Nabz Weekly - December 27, 2013

This week in human rights in Iran

MINORITY RIGHTS

According to the Majzooban Nour News website, the Dervish minority in the city of Neyriz has recently come under pressure from Basij forces to stop religious gatherings.

On December 20, a group of international human rights organizations sent an open letter to President Rouhani regarding the treatment of the LGBT community in Iran and expressed their concern at the continuing and systematic state persecution of the group.

On December 21, security forces raided the homes of four newly converted Christians in parts of Alborz Province and confiscated their books, CD’s and computers.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

According to Saham News website, last week newspapers in Iran received a secret order from the media bureau at the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry telling them to not publish news regarding the nuclear talks without the approval from the bureau, specifically, IAEA reports.  

The head of the Association of Iranian Journalist announced that the association will soon reopen. The Association of Iranian Journalist was founded in September of 1997. In July of 2009, in the midst of election protests it was shut down.

TRIALS

On December 24, the mother of Ramin Aghazadeh Ghahremani, one of four detainees who died while in custody at the Kahrizak Detention Center following the 2009 protests, told the Kalameh website that she is not optimistic about the Kahrizak Detention Center trial. Recently, the head of Iranian police said detainees were sent to the center against police advise.

INTERNET FREEDOM

This week, in a series of attacks by the cyber army of the Revolutionary Guard, nine political opposition websites were hacked.

This week, Iranian Culture Minister Ali Jannati told the state news agency that more than 70 percent of people in Tehran watch banned TV and millions use forbidden social media. In the fall, Jannati spoke out against Iran’s easily-circumvented ban on Facebook and Twitter.

On December 23, Iran's Ministry of Communications and IT, Mahmoud Vaezi, announced that it is developing a system to overhaul internet filtering in the country.

On December 23, Iran’s top leaders sent Christmas greetings on social media, reaching out via unprecedented tweets from the Islamic republic — including one message directed at Pope Francis from President Rouhani: “Felicitations to @Pontifex on birthday of Christ, Prophet of love, mercy & friendship.”

HUMAN RIGHTS

This week, Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize winner and human rights lawyer, commented on Hassan Rouhani’s citizen charter saying it is redundant to the rights section of the constitution. Ebadi emphasized the president's duty to ensure that all aspects of the constitution are reflected in government action.

In the meantime, this week a group of political prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Prison of Karaj released a statement asking for a national level campaign to reform the judiciary system in Iran to prevent misconduct of trials and ensure due process.

EXECUTIONS

This week, a prisoner was hanged in the central prison of Zahedan. He was charged for murder.