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Young Man Hanged in North-Eastern Iran - One man was hanged in the prison of Torqabeh (near Mashhad, north-edam1eastern Iran) Monday morning 19. January. According to the Iranian daily newspaper Khorasan, the 26 year old man who was identified as "M. S." and convicted of murdering another man under a street fight in 2008, was sentenced to qesas (retribution in kind).

Iranian Man Sentenced to Removal of Eye and Ear on Acid Attack- Doctors Deny Carrying Out the Senten - An Iranian man has been sentenced to surgical removal of one eye and one ear as retribution for an acid attack.

The sentence has not been implemented yet because no doctors have been willing to carry out the sentence. Iran Human Rights (IHR) condemns the Iranian authorities' use of barbaric punishments and urges the international community to react. Spokesperson of IHR, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: " Removal of inhumane punishment in law and practice must be a prerequisite for any improvement of relations between Iranian authorities and the international community".

Iran Human Rights, January 21, 2014: Retribution sentence of losing one eye and ear of a man has not been 150121090338_acid__512x288_isnaimplemented due to unwillingness of doctors, reported the state run Iranian Fars news agency today. Quoting Judge "Dashtban" from the "Section for implementation of the verdict" of Tehran's area 27, the report said: "The retribution verdict of losing an eye and ear of the convict is supposed to be carried out surgically. We are still awaiting a response from the forensic medicine".

So far several doctors have denied carrying out the sentence and implementation has therefore been delayed, said the report.

Dashtban said: " The delay is from the medical side and is not our fault"- He added: "We had a meeting with the forensic medicine and they will let us know once there is a doctor who is willing to carry out the sentence".

The young man who is sentenced to losing eye and ear is identified as "Hamid S." and is convicted of pouring acid on another man identified as "Davoud Roshanaei" in 2005. He was later sentenced to qesas (retribution in kind) by losing one eye and one ear.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) strongly condemns the Iranian authorities' use of inhumane punishments. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: "Iranian authorities are among the few in the world still practicing medieval punishments such as amputation of body parts, blindness and public executions. This is happening while the relationship between Iran and the international community is improving. We urge the United Nations and all countries with diplomatic relations with Iran to use all their channels in order to put an end to these punishments". Amiry-Moghaddam added: " Removal of inhumane punishment in law and practice must be a prerequisite for any improvement of relations between Iranian authorities and the international community".

The spokesperson of IHR also hailed the doctors who deny participation in these barbaric acts. He said: " Participation in such punishments are serious violations of the Hippocratic oath and anyone who takes part in carrying out such sentences can not be called a doctor".

Public Execution of Two Prisoners in Front of Children - The first public executions of 2015 were carried out in Shiraz this morning. There were 170115-shiraz1bseveral children among those watching the hangings.

Iran Human Rights, January 17, 2015: Two prisoners were hanged publicly in Shiraz (Southern Iran) today. According to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary the prisoners were identified as "S. M." and "A. M." and were charged with rape of a woman.

Tens of people and anti-riot police were present at the execution site. There were many several children among the spectators.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) has previously urged UN to ban public executions and other inhumane punishments.170115-shiraz16b

Iranian Judiciary Shuts Down Newspaper for Publishing “I am Charlie Too” Quote - Two days after the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan demanded judicial authorities close down reformist newspaper Mardom-e Emrooz, which was only in operation for only 16 days, the newspaper was shut down by orders from Branch 2 of Media Court of the Iranian Judiciary for publishing "I'm Charlie" on its front page.

The reformist Mardom-e Emrooz began publication on December 27, 2014. In its January 14, 2015 issue, the newspaper published a large photograph of the American actor George Clooney at the Golden Globe Awards, above which was printed "I am Charlie, too," quoting Clooney during his acceptance speech, when he remembered the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.

