Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Names and particulars of those killed in recent clashes in Tehran

1- Mohammad Hossein Barzegar: killed by a bullet shot to the head

2- Seyed Reza Tabatabaii 35, with a degree in accountancy killed by a bullet shot to the head

3-Iman Hashemi 27, Killed by a bullet shot to the eye

4- Parisa Kali 25, post graduate of Omran killed by a bullet shot to the chest

5-Mohsen Haddadi 24, ITC engineer, killed by a bullet shot to the forehead,

6-Mohammad Nikzad 22, post graduate of Omran killed by a bullet shot to the chest

7- Ali Shahedi 24, murdered after arrest and transfer to TehranPars police station. According to the government post-mortem examination the reason for death is unclear by his parents insist that his death followed extensive beatings he received by baton in the police station.

8- Vahed Ajbari 34, killed by a bullet shot to the waist.

9-Abolfaz Abdollahi 21, killed by a bullet to the back of the head

10-Salar Tahmasebi 27, post graduate student of Commerce Management, killed by a bullet shot to the forehead

11-Fahimeh Salahshoor 25, Killed by internal bleeding of the head after bean beaten by baton in Vali Asr square.

12- Vahid Reza Tabatabaii 29, decree in languages, killed by a bullet shot to the head

13- Kianoosh Asa post graduate of science and Technology University in Chemistry.

His memorial was held despite harassments and threats posed by Intelligence Ministry and government thugs, by his class mates and family and his towns men and women as a gesture to continue his way.

According to reports, Intelligence Ministry allows only those buried who comply with the Ministries' conditions. These conditions include:

"Conducting the burial with out anyone knowing bout it and with only the presence of the next-to -kin", "No slogans or speeches to be herd in during the burial", "No reasons to be given on the tomb stone for the death" . The body of those killed have there fore been delivered to the families in discrete.

The latter is only a partial list of those killed by the so called security forces and plain clothes agents of the Iranian regime.

This is while Iranian officials have officially announced only 20 deaths in the recent clashes. Independent sources report a much higher statistic.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Open letter of imprisoned student to Head of Iranian Judiciary

Lotfollah Poor Abdollah, in an open letter to Shahroudi has demanded for the basic Legal Rights of his son, Mohammad Poor Abdollah, who has been detained arbitrarily for the past 100 days.

According to Mr. Poor Abdollah this is the second letter in a row that he has written to the Judiciary head, demanding a meeting over his sons' situation but in vain.

Parts of this letter read;
It is now 40 days that Mohammad Poor Abdollah has been isolated in solitary confinement and the rest of those arrested simultaneously sent to Ghezel Hessar prison. Of course it is evident that detaining a suspect in solitary confinement under such conditions is –according to International Covenants of Human Rights – equivalent to "torture".

Recently you have been quoted in news media to have said "Prison is not to be used for revenge, torture and obtaining confessions".

How is it then that my son, who is only a student, has been kept in solitary confinement for 40 days? I have no doubt that you are aware how suspects are treated and looked after in solitary confinements to be forced into confessions.

In a separate speech you claimed: "If some one is imprisoned, his or her family would be under severe strain, and they should be cared for".

How is it then that;
-After one month of interrogation, only because my son refused to sign the proposed official testimony his temporary detention has been re-instigated, and he has been ordered transfer to Ghezel Hessar prison

-According to Mr.Mandegars'(Deputy Head of Judiciary) specific orders, he is not allowed to bail out for any amount after which his case has been transferred to the Court.

This action surely is to elongate the prison term of my innocent son and torment his family.

In view of the latter and considering that it is now 100 days that my son is in prison, rejecting the right to bail, and keeping a student in a ward of criminals intercepted for heavy and dangerous crimes and addiction, is not taking revenge and torture"?

Do you not think that these illegal actions are in contradiction to your comments and beliefs and the Judiciary system?

I ask your honor to order the review of my sons' innocence in order to pave the way for his freedom.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Letter to the Head of the Judiciary to Release Osanloo

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi ShahroudiHowzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaieh / Office of the Head of the JudiciaryEmail: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
1 June 2009
Your Excellency,
I am writing on behalf of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to express our alarm about threats to the health and safety of imprisoned labor leader Mansour Osanloo, and to appeal urgently for your intervention.

We are seriously concerned for Mr. Osanloo’s life. He is held in Rajaiee Shahr prison, in Karaj, along with violent criminals who have threatened his life. He could die as a result of such attacks and ensuing mayhem. He should not be held under such dangerous circumstances. Furthermore, having served more than half of his prison term, the Iranian laws allow for his release, which we urge you to immediately implement.

Mr. Osanloo has been violently attacked twice in the past 10 days. On 19 May 2009, he was assaulted by a group of prisoners, and only escaped harm by being defended by others. On 30 May 2009, Osanloo’s life was threatened by Morteza Lak Tabrizi, one of the violent criminals with whom he is currently confined. While other prisoners managed to pull away Lak Tabrizi, he threatened Osanloo by repeatedly screaming, “I will have you cut into pieces with a knife.” We understand Lak Tabrizi is one of the most dangerous criminals inside Iranian prisons. Holding Osanloo in his proximity and exposing him to such threats only exacerbates our concerns.

Osanloo’s aging mother and his wife are also in vulnerable situations, witnessing how his life is threatened inside prison and his health deteriorating. They have made several attempts to submit a letter to your office but your staff refused to accept their petition addressed to you, treated them rudely, and ignoring their submission, they were expelled from the premises.

Osanloo’s health situation has been deteriorating for many months. Numerous human rights and labor organizations, as well as international organizations and governments, have expressed concern about the lack of proper attention to his severe health problems; about the fact that he is inappropriately incarcerated along with some of the most dangerous convicted criminals in Iran; and about the fact that Osanloo is a political prisoner and a prisoner of conscience, whose only “crime” has been his work on behalf of the legitimate rights of workers in Iran.

The continued neglect of Osanloo’s life-threatening health problems and threats against him by other prisoners can easily result in further deterioration or even his death. Official medical experts have warned that he cannot tolerate continued imprisonment under the prevailing conditions. As you know, under international law, Iranian authorities are legally responsible for the welfare of prisoners under their supervision.

At this point, Mr. Osanloo has served over half of his sentence, and has been allowed no vacation from prison. According to his lawyer, he can be released at this time, a course of action we respectfully ask that you consider.

We will be deeply grateful for your urgent intervention in this matter, which, if left unattended, can result in a tragedy with far-reaching, negative consequences for Iran.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Iranian Torture Prisoner on Hunger Strike

Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Sunday, May 24, 2009


New York-based Human Rights Watch called yesterday for the immediate release from an Iranian interrogation center of Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, a human rights activist who was first arrested in 1999 and has been in and out of prison ever since.

Javid-Tehrani, 29, has been on a hunger strike for over two weeks and is believed to have various health problems resulting from years of torture.

"The prison wardens do not show any concern for the prisoners on hunger strikes, and we have been informed that the officials have tied [Javid-Tehrani]'s arms and legs from behind and severely beaten him up," Kianoosh Sanjari, a spokesperson for the Iranian Political Prisoners' Association, told The Media Line.

"He was in solitary confinement next to me," said Sanjari, a former fellow prison inmate who has received asylum in the U.S. "He has endured severe torture many times before... I could hear him screaming."

Sanjari described the torture methods used by Iranian prison authorities: "Round the clock interrogation without food or water; threatening family members and falsely informing [the prisoner] of their deaths; simultaneous beatings by seven torturers; forced standing for 48 hours; lashings with thick cables and rough wires to beat the flesh out; standing on parts of the body; banging the head against the wall, and forbidding any visit by doctors."

Javid-Tehrani's sister, contacted by phone by Ahmad Batebi, another former prisoner recently escaped from Iran, confirmed that prison officials have tortured Javid-Tehrani.

