Tag Archives: CHRR

Jailed labor activist Shahrokh Zamani suffered fatal stroke behind bars

COyqCsRUkAATK2ACommittee of Human Rights Reporters – Labor activist and political prisoner Shahrokh Zamani passed away in Rajai Shahr prison today after suffering a fatal stroke. The Kaleme website reports that the labor activist who was sentenced to eleven years in prison and jailed since 2011, died behind bars today.

According to CHRR, Shahrokh Zamani, labor activist was arrested on June 7, 2011, sentenced to 11 years in prison, transferred to various prisons before his last transfer to Rajai Shahr prison. He spent long periods of time in solitary confinement and was often banned from face-to-face visitations and phone calls.

Zamani was a member of the Council of Representatives of Labor Organizations and the Painters’ Union. His heavy sentence was handed down by Branch 1 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court on the charges of “propaganda against the regime”, “endangering national security” and “participating in organization of an illegal group” by setting up a coordination committee to help with the creation of independent labor unions.

According to CHRR, one year after his arrest Zamani published a letter addressed to international human rights agencies, trade unions and all freedom loving people unveiling the torture and illegal treatment of prisoners behind bars.

In a letter to Amnesty International, Shahrokh Zamani stated that his lawyer was not given access to his court files or allowed to speak in court, and that his sentencing was pre-determined. He described how he had been kept in solitary confinement for 36 days and put under severe psychological and physical duress in an effort to extract a false confession, which he refused. He was transferred to the public ward after launching a hunger strike and endured 4 months of brutal interrogations before his court date. His hunger strike began in solidarity with members of the Dervishes (Sufi group) who had been imprisoned, and was later extended to the grim situation of all political prisoners. It was reported that he lost massive amounts of weight and suffered serious health problems as a result of his hunger strike. Amnesty declared Zamai a prisoner of conscience and published a statement saying “he is facing reprisals for demanding prisoners’ rights inside Raja’i Shahr Prison.”

In a letter on April 9, 2014 to Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Zamani wrote of the prisoners’ grievances and ill treatment. He wrote, “As a trade unionist, I have been arrested and imprisoned illegally and have been exiled to one of the worst prisons in Iran, which is comparable to the prisons of the middle ages.” He ended his letter saying, “Considering the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are responsible for any mental and physical harm [that might come to me], I urge you to dispatch an inquiry commission and put pressure on the Islamic Republic to fulfill their obligations according to their own laws.” Representing the political prisoners of Ward 12 of Rajai Shahr prison, Zamani wrote, “[I am] trying to defend the rights of the prisoners, by objecting to those in charge about the closing of the only library of the prison, the increase in the spread of dangerous electrical noises, and the beating of prisoners. I asked the authorities to respect the prisoners’ rights in accordance with the internal bylaws of the prisons through a letter.”

In December 2014 Zamani wrote a letter from prison addressed to international labor organizations. In it he stated, “with no control from below by workers’ or people’s organizations and the banning of the slightest freedoms of speech, press and parties, the ruling class, ranked 144th out of 157 countries of the world for bribery, has increased the scale of open looting, embezzling and stealing of the national treasury to disastrous levels.” He described his illegal arrest for exercising his legal rights. “I have been condemned merely for legitimate and legal defense of the right to establish independent organizations, to strike – universal rights that are officially recognized throughout the world – and in defense of wages that match inflation, job security, unemployment and health insurance, pensions, and a labor law that guarantees the basic rights of the 50 million members of Iran’s workers’ households.”

On top of his heavy prison sentence Mr. Zamani was further harassed in the past years by being transferred to various prisons including Tabriz, Yazd, Ghazal Hesar and finally Rajai Shahr Prison. He was not allowed to attend his daughter’s wedding or his mother’s funeral. Before her death, in a February 2013 interview with CHRR, Zarin Najti, mother of Shahrokh Zamani disclosed that her son was denied medical furlough, prison visitation and phone calls. She shared that the family was suffering great stress from not being able to make ends meet without Mr. Zamani’s wages. She said to CHRR, “I ask that they allow me to see my child. He is a laborer; he has a wife and kids. What is his crime? Clearly he is a laborer so he defended his fellow workers and there is nothing wrong with doing that. They must release him.”

