Systematic violation of human rights continued in February with 16 executions, crackdown on religious minorities, arresting of civil activists, incessant pressure on political prisoners and flogging.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, two women political prisoners of Evin –Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee—were beaten up and banished to the notorious women’s Qarchak Prison, in Varamin, Tehran Province.

Protesting the illegal transfer, the two staged a hunger strike on February 3.

On the morning of Saturday, February 10, 2018, they turned their wet hunger strike into dry, as they had already vowed. Both stopped their dry hunger strike after six days but Golrokh Iraee announced that she will continue her wet hunger strike until her demands are met.

Since February 1, the two are held in horrible conditions in a small, dark room in Qarchak Prison while they are denied having telephone contacts or family visits.

Hunger striking Golrokh Iraee is in dire health conditions. She has lost 10 kg of her weight. She is not able to walk due to hypotension.

Protesting the transfer of the two women, political prisoners Arash Sadeghi and Soheil Arabi staged a hunger strike while Iraee’s husband, Arash Sadeghi was severely ill due to a long previous hunger strike. After 11 days, he stopped his hunger strike at the request of his cellmates.

Soheil Arabi has announced that he will continue his hunger strike until Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee are being returned to Evin Prison.  He is currently in dire health condition as he has been denied access to medical treatment.

One of Evin authorities, Haji Moradi, deliberately fails to authorize his transfer to hospital. 

 Executions, arbitrary murders, deaths in custody

  1. Executions

Executions are carried out incessantly on a daily basis. At least 17 executions were carried out in February from which only two was made public by the state media.

Covertly executions include the mass execution of 10 individuals in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, West of Tehran on February 14.

On Thursday, February 15, the Ahwaz Intelligence Department announced the execution of two young Arab men.  The two have been identified as Seyed Habib Rahmani and Mehdi Hardani. Thirty-year-old Rahmani was married and had three children. His family were threatened by the Intelligence Department that they could not hold a funeral for their son. The Intelligence Agency also confirmed the execution of Mehdi Hardani and announced it to his family.

The victims are identified as follows;

2018 Executions carried out in February
Name Age Date of execution Place of execution Official source
Abbas Rad 29 Feb. 1 Yasouj, southwest Iran
Mohammad Karimi 29 Feb. 7 Varamin, outside Tehran
Karim Zargar 64 Feb. 12 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj  Rokna news agency
Majid Kavousi Feb. 13 Marand, West Azerbaijan Province
Mohammad Omrani Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Morteza Shafaghati Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Farnam (Farhad)Farinam Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj Rokna news agency
Mohammad-Mehdi Ahmadi Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Masoud Taghipour Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Mansour Ekhtiari Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Saeed Ranjbar Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Omid Rostami Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Fazel Mirzaei Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
An Afghan man Feb. 14 Gohardasht Prison of Karaj
Seyed Habib Rahmani 30 Feb. 14 Central Prison of Ahwaz
Mehdi Mardani Feb. 14 Central Prison of Ahwaz
Mehdi Kazemnia 28 Feb. 14 Central Prison of Ilam

 

  1. Arbitrary murders
  • A young man identified as Sajjad Rashidi was shot and killed before his family on February 5, during an intelligence agents-involved shooting in Andimeshk in Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran.
  • On February 7, the State Security Forces opened fire on a vehicle, which led to a crash with a truck, killing the car driver identified as Sedigh Rahimpour.
  • Members of the Gonabadi Sufi order, who are known as dervishes, said that at least three of their number were killed by security forces after clashes broke out during their protest in northern Tehran on February 19.
  • A young man, Naser Ghobadi was shot dead on February 27, by the State Security Forces in Abdanan district, in western Ilam Province. No information is available on the cause of the shooting.
  1. Deaths in custody

The authorities continued to call suspicious deaths in prison as suicide. Three prisoners lost their lives in custody and the authorities claim they committed suicide.