In a letter written by Javid-Tehrani and revealed by Sanjari, the prisoner wrote: "For some time now, no one in this prison has been following up my ill health... deteriorating due to torture inflicted by the ‘Ministry for Security.’ The prison clinic refuses to refer me to a civilian hospital, as I need an M.R.I. I have been suffering from the loss of 50 percent of my vision due to blows to the back of my head which has partially damaged the rear of my brain.

"I have been captive for over 10 years as a political prisoner," Javid-Tehrani concluded. "Have I any option other than starting a hunger strike?"

"Court and prison officials have no respect for the basic rights of political prisoners and deny them medical care," said Sanjari. "When a political prisoner does not receive any medical attention and loses all hope, a hunger strike is the only tool he has to publicize his case."

Javid-Tehrani was first sentenced to eight years in prison for “acting against national security” during non-violent student demonstrations in 1999.

His sentence was commuted in 2003 but he was detained twice for advocating for the rights of political prisoners in front of the United Nations offices in Tehran.

During one of these detentions he was sent to Evin prison in Tehran where he and Sanjari were tortured by a prison official, who was referred to as Saeed Sheikhan.

In 2005, Javid-Tehrani began documenting the cases of various political prisoners and protesting the lack of transparency in the Iranian presidential elections, eventually won by Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad.

As part of his activities, Javid-Tehrani interviewed Akbar Mohammadi, a political prisoner who had been temporarily released. Mohammadi died shortly thereafter under suspicious circumstances during a hunger strike in prison.

Javid-Tehrani was re-arrested, repeatedly interrogated about the interview, and sentenced to over seven years in prison for “acts against state security,” and 40 lashes for “insulting the leadership and the state” by the same judge who later sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison for espionage.

Javid-Tehrani, who is being held in the “doghouse” section of Gohar Dasht prison north of Tehran, has never had access to a lawyer.

Despite an independent medical examination, which confirmed he had been tortured while in prison, and the partial loss of his eyesight due to head injuries inflicted by prison authorities, requests for Javid-Tehrani to be given a medical release have been denied.

Beyond a series of suspicious prisoner deaths, Gohar Dasht was also the site of the mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Human Rights Watch raised Javid-Tehrani's case yesterday out of fear for his life.
“The Iranian government is legally bound to ensure safety and provide healthcare for all its prisoners,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, who is critically ill, is in prison for his peaceful political dissent and his human rights advocacy... He should never have been imprisoned in the first place and he should be released at once or he will likely die in prison.”

"It was in this prison that prisoners such as Amir Saran, Omid Reza Mirsayafii and a student named Akbar Mohammadi recently lost their lives under extremely suspicious circumstances," Sanjari added.

"The prison officials once told [Javid-Tehrani]: 'You counter revolutionary idiot, you will soon join your friend Saran.' At the time of Akbar Mohammadi's hunger strike, the wardens had also tied his arms and legs to a bed and taped his mouth [shut] so his voice would never be heard...
“Just before he lost his life, he was told by the wardens, 'Even if you die like a dog we have nothing to do with you.'"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Iran: Political Prisoner’s Life in Danger

Human Rights Watch: (New York) -The Iranian government should immediately release ailing political prisoner Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, a human rights activist first arrested during 1999 nationwide student protests, and ensure he has access to adequate medical care, Human Rights Watch said today. Javid-Tehrani, who has been continually detained since 2005, is on hunger strike and suffers from health problems caused by prolonged torture.

A student activist and leading defender of the rights of political prisoners and their families, Javid-Tehrani has spent the last 10 years in and out ofprison. He is currently held in the "doghouse" section of the infamous Gohar Dasht prison in Karaj city, north of Tehran, with his hands and feet cuffed.

"Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, who is critically ill, is in prison for his peaceful political dissent and his human rights advocacy," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "He should never have been imprisoned in the first place and he should be released at once or he will likely die in prison."

Javid-Tehrani, 29, has never had access to a lawyer, and has had limited access to his family since his 2005 arrest. Despite an independent medical examination in 2006 that confirmed he had been tortured while in prison, Javid-Tehrani has been refused release to obtain needed medical care. Amongst his current known ailments are fresh bruises and wounds to his body as well as the loss of 50 percent of his eyesight due to head injuries inflicted by his interrogators in prison. In addition, authorities have not provided adequate medical care during his 18-day hunger strike, according to his friend Kianoosh Sanjari, a human rights activist who was a fellow inmate during part of Javid-Tehrani's term inEvin prison in Tehran.

Iranian officials first detained Javid-Tehrani on July 9, 1999, when he was 19, as he participated in student demonstrations that spread across Iran. He was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of "acting against national security." Four years into his sentence, his sister phoned him to say their mother had passed away but the Iranian Judiciary refused to let him attend his mother's burial. His sentence was later commuted and he was released in late 2003.

In 2004, he was detained twice, both times for demonstrating for the rights of political prisoners and their families in front of the United Nations offices in Tehran. Prison officials interrogated and tortured him in Section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran, Kianoosh Sanjari told Human Rights Watch. Sanjari became aware of Javid-Tehrani's torture in Evin because of the close proximity of their cells and the fact that they shared the same interrogator, an official who goes by the name of Saeed Sheikhan.

In 2005, ahead of the presidential elections won by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Javid-Tehrani and others in an organization called Jebhe-ye Democratic-e Iran(the Iranian Democratic Front), organized activities such as putting up posters, distributing fliers, and writing political graffiti to protest the lack of transparency and lack of democracy in Iranian elections. The group also raised funds to help families of political prisoners and made short films interviewing the families.

After Javid-Tehrani interviewed political prisoner Akbar Mohammadi during the latter's temporary release and shortly before Mohammadi's death under suspicious circumstances during a hungerstrike in prison, he was again arrested in 2005. According to Sanjari, that interview was of special interest to prison officials, who raised it repeatedly during their interrogations of both friends.

The head judge at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, Judge Hasan Zare Dehnavi, known as Judge Hadad, sentenced Javid-Tehrani to four years in prison for membership in an "illegal" organization (the Iranian DemocraticFront) that "acts against state security," 40 lashes for "insulting the leadership and the state," and three-and-a-half years on charges of belonging to the Mojahedin'e Khalgh Organization (MKO). According to Sanjari, this charge was fabricated by the interrogator Sheikhan and furthered by a personal conflict with Judge Hadad, the judge who later sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years for espionage.

An appeals court reduced the sentence on the MKO charge by six months. Javid-Tehrani has now served more than half his 2005 sentence. Most prisoners in Iran are eligible for release after serving half of their sentence, but he has not been granted even one day of customary temporary release since 2005.

Human Rights Watch is concerned that Javid-Tehrani's life is in immediate danger, in light of the suspicious deaths of political prisoners at Gohar Dasht prison (also known as Rajayi Shahr), most recently that of Amir Heshmat Saran in March 2009. Gohar Dasht was one of the main sites of the 1988 mass summary executions of political prisoners which killed thousands.

"Amongst Iran's political prisoners, Gohar Dasht prison is known as the ‘doghouse' because prisoners are sent there to die," said Whitson. "The Iranian government is legally bound to ensure safety and provide healthcare for all its prisoners. But it has consistently failed to do so for political prisoners, with deadly results."

Human Rights Watch urged Iranian authorities to release Javid-Tehrani immediately and end its persecution of peaceful critics and dissidents.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Deplorable situation of arrested workers' activists

According to Pegah Farajollahi, her mother Mrs.Mohseni and 15 other activists, who was arrested along with 100 workers during the 1st May International Workers' Day re-union in Tehran, have been kept in quarantine.

"I don't exactly know how many have been arrested, but I do know that she and others have been kept in a ward called "Motadun" (druggies) in which drug addicts are being detained' has sated Pegah.

According to Pegah , her mother has been allowed only once to contact her. "It is now a week that she is suffering insomnia. I only know that her ear had swollen0up just like an egg and I just don't know the reason. She could not move her head. They have not even allowed her to use her medication" adds Pegah.

Despite the fact that it is now 11 days since Mrs.Mohseni and the rest have been arrested for attempting to assemble to commemorate the International Day for Workers, but they have not been allowed visits by lawyers and relatives.

