Petition Tag - political prisoners

1. Free Iranian Christian Ebrahim Firouzi, Serving 5-Year Sentence For Peaceful Missionary Activities

MARCH 29, 2017--The five-year prison sentence against Christian convert Ebrahim Firouzi for his alleged missionary activities has been confirmed by the Appeals Court in Tehran, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The ruling, issued on January 15, 2017, also requires Firouzi to spend two years in exile in the village of Sarbaz in a remote part of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, according to an informed source who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity.
The 32-year-old welder has been held in Ward 12 for political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, 32 miles west of Tehran, since 2014. He has been prosecuted three times since 2010 for converting from Islam to Christianity and allegedly organizing Christian religious meetings.
When he was first arrested in January 2010, interrogators offered Firouzi freedom if he declared himself a Muslim. He chose prosecution and was convicted by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj of “propaganda against the state” for his religious conversion and alleged missionary activities and sentenced to five months in prison with an additional five-month suspended prison sentence.
Firouzi was freed on June 8, 2011, but on March 8, 2012 he was arrested again for allegedly “attempting to create a website teaching about Christianity” (in order to convert people) and again charged with “propaganda against the state.”
He was sentenced to one year in prison and two years in exile by Judge Hassan Babaee of the Revolutionary Court in Robat Karim, 16 miles southwest of Tehran. The decision was upheld on appeal.
The third arrest took place on September 16, 2014. During interrogations in Evin Prison’s Ward 240, Firouzi was put under intense pressure to issue a false confession in return for freedom, but refused, according to an informed source.
In April 2015, Firouzi was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly “creating a group with the intention of disturbing national security” by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court.
Based on the decision by the Appeals Court, Firouzi will remain incarcerated until 2019.
Despite President Hassan Rouhani’s pledges during his election campaign in 2013 that “all ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice,” the targeting of Christian converts has continued unabated under his administration.
SOURCE: Center For Human Rights In Iran

2. Free Iranian Youth Sina Dehghan, Sentenced To Death For "Insulting The Prophet'

Sina Dehghan, sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet” of Islam when he was 19-years-old, was tricked into signing his confession, an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
Despite the severity of the charge, a court-appointed attorney who failed to defend him properly represented him during his trial, added the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
“During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go,” said the source in an interview with CHRI on March 21, 2017. “Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death.”
“Later he admitted that he signed the confession hoping to get freed,” said  the source. “Apparently the authorities also got him to confess in front of a camera as well.”
“Security and judicial authorities promised Sina’s family that if they didn’t make any noise about his case, he would have a better chance of being freed, and that talking about it to the media would work against him,” added the source. “Unfortunately, the family believed those words and stopped sharing information about his case and discouraged others from sharing it as well.”
“Sina is not feeling well,” continued the source. “He’s depressed and cries constantly. He’s being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who broke his jaw a while ago.”
“He was a 19-year-old boy at the time (of his arrest) and had never done anything wrong in his life,” added the source.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested Dehghan on October 21, 2015 at a military barracks in Tehran after he made comments against Islam and the Quran on the LINE instant messaging application. He has been imprisoned in Arak Prison ever since.
Initially, Branch 1 of the Criminal Court in Arak sentenced Dehghan to death for “insulting the prophet” and 16 months in prison for “insulting the supreme leader.” The Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence in late January, according to the source.
Deghan’s co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, were also convicted of posting anti-Islamic content on social media.
Nouri was issued the death sentence, which was upheld by the Appeals Court, but it is not known if the Supreme Court has issued a final ruling.
Eliasi was initially issued a seven-year prison sentence, which was later reduced to three years upon appeal.
According to article 262 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, insulting the prophet is punishable by death. However, Article 263 states that if the accused tells the court that his insults were the result of anger or a mistake, the sentence could be reduced to 74 lashings.
“Sina is allowed to contact his family by phone and receive visits,” the source told CHRI. “During the past year, his family has come from Tehran to visit him every week.”