She died without seeing her son or his release. Shahrokh Zamani who was known to be strong and athletic was in good health before his arrest. He died in prison today of a reported brain aneurism and stroke.

http://www.chrr.biz/en/news-en/37595

http://www.chrr.biz/fa/news/37591


Shiva Nazarahari released from prison on furlough

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Shiva Nazarahari, jailed human rights activist, women’s rights activist and founding member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) was granted temporary prison release today.

According to CHRR, Shiva Nazarahari who is among political prisoners detained after the contested election results of 2009 was released on furlough on September 8th. The founding member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) is a human rights activist, blogger, journalist, women’s rights activist, member of the One Million Signature Campaign, Right to Education Campaign, and Society for Defending Street and Working Children.

Shiva Nazarahari has been behind bars in Evin prison’s women’s ward since September 8, 2012. With the year she spent behind bars after her arrest in 2009, she has now spent about 2 years behind bars, which is half her sentence.

Nazarahari was detained twice in the aftermath of the contested 2009 presidential elections. Days after the elections on June 14, 2009, Shiva was detained. She was held in solitary confinement in Evin’s ward 209 for 36 days before being transferred to the general ward. She was released on bail on September 24th.

On December 20 2009 Nazarahari was detained with a number of other activists while on their way to attend the funeral of the late dissident cleric Ayatollah Montazeri. She endured 2 months of solitary confinement and was released on bail after 9 months of detention in September 2010.

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

CHRR

شیوا نظرآهاری به مرخصی آمد

 

Shiva Nazarahari

 


Saeed Kalaanaki-Judicial decree to collect the bail money for parental home

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – CHRR member Saeed Kalaanaki’s parental home that was collateral for his bail, was set for sale per the orders of the Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, before a directive was given to instead pay 100 million Tomans (around $30,000) in cash. His family is ordered to produce a down payment of 21 million Tomans paid in cash followed by monthly payments of 2.5 million Tomans lasting 36 months.

This enforcement mandate has been handed down despite the fact that Kalaanaki’s family does not even have the funds to pay the installments. Saeed Kalaanaki, member of CHRR and former head of The Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners was sentenced to 6 years in prison for his human rights work. He was arrested by Intelligence agents in the years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009. During the past 2 years, judiciary officials from Shahid Moghaddas court in Evin prison sent four written subpoenas to Kalaanaki’s family warning them that if he did not present himself, their collateral would be seized.

According to Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Intelligence agents detained Saeed Kalaanaki for the fifth time on November 30, 2009, a few months after the contested presidential elections. After his home was searched, Kalaanaki was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison. He was held for 100 days in custody at Evin prison; 28 days in solitary confinement and the rest in a 7-meter cell holding 3 prisoners. He was released on 100 million Tomans bail in March 2010. That same year, Intelligence agents arrested nine CHRR members who were held for long periods of time in solitary cells in Ward 209, Ward 240 and Ward 2-A – under the jurisdiction of the IRGC.

In May 2010, Judge Pir Abassi presiding over Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court handed human rights activist Kalanaaki a 3-year prison sentence on the charges of “membership in Committee of Human Rights Reporters”, “propaganda against the regime”, and “insulting the leadership.” Kalaanaki denied the last 2 charges brought against him.

The founding member of CHRR was summoned numerous times and received threatening phone calls demanding that he cease his human rights activities. From 2003 to 2005 he was detained four times by Security agents and was held in Evin solitary cells in Wards 209, and 240. He also spent time in Hall 3 of Evin prison. Judge Hadad presiding over Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court handed him a fine and a 3-year prison sentence, which was suspended for 5 years. With the two rulings, Kalannaki now faces a 6-year prison sentence.

Saeed Jalalifar, another member of CHRR was granted furlough on June 26 after enduring almost 2 years behind bars. He was arrested on November 30, 2009 during the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections and handed a 3-year prison sentence on the charges of “illegal gathering” and “propaganda against the regime.” On July 31, 2011 he was arrested and transferred to Evin prison after he presented himself at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to prevent the reversal of his bail.