  • Kavous Seyed-Emami

Iran’s judiciary said on Sunday an Iranian-Canadian activist had committed suicide in detention because of the weight of evidence against him in a spying case, an Iranian news agency reported. Environmental activist Seyed-Emami, 63, a dual national, was a sociology professor at Iran’s Imam Sadegh University.

  • Hossein Gholizdeh

Authorities in Sanandaj Prison murdered an inmate by the name of Hossein Gholizadeh on February 13. His body was found in the jail’s bathroom. Prison authorities said he committed suicide, a claim rejected by his cell-mates.

  • Taleb Basativand

Taleb Basativand, arrested during the Iran Protests earlier this year and transferred to an unknown location, was murdered in Ilam prison. Authorities informed his family on Feb 25 that their son “lost his life” and they should come to receive his body.

 

Inhuman treatment and cruel punishments

  • The sentence for 100 lashes for a man identified by his initials as M.Gh was carried out in Rasht on charges of murder and rape. He will receive another 80 lashes for drinking alcohol in the next phase of the implementation of the sentence.
  • A young man who introduced himself as the director of an import company and misled a young woman in this way was sentenced to flogging and exile by a court order. The young man has been identified as 35-year-old Afshin.
  • A court in the city of Dorud sentenced six protesters arrested during the January protests to one year of prison and 74 lashes on charges of “disrupting public order and peace.”
  • A 25-year-old man identified as Houman, was sentenced to 100 lashes and one year of internal exile to a remote location. (the state-run Rokna news agency, February 3, 2018)
  • A 35-year-old man identified only as Pedram was sentenced to 100 lashes and two years of exile to a remote location. (the state-run Rokna news agency, February 8, 2018)
  • A young man and woman were sentenced to 99 lashes by a court in Tehran. (the state-run Javan Online news agency, February 2, 2018)

Arrests

1320 arrests across the country, including 192 social arrests, 33 politically motivated arrests, 613 arrests on religious and ethnic grounds and 449 arbitrary arrests.

politically motivated arrests include the arrests of labor, environmental and civil activists and women protesting compulsory hijab.

Eight environmental activists were arrested in late January in Tehran and taken to the Ward 2a of Tehran’s Evin Prison. Kavous Seyed-Emami lost his life in custody. Authorities on Friday called Seyed-Emami’s wife to say her husband had committed suicide in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Iranian regime started to arrest of renowned human rights defenders since January 1st, 2018, as the latest episode in a long crackdown on any form of peaceful activism in the country.

Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand were arrested on February 1, during coordinated arrests.

Reports indicate more than 600 Dervish Gonabadi protesters were arrested after they protesters against the arrest of a member of their community.

Prisoners’ conditions

  • Sunni prisoner Hamzeh Darvish, 23, who is serving an 18-year prison term in Gohardasht (Rajaie Shahr) Prison of Karaj. He was threatened to being sent to a psychiatric hospital with his hands and feet cuffed to a bed. Hamzeh Darvish had previously endured 100 days in solitary confinement in intelligence department of Rasht and suffers from severe psychological problems.
  • Political prisoner Mehdi Farahi Shandiz was severely beaten by Karaj Central Prison warden Iraj Fattaahi. Shandiz nearly died and spent 31 days in solitary confinement. He has currently been denied family visits and telephone calls.
  • political prisoner Changiz Ghadam Kheiri, held in Masjed Suleiman Prison far from home, is reportedly in poor physical conditions. Arrested five years ago, he has now lost his right kidney. Iranian authorities are depriving him of medical care, his family says.

Prison conditions

On February 6, the guard of the 6 penitentiary of Gohardashr Prison, confiscated the ward and damaged the property of some prisoners including their electronic appliances which they had provided on their own expense.

On February 7, a number of Sunni prisoners including Nouroddin Sowat, Naser Dehghanpour and Abdoljabbar Nourzehi (Afghan inmate) held in Bushehr Prison, were taken to a building in Gohardasht Prison lacking any heating system or hot water. The prisoners have recently been denied making telephone contacts.