This week Kayhan criticized the French publication Charlie Hebdo for featuring another cartoon of the Islamic prophet Mohammad. In its January 15 issue, Kayhan wrote, "the cartoonists for the obscene publication Charlie Hebdo...were mahdur al-dam [those whose blood is worthless because they violated Islam]," even though the Iranian paper also sought to dissociate itself from the attackers, whom they similarly described as "a few mahdur al-dam terrorists."

In a letter to Iran's Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, eighty Members of Parliament warned against "discriminatory treatment of the media." They wrote, "Why doesn't the Press Oversight Committee issue a warning to the newspaper that has promoted the French publication that has insulted the Prophet of Islam?"

Zohreh Tayebzadeh, a Member of Parliament, threatened the Culture Minister on January 15, that "if he does not assertively confront this newspaper, he would be the subject of an impeachment himself."

The Yalesarat weekly, the ultra conservative publication of Iran's Ansar-e Hezbollah, implicitly defended the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, and said "Murder of those who insult the Prophet is a welcome phenomenon in the acts that took place in this story, which must be viewed separately from the perpetrators of the act."

The Kayhan article also condemned domestic publications and a statement by Iranian journalists that were supportive of the Charlie Hebdo publication, and called them "dependent on European countries and the US." The article concluded that Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance must seriously crack down on these publications.

Kayhan's article took direct aim at Mardom-e Emrooz, after the newspaper published an article on Charlie Hebdo on January 13. Referring to the reformist publication as a "serial newspaper," Kayhan indicated its dismay at the re-emergence in new publications of the editorial staffs of reformist publications that had been repeatedly closed. "Despite clear violation of Paragraph 7, Article 6 of the Press Law, with the Press Oversight Committee's and the Judiciary's silence, the serial newspaper supportive of those who insulted the holy realm of the Islam Prophet has not been found deserving of punishment!"

Kayhan alleged that reformist newspapers and media have displayed "anti-Islamic conduct" in the past, and that "unfortunately, except for a change in the name of the serial medium after its closure, they have borne no further costs."

Kayhan criticized a statement by 185 Iranian journalists condemning the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, and said that it was an inappropriate act that received widespread attention in "hostile media."

"It is not clear for what reason Mardom-e Emrooz Newspaper, with a Chief Editor who is a convict with a record in the 2009 sedition, has published an article in support of those who insulted the Prophet of Islam," referring to Mohammad Ghoochani, the newspaper's editor who has run several reformist newspapers. Conservative officials refer to the peaceful protests that followed the disputed presidential election in Iran in 2009 as "sedition."

Demands for closure of Mardom-e Emrooz gained momentum when the Iranian state television joined Kayhan and other conservative publications and ran several news segments condemning Mardom-e Emrooz. In a news segment on January 15, the state television reported that despite a written warning by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to the Mardom-e Emrooz newspaper, "there will be a special session of the Press Oversight Committee to discuss and review the subject of this newspaper next Monday [January 19, 2015]."

"As the son of a cleric, our expectation of the Minister of [Culture and Islamic] Guidance is to ban Mardom-e Emrooz Newspaper," Saleh Eskandari, Head of the Basij Media Research Center, told Fars News Agency on January 15. [link:]

In contrast to these views, clerics such as Ahmad Khatami, Nasser Makarem Shirazi, and the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani have condemned the terrorist attack in their speeches. "[Acts of] terror are not appropriate for friends nor for foes; from Islam's viewpoint, [acts of] terror are forbidden and condemned," Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi told his students on January 14. "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in France, and believe that Islam does not allow the murder of innocents," said the conservative Friday Imam of Tehran, Ahmad Khatami on January 9.

Tags: Charlie Hebdo, George Clooney, Golden Globes, I am Charlie, Kayhan Newspaper, Mardom Emrooz, Mardom-e-Emrooz

Six Prisoners Executed in Iran - Five prisoners were convicted of drug-related charges. At least 28 people have been executed in the first two weeks of 2015 in Iran.