3. Free Tehran Art Gallery Owners Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari

March 10, 2017—Serious and baseless new charges have been brought against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, the dual-national Iranian-American and his wife who have been imprisoned in Iran’s Evin Prison without any evidence of wrong doing or due process for almost eight months.
The couple, art gallery owners in Tehran who are prominent in the Iranian artistic and cultural community, were arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization at Tehran’s airport on July 20, 2016—ostensibly for serving alcohol in their home and hosting mixed-gender parties. The new charges, detailed in a blog by Vafadari’s sister, Kateh on March 8, 2016, include attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic and recruiting spies through foreign embassies.
Their imprisonment, the latest in a long string of cases, reflects the determination on the part of the Guards and their cohorts in the Judiciary to intimidate dual nationals from western countries and exact a brutal cost for those who dare interact with diplomats and foreigners from the West.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, whose imprisonment on completely unsubstantiated charges and without any evidence of wrongdoing represents a brazen defiance of the law.
“With complete impunity, the Guards and their accomplices in the Judiciary are destroying the lives of innocent people,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of CHRI. “They grab people and throw them into prison without any evidence or the ability to defend themselves, and then hand-pick a judge who will press home the attack with a conviction and harsh sentence.”
The case has been marked by continuous denials of due process from the start. As detailed in the blog by Vafadari’s sister:
Shortly after the couple’s arrest they were taken in handcuffs to their home and then to their gallery, where items of art were either confiscated or destroyed.
They were denied access to counsel for months and held for extensive periods in solitary confinement.
During intensive interrogations, Afarin Nayssari was told to spy on her friends in the art world and her husband; when she refused, she was returned to solitary confinement.
Most of the original charges were dropped by the prosecutor for lack of any evidence.
The earlier charges included serving alcohol in the home and organizing mixed-gender parties for diplomats—even though Vafadari is Zoroastrian and under Iranian law not subject to Islamic laws on alcohol and mixed gatherings.
The judge selected for the case was Abolqasem Salavati, a notoriously hardline judge routinely picked for dual national cases and other politicized cases in which the Guards and the Judiciary are seeking an unquestioning and harsh ruling.
At the preliminary hearing, the earlier charges dropped due to lack of any evidence were re-instated by Judge Salavati.
Judge Salavati did not allow the couple’s lawyer to be present at the preliminary hearing—and ordered the couple to dismiss their lawyer.
“Of course the Guards and the Judiciary are denying due process to those they imprison unjustly,” said Ghaemi, “because if they had to present evidence, allow full access to a lawyer, and let an independent Judiciary rule on the case, these people would all be immediately freed.”
The imprisonment of Vafadari and Nayssari also appears motivated by greed: the Islamic Republic has a long and documented history of unlawfully confiscating private property, especially that belonging to those with whom the authorities do not favor. The family of Vafadari reported continuous calls right after the couple’s arrest demanding money, and noted that the charges brought would allow the seizure of the couple’s extensive properties.
In a public letter by the former Italian Ambassador to Iran, Roberto Toscano, the Ambassador expressed outrage at Vafadari’s and Niasari’s arrest and refuted the authorities’ justification for their detention, saying that “One has to be truly gullible and the easy victim of propaganda” to accept such charges. He continued, “The reason must be a different one…political blackmail toward the US (of which they are also citizens), envy for their success, intimidation toward the Zoroastrian community, desire to grab their properties, [and] repression of contemporary art.”
Vafadari’s sister, Kateh, has implored “all those who stand for civil liberties, artistic freedom, minority rights and Iran’s self-determination…[to] write letters of support asking for Karan and Afarin’s immediate release” to Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN and to Iran’s Head of the Judiciary.
SOURCE: Center For Human Rights In Iran

4. Free Austrian-Iranian Businessman Kamran Ghaderi, Sentenced to 10 Years On False "Spy" Charges

October 20, 2016 -- The wife of an Iranian-Austrian man sentenced recently by an Iranian court to 10 years in prison on spying charges has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that her husband is a "simple businessman" unjustly imprisoned.

Hanika Ghaderi's husband, businessman Kamran Ghaderi, was initially detained in Tehran in January but his conviction and sentence for espionage and cooperation with the United States were revealed earlier this week.

"How can they say something like that about Kamran? I don't understand," Ghaderi's wife said, adding that he had no ties to the United States and was not involved in politics.

She said the family is planning to appeal the sentence.

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on October 18 that the 52-year-old Ghaderi was among six individuals who received 10-year sentences for what he described as spying and working with the hostile government in Washington. The others include 80-year-old Iranian-American Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak Namazi, Farhad Abd-Saleh, Alireza Omidvar, and Nizar Zakka.

Ghaderi is the CEO of Avanoc, an IT management and consulting company that has worked in Iran for many years, his wife told Radio Farda.
"Everything he's [been] doing is legal," she added.

Hanika Ghaderi said her husband was among a number of Austrian businessmen and companies at an official Austrian-Iranian trade meeting in Tehran in 2015 that was attended by senior officials, including former Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
"He was working in Iran; it's not forbidden," she said.

She said Ghaderi, a father of three, was detained during a business trip to Iran and was being held at Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

The family did not publicize the case at the time on advice from Ghaderi's lawyer, she said, adding that he had assured them that her husband would be released.
Bu the prison sentence has prompted her to speak out in the media.

Her husband was allowed to call his mother in April for the first time since his arrest, she said. Since then, she added, Ghaderi's mother has been allowed to visit him in prison every second week.

Ghaderi's wife said that her husband has lost a lot of weight since his arrest.

5. Halt Flogging of Iranian Journalist Mohammad Reza Fathi

AUGUST 22, 2016: Reporters Without Borders Reports that an appeal court in the city of Saveh, in central Iran, has upheld a lower court’s decision that the Saveh-based journalist and blogger Mohammad Reza Fathi should be flogged because of his posts about city officials.

Under the original ruling handed down on 13 April, Fathi was sentenced to 444 lashes (to be administered in six sessions of 74 lashes) on charges of defamation and publishing false information. In its 12 July ruling, the appeal court confirmed the decision to flog Fathi but modified the sentence. It sentenced him to three sessions of 77 lashes for defamation and three sessions of 76 lashes for publishing false information – for an increased total of 459 lashes.

But the appeal court added that only the second sentence (three sessions of 76 lashes) will be administered in accordance with article 134 of the new Islamic penal code (as amended in 2013), which says that when a defendant is given more than one sentence on criminal charges, only the sentence corresponding to the gravest charge is implemented.

6. Free Peaceful Iranian Political Activist, Author Kourosh Zaim, 77, Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

AUGUST 22, 2016--The four-year prison sentence handed down to imprisoned author and peaceful political activist Kourosh Zaim has no legal basis and the 77-year-old should be immediately released because of his advanced age, his lawyer Giti Pourfazel told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“This sentence, which was issued while he was imprisoned, seems to be the enforcement of a suspended sentence he had previously received, but the details are not clear,” said the prominent human rights lawyer. “These cases [against political prisoners] are handled unlawfully and the authorities don’t allow the lawyer or even the condemned person to access their file.”

Zaim, a leading member of the banned National Front, one of Iran’s oldest secular opposition parties, was arrested on July 16, 2016 and handed a four-year prison sentence a week later on July 23 without his lawyer’s knowledge. The pro-democracy activist was previously arrested on multiple occasions for his peaceful activities; he was detained for 47 days in 2006, 91 days in 2009 and 27 days in 2011.

