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You are here: Home Human Rights

Imprisoned Teacher Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Years Behind Bars for Peaceful Activities

8CAD5A25-71ED-4886-A780-D37E74A1C7AA_w640_r1_sIranhumanrights.org - Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, a teacher and activist who was sentenced to five years in prison and an additional four-year suspended prison sentence during a trial that lasted less than eight minutes, has been on hunger strike since April 20, 2016 in Tehran's Evin Prison to protest "the tyrannical sentence issued by the Revolutionary Court," a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.


"I will go on a hunger strike and refuse everything except water, tea, sugar and salt until my sentence is terminated and a public trial is held based on Article 168 of the Constitution," wrote Beheshti, a teacher for 25 years, in a statement published on the Teachers and Workers Rights website (Hoghooghe Moalem va Karegar) on April 20, 2016.

"If anything bad happens to me during or after the hunger strike, the responsibility will be with those who are silent or indifferent towards my demand for justice," he said.

The source told the Campaign that Langroudi's family is worried because he has already become extremely weak from undergoing several hunger strikes in the past year.

"Mr. Beheshti Langroudi has committed no crime other than trying to improve conditions for students and teachers," said the source. "That's why he has been sentenced to so many years in prison."

Langroudi was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2013 for "colluding against national security" and "propaganda against the state" by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. He was also issued the four-year suspended prison sentence.

"According to current laws, especially Article 27 of the Constitution, I do not consider any of my activities to be crimes. But even if we assume I committed a crime, Article 168 of the Constitution states that good-intentioned violations of the law should be prosecuted in the open and in the presence of a jury," said Langroudi in his statement.

"But due to official procrastination, this progressive principle has been held up for the past 37 years, and instead they have been illegally dealing with such cases in the Revolutionary Court behind closed doors, sending many innocent people to prison with tyrannical sentences."

Labor leaders are vigorously prosecuted in Iran under catchall national security charges, and independent labor s are not allowed to operate. Langroudi was the former spokesperson for the Iranian Teachers' Trade Association.

Langroudi has publicly protested his trial, especially the fact that it ended within eight minutes.

Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei denied that a trial could be that short in a comment to the hardline Fars News Agency in December 2015: "It's absolutely not true or possible for court proceedings to end after five minutes and issue a verdict."

But on December 14, 2016, the day after Ejei's comment was published, Langroudi's son, Abouzar Beheshti, described his father's trial as lasting "five to eight minutes" and "three minutes of it was the judge making threatening statements."

Esmail Abdi, the secretary general of the Teachers Association of Iran, and Jafar Azimzadeh, the president of the Free Workers of Iran—both of whom are serving time in Evin Prison—meanwhile issued a statement announcing that they would also go on hunger strike on International Labor Day (May 1, 2016).

A source close to Abdi confirmed the hunger strikes to the Campaign and said the goal was to protest against Iran's criminalization of organized labor gatherings, the conviction of labor activists on trumped-up charges, wages below the poverty line, and the ban on International Labor Day and Teachers Day celebrations.

In the days leading up to International Labor Day (May 1, 2016), activist-teachers from several s were warned by the Ministry of Intelligence not to participate in any Labor Day-related activities, the Campaign learned from a source close to the teachers' .

Peyman Haj-Mahmoud Attar, the lawyer for the Teachers Association of Iran, criticized the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization for its approach to lawful labor activities, in an interview with the Campaign on October 27, 2015.

"All the detained members of the Teachers Association were carrying out their lawful duties under permits issued to professional s by the Interior Ministry. One of their duties was to work towards improving teachers' welfare," said Attar. "But the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence unit has branded all these completely legal activities as threats to national security."

Revolutionary Guards Going after Family Members of Iranian Journalists Living Abroad

13119065_1242985555729953_7613335651432385505_n-1Iranhumanrights.org - In a long-established practice of targeting the family members of Iranian journalists who live outside Iran, the Revolutionary Guards have sentenced the brother of a journalist to five years in prison, on trumped up national security charges.


The Guards have long harassed the relatives of Iranian journalists living abroad, in an effort to intimidate foreign-based reporters and silence critical media coverage of the Islamic Republic.

In the most recent case, Davoud Assadi, the brother of the well-known Iranian journalist Houshang Assadi who lives in Paris, was sentenced to the five-year prison term for "assembly and collusion against national security."