Iran Human Rights, January 14, 2015: Five prisoners were hanged in the prison of Arak (Central Iran) yesterday Tuesday January 13, reported the official website of the Judiciary in Markazi Province.

All the prisoners were sentenced to death by Arak Revolution Court for drug related charges said the report. The prisoners were identified as "Mohammadreza S." charged with possession and trafficking of 10 kilograms of heroin, "Mohammad A" for possession and trafficking of 3 kilograms and one gram of heroin, "Davoud A" for possession of 3330 grams of heroin and 3 grams of concentrated heroin, "Javad M." for paticipation in buying and possession of 4300 grams of heroin, and "Mostafa F." for participation in buying and possession of 4300 grams of heroin, said the report.

One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Sari (Northern Iran) early this morning, Wednesday January 14, reported the official website of the Judiciary in Mazandaran Province. The prisoner was identified as "M. R." charged with kidnapping and rape of a women, said the report.

Jason Rezaian Indicted by Tehran Revolutionary Court, Says Prosecutor - During a press conference today, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters that the imprisoned Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, has been indicted and that his case has been forwarded to a Tehran Revolutionary Court. The Prosecutor's announcement, after 170 days of "temporary detention" of the journalist, did not include a statement about the charges Rezaian is facing.

"Contrary to what some human rights organizations claim about the violations of the rights of suspects in visiting with their families, Jason Rezaian's mother, who recently traveled to Iran to visit with her son, met the aforementioned twice," said the Tehran Prosecutor. He added that Jason Rezaian's mother also had a short meeting with the investigative judge in the case.

In a video plea to the Iranian authorities for her son's release, published by the Washington Post on November 7, 2014, Mary Rezaian said, "I wake up every morning, awaiting a phone call, an email, or even a knock at the door with news Jason has been released. But there has been no news."

In another part of her video message, Mary Rezaian directly addressed "those who have the power to release" her son. "Enough is enough. You have had 100 days to know my sweet boy, and surely by now you know what his family and friends have always told you–Jason is a good, kind man who loves Iran and its people."

Jason Rezaian, 38, holds dual Iranian and US citizenship, and has been the Washington Post correspondent in Tehran since 2012. Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who worked for the UAE newspaper The National as their Tehran correspondent, were detained in Tehran on July 22, 2014. Yeganeh Salehi was released in October 2014, but Jason Rezaian has remained in prison without clarification about his charges.

Tags: abbas jafari dolatabadi, due process rights, Imprisoned Journalist, Jason Rezaian, Revolutionary Court, Washington Post

Khabar-on-line rebuked for blog posting about corruption

internet1Radiozamaneh - The Iranian judiciary announced that the Khabar-on-line website has been charged with provoking public anxiety by publishing an article about corruption in the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The Deputy Prosecutor General told the Fars News Agency on January 13 that the Cyber Crimes Supervisory Committee has acted very leniently by merely giving a warning to the website.

Khabar-on-line has defended itself, saying the item under dispute was written on a blog which is not directly monitored by the director.

The website has apologized for the publication of the disputed piece.

In it, writer Hamidreza Shah-Mohammadi, interprets President Rohani's statements on corruption as a reference to the Revolutionary Guards. The piece proceeds to severely criticize the IRGC for its interference in economic, social, political and media affairs.

The writer also warns about the military body's possible interference with the Assembly of Experts and parliamentary elections.

Tags: corruption, IRGC, Khabar-on-line

Official Claims of Smart Internet Filtering Overblown, but Efforts to Monitor Users Grow - Despite recent claims by state officials that the government has developed the ability to selectively block "inappropriate and illegal" content and that smart filtering would be installed on the country's Internet gateways, and their assertion that they have already implemented such smart filtering on social networks such as Instagram, research by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran indicates that social networks continue to be blocked through traditional methods such as blocking Internet addresses and IP's.

