Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Revolutionary Guards demand “confessions” in order to substantiate their cyber “scenarios”

Human Rights House of Iran – During the past 2 weeks, the Cyber Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corps has badgered and threatened several political prisoners, demanding that they agree to confessions for broadcast on Iran’s state run television.

Human Rights House of Iran is very concerned about the reinstatement of Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence, and the revival of the IRGC efforts to extract false confessions from political prisoners under duress.

During the past week, 3 imprisoned web developers Saeed Malekpour, Vahid Asghari, and Hossein Ronaghi Maleki were removed from their cells and interrogated by agents from the Cyber Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards. These agents who are affiliated with the unit battling organized crime, put great pressure on the prisoners and demanded that they make false televised confessions.

The country’s judiciary, intelligence units, and Revolutionary Guards have a need for “televised confessions” to substantiate their allegations of supposed security crimes.

Human Rights House of Iran points out that these unjust sentences are so obviously illegal that the interrogating and intelligence agents now ask the prisoners to make false confessions for broadcast in return for guarantees such as being granted furlough, having sentences reduced and being transferred to a public ward. This also indicates the degree in which the judiciary and the judges who issue these types of verdicts are under the influence of the intelligence agencies.

The family of blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki said to Human Rights House of Iran, “On Tuesday of last week, the interrogators transferred Hossein to solitary confinement and put immense pressure on him, demanding that he agree to making a televised confession.” The agents alluded to the possibility of furlough if Hossein were to cooperate, a right which he has not been granted since he was imprisoned.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested on December 3, 2009 and sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Last Saturday interrogating agents told Hossein the reason for this heavy sentence was that he had never been willing to cooperate with them.

On Saturday, imprisoned death row blogger Vahid Asghari was also transferred to solitary confinement and under severe duress was coerced into making another false confession. This imprisoned blogger has been suffering from acute psychological distress due to the relentless torture he was subjected to when he was detained.

On May 8, 2008 Asghari was detained at Imam Khomeini Airport as he was attempting to travel back to India for his thesis presentation and graduation. He was transferred to prison and has been behind bars since then.

Last week Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court issued the death sentence for blogger and student Vahid Asghari who had before his detainment been perusing his undergraduate degree in India.

After the sentencing was handed down, agents from the Cyber Intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Court intimidated Vahid into taking part in the recent televised confession in exchange for a promise of a reduced sentencing and a transfer to the public ward of Evin prison.

Saeed Malekpour has now spent almost 11 months total between solitary cells (6mos) and small cramped cells holding a few prisoners in Ward 2A of Evin prison which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards and not in the jurisdiction of prison authorities.

Saeed Malekpour, 35 years old, is an Engineering graduate from Sharif University and a web developer who has been held behind bars since his arrest in October 2008.

In November 2010, judge Moghiseh presiding over Branch 28 of the revolutionary court sentenced Saeed to death stemming from the charge of “corruption on earth.” This sentencing was initially struck down but was recently reinstated by the Supreme Court.

In June 2011, after Saeed’s lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh presented the facts disputing the charges along with his criticism of the unjust sentencing of his client, the Supreme Court acknowledged that there were discrepancies in the case and asked for a further inquiry and review of the indictment. However recently in an illegal proceeding, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court with no warning and without adhering to the Supreme Court’s recommendations reinstated the death sentence.

Human Rights House of Iran

Saeed Maleki, Hossein Ronaghi, Vahid Asghari

Journalist Hassan Fathi kept in solitary confinement and barred from visitation

According to the wife of imprisoned journalist Hassan Fathi, authorities have barred Mr. Fathi from visitations, strongly indicating that he is being held in solitary confinement.

In an interview with BBC Persian, Mrs. Fathi said that when she inquired about visiting her husband, judicial authorities told her that he would be released within 4 to 5 days.

She added, “Even when they requested that we appear to review his court dossier, we were told that he would be released within 4 to 5 days.” But despite this time having long gone by, there is still no news regarding Mr. Fathi’s promised release.

Plainclothes agents detained Mr. Fathi on November 13, 2011 at his home. According to reports, he was arrested due to an interview he conducted with BBC Persian regarding the explosion at an IRG ammunition depot that killed 17 Revolutionary Guards in southern Tehran. He is charged with “spreading lies and disturbing public opinion.”

