Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Defender and Nobel Laureate, has examined the human rights situation in Iran in her second report published in the Persian month of Tir 1391 [Jun-July 2012]. Her first monthly report was published in the month of Khordad 1391 [21 May 2012–21 June 2012]. According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights [CDHR], Dr. Ebadi started her report by addressing the violation of human rights in Kurdistan, Khuzestan and Sistan-Baluchestan and emphasises that it is imperative to take immediate action to remove all kinds of discrimination in a bid to calm down the increasing tensions within society.
This human rights activist continued her report by examining the human rights situation under three categories: “civil and political rights”, “economic and social rights”, “cultural heritage and environment”. The report will appear in both English and Persian. Dr. Ebadi finished her report by emphasizing that protecting national interests and ending the current crisis in Iran warrants respect for individual rights and freedoms and human dignity of citizens. The following is the text of Mrs Ebadi’s report for Tir 1391, which was published on 1 Mordad [22 July 2012].
A Brief Report on Human Right Situation in Iran in Tir 1391[June-July 2012]
The second monthly report on the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Tir is published at a time when public grievances in Khuzestan and other southern provinces of Iran are on the rise owing to religious and tribal discriminations and violent conduct by agents of the state. The disregard for the reasonable demands of the population of these provinces is likely to lead to further unrest.
The situation is the same in Kurdistan Province and other Kurdish-populated regions [of Iran], especially since the health of Mr Mohammad Sadigh Kabudvand, a journalist who enjoys immense popularity among Iranians in particular our Kurdish compatriots, is deteriorating as he continues his hunger strike in protest at the appalling prison conditions. It is likely that there would be a great deal of unrest should anything happens to Mr Kabudvand or any of his relatives. Mr Kabudvand has already served five years of his 10-year prison sentence in Sanandaj, on charges of founding the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan.
Moreover, reports from Baluchestan Province also reflect growing discontent among the province's population owing to religious and tribal discriminations. The situation has been further aggravated by the dire economic conditions and high percentage of unemployment in the said regions.
It is imperative to take immediate action to remove all kinds of discrimination in a bid to appease the people. It should be noted that this report contains instances of human rights abuse in Iran, which have been taken from various newspapers and websites. Upon verification of the sources, the report will appear in both English and Persian, and categorized as follows:
Human Rights Situation in Iran in Tir 1391
Section 1: Political and Civil Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political-Social Activists
1. Ahmad Hashemi, member of the [pro-reform] Islamic Revolution Mojahedin organization, has been taken to prison to serve his five-year prison term. Navid Nozhat, Sharif University student, has reported to Evin Prison to start his one-year prison term. Faran Hesami, a Baha’i citizen, has been taken to prison to serve his four- year prison term. Ali Mola Haji, a medical engineering student at the university of Qazvin was summoned to Evin Prison to serve a three years prison sentence. Abtin Jahanian, accused of attending demonstration was also summoned to Evin Prison to serve his three-year year prison sentence. Ashkan Alahyari, sentenced to one year prison term also summoned to Evin Prison to serve his prison term.
2. Navid Gorgin, student activist, has been arrested. Sahand Moali, Vahid Rastgu, Reza Setayesh Afza, Ali Samadpur, Ali Besharat, Seyed Jamal Moosavi Nejad, Shuresh Aryapur have also been arrested. Obeyd Zarei, a Kurdish student activist and civil rights activist, Ali Tase, civil rights activist from Marivan, have been arrested. Following their arrest, the internet cafe “Roj” in Marivan, where they used to work, was sealed by the security forces.
3. Mostafa Moein, a candidate in the 2005 presidential elections, has been sentenced to paying a fine of 200,000,000 Rials instead of prison. Farshid Fathi, a Christian citizen and the leader of one of the house churches was sentenced to six years' imprisonment by Tehran’s Court of Appeal. Abas Ghafari has been sentenced to an eight-year prison term and flogging. Saman Ostovar, Ali Div Salar, Sahar Beyram Abadi, Sara Haj Bahramiyan and Nahaleh Shahidi have each been sentenced to two years' imprisonment as well as a one-year suspended prison term. Mansur Alimoradi, Yasaman Alishahi, Safura Zavaran Hosseini, Niusha Badie Sabet, Shamis Nurani and Sulmaz Ghasemi have also each been handed down a one-year prison term as well as a one-year suspended imprisonment. The prosecutor has claimed that these aforementioned 11 individuals are officials or member of the “Rahavard Mehr va Danesh Charitable Association” (Rahavard Association) or individuals associated with the association, which have been active in Bam during the past nine years. Hani Yazarlu has been sentenced to a one-year prison term and banishment for 15 years to Iranshahr. Amir Hossein Sabeti, former political officer of Tehran University's Student Basij has been sentenced to 91 days in prison. Alireza Roshan, a Gonabadi Dervish, has been given a one-year prison sentence and a four-year suspended prison term.
