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Iran political prisoners cause international concern

Al-Arabia - International concern is rising for more than a dozen political prisoners in Iran who are on hunger strike.

Amnesty International issued a statement on Tuesday describing their conditions as "cruel, inhuman and degrading".

Amnesty International said that prisoners at Raja’i Shahr prison were recently transferred to a newly opened area where conditions are suffocating.

“They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds,” the statement read.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said that on July 30 about 53 political prisoners were violently transferred to Section 10 of Raja’i Shahr prison.

Among them are human rights defenders, trade ists, journalists, students, peaceful political dissidents, and members of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i community.

At least 17 political prisoners went on hunger strike in protest at the transfer.

The Paris based National Council of Resistance of Iran said that political prisoners in the notorious Gohardasht Prison are experiencing deteriorated physical conditions and are in dangerous conditions as well.

“On Monday, August 21, Mr. Hassan Sadeghi was transferred to Farabi Hospital in Qazvin Square of southern Tehran, he is suffering from glaucoma due to the severe blows suffered from prison authorities to his eye,” the NCRI said in their statement.

“Physicians say there is a possibility that his eye blood veins are torn and may lose his eyesight”.

Sadeghi was arrested in 2015 for the third time for supporting the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran and sentenced to 15 years behind bars. 

Last Update: Wednesday, 23 August 2017 KSA 05:29 - GMT 02:29




Judiciary Contradicts Rouhani Officials’ Promise to Detained Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi

CHRI - The spokesman for Iran's judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, has publicly rejected a report that security agents will leave detained opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's home in northern Tehran as "total lies."

Iranian Labor Activist Forced to Stay Behind Bars Until December 2018 Despite Completing Sentence

CHRI - To protest being returned to prison two years after he was released, prominent labor activist Reza Shahabi started a hunger strike on August 9, 2017, in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, 31 miles east of Tehran.

800 Activists Urge Iranian Parliament to End Child Marriage

CHRI - Hundreds of Iranian women and children's rights advocates in Iran are urging Parliament to prohibit underage marriage in the country.

IRAN: Six Inmates at Rajaee Shahr Prison Punished With Solitary Confinement For Going on Hunger Strike

CHRI -Prisoners Protest Transfer to High-Security Ward Without Medicine or Clothes

Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj.

More than 50 political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison are in severe distress, with at least six on hunger strike in solitary confinement, after they were moved en masse to a high-security ward without any of their clothes or medicine.

"This is the same ward where about 20 Sunni prisoners lived before they were executed last year," one of the prisoners' relatives told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) after a scheduled family visit. "It had been empty until now as work was carried out to beef up the security measures."

"During the past 10 days, the transferred prisoners have been taken out for fresh air only three times," said the source, who spoke with CHRI on condition of anonymity. "The moldy air inside does not change because the ward gate is always closed and the small cell windows are covered with thick nets. Access to the prison store has also become very limited."

Jafar Eghdami, Saeed Masouri, Hassan Sadeghi, Reza Akbari Monfared, Amir Ghaziani and Abolghasem Fouladvand "were taken to solitary confinement for officially announcing their action [hunger strike] on August 9," said the source.

The informed source added that tensions are high partly because the inmates had not gotten back their personal effects, including medication, that were left behind when they were suddenly moved to Ward 12 from Ward 10 on July 30, 2017. 

"The authorities have still not returned the prisoners' belongings, including television sets, water purifiers, and most important of all their clothes and medicines," said the source. "This is really bad for some of the prisoners who are sick and need to take medication regularly."

Hunger Strike!

Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.

"These prisoners are still wearing the same clothes they had on when they were transferred," said the source. "Many of them came to the visitors' hall looking ungroomed and wearing only shorts or underwear."

"That made the families really worried, even though the prisoners tried to keep their spirits up," added the source. "The prisoners wanted us to contact the prosecutor and the media about what's happening."

According to Article 37 of the State Prisons Organization's regulations, prison authorities "must exercise sufficient care and attention in the safe return of convicts' personal effects at the time of their release or during transfers."

CHRI has learned also learned that Ward 10, located on the third floor of Rajaee Shahr Prison, has been equipped with enhanced security gear such as closed-circuit cameras, microphones and jamming devices to block smuggled mobile phones.

... Payvand News - 08/17/17 ... --


Iran: Scheduled execution of man arrested as teenager is an all-out assault on children’s rights

Iran:Amnesty - The planned execution on Wednesday morning of Mehdi Bohlouli, who was only a child at the time of the crime, just days after the hanging of another man arrested as a child, is a sickening act of cruelty that must be stopped immediately, said Amnesty International today.

