Nabz Weekly - December 20, 2013

This week in human rights in Iran

MINORITY RIGHTS

This week, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the Iranian government asking it to overturn the execution sentence of six Kurdish prisoners in Ghezel Hesar Prison. According to Amnesty, the six Kurds were sentenced to death for vague charges like Moharebeh and corruption. The prisoners, Jamshid Dehghani, Jahangir Dehghani, Hamed Ahadi, Kamal Molaie hamed Hosseini and Seddigh Mohammadi, are currently on a hunger strike to protest their sentences and are reported to be in critical condition.

On December 14, ten Azeri activists  were arrested during a memorial ceremony of another late Azeri activist.

On December 19, the revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced Armenian priest Vruir Avanessian to three years in prison. Avanessian was arrested last year while he was celebrating Christmas with a group of non-Christian Iranians.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

In its latest report Reporters Without Borders listed Iran, China, Eritrea, Turkey and Syria as the top five countries  jailing journalists. The report notes, that despite promises of reform made by President Rouhani 12 journalists fled the country to escape government prosecution.

TRIALS

Despite believing that Sattar Beheshti was murdered, the family withdrew their case after the court passed a ruling of involuntary manslaughter last week. The parents of Sattar Beheshti sent an open letter to the General Prosecutor of Iran accusing the judiciary of protecting the accused and preventing the case from moving forward.

PRISONERS RIGHTS

On December 13, Evin Prison authorities prevented Houtan Dolati from being transferred to a hospital, despite recommendations from doctors. Dolati is a political prisoner currently on a hunger strike protesting his denial to medical care.

INTERNET FREEDOM

This week, ISP’s in Iran started to filter the popular chat service WeChat. In Iran, social media services like Facebook and Twitter have been filtered since 2009, but this is first time that a mobile chat services is being filtered.

In a continuing wave of arrests of Internet and social media users, the IRGC Intelligence Unit arrested two active Facebook users, Mohammad Amin Akrami and Mehdi Rayshahri Tangestani. Over the past two weeks there have been numerous arrests of IT professionals.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

This week, the UN General Assembly condemned Iran, along with Syria and North Korea for  widespread human rights abuses and expressed concern about such violations in Iran, but welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas. The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions.

EXECUTIONS

Afshin Darvazi was executed in Bam Prison for dealing drugs.