Mrs. Fathi said that during the weeks that have gone by, judicial and prison authorities have not given any clear answer to her plea to see her husband, telling her only that he is banned from visitation.

She said that the behavior of the judicial and prison officials, who have been very curt and rude, is of great concern to their family. “It appears as though they have again transferred him to solitary confinement.”

Mrs. Fathi said that the last time their children were allowed to visit their father was about a month ago. The visitation was in person and at that time, it looked like Mr. Fathi was in good health.

Human Rights House of Iran

Hasan Fathi

Serious concerns for grave health of prisoner Abdollah Momen

Human Rights House of Iran – Abdollah Momeni, spokesperson for the student alumni organization (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vehdat) was transferred to Evin prison’s infirmary due to severe stomach pains.

Advar News website reported that on January 22, when Abdollah Momeni was taken to Evin prison’s infirmary, he refused to stay because he was assaulted and abused by the staff.

Other political prisoners shared with their visiting families that several hours later, Momeni was transferred back to the infirmary due to severe stomach pains. No one has seen or heard from him since then, suggesting that he might have been transferred to a different location.

Earlier on Monday, in a brief telephone conversation with his family, Momeni shared that Evin prison officials had only given him one injection as a treatment for his ailments.

The family of Abdollah Momeni has expressed great concern for his health and whereabouts. The family members explained that political prisoners in Evin prison are given short restricted access to telephones, resulting in the families staying uninformed about the health and circumstances of their loved ones.

Fatemeh Adinehvnad, the wife of this member of the student alumni organization (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vejdat) told Advar News that on Monday, when Abdollah Momeni did not show up at the weekly family visitation in prison, nobody would give them an explanation regarding his whereabouts or health.

She added that in the past month, due to the neglectful and irresponsible behavior of prison officials, Abdollah Momeni has been suffering from a painful skin condition adding to his ailments and his skin has broken out into painful hives.

Abdollah Momeni, spokesperson for the student alumni organization (daftar-e tahkim-e vehdat) was violently arrested on June 20, 2009 in the offices of Free Citizens (Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign). He spent the first 100 days of his incarceration in solitary confinement and was subjected to intense interrogations and agonizing physical torture.

Human Rights House of Iran

Abdollah Momeni

Political activist Yaser Yousefzadeh arrested in the city of Babolsar

Human Rights House of Iran – Yaser Yousefzadeh, political activist from Mazandaran province has been detained at his residence.

Security agents who were not in possession of an arrest warrant, raided Yousefzadeh’s residence and violently detained him.

According to reports by Jemran News, when the agents showed up, Yaser’s family members demanded that they produce an arrest warrant. The aggressive agents then violently confronted the family members and in the skirmish that ensued they used pepper spray on Yaser’s father.

Yaser ran towards them with bare feet in order to prevent the agents from hurting his father, and ended up getting and handcuffed and severely beaten up to the horror of his powerless parents. The agents then forced Yaser into an unmarked car and whisked him away.

Yaser was taken from his father’s home to his own residence after this savage attack, where the agents took his personal belongings after searching and ransacking his home. During the raid on his home, the brutality of the agents caused the whole neighborhood to get agitated and the agents again used pepper spray and viciously confronted Yaser’s distraught neighbors.

Yaser Yousefzadeh is a graduate of Polytechnic University (Amirkabir) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was an active member of Mousavi’s presidential political campaign in Mozandaran province and was a staff member of Mousavi’s campaign 88 in the city of Babolsar during the 2009 presidential elections.

Yousefzadeh had previously been detained and held in solitary confinement in a

holding cell at the Sari Intelligence headquarters.

Human Rights House of Iran

Yaser Yousefzadeh

In an alarming move, the IRG demands that prisoner Saeed Malekpour make another televised confession.

Human Rights House of Iran – Interrogating agents from the Revolutionary Guards (IRG) transferred prisoner Saeed Malekpour to solitary confinement and demanded that he make another televised confession in order to have his death sentence revoked.

