Weekly Pulse - July 12, 2013

This week in human rights in Iran

 

EXECUTIONS

This week, 21 prisoners were hanged in the Ghezel Hesar Prison and four prisoners were hanged Rajaei Shahr Prison. The identities of the prisoners in Ghezel Hesar are unknown, but reports claim that most of the prisoners were convicted of Moharebeh, or “fighting against an Islamic state,” and drug related charges. Three of the prisoners from Rajaei Shahr Prison, identified as Mohammad Jafari, Ali Yadegari and Karim Taraj, were convicted of murder.

 

Also this week, six people were executed in the city of Bam and two in the city of Khorramabad for charges related to smuggling and distribution of industrial drugs in their regions. Also, Mohsen Jahan Bakhsh, another person awaiting execution in Rajaieshahr Prison in the city of Karaj was transferred to an unknown location. His situation is still unknown.

 

In addition, nine people were executed in the Northwestern province of Ardabil. According to the official website of province Judiciary 22 more people are awaiting their sentence.

 

On July 7, five people were executed in the city of Qazvin, three were charged for smuggling drugs and two for murder.

 

INTERNET FREEDOM

Cyber Police

On July 8, the Minister of Communications announced that Iran will assign all citizens an individual email address. The national email service requires all citizens to sign up to it to "safely" communicate with government officials. Prior to use, account holders will have to provide their local post office with their full name, national identification number and postcode. It is still unclear whether this move would add to regulations on Internet use or if the national email addresses would be mandatory.

 

On July 9, the Iranian Coroner’s office announced the results of Sattar Beheshti’s autopsy and determined that that the cause of death of the blogger was, “due to psychological pressure.” The report will be sent to the judiciary which will decide if legal action is necessary in view of the findings. The death of Sattar Beheshti triggered widespread outrage and his family filed a suit again the Cyber Policy to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of his death. Later this week, Gohar Eshghi, Sattar’s mother and Giti Pour Fazel, the family’s lawyer, dismissed the report and request to exhume his body for further examination under the surveillance of a trusted doctor.

 

On July 10, the Cyber Police arrested two people for their facebook activities on charges of insulting officials on their Facebook pages.

 

MINORITY RIGHTS

On July 6, Molavi Abdolhamid, Zahedan's Friday Prayer Leader and the leader of the Sistan and Baluchistan province's Sunni community, discussed the community’s demands from the new administration in an interview with Rooz. Reports indicate that president-elect Hassan Rohani received the highest margin of victory in Sistan and Baluchistan (73.3%). In similar news, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran's Expediency Council, told a meeting of Sunni clergy and activists, “The problems of the Sunni community in Iran have to be addressed, and they should be given a chance to serve the community and influence it equitably.”

 

Nosrat Tabasi

On July 7, the Supreme Court accepted the request by Gonabadi Dervish, Nosrat Tabasi, to hold a restitution hearing. Tabasi was sentenced to six months in prison and four years and six months of a suspended jail term on charge of, "gathering and colluding to disturb national security." Tabasi's case is scheduled for October 2013.

 

Pastor Robert Asserian of the Central Assemblies of God Church was freed from prison, but was told to remain silent about what happened to him while in custody. Pastor Asserian was arrested on May 21 while leading a worship service in Tehran.

 

Aida Bandi

On July 10, Aida Bandi, a Baha'i student of English literature in Shiraz University was banned from her studies. After following up her case, authorities told her to convert to Islam if she wants to continue her studies.

 

POLITICAL PRISONERS

On July 5, in response to imprisoned human right activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki grievances regarding prison conditions and access to medical care, a judiciary official responded, "you will eventually die in prison, and after a few weeks of the media noise, everything will become quite."

 

On July 6, conservative MP Ali Motahari publically stated that it was no longer necessary to continue to imprison political prisoners jailed following the 2009 election protests. "I believe after this year's election and in view of the national reconciliation, there is no need to persist in certain decisions including the house arrest of certain people.” Motahari went on further to state that the security concerns about releasing the opposition leaders are no longer valid.

 

This week Human Rights Watch issued a statement expressing concern regarding the medical services available to Iranian political prisoners. The human rights group issued its statement following the recent death of jailed labor activist Afshin Osanloo and reports that detained opposition leader Hossein Mousavi was sent to hospital to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners who require medical care.

 

Saeed Zeynali

On July 9, the anniversary of the raid by security forces on student dormitories at Tehran University, the mother of Saeed Zeynalli, one of the students who disappeared during the raid, said that after 14 years of searching for him a judiciary official promised to help her. Akram Neghabi, the mother, told BBC Persian that Tehran's prosecutor listened to her pleas and promised to help her. According to her, her son was in custody in Evin Prison at least until 2002.

 

On July 10, Asghar Mahmoudian started his hunger strike to protest against his denial of medical treatment. Mahmoudian needs urgent medical treatment for different health problems like his lung disorder, spine and prostate.

 

PRISONER RIGHTS

On July 7, Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned back to Evin Prison. Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, reports that his wife was given a four-day furlough which was later extended another 10 days, but she was summoned back to prison earlier this week.

 

Imprisoned Gonabadi Dervish Lawyer, Mostafa Daneshjou was rushed to the hospital due to a respiratory illness. Daneshjou suffers from a severe respiratory disease and asthma. According to doctors he lost a considerable (at about 40%) of his lung capacity from being kept in a closed space.

 

According to Herana news agency, prisoners who return from furlough from Rejaieshahr Prison in Karaj should spend some time in quarantine. According to the report, the quarantine is very unhygienic and many prisoners complain about bedbugs and lice.

 

ARBITRARY ARRESTS

On July 10, security forces confiscated Fazel Meibodi's passport at Tehran's international airport and prevented him from flying to Lebanon. Meibodi is a reformist cleric and a university lecturer.

 

On July 11, Fariba Pazhoh, a reformist journalist, was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison. She already has a one year suspended imprisoned sentence which is related to her activities after the 2009 presidential election.

 

LABOR RIGHTS

On July 11, three labor rights activists, Vafa Ghaderi, Behzad Farajollahi, and Khaled Hosseini, were sentenced to one year in prison. These Kurdish activists were trying to form a new labor union.