4. Saeid Madani, member of Meli-Mazhabi [religious-nationalist] activists’ council, writer and researcher, was returned to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, one day after his transfer to Evin's general ward.
5. Saleh Moradi, Mohamamd Ali Shamshirzan, Kazem Dehghan, Hamid Arayesh, Omid Akbari, Gholamali Beyrami, Mehrdad Keshavarz, Mehdi Ghanbari, Haj Alijan Dehghan, Musa Dehghan and Mehdi Dehghan, all Gonabadi Dervishes, were tried in Shiraz and Kovar. Their verdict has not been announced yet.
6. Ahmad Haj Seyyed Javadi, a 95-year-old member of the central council of the Freedom Movement of Iran [Nehzat-e Azadi-ye Iran], was banned from travelling. Nasrin Sotudeh's 12-year-old daughter, Mehraveh Khandan, and Nasrin’s husband, Reza Khandan, were also banned from travelling abroad. However, they have not yet been informed of their charges.
7. Medi Karrubi, a prominent opposition leader, who is currently under house arrest, was not allowed to attend her sister's funeral. Only some days after the funeral, he was allowed to go to his late sister’s house for two hours in the presence of security forces. It is important to note that Messrs Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard continue to remain under home arrest, which, according to their respective families, is even worse than solitary confinement. No authorities or officials have acknowledged responsibility for their arrest; nor have they been set a trial date.
8. Tehran prosecutor filed a suite against Ali Motahari, a Majles deputy, over a remark Motahari had made in the Majles. In his statement, the prosecutor denied parliamentary impunity for the said deputy. In addition, the Head of the Judiciary proclaimed that parliamentary impunity for MPs was an illusion.
9. The ceremony marking the third death anniversary of Sohrab Arabi, one of the victims killed in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, was cancelled on the orders of security forces.
10. Peyman Aref, a former student activist, has been barred from doing his PhD in political science. Mohammad Taghi Karrubi has also been barred from teaching at University.
11. The situation of prisoners of conscience in Iran continues to be reported as poor. These prisoners include the following: Mohammad Sadigh Kabudvand, journalist and human rights activist, who has staged a hunger strike in protest at his appalling prison condition. His health has reportedly taken a turn for the worse. Nargess Mohamamdi, a member of the high supervision council of the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights (CDHR), who was illegally transferred to the general ward of Zanjan Prison in the recent months, has been admitted into Vali-e Asr Hospital in Zanjan owing to her deteriorating physical health. However, at the hospital she has been denied contact with her relatives; nor has she been allowed to be visited by her family doctor. Her condition has been reported as alarming.
12.Yashar Khameneh, an international business management student at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, announced, in a written statement, that his father, Abbas Khameneh, was arrested and taken hostage because of his son’s activities. Based on statements released by directors of BBC Persian and Radio Liberty, families of some of their staff were summoned by security forces in the past. Mehdi Mahmudiyan, member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front [Jebheh-ye Mosharekat-e Iran-e Islami], filed a petition against the Ministry of Intelligence for the actions he described as “interfering in his private life and putting pressure on his former wife.
B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers and Journalists
1. Nasur Naghipur, journalist, has been arrested to serve his seven year-prison term.
2. Ali Moslehi, journalist, was arrested in Kashan.
3. The Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Mostafa Badkubei, a poet, to three years imprisonment, five years deprivation of reading poetry in forums and a cash fine of 3,000,000 Rials.
4. The court sessions of editors-in-chief of “Iran Jomeh” and “Chelcheragh” were held. Aliakbar Javanfekr has also been tried.
5. A collection of stories, entitled “Khashab Khali”, by Monirodin Beyruti, has not been published due to the authorities’ request to censor some part of it. The novels “Gambler” by Dostoyevsky, “Girl with a Pearl Earrings” by Tracy Chevalier, several books by Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras, Woody Allen, and “Memories of my Melancholy Whores” by Gabriel Garcia Márquez have been banned.
6. The permit for Ali Ghamsari’s concert has been suspended. Shardad Ruhani’s concert, Shahnazi Group’s concert in Kerman, Ehsan Khaje Amiri’s concert in Nur and Salar Aghili’s concert in Hameddan have also been cancelled. They also put a stop to the opening ceremony of the International Computer’s Games Digital Cup.
7. “Alef” website has been filtered.
8. Bahman Ahmadi Amooi was transferred from Evin Prison to Rajaei Shahr Priosn, despite the fact that there is no mention of serving prison term in exile in the verdict issued against him.