Yet Davoud Assadi, while referred to for six months by Iranian news media as a "journalist" in detention, is neither a journalist nor has he ever been interested or involved in politics. Rather, he is the marketing manager of a private company based in Tehran. He is in his early 30s, married, and has a child.

His brother, Houshang Assadi, edited RoozOnline, a dissident news website funded by the Dutch parliament, which operated for 12 years until its closure at the end of 2015. Houshang Assadi was also the author of the critically acclaimed book Letters to My Torturers, which depicted his time as a political prisoner in Iran during the 1970s.

"I'm surprised that all this time my brother's lawyer, Mr. [Mahmoud] Alizadeh [Tabatabaee], has described him as a journalist," Houshang Assadi said in an interview with the Campaign. "My brother doesn't even read the newspaper. [The Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization] has accused a man, who has never written a sentence in his life, of being a journalist in order to carry out their own security agenda."

Asked why he is speaking out now, Houshang Assadi said he had learned of his brother's arrest from their father, but did not publicize it because Davoud's wife was told by Judiciary officials to keep quiet.

"My brother's wife was summoned to Branch 13 of the Culture and Media Court. They treated her with a lot of respect and told her that Davoud would definitely be freed, but only after the mandatory three-month interrogation period," said Houshang Assadi.

"They told her that she should absolutely refrain from giving me any information. My brother's wife is not a social or political activist. She is a young woman busy raising a little boy. She believed what they told her," he added.

"My brother's wife has not had any contact with me during this time (since Davoud's detention). I don't blame her, given the atmosphere of intimidation they built around her. But I told my father that being silent about the framing of Davoud would be the worst thing for his situation," continued Houshang Assadi.

"But [Davoud's] wife insisted we should be quiet and comply with the authorities. For this reason, I was silent. But after the verdict was issued, I decided to talk and tell the world about the lies and injustice," he said.

Four journalists—Issa Saharkhiz, Ehsan Mazandarani, Ehsan (Saman) Safarzaei and Afarin Chitsaz—were arrested on November 2, 2015 by agents of the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization. That same day the agents arrested a fifth person who was presumed to be a journalist, but his identity was not immediately revealed. That person was Davoud Assadi.

Houshang Assadi told the Campaign his brother is faring poorly in prison.

"He was moved to Evin Prison's Ward 8 last week, but before that he was in solitary confinement in Ward 2-A, run by the [Revolutionary] Guards," said Houshang Assadi.

"I have heard that in Ward 8 Davoud is often curled-up in a corner and afraid to talk to anyone. He is a young man who has never been involved in social or political activities. Now, after months in solitary confinement, he's so depressed and afraid that he doesn't want to be in contact with anyone," he told the Campaign.

"This is an obvious violation of human rights. It's the worst kind of treatment when you arrest and punish someone only for your own goals; someone who's not a political activist," he added.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee, Davoud Assadi's lawyer, recently told the Campaign that his client was convicted because of funds he had received from his brother, Houshang Assadi. Tabatabaee added that Assadi insisted in court that he did not know why his brother was sending him money, but the judge was not convinced.

But according to Houshang Assadi, it was always clear that the money was for their father's medical expenses.

"Mr. Alizadeh [Tabatabaee] is giving out wrong information. It has been a year and a half since I learned about my father's illness. As brothers, we agreed to each pay a certain amount for his treatment," said Houshang Assadi.

"I wired 7.8 million tomans ($2,500 USD) to my brother's account for my father's medical bills. Sometimes I also shipped pills that could not be found in Tehran," added Houshang Assadi. "If the court has evidence that the money I sent was spent on anything other than my father's expenses, it should publish it."

"We did not have a secret account and we were not involved in anything clandestine. Why isn't the security establishment showing [evidence that] the money was spent for other things? Because they know the accusation is totally false," said Houshang Assadi. "My feeling is that my brother's arrest is a warning to me and other political activists based abroad that [the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization] could intimidate our relatives instead of us."

"A few months before they arrested these journalists [on November 2, 2015], there was a wave of propaganda against Iranian media operating abroad, including RoozOnline," added Houshang Assadi. "There were articles that claimed RoozOnline had sent millions of dollars to Iran on behalf of Western intelligence agencies. They even published a so-called list of how much we paid Iranians, but RoozOnline did not have any reporters inside Iran."

"It was obvious that [the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization] wanted to frame RoozOnline and other outlets in foreign countries. My guess is that they arrested Davoud just to back up their conspiracy theories," he said.

