Nabz News Review - April 3, 2015
This week in human rights in Iran
Five miners of the Chadormalu mine were each handed discretionary one-year sentences and sentenced to flogging for their role in last year’s labor unrest among the miners. An additional 25 miners who were on trial were acquitted by the court.
Youness Asakere, the street vendor who set himself on fire in Khorramshahr on March 15, succumbed to his injuries one week later. Asakere had committed the self-immolation in front of the municipal headquarters to protest the shutdown of his business by authorities. Following his funeral, which drew heavy surveillance from security forces, at least eight individuals who had attended the ceremony were arrested.
Freedom of expression
On March 28, it was revealed that author and television producer Mostafa Azizi has been held in Evin Prison since his return to Iran on February. Azizi is a permanent resident of Canada who worked for Iran’s national broadcast and radio services until he moved to Canada in 2009. According to HRANA, the charges against Azizi include “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the regime.”
All charges have been dropped against Ghoncheh Ghavami, the British-Iranian woman who was imprisoned after trying to attend a men’s volleyball game last year. After five months in Evin Prison, Ghavami was released on bail in November.
Freedom of religion
In a March 20 letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, followers of Yarsanism (or “Ahl-e Haqq”) asked the Supreme Leader to revise the Iranian constitution in order to total of 24 years imprisonment, in addition to a fine of 100 million tomans.
The recent crackdown on Bahá’í citizens throughout Iran continues, following waves of arrests and raids of Bahá’í homes by authorities. After their arrest on March 18, husband and wife Iman Rashidi and Shabnam Motahed were taken to Yazd Central Prison to begin serving their respective sentences of three years and two years.
Mostafa Mohammadi Ardehali was arrested on March 22, but there is no further information regarding his condition, the reason for his arrest, or which authorities carried out the arrest. Mohammadi Ardehali is the former head of the Iran Internet Service Providers (ISP) Association.
On March 27, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to renew the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed, the fourth UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shaheed has held this position since 2011, but the Iranian government has consistently denied him entry to the country to conduct his work.
HRANA reports that there is still no news of five prisoners on death row from Urmia prison. Among these prisoners is Saman Naseem, who was sentenced to death for a crime he allegedly committed as a minor. Naseem was set to be executed on February 20, but whose status remains unknown after the execution was apparently called off.
The Campaign in Defense of Civil & Political Prisoners reports that the physical condition of political prisoner Mostafa Salimi is critical and that authorities are not providing him with the necessary medical attention. Salimi is currently on death row in Saghez Central Prison after being sentenced to death more than 11 years ago.
In its annual report on “Death Sentences and Executions” around the world, Amnesty International announced that in 2014, China was the only country to have executed more people than Iran. Amnesty recorded a total of 743 executions in Iran in 2014, most of which were not officially acknowledged by Iranian authorities.