According to Pegah, her mother and the rest have been accused of threatening National security and creating public disorder, despite the fact that there was no chance to venerate the day because of extreme suppressive measures.

More than 100 people were arrested in the congregation on May 1, 2009, in Laleh Park. Those arrested were Workers Union leaders, journalists and civil rights activists.

Since their arrest, each day, their families have been approaching the Revolutionary Courts and also the prisons demanding their release and an end to impossible heavy bail conditions.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baha’i Leaders Remain Unjustly Detained After One Year

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: Seven Baha’i leaders detained in Evin prison, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm, should be immediately and unconditionally released, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. Six members of the group were arrested one year ago today; Mahvash Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008.

“The illegal and unjust detention of these seven Baha’i leaders, which again shows a policy of oppressing a religious minority, must be brought to an end,” said Aaron Rhodes, spokesperson for the Campaign. “The group is being denied basic civil rights by neither being allowed to visit with their lawyer, nor being formally charged with any crime.”

Family members of the detainees have reportedly been told that the charges against them will be Mofsed-e fel-Arz, or “spreading corruption on earth,” a charge that carries the death sentence. This same charge was used against Baha’i leaders immediately following the Islamic Revolution as justification for their executions.

Alireza Jamshidi, the Judiciary’s spokesperson, announced on 17 February 2009 that a court hearing for the group would be arranged within a week, but no hearing has been announced or held.

“These charges are extremely serious and the Iranian government should account for such accusations with verifiable evidence, or release the detainees” Rhodes said.

Members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran number approximately 300,000, making them the largest non-Muslim religious minority group. In recent years the persecution of Baha’is has intensified to include cemetery desecration, arbitrary detention, home raids, property confiscation, work expulsion and denial of basic civil rights. Iranian Baha’i youth continue to be denied the right to higher education, and any university found to have a Baha’i student is ordered to expel them. Baha’i professionals are denied government jobs and face discrimination from private businesses because of their faith. Harassment also occurs from ordinary citizens, for example the cars and homes of Baha’is reportedly being vandalized. Even those who come to their defense are targeted. Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has come under fire for taking up the case of the seven Baha’i leaders.

There are currently at least 40 Baha’is in detention throughout Iran. In the month of April alone, arrests were reported in six cities.

Baha’is released on bail have been ordered to pay exorbitant amounts. Aziz Samandari and Jinous Sobhani, a former secretary at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, were released on 11 March on bail of 700 million Rials (approximately $73,000). Didar Raoufi, Payam Aghsani and Nima Haghar were released on the same day and ordered to pay the same amount. Shahrokh Taef was released six days later on 17 March 2009 having paid the same amount in bail.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the government of Iran to comply with international human and civil rights standards and account for the detentions of all Baha’is in Iran. The Campaign urges Iranian leaders to investigate all discriminatory crimes against Baha’is and to allow Baha’i youth the opportunity to attend university.

“The continued persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran degrades all of the people of Iran,” Rhodes said. “The arbitrary detention and targeting of members of any single community should not be tolerated in any country, including Iran.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

AmirKabir University student: "We were tortured 4 times a day"

IPPA: One of the five captive Amirkabir students, released on 5 May 2009, in an interview with the Iranian Rooz Online site said all of the students in 209 Evin prison were under severe physical and psychological torture during their detention.

According to this report Kourosh Daneshyar's thumb has been broken under constant beatings, and other students were physically and mentally pressured to falsely admit that they are "Hypocrites" or "Anti-Martyrs".

This report says that they were told during interrogations that the site "Amirkabir" is propagating against the system. The aim of the torturers was to find more information on the source and system of organization of Amirkabir site.

Evidently the students each had at least 4 times interrogation during the day while at other times spent time in solitary confinement and were not allowed visits.

Nariman Mostafavi, Kourosh Daneshyar, Hossein Tarkashvand, Esmaiil Salmanpoor and Yasser Torkaman were all released on bails each of 200 to 300 million Tomans on 5 may 2009.

This is while another five students are still under interrogation namely; Abass Hakimzade, Mehdi mashayekhi, Majid Tavakoli, Ahmad ghassaban, and Masoud Dehgan.

These students have been charged with being in touch with the US, Israel, PMOI, different political figures and even drinking wine and seduction.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Roxana Saberi’s Appeal Process Should be Transparent

(6 May 2009) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed serious concerns regarding the secrecy and continued lack of transparency surrounding the prosecution of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, and asked the Iranian Judiciary to adhere to international standards of due process and allow independent observers in the courtroom at her appeals trial.

The Campaign called upon the Judiciary to allow representatives of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), a group led by Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, to observe the trial, which will take place next week.

“In the absence of independent observers, Saberi’s prosecution will continue to lack legitimacy and will further deprive her of due process,” said Campaign spokesperson Hadi Ghaemi.

“Here’s a chance for the Iranian justice system to demonstrate its impartiality and independence from the Intelligence Ministry. But the planned secret appeals trial can be manipulated by the intelligence apparatus, and will not serve justice,” he added.

On 5 May 2009, Alireza Jamshidi, the Judiciary’s spokesperson, told a press conference that Saberi’s appeals trial will take place next week at Branch 14 of Tehran’s Appeals Court. He said the trial will be closed to the public and will include representatives of the Intelligence Ministry, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Iranian Bar Association.

While the presence of an intelligence official and prosecutor is routine in cases brought against defendants by the Intelligence Ministry, the addition of a member of the Bar Association appears to be a ploy to deflect attention from the fact that authorities have denied Saberi the right to independent counsel by refusing her to employ Shirin Ebadi and her team of lawyers to represent her.

After Saberi’s conviction to eight years in prison on espionage charges on 18 April by a lower court, her family asked Shirin Ebadi and her colleagues from DHRC to represent her. However, after five attempts by Ebadi and her colleagues to meet with Saberi and prepare for her defense, the authorities refused to allow her to choose her legal representation.

The Campaign noted that the Iranian Bar Association lacks independence and is controlled by the Judiciary, which has previously prevented Bar Association members to elect independent lawyers on its board.

The continued secrecy regarding the evidence against Saberi is a violation of Iranian laws and international standards for fair trials. The authorities have failed to even disclose under what article of the law Saberi has been indicted. Her father has publicly announced that Saberi’s conviction is based on confessions extracted under duress and false promises made by her interrogators.

Although Iranian officials, including President Ahmadinejad and head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, have called for a fair appeals process, legal proceedings continue to demonstrate a lack of conformity to due process standards. Those calls for fairness and justice now seem insincere or are possibly being disregarded.

In light of the Judiciary’s failure to disclose convincing evidence against Saberi, the Campaign called on the Iranian authorities to acquit and release Saberi during the appeals process.

“Any other outcome from the appeals process, given absolute lack of evidence, would be unacceptable and should be strongly condemned by the international community,” Ghaemi said.

Roxana Saberi ends her hunger strike

Reporters Without Borders is extremely relieved to learn that Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist who is in a Tehran jail on a spying charge, has ended her hunger strike. The press freedom organisation continues to call for the appeal against her conviction to be given a fair hearing and not any sham proceedings.

When Saberi’s parents visited her in Tehran’s Evin prison on 4 May, she agreed to begin eating again at her father’s insistence and took two spoonfuls of yoghurt. Yesterday evening, she confirmed to her parents during a phone call that she had decided to end the hunger strike she began on 21 April.

She also expressed her gratitude for the international campaign of solidarity that has been waged on her behalf.

In accordance with Iranian law, Saberi’s lawyers yesterday filed a request for her release on bail before the judge of the 28th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court.

“The Iranian authorities should respect Roxana Saberi’s rights by granting her lawyers’ request and releasing her on bail pending the appeal hearing,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Iranian judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi announced yesterday that the appeal would be heard behind closed doors “in the course of next week” with representatives of the prosecutor’s office, the intelligence ministry and lawyers association in attendance.

“This is a travesty of justice,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Leading independent figures should be present at this appeal hearing. We call for Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi of the Human Rights Defenders Centre to be allowed to attend.”