"Based on what I've heard from my family, Mr. Alizadeh [Tabatabaee] told them that [during court proceedings] Davoud had completely rejected the charges against him and consistently stated that the money he received from me was spent on our father's medical treatment," he added. "But the court did not accept his explanation."

Houshang Assadi also told the Campaign that he and Davoud Assadi were not in contact very often: "We live in different worlds, far apart. I remember when I called to wish him a happy new year and told him that our website was closing down, he asked me what the name of the site was."

On the same day that Davoud Assadi's five-year prison sentence was issued, newspaper columnist Afarin Chitsaz, who wrote for Iran, the official daily newspaper of the Rouhani administration, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Ehsan Mazandarani, the editor-in-chief of the reformist Farhikhtegan newspaper, was also sentenced to seven years in prison, while Ehsan (Saman) Safarzaei, another reformist journalist who is the international desk editor of Andisheh Pooya magazine, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Issa Saharkhiz, a prominent reformist journalist who was arrested at the same time as the other journalists, has not yet stood trial because he has been hospitalized for serious medical illnesses.

Four Iranian Rights Activists Summoned to Appear Together at Appeals Court

Atena-OmidIranhumanrights.org - Rights activists Omid Alishenas, Atena Daemi, Ali Nouri and Aso Rostami have been summoned to appear together at an Appeals Court in Tehran on July 5, 2016 to appeal the prison sentences they received from a preliminary court.


Alishenas's mother, Simin Eyvazzadeh, who told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the summons, said she hoped her son would be acquitted.

"We expect him to be freed because the charges against him are unrelated to his activities," she said. "It's enough that he's been in prison for the past 17 months. His life is up in the air. We hope he will be acquitted and released."

The Campaign could not independently verify why the activists are being summoned to the Appeals Court at the same time.

Alishenas, 33, a civil engineer who is a children's rights and civil activist, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization on September 4, 2014 and held at Evin Prison in Tehran. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "assembly and collusion against national security" and "insulting the supreme leader" by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on January 24, 2015. He was released on 7 billion rials ($230,000 USD) bail on January 18, 2016 while he awaits the result of his appeal.

Atena Daemi, 28, a children's rights activist and death penalty opponent, has been on medical furlough since February 15, 2016 on 5 billion rials ($166,000 USD) bail. Her father, Mohammad Hossein Daemi, has also been summoned to appear at the Appeals Court hearing with the four defendants.

"The day the agents came to arrest Atena at her parents' house, they took the family's TV satellite receiver with them and built a case against her father," an informed source told the Campaign.

"Mr. Daemi was fined 3 million rials (nearly $100 USD) by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court and now he has to appear at the Appeals Court," added the source.

Satellite receivers are illegal in Iran, but it is estimated that nearly three quarters of Iranians have access to them. Police forces routinely enter residential complexes to confiscate and remove satellite dishes and other equipment, and the owners are then prosecuted and fined.

Agents of the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organization arrested Atena Daemi on October 21, 2014. She was convicted of "assembly and collusion against national security," "propaganda against the state," "insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the supreme leader," and "concealing evidence," and was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court on March 5, 2015.

"We are hoping for a fair judgment and her freedom," added the source. "Atena really hasn't done anything to deserve 14 years in prison."

The Campaign has been unable to obtain information about Aso Rostami and Ali Nouri.

Iran: 16 Prisoners Executed in four days

Iran: 16 Prisoners Executed in four daysIran Human Rights - At least 16 prisoners have been executed during the last four days in Iran.


Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported about the execution of six prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison of Karaj (est of Tehran) early Wednesday morning 27. April. According to close sources six of the nine prisoners who had been transferred to solitary confinement i this prison were hanged. Executions of three prisoners were postponed and the prisoners were returned to their wards. Two of the prisoners who were executed today were identified as Kazem Salimi and Jamshid Nouripour, according to IHR's sources. All the prisoners were chraged with murder.

One prisoner was hanged on Tuesday 26. April. According to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Qazvin (Northwestern Iran) reported about the execution of a prisoner in Chourbin prison of Qazvin. The prisoner who was charged with murder was not identified by name.

Eight other prisoners were hanged in the prison of Zahedan (Baluchistan Province). on Saturday (23 April) and Monday (25. April). Five of the prisoners were sentenced to death for drug related charges and three of the convicted of murder. Three of the prisoners were identified as "Jamshid Dehvari" (30) and Sadeh Rigi (35), both with murder charges. One prisoner identified as "Mohammad Sancholi" (22) is believed to be sentenced to death for an offence convicted as a minor. IHR is investigating the details about Sancholi's case. The executions in Zahedan were reported by HRANA and confirmed by IHR.

