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IRAN: 12 prisoners secretly executed in a day

NCRI - The Iranian regime's henchmen secretly hanged at least 12 inmates on Thursday (26 March 2015) in prisons in cities of Shiraz and Mashhad.

A group of five prisoners were hanged in a prison in the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran while another six were collectively hanged in Pirnia Prison in the city of Shiraz in southern Iran. On the same day, another prisoner was also hanged in Adelabad Prison in the same city.

In Shiraz, the prisoners were transferred to solitary confinements two days prior to the Iranian New Year (Nowruz), therefore, the victims spent the New Year's day in isolation awaiting execution.

The religious dictatorship ruling Iran has refrained from publishing any report or information on the prisoners.

The growing number of executions, including many carried out in secret, are just trivial examples of the nationwide repression that continues to take place in Iran since Hassan Rouhani became president of the clerical regime.

Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, reported on March 25 that some 1000 executions had been carried out during the past 15 months in Iran. Prior to that, on March 16, he told a news briefing in Geneva: "There is a lot of concern amongst the Iranian society that the nuclear file may be casting a shadow over the human rights discussion."

The U.N.'s special investigator added that the human rights situation and repression in Iran has worsened since Hassan Rouhani became president.

Iranian Screenwriter, TV Producer Jailed In Tehran

Mostafa AziziRFL/RE - A former screenwriter and producer with Iran's state-controlled television has been in jail in Tehran for the past two months.

Mostafa Azizi, who moved to Canada in 2010, had returned to Tehran to visit his relatives when he was arrested in February and transferred to the notorious Evin prison.

Azizi has been reportedly charged with "insulting Iran's supreme leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and "spreading propaganda" against the Islamic establishment.

The reason for the charges is not clear.

Azizi's son, journalist Arash Azizi, has written on his Facebook page that his father is in "good" physical and psychological condition and that he had not been physically hurt in prison.

The Iranian authorities have not publicly commented on Azizi's detention.

Imprisoned Journalist Denied Furlough, Remains with Hardened Criminals

iranhumanrights.org - Despite support from the Zanjan Province Prosecutor and prison officials, and repeated requests by family members, journalist Saeed Matinpour's furlough for the Iranian New Year was not granted and he remains behind bars.

In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Matinpour's wife, Atieh Taheri, said that officials encouraged Matinpour to request furlough for the Iranian New Year (March 20-April 2). "I followed up until the last moment, but in the end, they told us they had received a letter from the Tehran Prosecutor's Office telling them to act according to the regulations, and "according to regulations" means that political prisoners are not to be allowed furlough for the New Year," said Taheri.

Political prisoners in Iran routinely receive discriminatory treatment, such as denial of furlough normally granted to prisoners under Iranian law and denial of needed medical treatment. However, Matinpour's imprisonment at the Zanjan prison alongside hardened criminals is evidence of additional punitive treatment in his case.

Saeed Matinpour, 37, studied philosophy at Tehran University and wrote for the Zanjan Newspaper. He was also an activist for human rights and ethnic minority rights. He was arrested on May 25, 2007, for participating in a seminar in Turkey in defense of the rights of Turkish-speaking people, and was later released on bail. Matinpour was re-arrested [link: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/09/matinpour/] in July 2009 in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election, when hundreds of peaceful protesters, activists, and journalists were arrested. He was tried in Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati on charges of "connection with foreigners" and "propaganda against the state," and sentenced to eight years in prison. He served his sentence at Evin Prison until September 28, 2014, and was then transferred to Zanjan Central Prison.

"There are no political prisoners inside Zanjan Central Prison, therefore Saeed is kept next to the other prisoners. He was at Evin Prison for five years. He had found friends, and the situation at Evin is a lot better than Zanjan Prison. I wrote several letters, asking for his transfer back to Evin Prison, but I never received a response," said Atieh Taheri.

Matinpour's wife told the Campaign that enforcement of Article 134 of the New Islamic Penal Code could see her husband's prison sentence ended in the coming months. "Twice we asked for the enforcement of this article, and Saeed requested it from inside the prison, too, but we have not received any responses yet. If this article is not enforced, he will be released in September 2016, after he finishes his six-year sentence, but if it is enforced, he should be released over the coming months," she said.

