Monthly Archives: March 2013

Prison officials continue to block ailing blogger Pourshajari from receiving medical aid

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Imprisoned blogger Pourshajari who is in serious need of medical care, continues to be deprived of medical furlough. His daughter said to Kaleme: “They lied to my father and told him to get ready to be taken to a doctor, but instead they transferred him to Ghazal Hesar prison. The physicians have advised that he must undergo surgery yet the prison officials say they will not allow him to leave even for one hour.”

As reported earlier by CHRR, three physicians at the prison facility by the names of Amjadi, Nejadbahram and Gholizadeh made requests for this political prisoner to be transferred to a medical facility outside the prison. They revealed that the prisoner has blocked arteries, which could result in cardiac arrest and his sudden death.

Mitra Pourshajari, daughter of this blogger in Ghezel Hesar prison said to Kaleme: “When I asked the prison official why he refuses to sign off father’s release papers when he is so sick, he responded that he would not put himself in any danger and would not even grant a one hour furlough. I asked why. He said with the crimes that he committed, your father is a danger to the nation. We are not going to jeopardize ourselves with this type of dossier. If the judiciary wanted to grant furlough they would have done so themselves instead of sending the file to us.”

Mohammad Reza Pourshajari is a 53-year-old political prisoner and blogger who wrote under the pen name Siamak Mehr. On September 12, 2010 he was detained at his home in Karaj and transferred to the Security Ward of the IRGC in Rajai Shahr prison. He was eventually tried in Branch 109 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Gholam Sarabi who handed him a 4-year prison sentence. He endured 7 months in solitary confinement during his “temporary detention” and was subjected to brutal psychological and physical torture. He was beaten with electric rods, and tortured with mock executions prompting him to attempt suicide by cutting his wrists with his glasses, leaving scars.

After spending close to a year at Rajai Shahr, he was inflicted with several illnesses that required him to undergo medical care under supervision outside of prison. But rather than provide him with the necessary medical care, the prison authorities transferred him to his present location at Ghezel Hesar prison, a substandard facility that is reserved for dangerous criminals.

Mohammad Reza Pourshajari has compared the conditions in the prison to an unkempt zoo. His daughter said to Kaleme: “With the price hike that has hit the country for all goods, the same has happened inside prisons. The price for necessary merchandise sold in prisons is a few times higher than it was before. Most prisoners can no longer afford cleaning products to keep their cells clean and this has caused sanitary issues. Warm water and showers are provided only a few hours a week.

Even though my father was already sick, the substandard conditions of this facility, the extreme dirtiness, no peace of mind has worsened my father’s physical condition to a very worrisome level. The physicians who had earlier tested him recommended that he receive surgery but the prison doctors have not even prescribed some medication to give him some temporary relief. My father is held in an uncertain situation while his health is deteriorating day by day.”

In a letter provided to CHRR in February, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari wrote from prison:

I Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, aka Siyamak Mehr, blogger for the blog “Gozareshe Khake Iran,” hereby request from honorable lawmakers and attorneys, to accept my gratitude for their efforts if circumstances permit to represent me in court. I give them my power of attorney to lodge a lawsuit on my behalf against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the judiciary of this regime in any suitable court of law in the United States, for my illegal arrest and severe torture, my 4-year prison sentence on baseless and ridiculous charges such as “propaganda against the regime,” and “insult” to an absurd concept called “Supreme Leader.”

The lawsuit is to condemn the opinions issued in the Islamic courts and to demand compensation from Iranian officials for my emotional duress and physical complications along with the losses endured during my prison term. In hopes that this action will condemn the oppressive regime of Iran and encourage other Iranians sentenced in the courts of the oppressive Islamic regime and victims of clergy crimes to also step forward and in this manner of lodging complaints in the courts of the United States of America, make a loud case that can be heard in the rest of the world.

CHRR

Prison officials continue to block ailing blogger Pourshajari from receiving medical aid 

Mohammad Pourshajari


The witness and the accused trade places; Abolfazl Abedini charged with “propaganda against the regime”

Committee of Human Rights Reporters –

According to the Kaleme website, despite the fact that months have passed since political prisoner [and blogger] Sattar Beheshti was killed while in custody [a week after his arrest on October 30], the government probe into his death at the Fata detention center is still ongoing. Instead of the perpetrators of the torture and death being indicted, the chief witness in the investigation has been charged with “propaganda against the regime.”