Timeline of Saberi case

- 31 January: Roxana Saberi is arrested.
- 1 March: The US public radio network NPR breaks the news of her arrest (after getting a call from her father on 10 February).
- 2 March: Foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi says Saberi was working “illegally” in Iran.
- 3 March: Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi says she has been “arrested on the order of the Tehran revolutionary court and is being held in Evin prison.”
- 9 April: Saberi is charged with spying by deputy prosecutor Hassan Zare Dehnavi. This charge is often used by the Iranian authorities to arrest journalists and tighten the muzzle on freedom of expression.
- 13 April: Saberi is tried in a closed-door hearing on a charge of spying for the United States.
- 18 April: Saberi is sentenced to eight years in prison.
- 20 April: Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi announces that she will join the Saberi defence team.
- 21 April: Saberi begins her hunger strike.
- 25 April: Her lawyer files an appeal against her conviction.
- 28 April: Reporters Without Borders begins a hunger strike in Paris.
- 1 May: Saberi is hospitalised for a few hours after ceasing to take liquids.
- 2 May: Shirin Ebadi voices her support for Saberi and Reporters Without Borders.
- 3 May: The Reporters Without Borders hunger strike continues outside UN headquarters in New York.
- 5 May: Saberi confirms that she had decided to end the hunger strike.
- 5 May: Saberi’s lawyers file a request for her release on bail.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Three journalists arrested

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrests of three journalists in Tehran on 1 May, as May Day demonstrations were taking place. “The authorities continue to crack down on journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “These arrests, which were made without a warrant and without good reason, were illegal.”

Journalists Alireza Saghafi and Kaveh Mozafari were arrested in the centre of Tehran in the morning, about an hour before the start of the May Day demonstration. Their arrests were witnessed by Saghafi’s wife, who said the authorities used violence to arrest them. The two journalists were transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison the next day.

Saghafi, who edited the magazine Rah Ayandeh (Way of the Future) until the authorities closed it in May 2008, is a member of the Iranian Writers Association. Mozafari is an online journalist who writes for FeministSchool (http://www.feministschool.com/) and Wechange (http://www.4equality.info/), two websites that defend women’s rights. He has been summoned for questioning by the authorities several times in the past.

At around midnight on 1 May, intelligence ministry agents went with Mozafari to his home to conduct a search and while there they arrested his wife, Jelveh Javaheri, who also defends women’s rights online and contributes to the FeministSchool website. Javaheri was previously arrested on 1 December 2007 because of the articles she had posted online and spent a month in detention before being freed on payment of 50 million toman (40,000 euros) in bail.

“The arrests of Mozafari and Javaheri and the search of their home were illegal because of the lack of a warrant and the time at which the ministry’s agents went to the couple’s home,” their lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, said, announcing her intention to file a complaint against the agents concerned.

On 3 May, Javaheri was taken before a judge, who said she could be released if she paid 100 million toman (80,000 euros) in bail. Her lawyer said she refused to sign the bail release form on the ground that she had “committed no crime.”

Saghafi’s lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan, also insisted that his client had been arrested illegally. “As a journalist, he had the right to be near the demonstration’s point of departure,” he said, adding “demonstrating is not a crime in Iran.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

8 years imprisonment for visiting close relative in Iraq

IPPA: Mrs. Sedighe Falahatzade, 40, has been condemned to 8 years prison sentences for having visited her brother in the PMOI base (Ashraf Camp) -Iraq, by the 28th Branch of the Revolution Court.

According to reports by Human right activists, Judge Mohammad Mogheisei, a torturer responsible for the 1980 massacres of Political prisoners, has been personaly reponsible for passing the sentence for Mrs. Falahatzade.

Mrs. Falahatzade was arrested in an organized attack by Intelligence ministry agencies at home, on 14 February 2009 in Tehran and transfered to the notorious Evin prison.

According to reports she has been harassed and tortured in detention and denied contacts with her relatives or attorney.

Security Forces Violently Attack and Detain Labor Rights Activists Observing May Day

International Campaign for Human Rights is Iran: (1 May 2009) Security and police forces violently attacked Iranian workers as they gathered in Laleh Park in Tehran to observe International Workers’ Day on May 1st, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. The demonstration had been called by ten independent labor organizations. According to information received by the Campaign more than 100 persons were arrested, and citizens not participating in the attempted May Day observance were among those beaten.

“These brutal and deplorable attacks are emblematic of the Iranian government’s utter contempt for workers and for the state’s international obligations to protect worker’s rights,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.

An eyewitness to the events in Tehran told the Campaign that she saw five police vans full of arrested people. She described the attack as follows:

“It was about 5 pm. Many people were in the Park. Usually on Fridays the park is crowded. Many people were walking around the fountain where the gathering was supposed to be held at 6pm. Without warning, two vans parked and plain-clothes agents came out of them and started to arrest people. Suddenly, I heard the call, “Long live the labor movement!” Two more vans came, and agents attacked and arrested people. As people resisted, they were beaten with batons and punched and kicked. The attack took 15 minutes after which people walked away because the park was full of security agents who would arrest anyone near the fountain.”

One of the detainees reported by cell phone from the police station in Vesal that more than 100 persons had been arrested.

Citizens detained in the incident have been transferred to different police stations and detention centers. According to the Iran Free Trade Union website, some of the well-known labor activists detained include Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahpour Ehsanirad, Maryam Mohseni and Behrouz Khabazzadeh. Other sources and eyewitnesses reported that seven members of the Association to Defend Child Workers are among detainees.

According to the Iran Free Trade Union website, another May Day gathering was scheduled to take place at 5pm in Sanandaj in Amirieh, the main square. On the morning of May 1st, five labor rights activists were summoned to the Intelligence Office in Sanandaj and arrested in an attempt to prevent the gathering: Sedigh Karimi, Sharif Saedpanah, Majid Mohammadi, Seyed Khaled Hosseini and Zhyan Sobhani. As activists formed a group in the square, plain-clothes agents and police forces tried to collect their placards, meeting resistance from the demonstrators. The crowed started to chant, “Long live workers” and “Political prisoners should be released.” They were attacked and severely beaten by the security forces, and at least 10 were arrested. Ghayegh Key Khosravi is also among the detainees.

Other assaults on labor activists have taken place in Kurdistan in recent days. On 29 April, Karim Fateh, Ali (Omar) Minaie, and Hadi Tanoumand, members of the Coordinating Committee to Help to Establish Workers Organizations, were summoned to the Intelligence Department of the police station in Bukan. On the same day, Zhiyan Sobhani and Kourosh Bakhshandeh, members of the Committee, and Amaj Nikdel (14) were summoned to police station number 12 in Sanandaj. Sobhani, Bakhshandeh and Nikdel were previously arrested and released in Sanandaj on 17 April when they went to visit Ghaleb Hosseini, a prisoner sentenced for his May Day activists last year.

On 27 April, Yousef Bokhrabad and Vahed Resideh were questioned about May Day observances in the Intelligence Office in Mahabad. On the same day, Hassan Rasoulnejad and Ahmad Eski Baghdadi were summoned and questioned in Bukan. All these 4 workers activists are members of the Coordinating Committee to Help to Establish Workers Organizations.

The International Campaign for Human Rights is Iran appeals for the immediate release of labor activists detained as they sought to peacefully demonstrate their commitment to fair labor practices. The Campaign also notes the urgent need to release and drop charges against unfairly incarcerated Iranian labor activists, including Mansour Osanloo, Ebrahim Maddadi, Farzad Kamangar and Ghaleb Hosseini.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi on hunger strike for past five days

Reporters Without Borders: Roxana Saberi, the young American-Iranian journalist who was sentenced to eight years in prison on a spying charge in Tehran on 18 April, has been on hunger strike for the past five days, her father has told Reporters Without Borders. He said she called him today from prison to tell him this. She is “determined and ready to go all the way,” Reza Saberi said, adding that he was “very worried.”