The New Islamic Penal Code was approved by the Iranian Parliament's Judicial and Legal Commission in April 2013, and was approved by the Guardian Council on May 1, 2013, becoming law a few weeks later, but it has not been enforced.

In the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, hundreds of citizens were charged with multiple security crimes such as "propaganda against the state," "assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security," and "publication of falsehoods," the combined punishments for which led to heavy sentences for these individuals. Article 134 of the New Islamic Penal Code, if enforced, would mean that prisoners will only serve the maximum punishment of their most serious conviction; therefore, under Iranian law, many prisoners should have been released by now.

Journalist Remains in Prison Beyond End of Sentence

saeed-razavifaghihiranhumanrights.org - The journalist Saeed Razavi Faghih has yet to be released from prison even though he completed his one-year sentence on February 28, 2015, because he is facing new, as yet unspecified charges, his brother Massoud told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

"When I followed up the reasons why my brother had not been released, I realized he is facing another case but he himself doesn't know what he is being accused of this time," Massoud Razavi Faghih said. "We still don't know why he has to stay in prison."

Asked about the new charges facing Saeed Razavi Faghih, Massoud told the Campaign that his brother's case has been forwarded to Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. "When I went to court to request Saeed's release until his second judicial case is reviewed, Judge Salavati did not give me a specific answer. He just said that Saeed has to be in prison. He did say Saeed will have his trial court in May, but we couldn't figure out based on what reasons Saeed couldn't be released on bail until May. This decision is illegal and is an example of prisoner abuse."

Massoud continued, "Judge Salavati told us that he does not answer to inquiries about the charges, and that he would only tell the suspect or the lawyer [about the charges], but Saeed doesn't have a lawyer for his new charges yet, and we are looking for a lawyer for him, and that is not a simple deed, as the Judiciary does not approve of certain lawyers, and some lawyers refrain from accepting political cases. But Saeed has not been informed of his charges, either."

Massoud told the Campaign, "On March 19 all prisoners had public meetings [with their relatives]. I saw Saeed in a booth. I noticed his wrists were black and blue. When I asked why, he said it was because they had tied his arms and legs very tightly when they took him to the hospital for his heart ailment a few days before. When the pain became too much, Saeed complained but the guards didn't respond so he told them he didn't want to be treated like this and they brought him back to prison."

Saeed Razavi Faghih, who has written for several reformist newspapers, underwent open-heart surgery a year ago, but has remained in prison despite the advice of his surgeons.

"This is against the law. It amounts to unnecessary punishment of a sick prisoner who has completed his term," Massoud Razavi Faghih told the Campaign. Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran are routinely denied medical care, in violation of both Iranian and international law.

The journalist's previous sentence was for "assembly and collusion against national security," apparently based on his articles and speeches, although it was never made clear.

Father of Imprisoned Blogger Pleads for His Ill Son’s Release

Hossein_Ronaghi2Iranhumanrights.org - The father of blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who, prior to a six-month medical furlough granted for severe illness had been imprisoned since 2009 for his peaceful activities following the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran, is appealing for an end to his son's incarceration after the blogger was returned to prison.

"My son has been found unfit to serve his sentence by the state Medical Examiner because he has multiple medical problems. Therefore he should not return to prison. But I don't know why the authorities have again summoned him to prison," Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Dozens of prisoners remain held in Iranian prisons since the state crackdown that followed the peaceful protests over that election, six years after the events.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, 29, was arrested in Malekan, East Azerbaijan Province, on December 13, 2009, for his activities in connection with the peaceful protests that followed the 2009 election and sentenced to 15 years in prison by Judge Pirabbasi for "acting against national security" and "supporting and receiving money from foreign organizations."

Imprisoned at Evin, Maleki suffered numerous kidney and stomach illnesses for which he was transferred to the hospital several times. He was given a six-month medical furlough on September 4, 2014, and then summoned earlier this month to return to prison.

The denial of medical care is a routine practice in the Iranian prison system, especially in the case of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

Maleki's father told the Campaign his son was falsely accused of trying to escape the country while he was on furlough.

"I myself brought my son to show them he was not running away," he said. "When the Medical Examiner issues an order three times to end an incarceration, why are they still bothering and tormenting us?"