Abolfazl Abedini appeared as a witness in front of the judge in charge of the case file for the death of prisoner Sattar Beheshti. He asked the judge to not allow a repetition of the Kahrizak prison events by turning the witness into the accused. However only 2 days after his testimony, in an unusual move this political prisoner was suddenly transferred to Ahvaz prison. Abedini announced that he would launch a hunger strike in protest and other prisoners followed suit to show their support. In result after one week, Abedini was returned to Ward 350 of Evin prison.

Forty-one political prisoners in Evin prison issued a letter following Beheshti’s death, emphasizing that they had witnessed the signs of torture and beatings on his body before he was taken from ward 350 for the final round of interrogations.

In their witness letter the prisoners said: [Beheshti] was seen by prisoners in Ward 350. He was hung from the ceiling by security officials and beaten. Then his arms and legs were tied to a chair and he was beaten again. At times they would cuff his hands to a beam and beat him up, and at times his interrogators threw him on the ground and kicked him in the head and neck with their boots. While they beat him, they also tormented him with verbal abuse, profanity and extremely offensive tongue-lashings, and threatened to kill him. When they brought Sattar to Ward 350 the signs of torture were visible on all parts of his body and he was in agonizing pain. His face was bruised, his head was injured, and his wrists were swollen with prominent signs of being hung from the ceiling. Inflammation and intense bruising as a result of blows to his body were also seen around his neck and stomach.

Despite the fact that even the Judiciary spokesman has confirmed the evidence of beatings on Sattar Beheshti’s body, Abolfazl Abedini who testified to witnessing the grave physical state of the deceased is now charged with “propaganda against the regime.”

Abolfazl Abedini, journalist and activist, is among the political prisoners who were arrested in 2009 during the aftermath of the contested presidential elections. He was held in custody for 4 months before being released on bail and was later handed an 11-year prison sentence. The journalist was detained again later in the year, this time by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and handed an additional one-year prison sentence, totaling 12 years and was deprived of taking his university exams.

Abedini has served 3 years behind bars without furlough, and has endured periods of severe torture in solitary confinement during this time resulting in his deteriorating health. Now he faces additional time in prison due to his testimony regarding Sattar Beheshti’s death.

CHRR  The witness and the accused trade places; Abolfazl Abedini charged with “propaganda against the regime”

Abolfazl Abedini


Kouhyar Goudarzi has exited Iran

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – KouhyarGoudarzi, member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters and former head of the group has left the country due to the increased pressures on him while facing a 5-year prison sentence in the remote city of Zabol. He is now outside the country and in a safe place.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, human rights activist, journalist and blogger, was first arrested in March 2006 on Women’s Day as he was taking pictures with Shiva Nazarahari and was released soon after. He was detained again in May 2006 on Worker’s Day while attending a Tehran Bus Company rally.

He was detained a third time in the summer of 2009 during the street protests after the disputed presidential elections and was released after a short period. His fourth arrest was on December 20, 2009. Goudarzi was among a group that was detained by regime forces as they were travelling to the city of Qom to attend the funeral services of the senior dissident cleric Ayatollah Montazeri. He spent time in solitary confinement and went on hunger strike before being released after one year.

Goudarzi was detained a fifth time on July 31, 2011 by plainclothes agents at his friend’s house. For months, officials refused to acknowledge his arrest and Goudarzi’s whereabouts and situation were unknown. A day after he was detained, Goudarzi’s mother Parivin Mokhtare was also arbitrarily arrested in the city of Kerman in order to inflict added pressures. She was kept in Kerman prison among criminals and was handed a 23-month sentence, which was later commuted to a suspended prison term, and she was released on bail.

Kouhyar Goudarzi was first held in solitary confinement in Ward 240 then transferred to Ward 209 in Evin prison where he was subjected to harsh interrogations. He was eventually charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” Judge Pir Abassi presiding over Branch 54 of the Revolutionary Court handed down a 5-year prison sentence in exile in the remote city of Zabol. With the insistence of the security apparatus, the sentence was later upheld at Branch 54 of the Revolutionary Court.

In 2010 while behind bars, Goudarzi was awarded the John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award from the National Press Club. Alan Bjerga, the president of the club said at the award ceremony, “This award is meant to honor those who have done their utmost to advance the cause of press freedom and open government.”

CHRR   Kouhyar Goudarzi has exited Iran

Kouhyar Goudarzi


Report on latest condition of female political prisoners in Iran

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – After women’s day was celebrated in the world, there are still a large number of female political prisoners accused of civil, and human rights activism who are serving prison terms behind bars throughout Iran.

