Nabz Weekly - January 3, 2014

This week in human rights in Iran

MINORITY RIGHTS

On December 29, Nilisa Yahyavi, a Baha’i student at Semnan University was expelled from school after being interrogated about her religious beliefs by the university authorities.

On December 30, the Court of Salmas sentenced two Kurds, Saber Mamedi and Nazmin Heydari, to life in prison on charges of supporting PJAK, a Kurdish opposition group.

On December 31, after being pressured by the government, the Church of Saint Peter in Tehran banned Persian speaking Christians from entering the church. This decision follows an increased pressure on the newly converted Christian community in Iran. The majority of the Christian population in Iran are of Armenian descent.

On January 1, Ebrahim Fazli, Mohammad Ali Saadi and Asghar Karimi, three Gonabadi Dervishes, were each sentenced to two years in prison. They were among a group of Dervishes who defended their mosque during an attack by Basij militia forces in the city of Kavar two years ago.

FREEDOM OF THE INTERNET

On December 31, Minister of Culture and Guidance Ali Jannati called for the easing of restrictions on web access by the Committee for the Determination of Criminal Content, and that there needs to be a reconsideration of the restrictions to social networking sites.”They need to reconsider and not consider everything as criminal content," said Jannati/

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

On December 31, Tehran’s prosecutor filed charges against Ali Motahari, a prominent politician and parliamentarian, because of his recent interview with ILNA news agency regarding the events that occurred after the 2009 presidential elections and the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders.

This week, the Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister’s deputy admitted that the previous administration kept a black list of Iranian writers and poets whose works, regardless of their content, were deliberately stopped from being published.PRISONERS RIGHTS

According to Shargh Newspaper in Tehran, 53 people died in a drug rehabilitation center due to mistreatment and abuse by the staff.

Six Kurdish prisoners of Rajaee Shahr Prison are in critical conditions after 56 days on a hunger strike in which they are protesting against the death sentences that they received during a trial that they believed to have been unfair.

WORKERS RIGHTS

The head of the Abadan Refinery Union of Contract Workers Siamak Malek announced that three contracting companies at the international port of Mahshahr failed to pay their workers for over three months. Malek said that in addition to withholding wages, employers have failed to provide workers with necessary benefits, uniforms and safety hats on time.

EXECUTIONS

Mohammad Ghezelbash, Hiva Mozhdei, Mehdi Aghajani and Hassan Khabbazi were hanged  on murder charges at the Uremia Central Prison on December 26.