However, state authorities are moving forward on the development of a user identification system that would strengthen the state's ability to selectively block access to online content from the user side, and to monitor and restrict the online activities of certain groups of users designated by the state.

Claims that the authorities can selectively implement Internet filtering based on content identification of a website or a social network are technically unsupportable. Iran does not have the ability to implement Internet filtering based on selective content identification. Most Internet content is encrypted through SSL certificates and thus authorities cannot analyze the content of a website that's encrypted. Moreover, it would be impossible to analyze the entire Internet traffic in Iran; there is simply too much of it, one would need to have data centers on the magnitude of Google's huge data storage centers to collect and analyze the data. In addition, the technology for analyzing video and photos is still rather weak.

Yet selective content filtering continues to be prominent in the internal Iranian government debate over Internet censorship, despite its technical improbabilities, because of the domestic politics of Internet censorship in Iran. Hardliners dominant in the Intelligence and security branches, in the Judiciary, and in the Parliament, want to cut Iranians off from the global Internet, allowing online access only through the government's developing National Information Network (essentially a domestic Iranian Intranet, detailed in the Campaign's report, Internet in Chains: The Front Line of State Repression in Iran) in which only content deemed appropriate by the state is available.

The Rouhani administration has argued that the country's citizens should not be completely cut off from the global Internet, and has suggested that "smart filtering," in which only the objectionable content within a particular site or social network is blocked, would give the authorities a measure of control over Internet use in Iran without completely cutting the people of Iran off from sites that are integral to modern communications. Given the technological obstacles to content-based filtering, however, this compromise measure does not seem likely to hold much promise for resolving the dispute.

Inflated claims on content-based filtering should not obscure the fact that Iranian organizations in charge of Internet censorship have continued to move forward with the development of other tools that will strengthen state control over Internet access and the state's ability to monitor online activities. The authorities' simultaneous approach to Internet censorship from the user side, involving development of a system whereby users in Iran will be assigned "Internet numbers" that will identify groups of individuals for which the authorities wish to restrict Internet access, is technologically more feasible.

According to the Iran IT Analysis and News website, Iranian Internet users will soon each be assigned such a number, so that each user accesses the Internet with a specific identification code, just as telephone users each use a specific land line or cell phone number. The new Internet number will classify individuals by group based on criteria such as age, education and occupation. Some groups would be allowed access to certain online content, other groups would be denied. The system would thus involve the identification of users, and would enable the government to control their Internet access and activities. It would greatly enhance the state's ability to block access based on targeted individual profiles.

In his latest remarks effectively acknowledging the focus on user as opposed to content-based filtering, Mahmoud Khosravi, Head of Iran Telecommunications Infrastructure Company said, "Smart filtering is not supposed to be implemented in the international gateway, because there are a lot of complications in that gateway. Therefore, the smart filtering will be implemented in the access layers, which could entail the ISP, the operations, or the provincial layers, which is yet to be determined." Khosravi further described how the "smart" filtering of access levels of the Internet content will be determined by the above mentioned factors such as age and profession.

This new system, if fully implemented, will have two effects. First, it will necessitate the identification of users. This is a serious violation of users' privacy and it exposes them to the risk that their personal information and Internet activities will be made accessible to security and state agencies. For individuals engaged in social or political activism online, or indeed any activities the authorities disapprove of, the consequences of such identification can be catastrophic: individuals have been arrested, convicted of vague national security related crimes, and sentenced to long prison sentences based on their online activities and content retrieved and found objectionable by state authorities.

Secondly, it will also allow the authorities to limit access to information (to the various groups it designates), which is a violation of the basic right to information declared universal by the United Nations in 2012. It will also enable authorities to control the content individuals are able to produce and republish online, which is a violation of the basic human right of freedom of speech.

Charges against Washington Post journalist imprisoned in Iran remain a mystery

WashingtonPost -Five weeks after being charged in a Tehran court, Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist imprisoned in Iran, still does not know the exact nature of the allegations against him and remains unable to speak to a lawyer, the reporter's family said after visiting him twice last month.