In April 2012 Zaim was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from political and media activities for five years for “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state” by Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 14 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, but the prison sentence was suspended for five years by the Appeals Court because of his old age.

Zaim was put on trial again on August 1, 2015 for “propaganda against the state” and sentenced to one year in prison by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. 

“We filed an appeal against the one-year sentence, but Mr. Zaim was arrested again before the Appeals Court issued a final ruling. He also had a three-year suspended sentence. They seem to have combined his prison sentences and put them into effect,” Pourafzal told the Campaign. “In any case, we believe that their action is unlawful. His prison sentence [issued in 2015] was for a year, at most, and we had requested that he be freed as soon as possible considering the time he has already spent in prison and his inability to tolerate prison conditions in his advanced age,”

Zaim, who has written and translated many books on Iranian politics, was persecuted by the Pahlavi dynasty as well the Islamic Republic for his activities with the National Front. The group, founded by ousted former Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and other secular politicians in the 1940s, became an ally of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini one year before the 1979 revolution, but was banned in 1981 for opposing theocratic rule.

Giti Pourfazel, a prominent human rights lawyer, announced her retirement in July 2016 but is still handling the cases that were in process prior to her announcement.

7. Free Bahraini Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab, On Trial For "Crime" of Tweeting

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab is set to go on trial on Sunday, July 17 2016 for the "crime" of tweeting.. According to Reporters Without Borders:

After a court extended Bahrain Centre for Human Rights president Nabeel Rajab’s detention in connection with some tweets for another three weeks yesterday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its condemnation of Bahrain’s constant obstruction of freedom of information and its repeated harassment of journalists and bloggers.

Arrested at his home on 13 June, Rajab was transferred to a military hospital with cardiac problems on 28 June after two weeks in solitary confinement. According to Bahraini human rights NGOs, he was examined by a doctor and was then returned to West Riffa police station for further custody.

He is facing up to 13 years in prison on charges of “spreading false rumours in time of war,” “insulting public authorities,” and “insulting a neighbouring country” in a series of tweets last year about Jaw prison in Yemen. At yesterday’s hearing, the first since his arrest, the court adjourned his trial until 2 August, extending his detention until then.

“It is outrageous that the Bahraini authorities are holding a human rights defender and are subjecting him to appalling prison conditions just because he used Twitter to provide information.” RSF said. “We call on them to free Nabeel Rajab and to withdraw all the charges against him.”

A major international campaign is under way for the Bahraini authorities to abandon the proceedings against Rajab. RSF joined 25 other international NGOs in signing an open letter calling for his release.

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 7 July called for “the immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab and other human rights defenders jailed on allegations relating to their rights to free expression, assembly, and association, and for all charges against them to be dropped.”

8. Free Iranian American Father & Son Baquer and Siamak Namazi, Sentenced To 10 Years

October 18, 2016: Mizan News Agency, a website linked to Iran’s judiciary, reported today that Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison. On October 16, the same news agency published a short video showing Siamak Namazi’s arrest as evidence of “America’s humiliation.”

According to Mizan, the two men were convicted of “cooperating with the hostile government of America.” Beyond that, no charges have been officially made public. In April, the Namazis’ lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, told IranWire that he had been denied access to his clients’ case files.
Some hardline media outlets have called the Namazis’ arrest “Iran’s biggest intelligence catch.” Today, the hardline paper Vatan called Siamak Namazi the “kingfish” of a “British-run” network.

Siamak Namazi is the head of strategic planning at Crescent Petroleum, which has its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. He previously worked as an energy consultant for the Dubai-based Access Consulting Group. He was arrested in October 2015 during a trip to visit his family in Tehran. His 80-year old father, Baquer Namazi, was arrested on February 22, 2016, when he arrived in Iran to visit his imprisoned son.

On the eve of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Baquer Namazi was the provincial governor of Khuzestan. He later worked a representative of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in several African countries.

In February, Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, published an article reporting that Namazi was arrested in order “to uncover the complex layers of vast financial and intelligence corruption by a network that is associated with the UK and America.” The piece also stated that Baquer is accused of training his son Siamak in “espionage and infiltration and subversion operations.”

According to Fars News, one of the charges against Siamak Namazi was his founding of the “Non-Governmental Mutual Assistance Institute of Iran,” an NGO which it said was involved in organizing the “English-American riots,” a reference to the mass demonstrations that followed Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Fars Reported that Siamak Namazi had also been charged with membership in, and extensive connections to agencies that are affiliated to the United Nations; connections to Gary Sick (an Iran specialist at Columbia University who served as member of the US National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan), membership of the Gulf/2000 Project (a project Gary Sick directs at Columbia University), close ties to US State Department spokesman Alan E. Eyre and to John D. Sullivan, director of CIPE (the Center for International Private Enterprise) and his connections to the Ford Foundation and NIAC (the National Iranian American Council).”

Tabatabaei told IranWire his client had rejected the charge of cooperation with a hostile government. “According to the Supreme Council of National Security, which responded to an inquiry about this, Iran does not consider the US to be a hostile government,” said Tabatabaei. “A ‘hostile government’ has a clear definition and legally it is the job of the Supreme Council of National Security to define it.”

Now, it seems that the Iranian Judiciary believes that it can decide by itself which government is hostile, and has convicted both men based on its own definition.
Since the Namazis’ arrest, American officials have repeatedly demanded their release. With this sentence, diplomatic efforts to secure their release must enter a new phase.
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March 3, 2016 The United Nations Children's Fund said on Thursday it is worried about the health and well-being of one of its former officials, an elderly man jailed in Iran for more than a week.

Baquer Namazi, whose son Siamak has been jailed in Iran since October, was himself arrested on Feb. 22 and taken to Tehran's Evin Prison, his wife said last week on social media. Both the elder Namazi and his son are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens.

Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor, served as UNICEF representative in Somalia, Kenya, Egypt and elsewhere before retiring in 1996, UNICEF said in a statement.

"Current and former UNICEF colleagues are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of Baquer Namazi," the statement said. "We hope he will be reunited soon with his wife and loved ones."

Baquer Namazi is 80 years old and has a serious heart and other conditions which require special medication, his wife Effie Namazi said last week.

His son Siamak was most recently working for Crescent Petroleum in the United Arab Emirates, and previously headed a consulting business in Iran.

Iranian officials have not issued formal charges against either man. Friends of Siamak Namazi have said that he may have become a pawn in factional struggles among hardliners, pragmatists and reformers, each with economic and political interests.

Elections in Iran last week strengthened centrists and reformists allied with President Hassan Rouhani, but his scope to permit more social and political freedom is constrained by hardliners' control of the judiciary, security forces and state media.

SOURCE: Reuters

9. Reverse Jail, Flogging Sentence For Father of Saeed Zeinali, Iranian Student Missing Since 1999 Arrest

The 70-year-old father of a student who has not been heard from for 17 years since his arrest has been sentenced to 91 days in prison and 74 lashes for “disturbing public order” by allegedly participating in a gathering in support of an imprisoned spiritual leader. But Hashem Zeinali was only there to demand answers about his son and got mixed into the crowd, according to his wife.

Speaking to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Akram Neghabi said the focus of her husband’s interrogation indicated that the authorities targeted Neghabi for seeking answers about their son rather than having any connection to the case of the spiritual leader, Mohammad Ali Taheri, who has been persecuted for his alternative spiritual beliefs.

“My husband told the judge that he respects Mr. Taheri and his followers but my husband is searching for our missing son and that’s why he was in front of Evin Prison on that day holding our son Saeed’s picture,” Neghabi told the Campaign.

“During interrogations, the Revolutionary Guards told my husband that they had not arrested our son and he should take back his accusations, therefore they knew he was not a Taheri follower,” she said.

“The judge in this case is irrelevant. It was the interrogators who wanted this punishment for my husband. They know very well that my husband is not a follower of Mr. Taheri and he was not in front of Evin Prison to defend him,” Neghabi told the Campaign.

Neghabi said the lawyer defending her husband, Hashem Zeinali, had been informed of the sentence by telephone.

“We have 20 days to object to the sentence and we will do so. But if the Appeals Court rules in favor of the sentence, my husband is 70 years old, he cannot endure 74 lashes,” she said. “They should divide the lashes between family members so that all of us can bare it.”

On November 21, 2015, Hashem Zeinali was standing among a crowd of the relatives of prisoners and civil activists who often gather in front of Evin Prison holding placards and banners. Zeinali was independently protesting the lack of attention given to the case of his missing son but was rounded up with members of the Erfan-e Halgheh spiritual group, who were simultaneously protesting the imprisonment of their leader, Mohammad Ali Taheri.

Zeinali was held for ten days in Evin’s Ward 2-A, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization, and released on 500 million Iranian rials (about $16,500) bail.

Zeinali’s trial, along with members of the spiritual group, took place on February 19, 2016 at Branch 1060 of Tehran’s Second Criminal Court and was presided by Judge Dehghani.

Zeinali’s son, Saeed Zeinali, has not been heard from since a brief phone call three months after being apprehended from his Tehran home in front of his parents on July 10, 1999, in connection with widespread student protests that occurred at Tehran University five days earlier.

He was 23 at the time and studying computer science. The authorities have never acknowledged his arrest.

On January 3, 2016, Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said no evidence had been found to show Saeed Zeinali was ever arrested. But Saeed’s parents say they witnessed his arrest and have passionately campaigned for information about their son for more than a decade.

10. Reverse 6 Year Sentence for Esmail Abdi, General Secretary Of The Teachers Association of Iran

February 24, 2016--The secretary general of the Teachers Association of Iran, Esmail Abdi, has been sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security” by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.

The verdict was issued to Abdi’s lawyer on Tuesday, February 14, 2016, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “His lawyer will appeal this decision within 20 days and his family hopes it will be reversed by the Appeals Court,” the source added.

“Mr. Abdi objected to his sentence and said he’s a teacher and had nothing to do with state secrets. What kind of secrets are they talking about? What sort of confidential documents could a teacher have and publish?” a source close to Abdi told the Campaign.

Labor activism in Iran is seen as a national security offense. Independent labor unions are not allowed to function, strikers are often fired and risk arrest, and labor leaders are consistently prosecuted under catchall national security charges and sentenced to long prison terms.

The source added that Abdi’s role as secretary general of the Teachers Association of Iran came under scrutiny after a May 2015 demonstration by teachers and their supporters in front of Parliament.

“He started getting warnings and summons from the Intelligence Ministry as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. They told him he would be arrested if he continued his activities. At that point Mr. Abdi decided to resign from his position as secretary general. Although his resignation was rejected by the board, in reality he wasn’t active anymore.

Even when the security forces complained about protest gatherings by teachers in April and May [2015], Abdi told them he had no involvement in them,” the source said.Labor protests in the teaching profession occurred frequently in Iran last year, as teachers protested wages that are below the official poverty level in Iran and the fact that their labor leaders were being put behind bars for their peaceful activism.

Abdi was arrested on June 27, 2015, by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization. He was held in solitary confinement for nearly a month in their Ward 2-A at Evin Prison and “interrogated for 15 hours each day,” the source told the Campaign.

Abdi had been previously arrested in 2011 and sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Hamidreza Azarpour in Islamshahr for “propaganda against the state” and “revealing national security secrets.” But the sentence was suspended for five years.