“We voice our complete solidarity with Roxana Saberi, who was unjustly arrested and convicted in a trial lacking any transparency,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Her decision to go on hunger strike, a last-ditch form of protest, is an act of rebellion against a fundamental injustice.”

The press freedom organisation added : “Saberi must know that she is not alone. Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and 35 other press freedom organisations, as well as Iranian human rights activists and journalists, are all supporting her and demanding her release. We will not abandon her.”

Saberi’s lawyer was not allowed to speak at her trial, held behind closed doors on 13 April, five days before the verdict was issued. He has filed an appeal against her conviction. She will be 32 tomorrow.

Saberi was arrested at the start of February although her arrest was not revealed until the start of the following month. The daughter of an Iranian father who lives in the United States and who acquired US citizenship, Saberi moved to Iran six years ago and worked for various international news media including the BBC, Fox News and the US public radio network NPR.

She was initially accused of working illegally as a journalist but was finally tried for “spying” for the United States, a charge that the Iranian authorities often use to silence outspoken journalists. Several American-Iranian journalists have been arrested in Iran in recent years but Saberi is the first one to be tried and given a jail sentence.

Seven journalists are currently imprisoned in Iran, which was ranked 166th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Predators of Press Freedom.”

Read 24 April’s press release "International support for Roxana Saberi ahead for her birthday"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Student under critical condition in 209 Evin

Esmaiil Salmanpour, member of Student association of Amirkabir University, who was arrested on 6 February 2009 for participating in Bazargan's commemoration day ceremony with unspecific reasons, has been transferred to Evin clinic because of extreme physical conditions.

Human Right activists have reported that Mr. Salmanpour has had unusual weight loss, his hair was shaved and he did not seem to be physiologically apt. According to this report, the reason for the loss of weight is not clear, since this student has been kept in solitary confinement , under intense interrogation, all during his detention and while he was on hunger strike for several days.

He has not been allowed any visits by family or attorney so far. He is kept in incommunicado with the outside world as an extra method of pressure, known as the white torture.

Apart from Esmaiil Salmanpour, 8 other Amirkabir University students are under detention and extreme pressure in solitary confinement of 209 Evin prison, namely: Majid Tavakoli, Hossein Tarkoshvand, Kourosh Daneshyar, Ahmad Ghassaban, Nariaman Mostafavi, Mehdi Mashayekhi, Yasser Torkaman, Abbas Hakimzadeh.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bahman Ghobadi, Iranian filmmaker, has written an open letter following the arrest and conviction of Roxana Saberi

The text of Bahman Ghobadi's letter is the following:

"To Roxana Saberi, Iranian with an American passeport"

If I kept quiet until now, it was for her sake. If today I speak, it is for her sake.

She is my friend, my fiancée, and my companion. An intelligent and talented young woman, whom I have always admired.

It was the 31st of January. The day of my birthday. That morning, she called to say she would pick me up so we would go out together. She never came. I called on her mobile, but it was off, and for two-three days I had no idea what had happened to her. I went to her apartment, and since we had each other's keys, I went in, but she wasn't there. Two days later, she called and said: "Forgive me my dear, I had to go to Zahedan." I got angry: why hadn't she said anything to me? I told her I didn't believe her, and again she said: "Forgive me my dear, I had to go." And the line was cut. I waited for her to call back. But she didn't call back. She didn't call back.
I left for Zahedan. I looked for her in every hotel, but nobody had ever heard her name. For ten days, thousands of wild thoughts came to my mind. Until I learned, through her father, she had been arrested. I thought it was a joke.

I thought it was a misunderstanding and that she would be released after two or three days. But days went by and I had no news from her. I started to worry and knocked on every door for help, until I understood what had happened.

It is with tears in my eyes that I say she is innocent and guiltless. It is me, who has known her for years, and shared every moment with her, who declares it. She was always busy reading and doing her research. Nothing else. During all these years I've known her, she wouldn't go anywhere without letting me know, nor would do anything without asking my advice. To her friends, her family, everyone that surrounded her, she had given no signs of unreasonable behavior. How come someone who would spend days without going out of her apartment, except to see me; someone who, like a Japanese lady, would carefully spend her money, and had sometimes trouble making a living; someone who was looking for a sponsor to get in contact with a local publisher so her book would be printed here (in Iran); could now be charged with a spying accusation?! We all know – no, we have all seen in movies – that spies are malicious and sneaky, that they peep around for information, and that they are very well paid.
And now my heart is full of sorrow. Because it is me who incited her to stay here. And now I can't do anything for her. Roxana wanted to leave Iran. I kept her from it.
At the beginning of our relationship, she wanted to go back to the United States. She would have liked us to go together. But I insisted for her to stay until my new film was over. She really wanted to leave Iran. And I kept her from it. And now I am devastated, for it is because of me she has been subject to these events. These past years, I have been subject to a serious depression. Why? Because my movie had been banned, and released on the black market. My next movie was not given an authorization, and I was forced to stay at home. If I've been able to stand it until today, it is thanks to the presence and help that she provided me with.
Since I had no authorization for my last movie, I was nervous and ill-tempered. And she was always there to calm me down.
Roxana wanted to leave Iran. I kept her from it. She is the one who took care of me while I was depressed. Then I convinced her to stay, I wanted her to write the book she had started in her head. I accompanied her, and thanks to my friends and contacts, I knocked on every door and was able to set up meetings with film makers, artists, sociologists, politics, and others. I would go with her myself.
She was absorbed by her book, to the point that she could stay and bear it all, until my film would be finished, and we would leave together.
Roxana's book was a praise to Iran. The manuscripts exist, and it will certainly be published one day, and all will see it. But why have they said nothing? All those who have talked, worked and sat with her, and who know how guiltless she is.

I am writing this letter for I am worried about her. I am worried about her health. I heard she was depressed and cried all the time. She is very sensitive. To the point she refuses to touch her food.
My letter is a desperate call to all statesmen and politics, and to all those who can do something to help. From the other side of the ocean, the Americans have protested against her imprisonment, because she is an American citizen. But I say no, she is Iranian, and she loves Iran. I beg you, let her go! I beg you not to throw her in the midst of you political games! She is too weak and too pure to take part in your games. Let me be present at her trial, sit next to her wise father and gentle mother, and testify she is without guilt or reproach.

However, I am optimistic about her release, and I firmly hope the verdict will be cancelled in the next stage of the trial.

My Iranian girl with Japanese eyes and an American ID, is in jail. Shame on me! Shame on us!

Bahman Ghobadi
April 21st, 2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ronak Safazadeh Sentenced to 6 Years Mandatory Prison

Change for Equality: The sentence of Ronak Safazadeh, women’s rights activist, was issued to Mr. Mohammad Sharif, her defense lawyer. According to the ruling of the court, Ronak Safazadeh has been sentenced to serve 6 years in prison. The courts acquitted Ronak, on the charge of enmity with god, of which she was accused in this case. Dr. Sharif, the lawyer representing Ronak intends to object to the ruling by the court.

Dr. Sharif explained further: “my client was acquitted on the charge of enmity with god, but on the issue of membership in Pejak, and in reference to Article 499 of the Penal Code, she was sentenced to 5 years mandatory prison sentence and with respect to spreading of propaganda against the state and in favor of Pejak she was sentenced to one year mandatory prison sentence. In accordance with the Articles in the Penal Code relating to the charges against her, my client will be serving her prison term in the city where the crime was committed, meaning Sanandaj. Clearly given the nature of this case, I will object to the ruling of the court, so that the appeals court can make the final ruling in the case pending against my client.”

With respect to Ronak’s membership in the political opposition group Pejak, Mohammad Sharif had the following to add: “the activities of my client were limited to activities within the Azar Mehr Women’s NGO, and so her activities in Pejak were carried out toward this end as well. My client aimed to research “the reasons for women’s participation in Pejak under difficult conditions.” We hope that the appeals court will take into consideration the fact that my client’s activities were limited to the women’s movement and examination of women’s issues in this relation and overturn the sentence issued in this case.”