During the past months a number of female prisoners were released after serving their sentences. Among the released are Ronak Safarzadeh (Sanandaj prison), Zeinab Bayazidi (Zanjan prison), Fereshteh Shirazi (Amel prison), Nazanin Deyhimi, Negar Haeri, Ladan Mastoufi and Haniyeh Farshi Shotorban (Evin prison).

Following is a list of female prisoners in various prisons throughout the country. This list does not incorporate all female prisoners of conscience.

Evin Prison:

1 – Besmeh Al-Jabouri – Iraqi prisoner, charged with espionage for Iraq, 5-year sentence, has served one and a half years.

2 – Bahare Hedayat – student and women’s rights activist, member of Daftare Tahkime Vehdat (Student Unity), prior arrest in 05 stemming from student and women’s rights activism, arrested during aftermath of the contested 09 presidential elections, 10-year sentence, has served more than 3 years, presently out on medical furlough.

3 – Behnaz Zakeri – Swedish national detained as she entered the country, charged with connections to the Mujahedin political party (MEK), 10-year sentence, has served about 8 months.

4 – Hakimeh Shokri – member of Mourning Mothers, arrested in December 2010 after attending funeral services of Amirashed Tajmir (killed during time of mass protests after the 09 contested presidential elections), 3-year sentence, has served 4 months.

5 – Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabagh – among the many arrested during time of “Ashoura 88” protests, charged with connections to the Mujahedin political party (MEK), death sentence, later commuted to 15-year sentence, has served over 3 years with no furlough.

6 – Jila Baniyaghoub – journalist and women’s rights activist, one-year prison sentence and 30-year ban on press activities, has served 6 months. Her husband Bahman Ahmadi Amoui is a journalist with a 5-year sentence behind bars in Rajai Shahr prison and presently out on furlough.

7 – Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi – poet and member of Mourning Mothers, arrested after 09 contested presidential elections, 2-year sentence, has served one year with no furlough.

8 – Shabnam Madadzadeh – former student activist, arrested in March 09, charged with connections to Mujahedin political party (MEK), 5-year sentence, has served over 4 years. Her brother Farzad Madadzadeh held in Rajai Shahr prison on same charges.

9 – Shiva Nazarahari – human rights activist, member of CHRR, detained twice after contested 09 presidential elections, 4-year sentence and 74 lashes, has served one and a half years, granted furlough on March 12, 2013.

10 – Sedigheh Moradi – charged with connections to Mujahidin party (MEK), 10-year sentence, has served over a year.

11 – Saghra Gholamnejad – charged with connections to Mujahidin party (MEK), 2-year sentence, has served one year.

12 – Faezeh Hashemi – political activist, 6-month sentence, has served 5 months.

13 – Fariba Kamalabadi – Baha’i citizen, member of 7-person group Yarane Iran, 20-year sentence, has served over 5 years without furlough.

14 – Faran Hesami – Baha’i citizen, 5-year sentence, mother of toddler has served over 8 months. Her husband Kamran Rahimian is spending 5-year sentence behind bars in Rajai Shahr prison.

15 – Kobra Banazadeh Amirkhizi – detained during attempt to visit her son in Iraq, charged with connections to Mujahedin party (MEK), 5-year sentence, has served over 4 years without furlough.

16 – Kefayat Malek Mohammadi – arrested during “Ashura 88” events with her husband, charged with connections to Mujahedin party (MEK), 5-year sentence, has served over 3 years.

17 – Lava Khanjani – Baha’i citizen, 2-year sentence, has served 8 months. Her brother Foad Khanjani is serving 4-year prison sentence in Rajai Shahr prison.

18 – Aliyeh Tabrayiyan – 2-year sentence, has served about 6 months.

19 – Asal Esmailzadeh – Green movement activist, 2-year sentence, has served 2 months, granted furlough on March 14, 2013.

20 – Mahboubeh Karami – member of One Million Signatures Campaign, charged with membership in Human Rights Activists in Iran, 3-year sentence, has served over 2 years.

21 – Mahboubeh Mansouri – charged with connections to Mujahedin party (MEK), 2-year sentence, presently out on furlough.

22 – Maryam Akbari Monfared – arrested during time of “Ashura 88” protests, charged with connections to Mujahedin party (MEK), 15-year sentence, mother of 3 has served 3 years without furlough.

23 – Maryam Jalili – Christian convert charged with changing her religion, 2.5-year sentence, has served about a year.