Shiva Nazarahari, founding member and former head of CHRR has been arrested numerous times stemming from her human rights work. After her last arrest on December 20, 2009, she was handed a 4-year prison sentence and 74 lashes on the charges of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “propaganda against the regime,” and “Illegal gathering with the intent of disturbing national security.”  She was also banned from continuing her education towards a Masters degree. She is spending her prison term behind bars in Evin prison’s women’s ward.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, member and former head of CHRR was arrested numerous times and expelled from Sharif University of Technology due to his human rights work. When he was last arrested on July 31, 2011, his whereabouts and condition were unknown for several months as authorities refused to acknowledge he was in custody. The journalist was later handed a 5-year prison sentence in exile in the remote city of Zabol on the charges of “propaganda against the regime,” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”

Saeed Haeri, former member of CHRR is spending his 2-year prison sentence behind bars in Evin prison and Navid Khanjani, another former member is spending his 12-year sentence in Rajai Shahr prison. Parisa Kakai, former CHRR member was handed a 2-year prison term and Ali Kalaei, another former member was handed a 7-year term. Other former members of CHRR who have been harassed and investigated by the security apparatus are Hesam Meysaghi, Sepehr Atefi, and left-wing student activist Saeed Habibi.

The Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) condemns the oppression and prosecution of all human rights defenders, and demands the unconditional release of all present and former members of CHRR, along with an immediate termination to the harassment and intimidation inflicted on its members by the security and judiciary apparatus.

وثیقه سعید کلانکی توسط مراجع قضایی ضبط شد

Judicial decree to collect the bail money for activist Saeed Kalaanaki

Saeed Kalaanaki


Five Ahwazi Arab death row prisoners launch hunger strike

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Hashem Shabaninejad, Hadi Rashedi, Mohammad Ali Amourinejad, Jaber and Mokhtar Alboshoka – death row prisoners and Rahman Asakareh, sentenced to 20 years in prison, have launched a hunger strike from behind bars.

According to CHRR, on March 2nd these prisoners launched a hunger strike in protest of their circumstances in Karoun prison in Ahvaz and in retaliation, their phone privileges were taken away rendering them incommunicado.

Hashem Shabaninejad is a poet, blogger, teacher of Arabic literature with a masters degree in political science from Ahwaz University; Hadi Rashed, has an M.A. in applied chemistry and is a chemistry teacher; Mohammad Ali Amourinejad is a blogger, student activist and former member of the Islamic Society of Isfahan University of Technology; Jaber Alboshoka is a computer science major and private in the military; Mokhtar Alboshoka is a worker at a stone mining company. All 5 men are Ahwazi Arab minority members from the southern province of Khuzestan. They were all members of the Al-Hiwar scientific-cultural institute, a group that has experienced harassment and many arrests.

On July 7, 2012 Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court handed down death sentences to these five civil activists on the charges of “moharebeh” (enmity with God), “propaganda against the regime,” and “endangering national security.” On January 9, 2013 their families were notified that the death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court. In June 2012, four Ahwazi Arabs, three of whom were brothers, were executed on similar charges.

The Ahwazi Arab prisoners have maintained their innocence, stating that they were forced into false confessions under severe duress. Family members said in an interview with CHRR that the prisoners were held in solitary confinement for months, subjected to verbal epithets, abuse and intense physical torture to extract false confessions that were later retracted.

CHRR   5 Ahwazi Arab death row prisoners launch hunger strike

Ahwazi Arab prisoners


CHRR interview: The prisoners’ confessions were extracted under torture and they are innocent

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – On January 18, five Ahwazi Arab political prisoners sentenced to death were transferred from Karoun prison to an undisclosed location and their whereabouts remain unknown despite their families’ efforts to obtain any information.

The 5 Ahwazi Arab political prisoners are named Hashem Shabanijed, poet, blogger, teacher of Arabic literature with a masters degree in political science from Ahwaz University; Hadi Rashed, M.A. in applied chemistry and a chemistry teacher; Mohammad Ali Amourinejad, blogger, student activist and former member of the Islamic Society of Isfahan University of Technology; Jaber Alboshoka, computer science major and private in the military; Mokhtar Alboshoka, worker at a stone mining company. On July 7, 2012 Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court handed down death sentences to these five civil activists, which was recently upheld by the country’s Supreme Court.