Iran Executes Man Arrested at 15 Despite Commitment to Stop Executing Juveniles

CHRI - Prominent Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh: Case Had "Serious Holes"

 Iran has violated its international obligations by executing Alireza Tajiki, who was 15-years-old when he was arrested and 16 when he was sentenced to death, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Political Prisoner in Solitary Confinement for Hunger Striking Against Wife’s Detention

Soheil Arabi with his wife and daughter.CHRI - Political prisoner Soheil Arabi, serving a seven-year prison sentence for the content of his personal Facebook posts, was moved to solitary confinement in Evin Prison after he started a hunger strike to protest his wife's detention.

Iran Should Immediately Release Critically Ill Opposition Leaders Under House Arrest

CHRI - Karroubi and Mousavi's Health in Peril After Six Years of Forced Isolation

More than six years into their extrajudicial house arrest, the health of leading Iranian political opposition leaders is in grave danger, renewing urgent calls in Iran for their freedom.

Iran vilifies human rights defenders as ‘enemies of the state’

Iran vilifies human rights defenders as ‘enemies of the state’Amnesty - Iran's judicial and security bodies have waged a vicious crackdown against human rights defenders since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, demonizing and imprisoning activists who dare to stand up for people's rights, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

Family, US Congress Convince Imprisoned US Permanent Resident to End Hunger Strike in Iran

CHRI - Nizar Zakka "Under Intense Torture and Pressure"

A Lebanese-born US permanent resident who was sentenced in September 2016 to 10 years imprisonment in Iran ended his hunger strike in Tehran's Evin Prison on July 27, 2017 after pleas from his family and a call by US Congress for his immediate release.

Iranian Sugar Plant Workers Detained Without Bail After Protesting Unpaid Wages and Benefits

CHRI - Eight workers at one of Iran's largest and oldest agricultural companies remain detained without bail after being arrested for demanding unpaid wages and benefits.

Iran must not squander opportunity to end executions for drug-related offences

Amnesty - Iranian lawmakers must not miss a historic opportunity to reject the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences and save the lives of thousands of people across the country, said Amnesty International and Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation today.

Ex-Vice President Criticizes Iran's Judiciary, Treatment Of Inmates

Ex-Vice President Criticizes Iran's Judiciary, Treatment Of InmatesRFL/RE - Former Vice President Hamid Baghaei has criticized Iran's judiciary and the treatment of prisoners following his release on bail.

"Go and see what's happening in our prisons," Baghaei, who is accused of corruption, said after his release late on July 26.

"There was one person in my cell. He was in there for 13 months without even being questioned," he said. "They didn't even call his family. He has one child and was an airline employee."

Baghaei was detained by police on July 9. He was put behind bars after failing to raise the $13 million bail requested for his release.

Baghaei, who held office under former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, had earlier gone on hunger strike to protest his detention.

Ahmadinejad has described his close ally’s detention as “illegal” and a “great cruelty” and had called for his immediate release.

Baghaei also called judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Ejei a "liar."

Ejei had compared Baghaei’s cell conditions to a luxury hotel, claiming he was in a suite where he had “a refrigerator, a television, and enough sunlight.”

Baghaei had registered to run in the May presidential election, but he was disqualified by the hard-line Guardians Council that is tasked with vetting election candidates.


    1,600 Teachers Demand Iran’s Judiciary Free Imprisoned Rights Activist

    CHRI - More than one thousand Iranian teachers have issued a statement calling for the release of a teacher imprisoned for peacefully advocating for teachers' rights in the southern port city of Bushehr.

    UNESCO 2030 Educational Guidelines Scrapped by Iran Include Essential Protective Measures Against Child Abuse

    Religious conservatives in Iran began opposing the Rouhani government's plan to implement the UNESCO agenda 2030 guidelines into the country's educational system after a campaign was launched by hardliners to discredit it.CHRI - Religious conservatives in Iran began opposing the Rouhani government's plan to implement the UNESCO agenda 2030 guidelines into the country's educational system after a campaign was launched by hardliners to discredit it.

    Iran: Halt Drug-Related Executions

    Iran: Halt Drug-Related ExecutionsHRW - Spate of Executions Despite Imminent Reforms:

    The Iranian government should immediately halt all executions for drug-related offenses while parliament debates amendments to reform the country's drug law, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament is expected to vote in two weeks on an amendment to the drug law that would drastically increase the bar for a mandatory death penalty sentence.

    "It makes no sense for Iran's judiciary to execute people now under a drug law that will likely bar such executions as early as next month," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "It would be the height of cruelty to execute someone today for a crime that would at worst get them a 30-year sentence when this law is amended."