In what appears to be the longest imprisonment for a Western journalist in Iran, Rezaian, who has been the newspaper's Iran bureau chief since 2012, has been held at Tehran's Evin prison for more than 170 days. Weeks after an initial court date, he is aware only that the five separate charges against him relate to alleged "activities outside the bounds of journalism," said his mother, Mary Breme Rezaian, and his brother, Ali Rezaian.

His family called on Iran's government to permit Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, access to a lawyer and to make the allegations against him public.

"The fact of the matter is that they have since the beginning bent or broken their rules, and ignored the constitutional requirements that they have, in how they handle a detainee," his brother said.

"Jason is aware of that, and it's very frustrating for him," Ali Rezaian said. "That's part of what's causing him so much stress and difficulty."

The Washington Post has repeatedly called for the immediate release of Rezaian, who was accredited to work as a journalist in Iran. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron underscored the paper's concern about Rezaian's detention in a year-end note to staff.

"We feel outrage at the severe injustice endured by Jason Rezaian, our cherished correspondent, who has been imprisoned for many months in Iran on unspecified charges," Baron wrote.

The Obama administration has also appealed for Rezaian's release, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry has raised his case with Iranian officials during international talks over Tehran's nuclear program.

Kerry is expected to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva this week during the latest round of talks. Zarif has previously called Rezaian a "fair reporter" and said he "had hoped all along that his detention would be short."

Rezaian, who was born and raised in California, was arrested on July 22 along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. But he was not officially charged until a court session on Dec. 6. His family said that Rezaian, who speaks Farsi but does not read or write the language, was provided a court interpreter who ostensibly spoke English but was unable to adequately communicate the charges that were being presented.

"He's still not 100 percent sure" what the charges are, Ali Rezaian said. "There's never been any specific accusation of wrongdoing."

Salehi, an Iranian national and fellow journalist, was released on bail in October but is unable to leave Iran. She now faces charges of her own, Rezaian's family said, but those charges appear to be less severe than those levied against her husband.

Mary Rezaian, who resides in Istanbul, traveled to Iran in December and was granted permission to visit her son twice at the end of last month. During the first visit, which took place on Dec. 25, she was accompanied by Salehi's mother. The two women met with Rezaian for about an hour. While they talked, a camera set on a tripod filmed the meeting.

Mary Rezaian said she was taken aback by her son's appearance. "He looked very different," she said. "He had lost 40 pounds."

In a second visit on Dec. 30, both his mother and Salehi were permitted to speak with Rezaian separately, but only for a short while. It was the first time that Salehi had been permitted to see or talk to her husband since early December.

Mary Rezaian said her son has struggled to obtain adequate treatment for several health problems. Prison officials are providing medication for chronic high blood pressure, but Rezaian, 38, went weeks without treatment for an eye infection. He has also suffered from back problems resulting from sleeping on the floor and at times has been unable to walk normally.

Rezaian also appears to be struggling to keep his spirits up, his mother said. "Jason is normally a very sunny, bubbly person," she said. "I would say that he is depressed and very frustrated."

While Rezaian was previously held in solitary confinement, he is now kept in a cell with another prisoner, his family said. He is given access to fresh air and exercise on a regular basis. Initially, he was subjected to extensive interrogations five to six days a week, but he has not been interrogated for some time.

Ali Rezaian said the lengthy interrogation reflected the weaknesses of the case against his brother. The government "has been trying to generate proof of something, of anything," he said.

Iranian officials have not allowed Rezaian to speak to a lawyer his family has hired in Tehran. Nor has the lawyer been able to obtain information about the charges against Rezaian.

His case is now expected to be referred to Iranian court for trial, but it is unclear when that will occur.

Missy Ryan writes about the Pentagon, military issues, and national security for The Washington Post.

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