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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.

Student Imprisoned for Refusing to Spy for Iran’s Intelligence Ministry Denied Visitation Rights

CHRI - Imprisoned for refusing to spy for Iran's Intelligence Ministry, Hamid Babaei has been denied visitation rights at Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran.

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's Judicial Official Threatens Rouhani's Telecommunications Minister With Criminal Charges Over Telegram

PayvandNews - Iran's Deputy Prosecutor General Abdolsamad Khorramabadi has threatened to take Telecommunications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi to court for his alleged refusal to block thousands of channels on Telegram, the country's most widely used private messaging application.

"For reasons known to the telecommunications minister, we have so far been lenient in our response to the ministry's failure in carrying out judicial orders," said Khorramabadi on July 26, 2017. "From now on if the minister does not carry out the orders, we will definitely file criminal charges against him after receiving permission from the prosecutor general and senior judicial officials."


Days earlier Khorramabadi, who is also the secretary of Iran's main internet censorship body, the Taskforce to Determine Instances of Criminal Content (TDICC), accused the telecommunications ministry of refusing to block "a list of about 8,000 channels on the Telegram network with criminal content against the people's sacred and national values."


Vaezi, who was appointed to his post by President Hassan Rouhani, rejected the notion while cautioning the judiciary against ordering channels blocked solely for the channels' political affiliation.


"He thinks everything should be blocked," said Vaezi about Khorramabadi in a meeting with a group of conservative members of Iran's Parliament on July 15. "But based on what Iran and the world has learned from experience, we believe that shutting down more sites will reduce opportunities and push people to use filter breakers."


The digital tool enables users to access blocked or censored parts of websites.


"During the [May 2017] elections, they asked us to close down some of the social media channels that supported one [political] faction or another," added Vaezi without indicating which authority made the demands. "What do they [the channels] have to do with criminal content?... We are in contact with officials at Telegram, but they refuse to shut down political channels."


Khorramabadi Changes His Mind


Meanwhile Khorramabadi reversed his longtime position on Telegram hosting its servers in Iran.


Iranian officials have repeatedly tried to convince Telegram to move its servers onto Iranian soil in order to monitor, restrict and control domestic user activity, which they continue to attempt with the internet. Telegram claims it has denied all such requests, but is currently using technological infrastructure in Iran.


In May 2016 the prosecutor threatened to block access to Telegram unless the company agreed to move its servers into the country. However, on July 26 Khorramabadi said Telegram's official presence in Iran would legitimize dependence on the foreign-owned social media network.


"Telegram's entry into Iran with its servers would consolidate [foreign] infiltration and espionage in the country," said the conservative prosecutor. "The impact of Telegram's current unofficial and uncontrollable activities is even worse. Both scenarios mean dependency on foreigners in cyberspace."


Khorramabadi's recent comments coincide with Telegram's installation of content delivery networks (CDN), caching servers that allow faster delivery of multimedia data, inside Iran.


Khorramabadi went on to criticize the fact that Iranians are allowed to access Telegram channels such as the popular and independent Amad News as well as channels belonging to the outlawed Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) and the group that calls itself the Islamic State-both of which have committed terrorist attacks in Iran.


"Daesh [ISIS] coordinated everything through Telegram for its terrorist attack on our Parliament [on June 7, 2017]," he claimed. "It is not acceptable to any Iranian for ISIS to post a video on Telegram of its attack on Parliament without us taking technical action against it."


... Payvand News - 07/31/17 ... --


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.

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