Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Defender and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in continuation of her monthly reports, has reviewed the human rights situation in Iran in Dey 1391 [December 31, 2012- January 20, 2013]. She addressed the issue of the ethnic minorities in Iran in the introduction to the report concerning “Dey 1391”. Warning against growing separatist ambitions, she called the attention of the official authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to comprehensive observance and protection of the ethnic minorities’ rights in her report.
The Nobel Laureate continues her report by examining the human rights situation under three categories: “civil and political rights”, economic and social rights”, and “cultural heritage and environment”. The following is the text of Mrs. Ebadi’s report for Dey 1391, published on 1 Bahman [20 January 2013].
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in “Dey 1391”
(December 31, 2012 to January 20, 2013)
For years, the ethnic minorities have not received any affection by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and their social and political activists have been arrested and subjected to the most severe punishments due to groundless allegations and unsubstantiated claims. In the past month, 19 people were sentenced to the death penalty, of which 6 people were from amongst the ethnic minorities. The death sentences of 5 people, named “Hashem Shabaninejad, Hadi Rashedi, Mohammadali Amourinejad, Seyed Yaber Alboushoukeh and Seyed Mokhtar Alboushoukeh”, who belong to the Iranian Arab minority, were also rendered. The death sentences of “Zanyar Moradi” and “Loghman Moradi”, who are from amongst the Iranian Kurdish minority, were also finalized, and they are in danger of enforcement of the judgments.
Contrary to the Fifteen Principle of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution, the ethnic minorities are deprived from teaching their language and literature; while, in the last month, the director general of the Education Department of Kermanshah Province, banned speaking in the local dialect at the educational environments, apart from teaching.
The ethnic minorities, who are mostly residing in the border provinces of Iran, are also grumbling about the administrative and economic discriminations, and unfortunately the only responds to their rightful requests are being shot and imprisoned.
The continuation of this situation may add up to the existing crises in Iran; especially that the majority of the Iranian ethnic minorities are Sunnis. Therefore, in these circumstances where the differences between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East are fueled, the continuation of this situation may also be abused for wrongful political purposes. Consequently, warning against growing separatist ambitions which may also result in serious social and political tensions, I would like to call the attention of the official authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to comprehensive observance and protection of the ethnic minorities’ rights, and I would also remind that Iran not only belongs to Persian language Shiites, but also to the all the Iranians, including Turks, Arabs, Baluchis, Persians and Lurs.
In addition to the foregoing, a brief report on the condition of the human rights violations in Iran in “Dey 1391” (December 31, 2012 to January 20, 2013) is mentioned below. The report, which has been based on material taken from various newspapers and websites, will appear in both English and Persian in three sections, upon verification of the sources.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in “Dey 1391”
(December 31, 2012 to January 20, 2013)
Section 1– Political and Civil Rights
A –Situation of Nonconformist Political-Social Activists
1) During this month, 11 people were arrested, of which some were released on bail after a few days. The detainees include Sirvan Hossein Panahi (a civil activist), Verveer Avanesian (a home-church pastor), Mansour Dashtban (a citizen of Esfahan), Mohammad Tavakoli (a member of the Teachers' Association of Kermanshah), Manijeh Bahloli (a lawyer), Amir Chamani (a university student activist), Shirzad Hossein Panahi, Fayegh Hossein Panahi, Mohammad Khatibi, Ayat Mehr Ali Bigelow (civil activist), Azad Rasoul Nejad (a teacher and also a university student).
2) Mehdi Tahaghoghi (a member of Mujahedin Enghelab Eslami Organization of Iran), Masoud Ladany (a member of National-Religious Activists Council in Khuzestan) and Yousef Nadarkhani (a Christian citizen) were taken to prison to spend one, two and three years in prison respectively.