Persecution of religious minorities

Gonabadi Dervishes

  • A gathering on February 19 by Dervishes turned violent after police intervention. The Dervishes were protesting the detention of Nematollahi Riahi and the lack of accountability by agents about where he was detained and charges made against him. Nematollahi Riahi had gone to the Namju Police Station to follow up the condition of other detained Dervishes but was arrested by police. The daughter of the elderly man said that he had severe heart issues and that a battery had been placed in his heart.

The State Security Force attacked the protesters, firing bird shots and tear gas and using batons. At least three Dervish Gonabadi protesters were killed and more than 600 were arrested. 70 women arrested during the Dervish Gonabadi protests were transferred to Qarchak Prison, SE of the capital.

They are held in the quarantine section of ward 3 where all communications with the outside world is cut off. Many protesters were severely injured by anti-riot units using pellet guns. Reports indicate many injured protesters have been arrested in hospitals by intelligence agents.

  • Two young women, students of universities in Tehran and Bandar Abbas, were deprived of pursuing further education because of their faith. Zahra Qalandari Nejad, a Gonabadi dervish, was verbally informed that she was dismissed from university and not allowed to continue her education. Ms. Qalandari Nejad wrote an open letter to the President of Bandar Abbas University and demanded formal accountability of this institution on the reasons that led to her dismissal.

Sepideh Moradi is another Gonabadi dervish who was studying for Masters degree in Computer Sciences at the Teachers’ Training University in Tehran. Security organs ordered her to leave on February 2, 2018. She was denied access to the university’s computer network for registration for the next term.

Sunnis

  • On February 1, Davoud Khazraji, 28, from Ahwaz was arrested by the cities intelligence department without any judicial warrant. Apparently Mr. Khazraji was arrested for his brother’s activities outside Iran. There is no news available on his fate. 
  • Intelligence agents raided the home of Khaled Amuri, detaining this 28-year-old cultural activist and transferring him to an unknown location. Much of his personal items were also confiscated and he was beaten before his family by plainclothes agents.
  • On February 18, Two Turkmen Sunni clerics, Jamaleddin Adizadeh and Abdolghaffar Bandi were arrested after intelligence agents of Golestan Province, north of Iran, inspected their homes and confiscated their personal items.

Baha’is

  • Iran’s Security Force raided Baha’i individuals’ homes on Tuesday, February 13, arresting seven people and confiscating their belongings including laptops, mobile phones and books. Minu Riazati, Asadullah Jaberi, Ehteram Shakhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Lagha Faramarzi and puneh Nasheri were detained.
  • Four members of Baha’i community, Dori Amri, May Kholusi, Saghi Fadaei and Shayan Tafzili have been sentenced to 12 months behind bars for “propaganda against the establishment.”
  • In yet another case, in January 2018, Mrs. Fattaneh Nabilzadeh, was sentenced to one year behind bars for the same charges. 

Violation of basic rights

Three months and counting, many earthquake victims of Sarpol Zahab in Iran’s Kermanshah Province have yet to receive trailers, still living in tents in subzero temperatures. Small children have died and reports indicate a growing number of suicides.

A team of activists returning from the Ban Zardeh village in the Dalahoo area said the government has left the people stranded. At their own expense they provided 6 trailers to the locals but State police literally forced the activist to bribe them to allow the trailers into the village.

Many kids and babies are ill. Sickness is becoming an epidemic. Hygiene necessities are very low.

In February, Iranian workers faced salary denial as their main dilemma which overshadowed their lives.

Unable to make ends meet for their family some workers committed suicide.

  • A worker from Kamyaran, in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan set himself on fire after 11 months of salary denial. The worker who had more than 23 years of experience was married and had 5 children.
  • On February 28, a man named Arsalan set himself on fire after learning municipality authorities were about to close down his store, being his only means of making ends meet.
  • On the morning of February 27, the dead body of Ali Naghadi, a young employee of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Co., was found afloat in a canal. It is said Naghadi committed suicide due to his debts as the company refused to pay his money.