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Students Held in Incommunicado Detention Are At Risk of Torture

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:
(4 April 2009) The Iranian government should immediately and unconditionally release all detained students the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The students are being held in incommunicado detention in Tehran, Rejaee Shahr and Isfahan. The Campaign is seriously concerned for their safety and high risk of torture.

On 23 February 2009, the Amir Kabir University campus was violently attacked by government forces. Students were protesting the burial of “unknown martyrs” on their campus. The following day, 24 February 2009, security agents attacked the homes of four Amir Kabir students, Ahmad Ghasaban, Nariman Mostafavi, Mehdi Mashayekhi and Abbas Hakimzadeh. All four were detained. Previously, on 5 February 2009, four other Amir Kabir University students were detained. Majid Tavakoli, Hossein Torkashvand, Esmael Salmanpour and Koursh Daneshyar were arrested for participating in a ceremony to honor Mehdi Bazargan, the first Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic. The eight students are all being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.

In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) on 6 March 2009, Judge Hadad, the Deputy of the Security Prosecution Court, was asked him about the situation of the four students arrested on 24 February. He said, “We have been after these people for a long time. This group planned and implemented radical student actions and they disseminated and published false information in Amir Kabir News. They were also being interviewed by radio services abroad. This group of students conducted the majority of these activities.”
“It is a violation of due process to announce charges against detainees publicly while their attorneys have not been allowed to visit them or even read their files,” Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson, said.

“The students’ colleagues and family are seriously concerned they are being tortured to make false confessions. Any confessions obtained under such circumstances should be impermissible by any court,” he added.

Brief phone conversations of the eight students with their families indicate they are likely being tortured. Some of the students, including Hakimzadeh and Torkashvand, have not been allowed to contact their families at all. Hakimzadeh is also critically ill and requires special medical treatment. Any effort by family members and attorneys to visit the students and ask for their release has had no effect.

Security and judiciary forces have not stopped at targeting students. During New Year Celebrations, family and friends of the detained students gathered in front of Evin Prison to show their support. The gathering led to the detention of Bahareh Hedayat, Milad Asadi, Mehdi Arabshahi, Majid Dari, Saeed Fayzolahzadeh, Hamed Azizi, Nariman Mostafavi’s mother and Milad Asadi’s parents. Following these detentions, Farid Hashemi and Amin Nazari, members of the Office to Foster Unity (Daftar e Tahkim Vahdat) were arrested when they went to the security office to ask for the release their colleagues. All these detainees were held in Darabad Police Station and ill-treated, causing Judge Matteen Rasekh to issue an apology. The detainees were released over the course of three days, with the last being released on 23 March 2009.
The Campaign has consistently reported on the relentless surveillance and targeting of university students. A report issued on National Student Day in November 2008 included an alert on surveillance of Majid Tavakoli. For the past three years, Tavakoli and three other students have been the subject of an anti-Islamic defamation case, even though the prosecution hasn’t met Iranian and international standards of fair trials. The three accused students in the case, including Tavakoli, spent 15 months in jail under severe pressure, ill treatment and torture despite the fact that they weren’t found guilty by a court. After their release, not only were they denied the opportunity to continue their studies, but their daily lives were monitored constantly by security forces. In a short phone call to his family, Tavakoli told them that he is still being interrogated with regard to this case.

Regarding the arrest of Tavakoli and others on 5 February, Judge Hadad told ISNA, “Seven people were arrested in the illegal ceremony to honor Bazargan. All of them have records and one of them is Majid Tavakoli, who is the main accused in the anti Islam defamation case at Amir Kabir University. These people were being monitored and pursued by security and judiciary forces for some time.”

“The surveillance and detentions of innocent students is not justifiable and the words of Judge Hadad once again show that the Iranian Judiciary works in concert with the Intelligence Ministry,” Ghaemi said. “Hadad is the presiding judge and should make clear under which laws and regulations students can be followed and arrested without judicial warrants and without being formally charged,” he added.

Another student, Shabnam Madadzadeh, a student at Teacher Training University and a member of the Students Union, was arrested on the street after being surveilled. She was abducted while on her way to attend the Students’ Union meeting in Tehran on 19 November 2009. She was transferred to Evin Prison on 24 February. Her mother went to the University and asked for her daughter’s release but was told that Madadzadeh was under investigation by Judge Hadad. According to Madadzadeh’s friends and classmates, she was a student activist who was involved in the students concerns and played an important role as a member of a team that negotiated with university authorities during a sit-in last year. After six weeks Madazadeh is still in incommunicado detention and being denied access to her lawyer. According to informal reports, Madadzadeh was charged with “acting on behalf of political opposition groups abroad.”
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has previously expressed its deep concern about Madadzadeh’s health and safety. Last year in a similar situation, a group of students faced the same charge. One of them, Ibrahim Lotfolahi, died under suspicious circumstances. Two other students, charged with “acting on behalf of political opposition groups abroad,” were tortured to make false confessions. These confessions were used as evidence against them during their prosecution. The confessions led to an execution sentence for Habibolah Latifi and lengthy prison sentence for Yaser Goli.

Several members of the Freedom and Equality Seeking student group have also been detained in February and March 2009. On 12 February, Mohammad Pourabdolah was arrested in Tehran and Alireza Davoudi, the spokesperson for the Freedom and Equality Seeking students was arrested in Isfahan. Bahman Khodadadi, a student in Isfahan, disappeared on 17 February 2009. Security agents went to his home for further search where it was revealed that Khodadadi was arrested. Arsalan Sadeghi and Hossein Sarshoomi, members of the group in Isfahan, were arrested on 28 February after being summoned to Intelligence Offices by phone. On 29 February, Amirhossein Mohammadifar and Sanaz Allahyari were arrested when intelligence forces attacked their homes. After long periods of pressure and torture, Allahyari and Mohammadifar were released on 18 March with the signs of physical torture still on their bodies. Mohammad Pourabdolah’s parents reported that Mohammad was under torture in Evin Prison. Without any explanation he has been transferred to a prison in Rejaee Shahr which holds violent offenders.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, citing the Iranian government’s international obligations to respect the rights of students to freedom of association and freedom of expression, called for the immediate release of all detained students. The Campaign urged the Judiciary to investigate and prosecute officials who ordered and implemented these arbitrary detentions. The Campaign called on the international community and UN mechanisms, including the Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detentions and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, to condemn the wide range of student rights violations in Iran and remind Iranian authorities of their obligations under international treaties.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rejecting freedom of two woman activists arrested for New Year visits

On 26 March 2009, many families of political prisoners who were visiting their loved ones in prisons were arrested. Later ten of the arrested were released.

Ms. Khadijeh Moghadam and Mahboobeh Karami are still in custody of the security forces.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, attorney to one of those still in custody has explained that the Court has ordered Mrs. Moghadams' detention because she has had previous detention records. Accordingly they have announced Mrs. Moghadams' role in the families visiting their beloved ones for the New Year as pivotal and for this reason have prevented her release.

"My client in a telephone contact said she has been charged for "disturbing public order and congregating to create insecurity in public in favor of "strangers". The term "strangers" is absolutely illegal to be used for my clients" said Mrs. Sotoudeh.

Mrs. Sotoudeh reiterates: "According to article 27 of the Iranian Constitution, congregating is lawful; therefore even if our clients did try to congregate, they would not have underestimated the law. The fact is that; they were waiting in their cars for their friends to arrive, when they were surrounded by agents and arrested with no Court Order under the pretext that "they are under suspicion". They were therefore forced to accompany the agents to the police station. Therefore as is clear there was no "congregation".

Mr. Poor Babaii, attorney to Mahboobeh Karami has announced concern for his client explaining that her release under bail (Right of all individuals arrested under suspicion) has been rejected two times.

He declared his client innocent saying that it is not a crime to see relatives on the New Year! There fore her place is not in prison and that she should be encouraged for attaining to ancient customs with regards to the New Year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Second transfer of political prisoner sentenced to 10 years to 209

There has been reports indicating the clandestine transfer of a political prisoner Saleh Kohandel, to the notorious 209 Evin's prison, and also of constant torture of prisoners in that section, which has worried their relatives immensely.