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, currently held at Ward 7 of Evin Prison, "is not allowed out for fresh air or to go to the library like other inmates in the section," his father told the Campaign. "They have threatened him that if his family makes noise about his case he will be transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison [in Karaj]."

Football riots reflect long-standing discontent in Iran’s predominantly Arab Khuzestan

Fans from Ahvaz, March 2015yourmiddleeast - Government suspicions have been fuelled by recent conversions to Sunni Islam of a number of Iranian Arabs," writes James M. Dorsey in this report.

Long-simmering discontent in Ahwaz, the football-crazy, predominantly ethnic Arab capital of Iran's Khuzestan province that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein unsuccessfully tried to exploit when he launched the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, exploded on the pitch earlier this month during an Asian championship League qualifier between the city's state-owned Foolad FC and Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia.

Anti-government protests during the match in which Iranian fans declared support for the Saudi opponent of their home team defied the fact that Saudi Arabia is fighting across the Middle East a proxy war with the Islamic republic that the kingdom frames in terms of sectarian differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Football fans defiantly expressed support for Al Hilal during the match and burnt pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late spiritual leader who spearheaded the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Fans also sported banners emphasizing the Arab character of Ahvaz. Scores were arrested as fans fought police near the stadium for three hours after the match.

THE OPPOSITION National Council of Resistance of Iran said that fans further carried banners declaring that "We are all Younes," a reference to a street vendor who immolated himself a few days before the match in the nearby city of Khorramshahr. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) established by Iranian activists said the vendor set himself on fire after municipal officials seized his grocery kiosk. The agency said Mr. Younes was operating his kiosk although he had yet to have his application for a license approved.

"Fans defiantly expressed support for Al Hilal during the match and burnt pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini"
Support for the Saudi team by fans in Ahvaz whose ethnic Arab population is Shiite in majority took on greater symbolic value against the backdrop of Saudi efforts to forge an alliance of Sunni nations and groups to counter the feared expansion of Iranian influence in the region if and when it reaches agreement with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany on the future of its nuclear program and the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic republic. The negotiators hope to achieve agreement before a deadline at the end of this month.

Habib Jaber Al-Ahvazi, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), a group that demands independence for Ahvaz and is believed to be responsible for a series of bomb attacks in the city in 2005, 2006 and 2013, told online Arab nationalist Ahvaz.tv that the football protest was part of an "ongoing confrontation between demonstrators and the forces of the Persian occupation." Mr. Al-Ahvazi said the immolation of Mr. Younes had sparked the protest.

Iran's state-run Press TV has broadcast confessions of captured ASMLA members who said they had carried out scores of attacks. The detainees said they had received funding and training in Dubai. They said the targets of their attacks had been pipelines and other oil infrastructure.

ASMLA operatives have maintained contacts with rebels fighting the Iranian-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A no-longer existent unit of the defunct Western-backed Free Syrian Army named itself the Al-Ahwaz Brigade while the ASMLA used references to the anti-Assad rebels to identify their attacks in Khuzestan. ASMLA has also expressed support for insurgents in Iran's Baluchi and Kurdish provinces whom the government in Tehran sees as part of US covert operations aimed at destabilizing the Islamic republic.

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ETHNIC MINORITIES in the oil-rich but impoverished province of Khuzestan that constitutes part of Iran's border with Iraq have long complained that the government has failed to reinvest profits to raise the region's standards of living. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified Ahwaz in 2013 as Iran's most polluted city.

Iranian Arabs further charge that they are being discriminated against because of government suspicions that they are susceptible to foreign Arab influence. That suspicion is rooted in Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's bloody eight year war against Iran that ended in 1988. Saddam falsely expected that Iranian Arabs would welcome the opportunity to gain independence from Iran.


The Iranian Arab refusal to side with Saddam failed to earn Arabs in Ahwaz the credit they deserved despite the fact that criticism of government policies is often framed in ethnic and nationalist terms. Government suspicions have been fuelled by recent conversions to Sunni Islam of a number of Iranian Arabs, a move that largely constitutes individual efforts to escape perceived discrimination.