3) Mohammad Hossein Karroubi (son of Mehdi Karroubi) was sentenced to 6 months suspended imprisoment as a discretionary punishment; Mokhtar Elyasi, Kamal Khezri and Yousef Abdi each to one year of prison; Delavar Badkan to six months of prison; Keivan Ahmadi to four years in prison; Azizeh Shafieian (Heydarzadeh) to one year of imprisonment as a discretionary punishment as well as five years suspended prison term and a five years of being banned from leaving the country; Ali Akbar Baghbani (the General Secretary of the Teachers' Association of Iran) to an imprisonment of one year as a discretionary punishment and 10 years of exile to the Zabol (city); Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki to a two-year imprisonment as a discretionary punishment; Behrooz Alavib to two years and three months of imprisonment as a discretionary punishment; Hamidreza Mosayebian to two years and six month term; Vahed Kholousi to two years of imprisonment as a discretionary punishment; Bahram Shojaei to two years of imprisonment as a discretionary punishment; and Farid Rohani, Seyed Hassan Ronaghi Maleki, Shayan Vahdati, Masoud Vafabakhsh, Houman Taheri, Sepehr Saheban, Danial Hassani, Ali Mohammadi, Morteza Esmaeilpour, Mohammad Arjmandi Rad, Mohammad Esmaeil Salmanpour, Mohammad Amin Salehi, Mohsen Sameie, Milad Panahipour and Amir Ronasi each were sentenced to six months of imprisonment as a discretionary punishment. Also the court of appeals confirmed the sentences of Hani Yazerloo to an imprisonment of one year in Mashhad and fifteen-year deportation (exile) to Mashhad, Amin Roghani (a university student activist) to 9 months imprisonment, and Ali Shariati (a weblogger and also a social activist) to an 8-month prison sentence.
4) The status of some political-ideological prisoners are still reported to be inappropriate, of which may include the following: Mohammad Seif Zadeh (a member of Supreme Council of Human Rights Defenders Centre); Mohammad Saemi, Asadollah Hadi and Asghar Ghatan faced the refusal for being sent to the hospital due to avoiding from wear the prison uniform; Mostafa Tajzadeh (a member of Islamic Iran Participation Front) and Mostafa Daneshjou (a political prisoner) requests to be sent to prestigious medical centers remained undone, due to opposition on the part of the officials; Esmaeil Barzegari in objection to the manner of handling his treatment condition went on dry hunger strike. Mohammad Sadegh Honarvar Shojai was returned to prison, despite needing to complete the treatment.
5) Salaheddin Moradi, Behzad Noori, Farzad Darvish and Farzaneh Noori (4 dervishes) and Saeed Madani (a member of the National Council of National-Religious Activists) were also tried.
6) Mehdi Khazali was transferred from the Public Ward No. 350 to a solitary confinement at Ward 209 of Evin Prison for the second time. He has been on hunger strike and in ill health, as informed by his family.
7) Faezah Hashemi, who is in prison at the moment, was sent to solitary confinement of two days after being arraigned on new charges.
8) Security forces barred holding funeral ceremonies for the mother of Nasrin Sotoudeh and father of Zahra Rahnavard in the central mosques in Tehran.
9) Some of the protesters to the attorneyship test results were arrested and later released on bail.
10) One of the other instances of the human rights violation is threats and unfair punishment of the relatives of the political prisoners, who attempted to inform media of the imprisonment of their family members. Zahra and Mohammed Saleh Khazali, children of Mehdi Khazali, were summoned to Evin Prison Court for interrogation and offering some explanations. The security forces prevented the daughters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard to make a telephone call to talk to their parents.
11) Mohammad Taghi Karroubi (son of Mehdi Karroubi), Seyed Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, Jamal Ameli, Ali Abbasi, Akbar Amini and Mohammad Farid were summoned to the court of law.
12) The house of Ayatollah Seyed Sadegh Shirazi was placed under pressure by the security forces, after his speech in mourning for Imam Hossein. Accordingly Jafar Ghafouri, representative of Ayatollah Shirazi in Mashhad, together with his 7 year old son and Aasi, representative of Ayatollah Shirazi in Yazd, and Fadaei, representative of Rasoul Akaram Institute (Institute for Compilation and Publication of Ayatollah Seyed Sadiq Shirazi) were arrested. Also, the television director of Imam Hossein Channel, Mostafa Mohammadi (related to the house of Ayatollah Seyed Sadegh Shirazi) was summoned to court.
13) Abolfazl Ghadyani, a member of Mujahedin Enghelab Eslami Organization of Iran, was transferd to Ghezel Hesar Prison to serve his prison term.
B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers, and Journalists
1) Rahim Sarkar and Mohammed Kimiaei (the chief editor and colleague at Hadis Qazvin Weekly) were arrested. The office of Hadis Qazvin Weekly was also sealed and some of the colleagues of this publication were detained for three hours.
2) Aria Aram Nejad, artist, was taken into custody for the enforcement of a judgment of 91-day jail sentence.
3) The chief executive and managing director of Yalsarat Daily were summoned to the court of law. Also, the jury of the press court found managing directors of "Bamdad" and "Ettefagheno" Dailies as guilty.
4) Shiva Arastooei, a writer and also a translator, said that the officials of the Ministry of Culture have not issued authorization for the publication of any of her works since 2007.
5) The name of Bahram Beizaei was deleted from the documentary series called "Persian Carpet".
6) The concert of "Avaye Mehrabani" Band was canceled.