In addition to the systematic human rights violations in Khuzestan province, during the past months three other Arab prisoners were executed and a number of accused have died while in custody.

Committee of Human Rights Reports conducted an interview with Kamal Alboshokeh, who is a cousin of 2 brothers in the group of death row prisoners.

- What is the latest news you know about the condition of the Arab Ahwazi prisoners?

Last Wednesday (January 16), their families visited them. Men and women are allowed visitation on different weeks so last week the mother and sister of Jaber and Mokhtar visited them. They also visited with other prisoners including Mr. Asakareh who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. The next day they spoke to them on the phone and that is the last contact the family has had. Hopefully nothing bad has happened. I pray nothing has happened.

- How did you deem the psychological state of the prisoners during visitation and phone calls?

They were very stressed out due to the upholding of their death sentence. No doubt about that. They told their families they are innocent and the charges against them are trumped up. Jaber told his mother he is mostly worried for the future of his daughter, having to live a life without a father. Hashem felt the same way.

Hadi Rashedi has liver disease and rheumatic heart disease. His maladies worsened after he was tortured. He is in danger of dying anyway due to his ailing health. The last time he was seen he was very sick and he was mentally defeated. He asked that we give his regards to his mother and said he is innocent and has done nothing. Mokhtar has suffered from extreme psychological issues since he was tortured. For a long period of time after he was first released, he had forgetfulness. For example when we would tell him a friend sent regards, he had no recollection of who the person was. All of them suffered from severe psychological distress.

- Please share the psychological state of their families

When Mr. Mahmoud Amouri, Mr. Shabaninejad and one other individual escaped [from Iran] to Iraq around December 2007, they were arrested in Iraq. Mohammad Ali’s father then suffered from a heart attack. After that Mr. Farez Seylabi lost his life while in detention in Iraq due to the severe psychological and physical torture he was subjected to. The rest were diverted back to Iran and subsequently detained. The parents of Mohammad Ali both suffered heart attacks. His father could no longer speak. When the death sentence was issued, his mother suffered another heart attack. Hadi’s mother also suffered from a heart attack when the death sentence was announced.

- Do these 5 prisoners have a lawyer in Khuzestan province? Has a lawyer been appointed?

They all had lawyers besides Mr. Hadi Shabani and he was provided a public defender. But the lawyers were only able to meet with them 2-3 times during the 6-month period before they were sent to the Revolutionary Court for their trials. The lawyers got most of their information from the families. When they saw their lawyers at the trial, the lawyers said based on the supposed evidence presented to them, they would probably receive a few years in prison. When the judge handed the death sentences everyone was dumbfounded.

They told the judge how they had been coerced into false confessions under severe torture. Mr. [judge] Mousavi, why the death penalty? The judge responded to the lawyers it is not in his control and asked them to leave. When the files were sent to Tehran we had hope that the death sentence would be overturned. The accused have done nothing. All of them were civil and cultural activists. After the death sentence was upheld, imagine, Mr. Mohammad Ali Amouri, Mr. Rashedi and Mr. Shabani did not know. I had to call them and give them the news that the death sentence has been upheld. Even the lawyers had not been told. The only person who knew was my uncle. The lawyers went to prison to meet with the accused but were not allowed to see them. The lawyers are waiting for a date to be allowed to meet with their clients.

- Please explain the court files of these 5 individuals, the time and reason of their arrest

Their situation was similar to other detainees. Their families were contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence 15 days after their arrest and were told that they had been detained but gave no reason. After 5 months the families were finally allowed to visit their children for 15 minutes. The prisoners were shackled and each had 2 guards assigned to them, one on each side. After Haber and Mokhtar Alboushke were transferred to Karoun prison their families were allowed visitation every 2 weeks. The others were able to see their families for a few minutes only and 3 months after being held at the Intelligence Ministry detention center they were transferred to the prison. At Karoun prison they were allowed visitations on Wednesdays with women & men visiting separately every other week.

The prisoners who are sentenced to death, 26-year old Mokhtar Alboshka, 28-year old Haber Alboshka, 39-year old Hadi Rashedi, 31-year old Hashem Shabani, 34-year old Mohammad Ali Amouri, and 36-year old Rahman Askareh are good friends.

