one day off on furlough.

Per orders of the attending physicians, it is imperative that Hossein receive medical attention at a medical facility outside of prison.

Hossein Ronaghi

Imprisoned Journalist Masoud Bastani Transferred to Solitary Confinement

Human Rights House of Iran –  According to Jaras News, the prison warden came to the location where other prisoners and their families were present, and despite their presence he started to yell using vulgar profanities. Prior to this incident, Masoud Bastani had been hospitalized in Shaid Madani hospital in the city of Karaj and returned to prison in the middle of the night. Physicians had warned that Masoud had suffered a brain hemorrhage resulting from his previous beating by a guard. But when he returned to prison, the warden gave orders that Masoud be transferred to solitary confinement.

On Tuesday, Bastani was called to the prison court along with another political prisoner, Isa Saharkhiz. Mr. Saharkhiz had been present and a witness when Bastani had been attacked and beaten up by a prison guard. They had made a formal complaint about the incident. They assumed they were being taken to the prison court to get answers regarding their complaint about the brutal attack and offensive language used against Bastani. However they were the ones reprimanded and charged with “disturbing public order,” and “causing conflict and insulting the prison warden.”

Pursuant to this incident, 20 prisoners at Rajai Shahr prison have written a formal complaint about the illegal and inhumane conduct on the part of prison officials at Rajai Shahr prison. They have sent their written grievances to higher authorities and are now awaiting a reply. So far no response or acknowledgement has been given regarding this issue.

Human Rights House of Iran

Masoud Bastani

Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki: “The best gift that can be granted for our son’s birthday is his release from prison.”

Human Rights House of Iran – Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is a blogger who has been behind bars since December 13, 2009 and has to date never been allowed to leave prison on furlough. Tomorrow, July 5th, this blogger will spend his second consecutive birthday in prison. Despite the fact that he has been dangerously suffering from illness behind bars, judiciary and security officials have barred him from sick leave.

During the past 18 months, in order to visit with their child for 20 minutes, the parents of this political prisoner have endured the long travel to Tehran from the city of Melkan, located close to Tabriz. Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the father of this blogger spoke to the Human Rights House of Iran of his great worry concerning his son’s deteriorating health. “The best gift that can possibly be granted us for our son’s birthday is his release from prison. Considering his dire condition, we would like Hossein to at least be allowed out on furlough so that we can take care of him.”

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested on December 13, 2009, along with his brother Hassan Ronaghi-Maleki at their father’s house in the city of Melkan, which is close to the city of Tabriz. He and his brother were transferred to solitary confinement in ward 2A of Evin prison one day after they were arrested. This area is under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Guards and is not supervised by prison officials. Hossein Ronaghi spent close to 10months in this ward of the prison in solitary or cells with two or three prisoners, while being subjected to severe pressures by the interrogating agents in order to extradite false confessions for broadcast during televised trials.

Finally after spending 10 months in “temporary detention,” Hossein was handed down his sentence by judge Pir Abassi. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison which was later ratified at the appeals court.

Hossein Maleki’s father spoke to me about Hossein’s physical deterioration in prison and we had a discussion about Hossein as he was about to spend his second consecutive birthday behind bars.

As they had done so many times in previous weeks and months, Hossein Ronaghi’s parents had made the long journey to visit with their son in Tehran. His father Ahmad Ronaghi spoke to our “House” of his son’s latest physical condition.

“Today we had a cabin visit with Hossein. They do not allow us personal visits. When we saw Hossein his physical condition was not good. I observe his health deteriorating every week when I see him. They will not grant him furlough and no matter how much we have tried, we have gotten nowhere.”

His father said regarding his sickness, “Even though the prison physicians themselves have stated that Hossein needs to be under the care of a specialist in an environment outside of the prison, officials oppose Hossein’s release on furlough. It is imperative that Hossein be granted sick leave considering his serious condition. To date he has had two surgeries. The first time the surgeons said that one of his kidneys had lost 80% of it’s function while the other one had lost 20%. Last month he ended up in the hospital again and returned to prison after 14 days. They should have allowed Hossein to come home for his recuperation after the surgery but instead they transferred him back to prison.”

Ahmad Ronaghi continued, “I wrote a letter after Hossein was transferred back to prison explaining that if Hossein’s kidneys get infected again, there will be no more treatment options and he will not be able to recuperate. This is a circumstance that has been confirmed by the physicians. The physicians have stated that it will take 3 months for the incisions in his kidneys to be effective, and during this time in order for these operations to be successful, it is imperative that Hossein be cared for in a well suited environment and be provided nutritious food. Hossein himself has also written letters explaining all these circumstances to judicial authorities.”

I asked Ahmad Ronaghi to share the names and positions of the contacted officials along with their reasons for preventing his son to attain sick leave from prison.