7) The chief of police for supervising over the public places at the law enforcement headquarters of East Azarbayjan said that 41 shops were sealed in Tabriz for selling products that are called “Counter Culture”.
8) The social affairs deputy of the Moral Security Police of the Islamic Republic of Iran claimed that an underground band, consisting of five people, was arrested for being charged with so-called “non-cultural activities”. For the freedom of Roozbeh Bemani, Afshin Moghaddam and Alireza Afkari, who were charged and arrested as a result of writing lyrics and composing for singers living in America, were granted bail.
9) The cultural deputy of the Headquarters for Enjoin the Right & Forbid the Wrong in Esfahan Province reported the gender segregation in about ten thousand classes at the universities of Isfahan Province.
C – Other Instances of Human Rights Violations
1) A total of 19 people were executed in “Dey”: Bahram Ahmadi, Asghar Rahimi, Behnam Rahimi, Mohammad Zaher Bahmani, Keyvan Zand Karimi, Houshyar Mohammadi were executed. The news media reported the membership of these people in a Salafist group. Alireza Mafiha and Mohammad Ali Sorouri were hanged in public in Tehran. The Iran-related media announced their charges as theft with violent force. "M.Sh.” and "M.F.” were executed in Semnan, "M.A.A." in Yazd, "M.M.” from Afghanistan and "Mohammad.A." and "Mousa.Sh." in Orumiyeh. The Iranian state media said their charges were trafficking and storing drugs. “A.B”, “R.D.” and "N.B." were executed in Yazd. The media related to the Iranian government accused them of forcible rape. Furthermore, the Public & Revolutionary Prosecutor of Mashhad reported the execution of one person in Mashhad and another one in Sabzevar. The Public & Revolutionary Prosecutor of Mashhad announced the charges of the executed as forcible rape.
2) The death sentences of Hashem Shabaninejad (blogger and editor), Hadi Rashedi (editor), Mohammad Ali Amoorinejad (blogger), Seyed Yaber Alboushoukeh and Seyed Mokhtar Alboushoukeh were notified, and the death sentence of Reza Mollazadeh (political prisoner) was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the chief judge of Kerman Revolutionary Court announced the death sentences for eight people. This judicial official alleged their charges as trafficking and storing drugs. The Public Relations of the Justice Department of Ardebil Province also reported a death sentence. He was charged for forcible rape as the said judicial authority announced.
Part 2 – Economic and Social Rights
1) The economic situation in Iran continues to be undesirable as reported. According to the calculations made by the Central Bank, the 1.3% growth rate of inflation in “Azar”, as compared to “Aban”, was increased by 27.4%; while, according to the statistics provided by the Statistics Center of Iran, the average price of per square meter of a land or that of a residential building in Tehran amounts to 26,290,000.-Rls. and the Head of the State Mass Developers Association reported the price increase of building materials by 300%.
2) Considering the condition of labor we can mention the following: The salaries of 24 official labors of Iran Industrial Sponge Factory, has been postponed for 21 months, and 300 workers of "Hamgam Khodro Asia" have four months of unpaid wages, and 50 workers of Qazvin Alumtec & Alumrad Factories were fired. Furthermore, following the unemployment of 200 workers (covered by unemployment insurance) of West Iran Steel Factory (Furnace), the 162 workers of this industrial unit who faced layoff has not received their unemployment pensions yet. The secretary of the Vice-President of Iranian Stone Association reported that 15 thousand people of the manpower of the stone industry faced layoff.
3) Mohammad Molanaei, a member of the Coordinating Committee for assisting in the form Workers' Organization, was arrested.
4) Ali Nejati, a board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tepe Sugarcane Factory, was place under interrogation and tied.
Part 3 – Cultural Heritage and Environment
The releases of cultural heritage and the environment show that this domain is still in a poor condition in “Dey”.
1) The Ministerial Adviser to the Minister of Health and Director General of the Ministerial Office reported the death of 4,460 people in the last year due to air pollution in Tehran.
2) The official website of the Iranian Consultative Assembly warning that Orumiye lake is going to dry completely, reported the evacuation of the residents at the 50 villages around the lake.
3) The drinking and agriculture water in 24 villages of Chaharmahal va Bakhtiari is contaminated with oil.
4) The Head of the Environment Committee of Tehran City Council, reported that the people, involved in disseminating information about the causes of cancer, are placed under pressure.
At the end of this monthly report, I would like to call the attenation of the official authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the fact that caring about the situation of the ethnic and cultural minorities is the first step to overcome the social and political crises and leave this deadlock situation behind.
Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
20 January 2013
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.