A death sentence for a person such as Hashem Shabani who has an M.A. in political science and is licensed in Arabic literature and is a great poet! They want an excuse to destroy people such as Hashem and this is why they accuse them with trumped up charges.

Mokhtar Alboshka is a 26-year old with an M.A. from Omidiyeh University. He was a solder with the Revolutionary Guards and was home on leave to visit his family when he was detained. Jaber Alboshka is a 28-year old who worked at his father’s stone mining company and he is the father of a 2-year old daughter named Soraya. The brothers live in their family home.

My uncle is a martyr. Imagine they have no mercy even on the family of martyrs. Mohammad Ali Amouri, son of Abdolzahra Amouri has a fisheries engineering degree from Isfahan University. Hashem Shabani has a B. A. in Arabic studies and an M.A. in political science from Ahwaz University. He is also a teacher. Hadi Rashedi, son of Hamze Rashedi is a teacher with an M.A. in Chemistry.

On February 16 Mohammad Ali Amouri was deported from Iraq along with his brother Amir Amouri, martyr Shabani (Hashem’s uncle) and (the now deceased) Farez Seylani, and they were all detained upon their arrival in Iran. On February 28, Hadi Rashedi, his brother Habi Allah Rashedi and Rahman Asakreh were detained. On March 13, 2011, the brothers Mokhtar Alboshka, Haber Alboshka and Bagher Alboshka were detained.

In 1986, Mohammad Ali Amouri, Shahid Shabani (Hashem’s uncle) and Zendeyad Farez Silavi escaped from the Islamic Republic forces to neighboring Iraq and requested asylum. Despite the urging of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch against doing so, they were all eventually deported back to Iran. Hadi Rashedi and Rahman Asakreh were detained in Iran one day after Mohammad Ali Abouri and Hashem Shabani. Later that year the brothers Haber and Mokhtar Alboshka were detained at their father’s residence.

When Mohammad Ali Amouri, Hashem Shabani, and [a friend] Fars Seylavi were in custody in Iraq they were brutally tortured. Fars Seylavi lost his life under torture while in custody and the others were eventually returned to Iran.

My family members shared the events with me. There were more than 70 officials who were clad in black and their faces covered with black masks. Some were intelligence agents. The families of the prisoners had no news of them until the end of March. The families had no idea where their loved ones were. They knew the arresting agents were from the Ministry of Intelligence but they had no idea which branch they were from and where they could obtain any information. After 3 months they were given permission for visitation. Some of the arrested were released on bail while others were transferred form the detention center to prison.

In June the families were allowed a 15-20 minute visit. These are things the families have recounted to me. Haber’s jaw and teeth were broken under torture and he had lost 10 kilograms. Hashem Shabani was in the same predicament. They were all returned to the Intelligence Ministry detention center in June. My cousins were transferred back to prison while the other 4 stayed at the Intelligence Ministry detention center for a period of about 7 months.

Finally in December 2011, Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Shabani, and Taha Heidari made a public confession on Pars T.V. that was clearly extracted under severe duress. They claimed they had connections with foreign entities and had used violence. After that in June 2012, Taha Heidari was executed along with his brothers and a friend. The judge in charge of their cases was Bagher Mousavi presiding over Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court.

Rahman Askareh was sentenced to 20 years in prison and the rest were handed the death penalty. The families conducted a letter signing campaign and got 13,000 signatures stating the innocence of these men. Even the families of the victims who had been shot at insisted that the accused were not the perpetrators of the crimes but the Ministry of Intelligence did not take heed.

These individuals were cultural activists. The five men in question are founding members of Al-Hiwar (“Dialogue” in Arabic), a scientific and cultural institute registered during the administration of Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami [who served from1997 to 2005.] Al-Hiwar organizes seminars, educational and art classes, and poetry recitals.

When the Ministry of Intelligence demanded that they stop their activities, they let them know that everything they did was legal. But as you know, Khatami was not in charge of the Intelligence Ministry. Al-Hiwar was banned in May 2005 resulting in their activities going underground.