He responded, “The request for furlough has been denied by the interrogating official in charge of Hossein’s files, denied by Judge Pir Abassi, head of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, along with his office manager, Mr. Satari. When I pleaded with these individuals to grant my son sick leave they responded that if Hossein were to be let out of prison, he would escape. I asked, where would Hossein go? His life is here and he has nowhere to go. I told them Hossein is very sick right now and it is imperative that he is cared for. This is our country and Hossein has no reason to flee our country. I believe these are all excuses on the part of the officials. Last year they asked for a huge bail in order to grant Hossein furlough. But when we conceded to provide the money, they still prevented Hossein from leaving. Another time despite the fact that we posted a 330 million toman bail and met all their stipulations, again they did not give Hossein permission to leave.”

This blogger’s father continued, “We have also visited the offices of the prosecutor and of Mr. Jafari Dolat Abadi. We have delivered numerous letters asking for Hossein to be granted sick leave. In the past days we have visited the offices again to follow up but no response had been given to our letters and we are still waiting to see what happens. We will be travelling back to Tehran in the next few days to follow up again in the hopes of any response.”

“Mr. Ronaghi, tomorrow is Hossen’s birthday and this is the second consecutive birthday he is spending behind bars….”

“The best gift that can be granted to us for our son’s birthday is his release from prison. Considering his condition, we would like Hossein to at least be allowed out on furlough so that we can take care of him. We plead with the prison and judicial officials to sympathize with his dire situation and accept his right to furlough so that Hossein can be under supervised care. Judicial officials claim that if Hossein were to be let out, he would escape the country. But this is absolutely not true; Hossein loves his country and if he is granted his right to medical care he will return to prison when he is healed. The main issue here is that our son’s health is in great danger and we need to care for him at home. All human beings have an obligation to help those who are sick and in need. This is not only a basic right that is clearly stated in our laws, but it is also a humanitarian issue.”

By Madyar Samienejad

Translated by Lalehsr

Hossein Ronaghi

The Leader’s ‘Pardon’ Proves the Arbitrary Nature of Trials

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran announced on June 3rd Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei’s decision to reduce the sentencing for 81 political prisoners. The consideration of release for some prisoners is a positive move. Nevertheless, such a decision clearly reveals the unjust and arbitrary nature of the post-election justice system. The Campaign is asking for the immediate release of 450 other people who are imprisoned solely because of their opinions regarding the Islamic Republic.

The news of Khamenei’s amnesty comes at a time when the arrest of political activists and journalists is on the rise in Iran. The identities of the individuals who have been pardoned have not been released.

Aaron Roodarz, speaker for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said, “The pardon of the leader is proof that these people never committed a crime. All political prisoners who were arrested under similar conditions and who were put through sham trials must be released. Otherwise, it is a clear indication that this ‘pardon’ is nothing more than a political move to deflect criticism from both within the country and from the international community as the one-year anniversary of the election approaches.”

The International Campaign for Political Prisoners has announced that in order to obtain the ‘leader’s forgiveness,’ prisoners were put under extreme duress. In one instance, when film director Mohammad Nourizad refused to ask for a pardon and stated that he had done nothing wrong, he was severely beaten by prison officials.

Nourizad was once considered a supporter of the Iranian leader, but after the election, he began to view the government  unfavorably. He wrote several open letters criticizing the leader, after which he was arrested. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and 50 lashes. There are many other prisoners who, for the same reason, have insisted on their innocence and have refused to ask for forgiveness.

According to the Iran courts, the verdict has been finalized for 250 of those arrested in the post-election period. The Campaign believes that there are at least 2,000 people who have been temporarily incarcerated, and others whose trials have not ended. There are only 3 judges who have the authority and responsibility over the post-election prisoner files: Abolghasem Salvati, Mohammad Moghisheh, and Pir Abass.

The Campaign is asking the office of the Judiciary in Iran to release all people imprisoned because of their beliefs and opinions. These prisoners have not committed any crime and should not have been arrested.  Roodarz stated that “the time has come for those responsible for making these false arrests to be held accountable for their actions.”  The Campaign believes that the 3 judges responsible for the cases of the post-election prisoners should be dismissed, and all files under their supervision be immediately placed under judges who abide by the law.

Several human rights lawyers have told the Campaign that they never had a chance to defend their clients, and that security agents had a strong influence on their clients’ verdicts. In addition, during the past few months, political prisoners have been given abnormally heavy bail amounts (up to 800 million tomans) in order to be freed from jail. Many of them have been prohibited from making family trips or leaving the country. These large bails are being used as a tool to guarantee the silence of the prisoners after they are released.

Several released human rights activists in Iran have said that their interrogators call them frequently, making threats and demanding that they not appear in public places. They are warned of re-arrest if they do not follow the demands of the interrogator. The Judiciary and Security agencies must put an end to this illegal behavior and cease all harassment of political activists, journalists, and human rights activists.

Roodarz observed, “If the released prisoners are harassed and controlled when they are out of prison, one can no longer consider them to be free.”