    On July 16, 2017, parliament approved a proposal to amend Iran's 1997 Law to Combat Drugs to limit the death penalty for some nonviolent, drug-related offenses. However, parliament sent the draft legislation back to the parliamentary judiciary commission for a fourth time to deliberate the proposed changes for certain offenses.

    Under Iran's current drug law, at least 10 offenses, including some that are nonviolent, are punishable by death, including possession of as little as 30 grams of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines. The law also mandates the death penalty for trafficking, possession, or trade of more than five kilograms of opium or 30 grams of heroin; repeated offenses involving smaller amounts; or the manufacture of more than 50 grams of synthetic drugs.

    On December 6, 2016, 146 members of parliament introduced a draft amendment that sought to replace capital punishment for drug offenses with imprisonment for up to 30 years, while allowing the death penalty if the accused or one of the participants in the crime used or carried weapons intending to use them against law enforcement agencies. The death penalty also would still apply to a leader of a drug trafficking cartel, anyone who used a child in drug trafficking, or anyone facing new drug-related charges who had previously been sentenced to execution or 15 years to life for drug-related offenses.

    Under pressure from the judiciary and administration, however, the judiciary commission retracted part of their proposed amendments on July 9. It added the death penalty for nonviolent charges of "production, distribution, trafficking, and selling" of more than 100 kilograms of "traditional" drugs such as opium or two kilograms of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines. The commission also restored the death penalty for possession, purchase, or concealing more than five kilograms of "synthetic drugs." In both cases the death penalty would only apply where the accused had previously been sentenced to more than two years for drug-related offenses. On July 18, Hasan Noroozi, the commission's spokesman, told IRNA news agency that the commission is adding "possession, purchase or concealing" 50 kilograms of "traditional" drugs to the offenses punishable by death.

    On April 9, the commission proposed to apply the amendments retroactively, which would dramatically reduce the number of people currently on death row in Iran. In addition, on July 5, judiciary commission members asked the judiciary to suspend executions of drug offenders until parliament could vote on the bill.

    A Human Rights Watch review of the Norway-based Iran Human Rights Organization's database, which documents executions in Iran, shows that Ghezelhesar and Karaj Central prisons have not carried out any executions since the beginning of Ramadan on May 26, but that other prison authorities in Isfahan, Western Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Sistan and Baluchestan, and Khorasan Razavi, have continued to execute people convicted of drug offenses. The group said that the authorities have executed at least 39 people since July 5 on drug-related charges.

    In mid-July, Human Rights Watch interviewed via smartphone applications six family members of prisoners who are on death row. They said that they are hopeful that the new law would spare their loved ones from execution. The mother of a man executed in Khoram Abad prison in Lorestan province on June 24, said, "If authorities hadn't executed my son today, [under the new law] he would have been sentenced to imprisonment."

    Iran has one the highest rates of executions in the world. According to Amnesty International, in 2016, Iran executed at least 567 people, the majority for drug-related convictions. In December 2016, Noroozi, the parliamentary judicial committee spokesman, urged parliament to amend the law, stating that 5,000 people are on Iran's death row for drug-related offenses, the majority of them ages 20 to 30.

    Human Rights Watch has repeatedly documented serious violations of due process, torture, and other violations of the rights of criminal suspects facing drug-related charges. Such flawed judicial proceedings heighten grave concerns about the application of the death penalty.

    Under article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified, countries that still retain capital punishment may apply the death penalty only for the "most serious crimes." The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the independent expert body that interprets the covenant, has said that drug offenses are not among the "most serious crimes," and that the use of the death penalty for such crimes violates international law. Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because it is inherently inhumane and irreversible.

    "Parliament should resist any pressure to curb reforms to the drug law and move forward with a bill that better protects the right to life," Whitson said. "This would be the first step in addressing the epidemic of executions in Iran and a move toward abolishing the death penalty."

    Staged Visit by Foreign Ambassadors to Iran’s Evin Prison Condemned by Rights Activists


    ACHRI - A member of the German embassy enters Evin Prison on a red carpet.Abusive Conditions and Political Prisoners Hidden from Visitors

    A state-choreographed visit by dozens of foreign ambassadors based in Iran to Tehran's Evin Prison has been condemned by prominent human rights activists inside and outside the country for glossing over the prison's well–documented history of ongoing human rights violations.

    Iranian Supreme Court Judge Describes 1988 Mass Executions of Political Prisoners as “Fair and Lawful”

    CHRI - A senior Iranian judicial official has publicly defended the state's mass executions of political prisoners and extended incarcerations of dissidents in the 1980s.

    Osman Mostafapour; 27 Years Imprisonment without Furlough

    Osman MostafapourHRANA News Agency – Osman Mostafapour, political prisoner in Urmia prison has begun the 27th year of his imprisonment without furlough. In 1994, He was sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison in two separate cases.

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