In addition to Abdi, four other members of the Teachers Association of Iran are currently serving time in prison: Ali Akbar Baghbani, Rasoul Badaghi, Alireza Hashemi and Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi.

11. Free Iranian Activist Ali (Amir) Amirgholi, Sentenced To 21 Years in Prison

Ali (Amir) Amirgholi, a dismissed student of the Islamic Azad University of Ghazvin, Iran, was sentenced to 21 years in jail at Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran chaired by the infamous Judge Abolghasem Salavati.

Amirgholi was arrested in the street by security forces under a warrant of Branch 6 of the Ghods Court on December 1, 2014. Officials had taken him to his father's house and seized his personal belongings such as his laptop, cell phone and the hard disc of his PC. He was finally transferred to Ward 8 after enduring about two months of intense interrogation while held in solitary confinement of Evin Prison's Ward 209.

Branch 6 of the Evin court, chaired by Amin Naseri, had accused him on the vague charges of "assembly and collusion against national security", "blasphemy", "insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran", "propaganda against the regime of Iran". He suffers from Pancreas disorders, his relatives said.

The leftist activist had previously been arrested and taken to the Evin prison on August 30, 2007, after taking apart on the anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in Khavaran. He had reportedly served 16 days in solitary confinements at the Islamic Republic chambers. He was also arrested in September 2014 for peaceful participation in a protest demonstration.
SOURCE: Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group

12. Free Iranian Tech Website Staffers Ali Asghar Honarmand, Hossein Nozari, Ehsan Paknejad and Abbas Vahedi

Four convicted staff members of a leading Iranian technology website who were free on bail while awaiting an Appeals Court verdict on their cases were taken to a prison in Kerman Province on February 17, 2016, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“After explaining everything in front of the Appeals Court, the defense attorneys were hoping that their clients would all be acquitted, but now four of them have been taken to jail before a verdict has been issued on their appeal,” said the source.

Ali Asghar Honarmand, Hossein Nozari, Ehsan Paknejad and Abbas Vahedi—who wrote articles for the popular technology review website, Narenji (Orange)—were sentenced to 11 years, seven years, five years and two-and-a-half years in prison respectively in June 2014 for allegedly “designing sites, websites, and creating content for media hostile to the regime.”

The charges against them included “propaganda against the state” and “acting against national security.”

The Narenji staffers’ appeal was heard in Branch 1 of the Appeals Court in Kerman on November 30, 2015, but no verdict has been issued.

“The prosecutor claimed the company had developed websites for those involved in the [2009] Green Movement, but it was their occupation to build websites,” the source told the Campaign.

The Green Movement rose out of the peaceful protests against the widely disputed results of the 2009 presidential election in Iran. The movement is still a highly sensitive subject in Iran, referred to by hardliners as “the sedition.”

The source added that the technology professionals “were asked by customers to create sites for them but they had nothing to do with the content.”

Fourteen of the Narenji website’s workers were arrested on December 3, 2013 by the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Organization but only 11 were charged. In addition to the four mentioned above, Mehdi Faryabi, Amir Sadeghpour, Alireza Vaziri, Mohammad Mousazadeh, Mostafa Pourgharib and Maliheh Nakhaei were also arrested at the time, said the source.

Narenji was developed by Paat Shargh Govashir, a company launched by Ali Asghar Honarmand that aimed to provide news and information about Internet technology and related gadgets to the general public.

It quickly became one of the most popular technology sites in the country while receiving international recognition and awards.

13. Free Bahraini Photographer Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi, Sentenced to 10 Years

Reporters Sans Frontieres November 24, 2015--A Bahraini criminal court has sentenced freelance photographer Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi to 10 years in prison on a terrorism charge and has stripped him of his nationality. Reporters Without Borders condemns this arbitrary trial of a journalist who just covered pro-democracy demonstrations.

Accused of giving SIM cards to “terrorist” demonstrators and taking photos of anti-government protests, Mousawi was finally convicted yesterday in a trial that began nearly a year ago and had repeatedly been postponed since February. His lawyer said he would appeal against his conviction.

“The threats and intimidation campaigns against professional journalists and citizen journalists have just one aim – to use ‘terrorism’ as a pretext for suppressing all criticism of an authoritarian regime,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Middle East desk.

“It is outrageous that a journalist has been treated like a terrorist. Arbitrary arrests of peaceful dissidents, systematic torture and impunity have turned Bahrain into a dangerous country for those who speak out. We condemn Mousawi’s arbitrary detention and call on the authorities to overturn his conviction.”

Many Bahrainis have been stripped of their citizenship this year. Those targeted include not only government opponents and Islamic State members but also doctors and journalists.

The recipient of many international awards, Mousawi was arrested without a warrant at his home in the town of Diraz on 10 February 2014, when police confiscated his camera and other electronic apparatus.

His trial did not begin until December 2014 and, according to his family, he was repeatedly tortured in detention, especially during interrogation at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department.

A total of eight journalists and five citizen-journalists are currently detained in Bahrain, according to a Reporters Without Borders tally.

The trial of the leading satirical blogger known as Takrooz is scheduled to being on 25 November. Arrested on 18 June 2014 at Manama airport, he is charged with inciting anti-government hatred and using expressions liable to incite sectarianism.

The appeal of Ali Al-Mearaj, a blogger held since 6 January 2014, is due to be heard on 1 December. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on 8 April 2014 on charges of “misusing information technology” and insulting the king in connection with his management of an opposition website.