Human Rights House of Iran reports that interrogating agents from the Cyber Intelligence unit of the IRG who have been attempting to build a case against Saeed since his arrest have now given him an ultimatum in exchange for being transferred to Evin’s public ward and avoiding execution. They have demanded that Saeed again partake in a false televised confession against himself. In the past days, agents from the “Special Forces unit combating organized crime” transferred Saeed to solitary confinement, and then back to the IRG prison area comprised of very small cells each holding a few prisoners.

Saeed has refused to accept the conditions set by the same interrogating agents who have insisted on the death sentence against him. This move by the interrogating agents has caused great concern; it comes a few months after without warning, the courts re-issued the death sentence that had been struck down by the Supreme Court.

Branch 32 of the Supreme Court, which was in charge of Saeed’s court dossier and had overturned the first death sentence, had not been notified when the death penalty was reinstated for Saeed Malekpour. A different branch of the judiciary with unclear alliances ignored the reversal by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court that had returned the case for further review, and in an unexpected move, re-imposed the death penalty for Saeed without review. Judge Moghiseh presiding over branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court handed down the first death sentence and reissued it after it was struck down.

In November 2011, for the second time Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Saeed Malekpour to death along with 7.5 years in prison. Malekpour has spent a total of 11 months between solitary confinement and cells with very few people in Ward 2A of Evin prison with is controlled by the IRG and is not under the supervision of the prison corps.

When he was first arrested, Saeed spent 6 months in solitary confinement where he endured severe mental duress and physical torture. To date, this engineer and web programmer has spent 3 years and 4 months behind bars.

Saeed Malekpour, born in 1975, is an engineering graduate who received his undergraduate degree from the prestigious Sharif University. He worked in Iran at a research center and as an inspector. He was a resident of Canada before his arrest. He was accepted to Canada’s Victoria University and had moved there for his graduate studies. Saeed had travelled to Iran from Canada to visit his ailing father in 2008. While in Iran, plainclothes officials detained Saeed and transported him behind bars at Evin prison.

Saeed had lived in Canada since 2008 and while working as a developer he designed a program that would allow his clients to upload pictures. Per his lawyer and wife, this program was used in an adult content website without Saeed’s knowledge or permission. Saeed confirmed this in a letter he wrote from behind bars.

Human Rights House of Iran

Saeed Malekpour

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki returned from hospital to prison

Human Rights House of Iran – Imprisoned blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was transferred back to Evin prison after undergoing surgery for the 5th time in the past year.

Blogger and human rights activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki had been transferred to a hospital again due to his deteriorating health. He was transferred back behind bars in Evin prison after undergoing another surgery.

According to Human Rights House of Iran Ronaghi Maleki was taken back to prison despite the fact that it is imperative for him to receive continued medical care outside prison walls.

During the past year, Hossein has been transferred back and forth from prison to the hospital and has undergone numerous surgeries. But there has been no improvement and Hossein’s health has been endangered each time due to the lack of aftercare, necessary medicine, or adequate medical attention to his disease.

Dr. Mohammad Nourizad who had been Hossein’s cellmate before being released, visited Ronaghi Maleki at Tehran’s Hasheminejad Hospital. Hossein was hospitalized after spending 26 months behind bars with no furlough.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has steadfastly rejected any cooperation with the CybeIntelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and has denied all the charges brought against him.

Human Rights House of Iran

Hossein Ronaghi

Arash Mohammadi, leftist student activist, released from Tabriz prison

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Leftist student activist Arash Mohammadi was released from prison on January 10, 2013 after completing his one-year sentence behind bars.

On November 3, 2010, Security agents raided the home of Arash Mohammadi at 6 am and conducted a search of his residence. The agents detained Arash and his brother Siavash Mohammadi, and transferred them to the Tabriz Ministry of Intelligence headquarters where they were held for 66 days in “temporary detention” before being released on bail.

Judge Hamlbar presiding over Branch 1 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court sentenced Arash and his brother each to one year and 3 months in prison. On September 16, 2011 when the brothers went to Tabriz prison to pursue their case file, they were arrested and transferred to prison to serve their sentences.

CHRR  Arash Mohammadi, leftist student activist, released from Tabriz prison

Arash Mohammadi