Prison agents transferred Mr. Kohandel suddenly on 18 March (only a day before the Iranian new Year) from section 4 to the death cells of 209 section, never announcing reasons for this transfer. It is almost certain that he is going to pass the New Year under torture and interrogation.

Mr.Kohandel was arrested on 6 March 2007 on the streets by intelligence Ministry agents. During his house search, all windows were smashed and his things were ransacked his written papers taken. He went under harsh and intense interrogation for at least 6 months and later sent to 209 after which he was transfer to public ward of 350 in Evin and again transferred to Rajayee shahr prison of Karaj.

His friends say Mr.Kohandel was sentenced was issued in a closed court, which only took a couple of minutes, for instigation against national security.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mysterious death of a bloger in Evin

Omidreza Mir Sayafi, journalist and bloger, has died for unknown reasons in Evin prison.

On 6 March last, another political prisoner called Amir Saran also died under similar circumstances in Rajaii Shahr prison of Karaj. His death had deeply touched other prisoners.

Human Rights activists in Iran had previously reported that Omidreza Mir Sayafi, 28 years old was spending time in prison for "insulting sacred values". It is reported that he had last been removed to prison clinic on the morning of the 8 March this year, while his conditions became critical. It is not clear what had passed in the clinic but inmates have reported that had been suffering a considerable psychological pressure with no medical treatment.

Prison and judicial officials have not commented in this case so far, while his attorney has confirmed the death in prison of his client Mohammad Ali Dadkhah.

Dr.Hessam Firouzi who was Doctor to several political prisoners, has been imprisoned in Evin on charges of attempting against National security. It is said that he has on many instances asked and insisted on the transfer of Mr. Sayafi to hospital but his request was met with reluctance by prison officials, which lead to the death of this prisoner. It is therefore clear that the death of Mr.Mir Sayafi has been due to "incompetence and medical disregard" of Evin prison authorities.

Mr.Firouzi adds; "according to my professional view, Omidreza Mir Sayafi was deeply depressed and prison conditions would have been unbearable for him."

"The prison Doctors were even reluctant to have his blood pressure and primitive medical test done. Every thing was done because of my persistence at every step of the way" explained Dr.Firouzi.

Omidreaza's blogs were mostly on music ands culture, where as he was charged with "Insulting Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei" as well as inciting against national security for a 2 year prison term by the 15 Branch of Tehran revolution court.

He also had a second open case in the general prosecutors' office in Tehran for "insulting sacred values", and was supposed to be heard in the month of May to come.

Iran has one of the highest records in arresting blogers for contents of their blogs.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mohammad Ehsani charged for “soft overthrowing”

Mohammad Ehsani, born in 1964, student of linguistics and member of documentary film production of Iran, has been imprisoned for the past 8 months in Evin prison. His name is the forth in a group of people who are charged with “soft overthrowing” by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Prior to this Alireza Jamshidi, Iranian judiciary spokesman had announced Alaii brothers charges to have been co-operating with the United States to topple the Islamic Republic, and had been sentenced to repeatedly six and three years imprisonment and financial penalty. He had not announced the third person charged but had referred to his sentence to have been 3 years of imprisonment.

Mohammad Eshani had been invited by Asian Association of New York and 5 other film centers in five US states, to exhibit his work in April 2005. His work was met with much enthusiasm. It is said that he was arrested unexpectedly during his wedding ceremony on 6 July 2008 in Tehran and sent to Evin prison. The same report also indicated that Mr.Ehsani has spent all his 8 month detention in solitary confinement while his situation was not mentioned by the media.

It is not clear, where and when his court has been held and if he was allowed an attorney, however he has been charged with co0operatiing with the United States for 3 years imprisonment.

IRNA state media, on 30 MAY 2008, reported the production of a film on Iranian music by Mr.Ehsani at the request of the New York Asian association, and the US Metropolitan Museum. This film was to be showed first at the inauguration of the Iranian art and culture beginning with Iranian music at its centre in New York. Reports indicate that the film was the request of sate Iranian Cultural Heritage and tourism and it was confirmed after visit of the Asian Associations delegation and US Metropolitan Museum to Iran.

It appears that the formal cultural transactions made under the supervision of the President had been part of charges of “soft overthrow brought onto Mr. Ehsani

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mysterious death of Political prisoner

Amir Heshmat Saran, political prisoner of Rajaii shahr prison in Karaj, dies mysteriously on March 6, after he was transferred to hospital for brain damage.

His sudden death has been confirmed by his family.

The reasons of his death are claimed to be brain hemorrhage, but according to Human Right activists, experience with mysterious deaths of other political prisoners makes Mr. Saran's death a suspicious one.

Amir Saran was arrested in 2004 for founding a group named "National United Front", and was finally sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by Karaj Court.

He was spending his fifth year of imprisonment in Rajaii Shahr prison during which he was only allowed out once after which he was once again arrested and transferred to prison. He had announced in an interview "Since I am not guilty , I shall not go to prison"

Deputy Prosecutor says Roxana Saberi will be released

Hassan Haddad, deputy Public Prosecutor of Tehran, referring to US-Iranian journalist Raxsana Saberi's case in the 2nd enquiry branch said: "We have processed an investigation on her and she will be released in a couple of days".

Judicial authorities have neither announced charges adhered to Ms. Saberi nor details of her arrest, but it appears her engagement in providing news for US media has been the basic reason for here detention.

Roxans' father, Mr. Saberi in an interview with Radio NPR had explained the last telephone contact with his daughter from 209 Evin Prison.

Roxana Saberi , 31, had traveled to Iran six ears prior to her arrest as a journalist working for the NPR and some other news media.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Family denied of their beloved ones corps

On the early hours of Saturday morning 2009, Mehdi Ghassemzadeh , a follower of the "Ahle Hagh" dervishes, was executed on charges of blasphemy, in Urumieh prison.

Neither his arrest, charges nor imprisonment were officially announced by authorities, but it is claimed that Mr.Ghassemzadeh was arrested when he was wounded in an armed clashe with the police in "Ojtapeh" ( A district in Urumieh) . He had been in prison for 4 years till his execution.
His family was denied the corps of their son, and was told to peruse the matter with the Intelligence Ministry.

It is worth noting that three others who shared the same case, sentenced to be hanged have now received a thirteen year prison sentence. These individuals are: ShahandAli Mohammadi, BakhshAli Mohammadi, Ebadollah Ghassemzadeh.

All three are members of the "Atashgera" (Fire lenient) sect in "Ojtapeh" district and have been reported to have been tortured in prison.

According to Azerbaijan websites following news on political prisoners, all three individuals have been on hunger strike in protest to Mr.Ghassemzadehs's sentence for execution.

Parallel to the hanging of Mr.Ghassemzadeh, Human Right activists are expressing concern on the possible hanging of another follower of the dervishes ; Youness Aghayan in the following days.

Four Student activists arrested in Tehran

Early morning of March 1st, 2009, four students affiliated with the leftist "Freedom and Equality seeking Students" movement were arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents and are reported to have been transferred to Evin prison.

The situation of these students is not yet clear but, there is concern that they will face persecution or solitary confinement.

Student committee of Human Rights Reporters has announced these students to be as follow: Sanaz Allahyari, Nassim Roshanayee, Maryam Sheikh and AmirHossein Mohammadi. This report has been confirmed by their families.

It is also reported that other students seeking freedom and democracy have also been amongst those arrested.

Prior to this purge, two other students affiliated with the same movement had been arrested in two different cities on 12 February 2009. Mohammad Poor Abdollahi and ALireza Davoodi were both arrested in Ispahan and Tehran and are detained in unknown locations.

On the verge of the "Student Day" in Iran, in December 2007, intelligence agents had arrested 40 students affiliated with the leftist who are known to be under torture in the notorious 209 section of Evin.