Bahrain is ranked 115th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

14. Free Iranian Social Media Activist Ali Shariati, On Hunger Strike Against Harsh Sentence

URGENT UPDATE DECEMBER 145, 2016--After 43 days on hunger strike, political prisoner Ali Shariati, a long-time supporter of President Hassan Rouhani, has been hospitalized and is “critically ill,” his mother told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Ali’s blood pressure suddenly dropped on Friday (December 9, 2016) and he was transferred to Taleghani Hospital, but no one told us,” said Shayesteh-ol-Sadat Shahidi. “On Saturday morning we got a call that he’s in the hospital, but then he was returned to the clinic in Evin Prison. He has become extremely thin.”
Ali Shariati, 30, went on hunger strike on October 31, 2016 after being taken to Evin Prison to begin a five-year prison sentence for “acting against national security by participating in a protest against acid attacks in front of [Parliament] on October 22, 2014.” He is protesting “against his forced return to prison to serve a sentence that has no legal basis,” Shahidi told the Campaign in November 2016.
“Ali has not committed any crime,” Shahidi told the Campaign in a recent interview. “He was one of the supporters of the government [of Hassan Rouhani]. I don’t understand how the supporter of a sitting president can be arrested for ‘acting against national security.’ If that’s the case, the 20 million people who voted for Mr. Rouhani should also be arrested.”
“Many people have demonstrated in front of Parliament,” she added. “Ali just protested once against acid attacks on women at a peaceful rally in front of Parliament, and they are calling it ‘acting against national security.’ It’s wrong to sentence him to five years in prison for this.”
Shariati was initially sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison by Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, but the sentence was reduced to five years upon appeal. 
Shariati was previously arrested on February 14, 2010 during a street protest against the widely disputed result of the 2009 presidential election and held for a month in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. Judge Yahya Pirabbasi of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to two years in prison and 74 lashes, but the Appeals Court later reduced the sentence to one year in prison, which Shariati served.
He was arrested again on June 13, 2014 and detained for a week before being released. Subsequently he was frequently summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning until his final arrest on February 18, 2015. 
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/12/ali-shariati-12/

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URGENT UPDATE NOVEMBER 15, 2016--ALI SHARIATI AGAIN ON DRY HUNGER STRIKE, HEALTH IN GRAVE DANGER: Shariati, a civil rights activist, began his hunger strike on October 31, 2016 when he began serving a five-year prison sentence for protesting against acid attacks on women. As of November 9 he stopped drinking liquids, making him very weak, a source told the Campaign. Shariati is protesting against his “forced return to prison to serve a sentence that has no legal basis,” according to his mother, Shayesteh-ol-Sadat Shahidi.
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/11/prisoners-of-conscience-on-hunger-strike/

November 17, 2015-- Fourteen days after prisoner of conscience Ali Shariati embarked on a hunger strike to protest the judicial process of his case, he remains on strike inside Evin Prison. His condition was defined as “very worrying” after he lost partial consciousness on the third day of his wet (refusing food and water) hunger strike, a source close to him told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Shariati, who was a campaign worker during Hassan Rouhani’s presidential campaign, was transferred to Evin Prison’s clinic half-conscious and suffering from partial paralysis, the source said. Shariati began his hunger strike on November 4, 2015.

“They hooked him up to an IV, and he became a bit better but he said he will not stop his hunger strike until the authorities look into his demands,” added the source.

“His first demand is to be allowed to go free on bail until the final sentence is issued by the Appeals Court. Secondly he wants a professional review of his case because he believes he has received an unjust sentence based on irrational evidence,” the source told the Campaign.

Shariati, 29, was arrested for a third time on February 18, 2015, by Ministry of Intelligence agents at his home in connection with his postings on social media, including Telegram, that were critical of the government. He was held in solitary confinement for five months in Evin Prison before being moved to the facility’s public ward.

On September 11, 2015, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Shariati to 12 years and 9 months in prison for “propaganda against the state,” “acting against national security,” “insulting the president,” and “having a satellite dish at home.” Salavati is often hand-picked by the Judiciary to preside over politically motivated cases because of the harsh sentences he hands down.

Authorities in Iran have cracked down particularly hard on any dissenting opinion expressed on social media, a platform they have come to fear due to its near ubiquitous use among Iranian youth, as hardliners seek to maintain a repressive grip over the domestic sphere.

“Ali is [a] prisoner of conscience of the Rouhani Administration, even though he supports his government. He was very active in Mr. Rouhani’s campaign office,” the source close to Shariati said.

Ali Shariati, who has a bachelor’s degree in architecture, was first arrested on February 14, 2010, and held for a month in solitary confinement at Evin Prison. He was released on bail until his trial, presided by Judge Pir-Abbasi of the Revolutionary Court, when he was sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashes. The Appeals Court reduced the sentence to one year in prison, which Shariati completed, but the lashing sentence was never carried out.

The second arrest took place on June 13, 2014. Shariati was held for a week and then released but he was frequently summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning until his last arrest on February 18, 2015.

In a joint letter with fellow prisoner of conscience Majid Azarpey, who is also on hunger strike, Ali Shariati addressed President Rouhani and said: “You are the enforcer of the Constitution. We want you to end your inaction and take a stand against these witch hunts. Do not let these extremist forces help the enemies of our land with their injustices.”

15. Rescind Harsh Prison, Flogging Sentence for Iranian Filmmaker Keywan Karimi

UPDATE MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2016: Iranian fimmaker Keywan Karimi said Monday that an appeals court had sentenced him to a year in prison, reducing his initial sentence of six years over "insulting sanctities" amid an ongoing crackdown on expression in the Islamic Republic. He aid he will still receive 223 lashes as stipulated in his original sentence. Both Karimi and his lawyer have said the sentence stems from unspecified "video clip" and a documentary film he directed called Writing on the City, which focuses on political graffiti in Iran from its 1979 Islamic Revolution to its contested 2009 election.