"A no-longer existent unit of the defunct Western-backed Free Syrian Army named itself the Al-Ahwaz Brigade"
Unrest in Ahwaz has been long simmering. The popular revolts of the Arab world in 2011 that toppled the autocratic leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen reverberated in Khuzestan were protesters commemorated anti-government demonstrations in 2005. Activists who called in April 2011 for a 'day of rage' in Ahvaz were confronted by security forces who reportedly killed and wounded scores.

Iran's crackdown earlier this month on the protesting football fans was as much in line with its intolerance toward expressions of anti-government sentiment as it was a response to references to Ahwaz in Saudi media as Arab territory.

Writing in 2012 in Asharq Al Awsat, Amal Al-Hazzani, an academic who has since been dropped from the paper's roster after she wrote positively about Israel, asserted in an op-ed entitled 'The oppressed Arab district of al-Ahwaz' that "the al-Ahwaz district in Iran...is an Arab territory... Its Arab residents have been facing continual repression ever since the Persian state assumed control of the region in 1925...

The Iranians believe that it is an urgent priority to eradicate the Arab race in al-Ahwaz; a necessity for the state to be stabilized. This means that the authorities do not hesitate to tighten their grip on the district's residents, prompting them to flee the country through various means of intimidation such as summary executions, detaining citizens, confiscating their salaries, depriving them of employment, and preventing them from speaking their mother tongue... It is imperative that the Arabs take up the al-Ahwaz cause, at least from the humanitarian perspective," Ms. Al-Hazzani wrote.

Jaras new site shutting down though goal still unmet

Radiozamaneh - The Jaras website, which calls itself a media source for Iran's Green Movement, has announced that after six years of journalistic activities, it has decided to close down the website.

Jaras began operation in July of 2009 outside of Iran. In a statement, the website reports that its aim had been to continue operating the news and analysis website until the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders in Iran was ended. It adds, however, that "religious despotism has shown greater endurance".

The website was on the verge of closure in November of 2011 due to financial problems, but a fundraising appeal to the people carried it through the crisis.

In the statement released on March 21, however, there is no mention of the reason for the closure of Jaras.

Mohsen Kadivar, Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, Ali Mazroui, Mohrteza Kazemian, Abdolreza Tajik and Abdolali Bazargan were among the chief writers for this website.

In its statement, Jaras indicates that its archive will remain accessible to readers.

Tags: Green Movement, Iranian media, Jaras

Two Young Men Hanged Publicly in South-Eastern Iran

710505Iran Human Rights - Two young men were hanged publicly in Jiroft (southeastern Iran), reported the Iranian state media.

One of the prisoners was identified as Asghar, convicted of murdering710505 two sisters, and the other prisoner not identified by name, was convicted of murdering a girl.

The executions were carried out on March 27, said the report.

Children’s Rights Activist Charged with “Acting against National Security”

10672213_737992909600218_3667890679649800134_n1Iranhumanrights.org - Civil and children's rights activist Atena Daemi has been formally charged, after six months of "temporary detention" in Evin Prison, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

"Atena was charged with 'propaganda against the state,' 'acting against national security,' and 'insulting the Supreme Leader and Islam,'" the source said. "All charges are based on her posts in Facebook and her participation in gatherings, including those in support of the children of Kobane [in Syria]."

In court presided over by Judge Moghisseh on March 7, Daemi denied the charges and her lawyer objected to the evidence as unreasonable.

The prosecution is basing its charges on Atena's posts on Facebook which express opposition to forced hijab and capital punishment as well as her references to listening to the protest songs of Shahin Najafi.

"Her file also includes an allegation that she took part in a gathering to protest Reyhaneh Jabbari's execution, even though Atena was in jail when Reyhaneh was hanged and was not able to participate in any gatherings," the source told the Campaign.

Daemi, who worked at the Revolution Sports Club in Tehran, was arrested on October 21, 2014, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and has been in detention in Evin Prison ever since.

Daemi's lawyer has again requested the judge to set bail for her release after six months of detention so that she can spend time with her family.

"Arena is suffering from severe headaches and is not in a good mental state. She needs to be released on bail so that she can recover a bit at home," the source told the Campaign.

Her mother, Masoumeh Nemati, told the Campaign that Atena organized art classes for child street workers and protested against the condition of children in Kobane and Gaza.

"I hope the authorities will agree to her release on bail. My daughter has not had any political activities. Her only activities were in support of abandoned children and women," she said.

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