- Explain how and when your uncle was killed

In 2006 when security agents attacked our home to arrest my cousin and I, my innocent uncle was killed. They fired at my uncle and he was riddled with around 20 bullets resulting in his immediate death. We even have pictures. They fired the last bullet into him as he lay wounded. We escaped towards Europe and all my family members were detained. My mother was held for a night, and my father for about 15 days. They even detained my 83-year old grandfather who is the father of a martyr, for eleven days. Several of my close friends were also detained. My uncle’s wife was held at the Intelligence Ministry for a week. Several cousins were held for 15 days. During that time I was able to leave Iran. And the arrests continued.

In 2007 my grandfather was detained again. In 2009 my father and brother Jamal were detained for 3 months. In 2010 my father was detained for another 3 days. On January 26 2012 my 19-year old cousin Naser Darafshani Alboushkeh was detained and 4 days later on January 30, 2012, his corpse was delivered to our family. He died under torture. It did not end here. In June 2012 agents attacked the sons of my father’s cousin instantly killing one son. The other 2 brothers later died from the bullet wounds inflicted by security agents.

- There have been accounts of the torture inflicted on the 5 prisoners in question in order to extract false confessions. Share with us what happened.

The interrogators started with psychological torment. Then they punched them as they hurled insults. Then in order to inflict more physical pain they used car straps. They used electric shock and electric cables. Hashem Shabani’s feet were scorched in boiling water. Hadi Rashedi suffered memory loss due to repeated blows with a pipe.

Hadi Rashedi who is now very sick and broken from all that torture was a former boxer from Khuzestan province. Imagine how they had no mercy on 3 teachers, a boxer from the Khuzestan team and one of their own from the Revolutionary Guards. These men were held on trumped up charges. The accused were so violently tortured they eventually agreed to sign anything intelligence agents required of them. But they later told the judge they had made false confessions under severe duress due to the brutal torture they were subjected to. They said there was no truth to their confessions. I don’t comprehend how the judge did not ask himself how Mohammad Ali Amourinejad who lived in Iraq during the incident in question could have possibly been a perpetrator of the alleged crime.

The prisoners mistreated and tortured. My cousin Haber has a broken jaw, broken teeth, and lost 10 kilos. His brother Mokhtar has problems with his vision now and has memory loss. They have no memory of when they were detained and do not know a clue as to the reason. They were subjected to offensive language and extreme vulgarity. Under severe duress and torment from the abuse and torture, they confessed to crimes they did not commit.

- Intelligence agents and judicial authorities have said they always follow Islamic codes of conduct. Have they followed this in their dealings with the family of the Arab Ahwazi prisoners?

The authorities have been ill mannered and have a fascist attitude. While torturing the prisoners they hurled insults such as “Arab dog” and “Arab mouse.” They even humiliated the family when they went for visitation. The judge threatened their lawyer with arrest. The behavior is fascist like, brutal and extremely vulgar. It is surprising and unfortunate that such behavior exists in the 21st century.

- As a family member very close to these 5 prisoners, what is your request from the Islamic Republic

These men are innocent. An innocent person should not be executed because of his cultural activities. Their files should be transferred to a fair court not in Ahwaz but in Tehran presided by an experienced and fair judge with no connections to the Ministry of Intelligence. If the prisoners get a fair trial presided by a judge who is not cruel with fascist-like attitudes, I promise you they will be vindicated of all the charges, their death sentences will be commuted and they will be released.

The prisoners’ confessions were extracted under torture and they are innocent

Ahwazi Arab prisoners


Extensive efforts to make television documentary about the imprisoned Baha’i citizens in Semnan

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – In the past weeks Semnan security agents have made efforts to make a documentary about Baha’i prisoners. The agents showed up at the prison courtyard and claiming to be with Press TV, they asked the prisoners to conduct interviews. The Baha’i prisoners refused to speak on camera and that afternoon they were transferred to the courtyard again with demands that they grant individual interviews, which they again refused. The camera crew then went to the visiting area of the prison facility in order to film and attempt interviews with family members.

According to news obtained by CHRR, the camera crew asked one Baha’i prisoner about abuse while pointing out that there were no signs of torture on his face. In the past days the camera crew from the Ministry of Intelligence visited the work places of Baha’i citizens and asked to take video and conduct interviews while claiming to be with the Interior Ministry investigating issues the citizens might have.