Karimi said the appeals court decision was final and could not be appealed.

"I have no intention of leaving the country and shall serve the sentence," he said.

Karimi is perhaps best known by international film critics for his 2013 black-and-white minimalist film, The Adventure of the Married Couple. It played in some 40 film festivals, winning prizes in Spain and Colombia.
SOURCE: CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/iran-karimi-keywan-jail-1.3458180?__vfz=tc%3D5KHxzNHurEm
***
An award-winning Iranian filmmaker whose work focuses on the travails of modern life and political expression in the Islamic Republic has been sentenced to six years in prison and to 223 lashes for his movies.

The conviction of Keywan Karimi follows similar punishments for other artists and journalists in Iran, even as its moderate government moves toward detente with the West over its contested nuclear program. The case underscores both the murky limits of expression in Iran and the power hard-liners still maintain in the country.

"I don't know what happened that I should go to jail for six years," Karimi told The Associated Press. "I speak about the government, I speak about society, I speak about (graffiti), I speak about a labourer.

"Watch my movies and … (then) judge me."

Both Karimi and his lawyer Amir Raeisian say a court on Saturday sentenced the filmmaker on charges of "insulting sanctities" in Iran, whose elected government is ultimately overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The footage involved both a "video clip" and a film he directed called Writing on the City, which focuses on political graffiti in Iran from its 1979 Islamic Revolution to its contested 2009 election.

Iranian state media and officials have yet to comment on Karimi's case. Both Karimi and Raeisian say they will appeal. Karimi remains free for the time being.

Karimi is perhaps best known by international film critics for his 2013 black-and-white minimalist film, The Adventure of the Married Couple. The short film, based on a story by Italian writer Italo Calvino, follows the grinding routine of a husband and wife working opposite shifts, she in a bottle factory and he at a mannequin store. Neither speaks, the only noise is the hum of the city they live in.

The film played in some 40 film festivals and won prizes in Spain and Colombia. The case against Karimi comes as hard-liners have accused moderate President Hassan Rouhani of failing to stop the spread of "decadent" Western culture in Iran.

In May 2014, authorities arrested a group of young Iranian men and women for a video of them dancing to Pharrell Williams' song Happy. While the arrests drew widespread criticism, including from the musician himself, those involved each received suspended sentences of six months in jail and 91 lashes.

Meanwhile, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, has been detained in Iran for 14 months and was recently convicted on charges that include espionage. He reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison.

For Karimi, he said his case made no sense as Tehran University had supported his work on filming and producing Writing on the City. In the time since, however, he said the university students involved in the project have shunned him over the trouble he's seen, including when authorities raided his home and destroyed some of the hard drives and a laptop holding his work.

"I don't know what will happen," he said Tuesday. "I'm really shaken about this judgment."

Karimi said another of his films, the short documentary Broken Border, also may have angered officials. That movie focuses on the smuggling of Iran's subsidized gasoline over the snowy Zagros Mountains separating the Islamic Republic from Kurdistan in Iraq.

The 18-minute movie needs only the film's one scene of dialogue in a rural classroom to explain it.

"Now what is a border?" a teacher asks.

A young student responds: "A border is where goods are smuggled."

16. Free Bahraini Prisoner of Conscience Dr Abduljalil al-Singace, On Hunger Strike 200 + Days

From English PEN: Wednesday, October 7 2015 marked the 200th day of Bahraini prisoner of conscience Dr Abduljalil al-Singace’s hunger strike. Dr al-Singace has boycotted all solid food in response to the ill-treatment of prisoners in Bahrain.

Twenty-one human rights organisations reiterate their call for his release in a joint statement published today. The NGOs ‘voice our solidarity with Dr al-Singace’s continued protest andcall on the United Kingdom and all European Union member states, the United States and the United Nations to raise his case, and the cases of all prisoners of conscience, with Bahrain, both publicly and privately.’ They call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Prison authorities appear to have finally begun to take notice of the international attention his case is attracting. Dr al-Singace recently received treatment for a nose injury he suffered during his torture in 2011. He had waited over four years to receive such treatment.

However, Dr al-Singace’s condition remains critical. He suffered damage to his ear as a result of torture, but has not received adequate medical attention for this injury. His family states that he is often dizzy, his hair is falling out, and that he is ‘on the verge of collapse.’

In the prison clinic, Dr al-Singace is not allowed to leave the building and is effectively held in solitary confinement. Though the clinic staff tends to him, he is not allowed to interact with other prison inmates and his visitation times are irregular. Authorities have now lifted an unofficial ban on Dr al-Singace receiving writing and reading materials, but access is still limited: prison staff have now given him a pen, but have still not allowed him access to any paper. The government has also denied Dr al-Singace permission to receive magazines sent to him in an English PEN-led campaign, despite promising to allow him to do so. He has no ready access to television, radio or print media.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy:

Dr al-Singace’s puts his life at risk for his belief in a torture-free and democratic Bahrain. To support democracy and reform in Bahrain, the United Kingdom and United States must call for Dr al-Singace’s immediate release.

Cat Lucas, Writers at Risk Programme Manager, English PEN:

We’re pleased and relieved that the prison authorities seem to be taking notice of the growing international support for Dr Al-Singace, having finally allowed him medical treatment and access to a pen in recent weeks. However, there is still a long way to go and the UK government has a crucial role to play. We urge them to join our call for justice for the many writers and activists detained in Bahrain.

17. Free Peaceful Syrian Activist Bassel Khartabil, At Grave Risk of Torture

Peaceful activist Bassel Khartabil has been moved to an unknown location from ‘Adra
prison, where he had been held since December 2012. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Bassel Khartabil was moved to an unknown location on 3 October, from ‘Adra prison, where he had been held since December 2012. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. He had been arrested on 15 March 2012 by Syrian Military Intelligence agents in the al-Mezzeh area of Damascus.