24 – Motehareh Bahrami – arrested during time of “Ashura 88” protests (along with her husband Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam, her son Ahmad Daneshpour Moghadam, and 2 friends Reyhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabagh and Hadi Ghaemi), death sentence, commuted to 10-year sentence, has served over 3 years without furlough despite numerous illnesses.

25 – Mitra Zahmati – Christian convert charged with changing her religion, 2.5-year sentence, has served about a year and half without furlough.

26 – Manijeh Najm Araghi – translator, writer, member of Writers Association of Iran and women’s rights activist, one-year sentence, has served about 10 months.

27 – Manijeh Nasrollahi – Baha’i citizen, 3.5-year sentence, has served over 3 years.

28 – Mahsa Amrabadi – journalist, 2-year prison sentence, has served over a year. Her husband journalist Masoud Bastani serving sentence at Rajai Shahr prison and is presently out on furlough.

29 – Mahvash Shahriari – Baha’i citizen, member of 7-person group Yarane Iran, 20-year sentence, has served over 5 years without furlough.

30 – Nasrin Sotoudeh – lawyer and human rights activist, 6-year sentence, has served about 2.5 years. Mother of 2 has launched 4 hunger strikes behind bars in protest of the unlawful treatment of herself and her family members.

31 – Nasim Soltan Beygi – journalist and former student activist, 3-year sentence, has served about 7 months.

32 – Nooshin Khadam – Baha’i citizen, professor at BIHE (a Baha’i online university), 4-year sentence, has served over 1.5 years.

33 – Haniyeh Sanae Farshi – political activist charged with “insulting the holy”, “propaganda against the regime”, “acting against national security,” 7-year sentence commuted to 5-years, has served more than 2.5 years with no furlough.

Kermanshah prison:

34 – Zeynab Jalalian – Kurdish citizen, member of the PKK, arrested in Kermanshah in 08 and transferred to Sanandaj prison, endured severe torture in long periods of solitary confinement, charged with “moharebeh” (enmity with God), death sentence later commuted to life in prison, has served her time in Kermanshah prison without any furlough.

Ahvaz prison:

35 – Fatemeh Rahnama – arrested during time of “Ashura 88” protests, close to Zahra Rahnavard, jailed at age 19 on charge of “connections with MEK,” now handed a 10-year sentence on same charge, serving her sentence in Ahvaz prison.

Gharchak & Ramin prison:

36 – Raheleh Zakayee – lesser-known prisoner, charged with “propaganda against the regime,” one-year sentence, was recently transferred from Evin to Gharchak & Ramin prison without explanation.

Semnan prison:

37 – Taraneh Tarabi – Baha’i citizen, charged with following Baha’i faith, 2.5-year sentence, has served 5 months. In October 2012 she was transferred to Semnan prison with her newborn despite the fact that the conditions in this prison are not at all suitable for a baby.

38 – Zohreh Nikaeen – Baha’i citizen, charged with following Baha’i faith, 23-month sentence, has served 5 months. In October 2012 she was transferred to Semnan prison with her toddler despite the fact that the conditions in this prison are not at all suitable for a toddler.

39 – Rofia Beydaghi – Baha’i citizen, charged with following the Baha’i faith, one-year sentence. The father of this prisoner is also behind bars in Semnan prison.

40 – Jinous Nourani – Baha’i citizen, charged with following the Baha’i faith, one-year sentence.

Mashhad prison:

41 – Rozita Vaseghi – Baha’i citizen, charged with “advertising the Baha’i faith” and “insulting the holy”, 5-year sentence. Despite spending half her sentence behind bars with 6 months in solitary, she has not been granted any furlough.

42 – Sima Ashrafi – Baha’i citizen, charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and “insulting the holy,” 5-year sentence, served 2.5 years. The mother of two has not been granted her right to furlough despite having spent over half her term behind bars.

43 – Nahid Ghadiri – Baha’i citizen from Mashhad, charged with “advertising the Baha’i faith,” 5-year sentence, has served 2 years 6 months, in poor health.

House Arrest:

44 – Zahra Rahnavard – Put under house arrest with her husband Mir Hossein Mousavi since February 15, 2011. She has not been tried in any court or handed any sentencing. She is deprived of all her rights as a prisoner and has had very rare supervised visitations with family.

CHRR

Report on latest condition of female political prisoners in Iran

Evin female prisoners


Nasim Soltan Beigi granted furlough on bail for the Nowruz holidays

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – On Monday March 18, journalist and former student activist Nasim Soltan Beigi was granted furlough and released from prison on bail.