Other sources have reported that 4 of the prisoners were transferred to the place of worship at the prison facility in order to conduct interviews. First the interviewers introduced themselves as members of the judiciary, and later they claimed to be with the news network of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Taher Eskandarian, Afrasiab Sobhani, Akbar Pourhosseini, Arfan Ehsani, Edalat Firouzian, Goudarz Beydaghi, Nader Kasai, Jinous Nourani, Rofia Beydaghi, Anisa Fanaiyan, Taraneh Tarabi and Zohreh Nikayin are among Baha’i prisoners who were detained in the past year. The 5 and 11-month-old babies of the last 2 women mentioned are in Semnan prison with their mothers. Others transferred earlier to Semnan prison are Bahfar Khanjani, Afshin Ighani and Siyamak Ighani.

During the past few months, security agents have subjected Baha’i citizens and prisoners to unprecedented heavier pressures. The mistreatments include multiple arbitrary arrests, heavy judicial sentences, denial of basic rights and additional taunting of the followers of the Baha’i faith incarcerated in Semnan prison.

According to reliable information received by CHRR, the heightened pressure and harassment is directly linked to members of the Semnan Security Council, presently consisting of Mr. Rahi, the Governor of Semnan, the Governor of the city; Mr. Shahcheraghi, the Friday Imam; Mr. Siavash Pour, the Chief Minister of Justice; Mr. Heydar Asyabi, the Attorney General, and Colonel Soleimani the Chief of Police of the province who hold regular meetings at the offices of the Semnan Ministry of Justice.

Baha’i citizens have been deprived of their basic rights and subjected to various forms of abuse during the past years including closure of bank accounts, shops and workshops, revoking business and drivers licenses, setting fire to residences and shops in 2009, breaking the glass of automobiles, destroying property and residences by attacking with wood and stone, bulldozing gravesites and setting fire to places of worship, destruction of dams and cutting off water supplies to agricultural properties resulting in dried fields and gardens.

In a recent incident on November 29th 2012, for the second time agents visited the shop of Akbar Pourhosseini, a Baha’i citizen and using the excuse that he was not in possession of a Green Card they confiscated nearly two hundred million tomans worth of assets. This is despite the fact that a Green Card is to be provided by the importer of the goods not the seller. The shop owner Akbar Pourhosseini had been detained earlier and after spending time behind bars, he was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison and he now awaits the ruling of the appellate court.

Extensive efforts to make television documentary about the imprisoned Baha’i citizens in Semnan

Semnan Prison


Saeed Haeri transferred behind bars to serve his 2-year prison sentence

Committee of Human Rights Reporters –  Former member of CHRR and leftist activist Saeed Haeri was transferred to Evin prison this morning to serve his 2-year prison sentence.

Saeed Haeri was detained by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on December 20, 2009, along with other members of Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Shiva Nazarahari. They were with a group on their way to Qom to participate in the burial ceremony of the late Ayatollah Montazeri. Saeed Haeri was released on 100 million toman bail after enduring 80 days in confinement.

In September 2010 Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Pir Abassi sentenced this human rights activist to 2 years and 6 months in prison and 74 lashes on charges of “disturbing public order” and “illegal assembly and collusion.” The court of appeals later reduced the sentence to a 2-year prison term.

After receiving 4 successive summons to appear at Evin prison and letters sent to the bail guarantor, Saeed Haeri presented himself at Evin this morning to begin serving his 2-year sentence behind bars.

Student activist Saeed Haeri is a philosophy student at Islamic Azad University North Tehran Branch. As editor of the university’s Philosophical Society, he has written numerous articles about labor, student, and children’s rights. During the election year of 2009 and the aftermath of the disputed election results, Haeri worked as a member of the Committee of Civil Rights for Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign.

There are now 4 present and former members of CHRR spending prison terms behind bars; ShivaNazarahahri, Saeed Jalalifar, Navid Khanjani, and Saeed Haeri. In September 2012 the 5-year prison sentence in exile at the city of Zabol (border of Afghanistan) for Kouhyar Goudarzi, another member of CHRR, was upheld by the court of appeals.

CHRR

Saeed Haeri transferred behind bars to serve his 2-year prison sentence

Saeed Haeri