9. Paria. A, a 14 year old female blogger, was identified by the Internet police and faces prosecution.
c) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. The rise in executions in the month of Tir is yet another instance of human rights abuse. Based on reports by government websites and news agencies, the following individuals have been executed: Mohammad Askani, son of Nur Mohammad, and Abdollatif Askani, son of Yahya, from Sarbaz; according to Fars news agency, which is affiliated to the Iranian government, they were charged with kidnapping, rape, and murder of a female teacher. Another person identified as “KH. J” was hanged in Baft. According to Baft’s prosecutor, he was charged with drug (morphine) smuggling. Ghazvin’s prosecutor announced the execution of three persons, identified as H. B, GH. S, M.SH. According to Fars news agency all three individuals were charged with drug smuggling. According to ISNA news agency, a person identified as A. T, who was charged with rape, was hanged in Shiraz. Kerman’s prosecutor declared that three persons were executed in Kerman’s prison. According to ISNA news agency, all three individuals were charged with rape. Public Relations of Sistan and Baluchestan’s Department of Justice reported that one person was executed in Zahedan’s central prison. According to Fars news agency, he was charged with murder of Iranshahr’s head of police.
2. According to reports by some news agencies affiliated to the Iranian government, the death sentence imposed on two of the suspects in a mosque blast in Zahedan has been confirmed. Meanwhile, Seyyed Hassan Shariati, the head of Mashhad Department of Justice announced that the Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence imposed on two individuals who had consumed alcohol. Khorramabad's prosecutor announced that a death sentence had been handed down to an accused, identified as (B. V). Death penalty verdicts has also been issued against the following Ahavazi citizens: Mohammad Ali Amuri, Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Shabani, Jaber Albushke, and Mokhtar Albushkeh.
3. The Greater Tehran Prevention Police arrested 76 peoples under the pretext of increasing security in Tehran's public leisure areas. The head of Tehran’s public security police declared the closure of 53 coffee shops in Tehran for what they claimed to be non-observance of Islamic norms. And, again, in line with the implementation of a plan known as promoting public morality, the public security police in Qazvin Province sealed 14 trade units and issued another two with written notice
4. Cultural deputy head of Tehran University announced that some students were expelled from the university for failing to observe the proper [Islamic] clothing.
Section 2: Economic and Social Rights
1. In the month of Tir, more workers lost their jobs, while some workers failed to receive their overdue salaries. For instance, 250 workers from Palood’s dairy production unit have not been paid for the past five months. In addition, the contracts of 400 workers of Pakdasht's “Hadis Mobtakeran” factory and also the contracts of 25 workers from Manabe Taghziyeh Electronic factory were not renewed.
Approximately 700 workers from Sepahan cement factory, 100 workers from 118 telephone information center of Shiraz Telecom and a number of contractual workers from Berek Rasht Iran’s loom factory protested against their work conditions. Workers from Perlit gathered in front of the main entrance of the factory in protest at their four months overdue salaries and bonuses. On the same day, five workers were dismissed, while another 15 workers were also subsequently discharged.
While Iran's Energy Ministry owes more that 50,000,000 billion Rials to private sector contractors in the country, which it has not paid under the pretext of a shortage of budget, it has embarked on the construction of a power station with a capacity of 500 MW at its own expense and as a gift to Iraqi people in the Iraqi city of Najaf
2. Reza Shahabi, a workers’ rights activist and a member of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), has been sentenced to six years imprisonment, a cash fine of 70 million and banned from all trade unionist for five years. The Court of Appeal upheld his sentence. Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj has sentenced Pedram Nasrollahi to three years in prison for waging “propaganda” against the Islamic Republic, having ties to opposition groups and membership in "The Coordination Committee to Aid Formation of Workers Organizations in Iran."
3. Mahmoud Bagheri, a member of the Board of Directors of Iranian Teachers' Association, was summoned to Evin to start serving his 9.5 year prison sentence.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment in the month of Tir also serve to indicate the unfavourable situation in those sectors. The situation of cultural heritage in Esfahan, Abar Forest in Shahrood and Lake Orumiyeh are three instances that still continue to attract attention of civil rights activists. Increasing of the temperature, the level of salt, falling the level of water, and some environmental factors caused Lake Orumiyeh’s waters to turn red. According to the director of West Azarbaijan’s regional water company, Lake Oromiyeh faced a shortage of twenty billion cubic meters of water. Environmentalists ascribe the reason of this to irregular construction of dams on the rivers feeding the lake. The World Health Organization has announced that Ahvaz and Sanandaj are the first and third most polluted cities in the world with the highest measured level of airborne particles smaller than10 micrometers. Unfortunately, no serious measures have been taken to control the level of airborne particles, or to protect and restore wetlands and the environment in general in these areas.
In conclusion of this monthly report, I would like to draw the attention of the Islamic Republic's authorities to their international obligations in respect of observance of human rights principles. I would also like to reaffirm that securing national interests and resolving the current crisis warrants respect for individual rights and freedoms and the dignity of citizens.
Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
22 July 2012
Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.