One prisoner was hanged on Sunday 24. April in the prison of Sari according to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Mazandaran Province (Northern Iran), The prisoner was identified as "Z. Ch." (27) and was sentenced to qisas for murder charges. Another prisoner was executed on Sunday in the same prison.

Sentences issued for journalists accused of “enemy infiltration”

Journalists-e1449057240621Radiozamaneh - Four of the Iranian journalists arrested by the Revolutionary Guards and accused of being "elements of enemy infiltration" have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 10 years.


The arrests were described at the time as "illegal" by Iranian MP Ali Motahari.

 

The Tasnim News Agency says the four journalists — Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Safarzai, Ehsan Mazandarani and Davoud Asadi — are "accused of security charges".

The judiciary has announced that Afarin Chitsaz, a columnist for the Iran daily, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for "disturbing security and links to alien countries". Ehsan Mazandarani, the head of the Farhikhtegan daily, has been sentenced to seven years in jail for "propaganda against the regime and assembly and collusion against national security".

Ehsan Safarzai, editor in chief of Andisheh Pooya's International Section, has been sentenced to five years in jail for "assembly and collusion against national security". Davoud Asadi has also been sentenced to five years in jail for "assembly and collusion against national security".

There has been no word regarding the sentence handed to Issa Saharkhiz, another journalist who was arrested at the same time.

After Losing Kidney to Cancer, Imprisoned Physicist Must Be Treated for Other Illnesses

Omid-KokabeeIranhumanrights.org - Omid Kokabee Could Lose His Life After Years of Denied Medical Care in Iran Prison


Omid Kokabee, the young physicist who was imprisoned in Iran for his refusal to work on military research, and who recently lost a kidney after years of being denied adequate health care, is suffering from more medical problems that require urgent attention.

"In addition to cancer [of the kidney], Omid is suffering from stomach inflammation and intestinal bleeding that require careful medical attention," a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

The source, who is close to Kokabee, said that the physicist has had clear signs of internal bleeding during his imprisonment, and that "In his years in prison, he has had severe stomach pains that have only been treated with painkiller injections from the prison infirmary."

"Omid has been taking stomach pills for four years. That's why he has always been very thin in prison," the source told the Campaign. "Unfortunately, until March 2016, the previous deputy Tehran prosecutor would not authorize any treatment for Omid's kidney, digestion and dental problems and that has led to the situation we see today."

"In recent months Omid had requested medical furlough several times, but they were all rejected," said the source. Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for particularly harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.

"Omid also has severe dental problems. In his last checkup, a couple of months ago, he was told eight of his teeth need to be either repaired or undergo root canal work," continued the source. "Omid hasn't spent a day in prison without tooth pain."

Omid Kokabee, 34, lost his right kidney due to advanced cancer on April 20, 2016, after a long period of medical neglect in prison. He has served five years of a 10-year prison sentence for alleged "contact with enemy states," a charge that was issued after he refused to cooperate on a military research project for Iran's security establishment.

Kokabee has been in Evin Prison since he was arrested on January 30, 2011 at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport on his way back to the U.S. to continue his studies as a post-doctoral student in physics at the University of Texas at Austin.

"If he had been transferred out of the prison to receive a routine sonography in November 2011, when he first experienced bleeding and pain caused by kidney stones, [the issue] would have been noticed," an informed source told the Campaign on April 18, 2016. "Even a simple sonography would show a tumor. Omid had repeatedly gone to the prison infirmary, complaining of kidney and stomach pain."

Four Iranian Journalists Jailed For 'Acting Against National Security'

Ehsan Mazandarani (right), editor in chief of the Iranian daily Farhikhtegan, got seven years, while the fate of Issa Saharkhiz (left) remains unclear.RFL/RE - Four Iranian journalists have been given prison sentences of between five and 10 years on charges of acting against Iran's national security.

2015 Annual Report: Darkest Year For Executions As Iran's Isolation Ends

Three Prisoners Hanged in Northern Iran

iranhr.net - The 8th annual report on the death penalty in Iran shows that the Islamic Republic of Iran had one of the darkest years of its history with reference to the number of executions

Health care denied to jailed Iranian cleric who championed internet

payvand. - Jailed Iranian cleric Mohammadreza Nekounam is suffering from health problems, and the special court for the clergy refuses to let him to be hospitalized.

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