According to CHRR, Nasim Soltan Beigi who has had 2 prior arrests, has worked at several media outlets including Shargh and Arman. On November 30, 2010, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court handed this student activist and journalist a 6-year prison sentence; 3 years on the charge of “acting against national security,” one year for “propaganda against the regime,” and a 2-year suspended term stemming from a prior arrest in 2006. Soltan Beigi appealed this ruling and it was sent to the Appeals Court.

Nasim Soltan Beigi was a leftist student who was among students arrested in a widespread crackdown on student activists in November 2007. She spent 56 days behind bars in ward 209 of Evin prison before being released on bail. She had previously been arrested on June 12, 2006 at a rally of women activists and at that time was handed a 2-year suspended prison sentence.

CHRR   Nasim Soltan Beigi granted furlough on bail for the Nowruz holidays

Nasim Soltan Beigi


Five members of Saraye Ahle Ghalam summoned to court

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Mohsen Ghashghiyayizadeh, Mohammad Parsi, Ahmadreza Ahmadi, Pejman Zafarmand, and Akbar Amini who were among a group from Saraye Ahle Ghalam that was previously detained, were summoned to appear in court to face charges against them.

According to CHRR, Ahmadreza Ahmadi has a court date on March 13 at Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh; Mohammad Parsi in Branch 15 presided by Judge Salavati on April 9; Mohsen Ghashghayizadeh in Branch 26 presided by Judge Pir Abassi on April 9; Akbar Amini in Branch 15 presided by Judge Salavati; Pejman Zafarmand in Branch 26 presided by Judge Pir Abassi. There is no information yet regarding the dates for Akbar Amini and Pejman Zafarmand.

All 5 of the Saraye Ahle Ghalam (Association of Writers) members are charged with “illegal assembly and collusion with intent to harm national security.” When they were detained, Mohammad Parsi, Mohsen Ghashghayi, Ahmadreza Ahmadi, and Akbar Amini were kept in Ward 209 under the supervision of the Intelligence Ministry for 22 days, and Pejman Zafarmand was kept in Ward 209 for one month and spent another month in public Ward 350.

On October 30, 2012, Security agents raided a gathering of the Saraye Ahle Ghalam (Association of Writers) and arrested around 70 members who were present at the meeting. Most of them were later released but security agents transferred 17 members in a police van to Evin prison. Agents detained Pejman Zafarmand and Mehdi Karimi later. Per his family, Mehdi Khazali continues his hunger strike in prison in protest of the illegal treatment of prisoners.

CHRR   Five members of Saraye Ahle Ghalam summoned to court

Saraye Ahle-e Ghalam


Shiva Nazarahari released on 3-day furlough

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – After spending 184 days behind bars, today ShivaNazarahari was granted a 3-day release on bail.

As reported by CHRR, Shiva Nazarahari was handed a 4-year prison sentence with 74 lashes on the charges of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “propaganda against the regime,” and “illegal gathering.” She turned herself in at Evin prison to serve her sentence on September 8, 2012.

Shiva Nazarahari, imprisoned member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters was recently nominated by Reporters Without Frontiers for the 2013 Netizen of the Year, which has been awarded on March 12th every year to commemorate World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. Since 2008, this prize has been awarded to journalists, bloggers and other netizens for their distinguished contribution to the advancement of freedom of expression on the Internet.

On March 11, 2011, Shiva Nazarahari was awarded the Theodor Haecker prize for “courageous internet reporting on human rights violations”. The prize is named after Theodor Haecker, a philosopher, writer and anti-Nazi cultural critic.

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – After spending 184 days behind bars, today ShivaNazarahari was granted a 3-day release on bail.

As reported by CHRR, Shiva Nazarahari was handed a 4-year prison sentence with 74 lashes on the charges of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “propaganda against the regime,” and “illegal gathering.” She turned herself in at Evin prison to serve her sentence on September 8, 2012.

Shiva Nazarahari, imprisoned member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters was recently nominated by Reporters Without Frontiers for the 2013 Netizen of the Year, which has been awarded on March 12th every year to commemorate World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. Since 2008, this prize has been awarded to journalists, bloggers and other netizens for their distinguished contribution to the advancement of freedom of expression on the Internet.

On March 11, 2011, Shiva Nazarahari was awarded the Theodor Haecker prize for “courageous internet reporting on human rights violations”. The prize is named after Theodor Haecker, a philosopher, writer and anti-Nazi cultural critic.

CHRR

Shiva Nazarahari released on 3-day furlough

Shiva Nazarahari