More than 70 students have been arrested on 23 February 2009, during recent protests against the burial of the remains of those killed in the Iran-Iraq war in University campuses. According to Iranian student internet sites, 20 of those arrested are in Evin prison. Four of these students who had not been in the protests had already been arrestee at their homes on 24 February.
Many students had been treated in hospital because of knife wounds received from thugs and Bassidge forces .

4 other students who had been arrested for participating in a commemoration ceremony for Bazargan ( first prime minister after Shah's downfall) , had been arrested on 5 February 2009 on charges of taking part in the ceremony, and are still in Evin Prison.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

20 students under torture

According to the students commitee of Human Rights reporters, those arrested in the recent demonstration of students, protesting burial of remains of the old Iraq-Iran war dead in University compounds have been taken to the notorious Evin prison and are under torture.

The students committee of Human Rights reporters has released information indicating the aforementioned students have been put under immense pressure and torture and are not allowed to contact anyone.

Abbas Hakimzade – central committee of "Tahkim Vahdat", Mehdi Mashayekhi, Nariman Mostafavi and Ahmad Ghassaban were arrested a day after the remains of the dead were buried. There was no warrant for their arrests.

Amirkabir website, which is the students informing site has recently been threatened by unknown persons and has been hacked.

Other imprisoned students such as: Majid Tavakoli, Hossein Tarkashvand, Esmail Salmanpour and Kourosh Daneshyar have long begun a hunger strike in support of their friends.

The students were to participate in a commemoration celebration of Mr.Bazargan, when they were arrested.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bahai leaders charged for spying for Israel

On 21 February, Haddad, vice chair of Tehran prosecutors office announced that 7 Bahis , known to be leaders, have been charged for Insulting " sacred values of Islam", propagating against the State and spying for Israel.

According to Haddad, the seven were charged by the First prosecutors' office in Tehran and would be followed in Tehran's revolution court later.

All seven arrested are part of the known "Iranian Bahai Assembly" and had been arrested on 14 May 2008 during an attack by security forces on their homes.

Mahvash, Fariba kamal Abadi, Jamal Aldin Khanjani, Afif Naiimi, Saiid Rezaii, Behrooz Tavakoli and Vahid Tiz Fahm are the arrested members' concerned.

Prior to this Bani Dogal, Bahai community representative in the UN, had condemned the attack saying : " Their only crime is their faith ".

The arrested individuals are known to be part of a group called:"Friendship group" whose mandate was to take care of difficulties faced by the Bahai community.

Priro to this case, Ali Ashtari who was charged with spying for Israel has been hanged. According to the Bahai community spokesman, they suffer a great deal of prejudice in Iran for their religious belief.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Expelled Human right Student under torture

Javad Alizadeh, student of Alameh Taba Tabaei, was expelled from University for activities allegedly against the Islamic regime in Iran. Mr.Alizadeh was arrested for the second time on 15 January 2009 and is reportedly held in Sanandaj interrogation centre- in the Iranian Kurdish region- and is under intense interrogation and torture.
Mr.Alizadeh's relatives have reported a telephone conversation with him after 22 days in which he was cutt-off while revealing his appalling physical condition.

According to this conversation, Mr. Alizadeh is suffering from brain hemorrhage and facial bone fracture as well as psychological damage.

Mr. Alizadeh , was arrested after participating in the funeral of an other student reported to have been killed under interrogation – Ebrahim Lotfollahi- and has been in Evin prison for several months as he was unable to pay the enormous Bail asked by prison authorities.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Concern over elderly prisoners' situation

Relatives of over 18 families, including elderly men and women, who had been arrested in Tehran's International airport for trying to legally go to Iraq to visit their next of kin and relatives of Camp Ahsraf (where PMOI members reside) have been arrested and are in a dangerous situation.

Most of the arrested are elderly women aging between 60 to 80 years.

Soleiman Zahed, Zahra Javadi,Ferdows Mahboobi,Fateme Sadeghi, Kobra AMirkhizi, Mr.and Mrs. BoorEghbal, Parisa Pooreghbal,Azizeh Shafinia, Jamileh Mohammadzadeh, Kobra Badiroodi, Mr.Bahrami, Atifeh Bahrami, andmany members of the Rezaii Familly. ( Rezaii family has been famous in Iranian families for having 9 members of their family killed under the Shah and Khomeini)

No reasons have been given for their arrest, but that they had tempted to visit their family members (in Camp Ashraf).

It is said that some of these people are in a very bad physical condition. Considering the fact that these people are in a volatile situation and under heavy interrogation, families fear their health.

Prior to this incident, the Judiciary of the Intelligence Ministry had arrested a young student named Houd Yazerloo, who had been visiting his relatives in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

Mr. Yazerloo has been transferred to the public ward 7 of Evin after having been in solitary confinement.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

British film director Ken Loach: I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran

Ken LoachBritish
Film and television director

To: info@leader.ir ; dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir ; info@judiciary.ir ; iran@un.int Cc: info@workers-iran.org

Subject: protest letter

I have read the information about Labour activists imprisoned in your country. These words express exactly the outrage of many people at your government's callous disregard for civil liberties. From Ken Loach, Film Director, England.

I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran. According to the latest news, the current labour activists who are known to be in jails across Iran are as follows:

- Mr. Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company, sentenced to five years imprisonment, incarcerated since July 2007. Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Osanloo has been beaten numerous times by security forces. He has some serious health problems.

- Mr. Afshin Shams, a member of "Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' organizations", a member of the "Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi" and a member of "Caricaturists. He was arrested at his work in city of Aligoodarz on July on July 3, 2008 and later was transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan. On November 1, 2008, he was November 1, 2008. Afshan Shams received his verdict from the court according which he has been sentenced to one year imprisonment. The verdict was given without the presence of Afshin's lawyer.

- Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a 33 year old teacher and union and human rights activist from Kurdistan province. He has been sentenced to death by the Iranian government and has been severely tortured. He has been transferred to Rajayee Shahr Prison since December 25, 2008 and he is kept in Infectious Diseases section of the prison. His lawyer has expressed surprise with this transfer. Despite legal efforts in Iran and international protests, Farzad's execution sentence has not been revoked. For more info please refer o the http://www.labourstart.org/farzad

- Mr. Mohsen Hakimi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organization and a member of the Iranian Writers' Association, was arrested by the plain-clothes security agents near midnight on December 22, 2008 in Tehran. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.

- Mr. Bijan Amiri, who is an auto worker and a member of workers' mountain-climbing board, was arrested by the Iran Khodro Company's security forces on December 22, 2008 in the factory. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.
- Mr. Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Mr. Madadi has been arrested a number of times before. The latest arrest took place in the North Branch of the Employment office in Tehran on December 27, 2008. Mr. Molayee, Maddi's lawyer, has told the BBC Persian that Mr. Madadi has been arrested according to a court order issued by division 14 of the Islamic Revolution Court according to which he has been sentenced to three and half years of imprisonment for "acting against the national security" and "propaganda against the system" . However, Mr. Molayee reports that the court order was never given to him or Mr. Madadi, thus they did not have a chance to appeal it. The court claims that they had verbally informed Mr. Madadi about it when he was detained for another case previously. Mr. Madadi had spent about 4 months in prison last year. Mr. Madadi is currently detained in Evin prison.

- Mr. Pedram Nasrolahi, who is a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations in Kurdistan, arrested on December 24, 2008.

- Mr. Bakhtiar Rahimi, a labour activist in Kurdistan was arrested on December 23, 2008. Mr. Rahimi had been previously incarcerated and released after a few months.

In addition, many labour activists in Iran are under suspended sentences or await trials and are suspended or expelled from their workplace as the result of their labour activities, including many member of the Vahed Syndicate in Tehran as well as five leaders of the Syndicate of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers' Syndicate who were put on trial on December 20, 2008 and are now awaiting their verdict.

Therefore, I condemn all these arrests and repression of labour activists and organizations in Iran and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all incarcerated workers. I also ask the Iranian government to respect workers' rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers' organizations.