He was detained by Military Intelligence incommunicado and without his family being informed of his whereabouts until November 2012, when he was transferred to ‘Adra prison and from there to a Military Field Court and then Saydnaya military prison on 9 December 2012. He later said that his questioning before the Military Field Court took roughly one minute and he was not told its conclusion.

When he was returned to ‘Adra prison in late December 2012, he said that he had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated while detained at Saydnaya military prison.

It is not known why Bassel Khartabil was arrested, but it is likely to have been because of his activities as a peaceful activist and advocate for the right to freedom of expression. He had worked as a software engineer until he was arrested, specializing in open-source software development.

Bassel Khartabil was able to tell his family on 3 October that he had been told to collecthis belongings as he would be transferred, but was not told where he would be taken. His family fear that he has been moved to the al-Qaboun Branch of the Military Police to be brought before a Military Field Court again. Torture and other ill-treatment are rife in these facilities and proceedings before Military Field Courts are grossly unfair.

18. Free Critcally Ill Imprisoned Iranian Lawyer Hassan Tafah, Leukemia Patient

Hassan Tafah, 86-year-old prisoner in Rajaee Shahr prison, despite suffering from leukemia and having a punishment intolerance order, still remains in prison.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), HRANA September 6, 2015--Hassan Tafah, 86-year-old lawyer and prisoner of conscience in Rajaei-Shahr prison in spite of his critical illness and despite the passage of one year from the acceptance of punishment intolerance order, still is held in prison and is prevented from being released from prison, being sent on medical leave or even being transferred to the hospital.

An informed source about his situation told HRANA: “Although the “punishment intolerance order” for this prisoner has been upheld, and after a year of its issuance and also forensic medic’s previous request based on the necessity of releasing him because of his disease of leukemia and his age, he is still being kept in the prison.”

Hassan Tafah was arrested in 2008 by the security forces and was tried by Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 15, presided by Judge Salvati, on charges of espionage and propaganda against the regime, and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Tafah has consistently rejected the charges and denied involvement in politics.

According to Iranian labor activist and former prisoner of conscience Mansour Osanloo, who knew Mr. Tafah in prison and testified to his poor treatment, "He (Hassan Tafah) had a law office in Dubai and was considered a prominent lawyer. The [Iranian] Intelligence Ministry had asked him several times to use his office and connections in Dubai to purchase weapons and other material in violation of sanctions. He did not cooperate and for this reason they arrested him. We have lots of examples like this in prisons in Iran.”

19. Free Iranian IT Expert Arash Azad

Nearly two months after the arrest of information technology expert Arash Azad, who was detained at Imam Khomeini Airport by the authorities as he was leaving Iran on August 1, 2015, officials have released no information as to why he was arrested or the charges that he is being held under.

Arash Azad, who is the founder of the respected technology sites Weblogina and Zigzaglab.com, received a U.N. World Summit Youth Award in 2014 for Ladybug, a service aimed at increasing women’s participation in the Iranian information technology sector.

The Internet researcher Nariman Gharib told the Campaign, “We didn’t find out about Arash’s arrest until we started getting phishing emails from his personal account. Given the history of these kinds of arrests, he’s probably been arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.”

During the past two years, the authorities in Iran, led by intelligence organizations controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, have aggressively pursued and targeted Internet professionals and online activists, arresting them and working hand-in-hand with the Judiciary and Revolutionary Courts to sentence these individuals to long prison terms.

20. Free Iranian Ahwazi Arab Poet Ahmad Hazbawi

June 23, 2015--Iranian Ahwazi Arab poet and cultural activist Ahmad Hazbawi, who has a six-year-old child, was arrested by Intelligence Service officials at his workplace in the city of Ahwaz on 8 April 2015.

Ahmad, son of Sabhan (aka Abu Motasar), a 31-year-old, poet from Qalat Chanaan village, was detained on the formal charge of supposedly supporting the operation led by the Saudi Arabian government against Huthis terrorist and proxy of Iranian regime in Yemen. In fact, the poet was arrested in connection with a 25 –word Arabic poem after the poet read this before a jubilant crowd, consisting mainly of youth, in a video which was recorded on 27 March 2015.

When arrested, the Ahwazi poet was thrown into the car after being dragged on the ground by the arresting security agents.

Ahmad has since called his relatives a few times, but there is no any information about his whereabouts in detention. His relatives have frequently asked authorities about their loved one's condition, but the officials have so far evaded any response.

He has now spent approximately 75 days somewhere in a prison cell of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his relatives have expressed concern about their beloved's well-being.

The Ahwazi Arabs activists criticize the silence of human rights about ongoing Human Rights violations in Iran as Karim Dahimi, Human rights activist said

The Iran’s authorities have continued the systematic Human Rights violations in the region and Ahwazi Arabs activists have expressed dissatisfaction of the silence by international community.

On the plight of the Ahwazi Arab minority in Iran, one human rights group has observed: “Since 1925, the people of Ahwaz have been subjected to summary executions, forced displacement, and destruction of homes and personal property. Due to the current sectarian fundamentalist regime in Iran, the Ahwazi Arab people live in constant fear of repression."

By: Kaveh Taheri

Source: BCR Group

21. Free Iranian Student Hesam-Aldin Farzizadeh, Sentenced To Death For Apostasy

Hesam-Aldin Farzizadeh, an Expelled student in the field of nuclear physics of Mohaghegh University in the city of Ardebil, Iran was reportedly sentenced to death because of writings of his which were critical of Islam. Illegally, he is being denied access to a lawyer.

Hesam, 22, was charged with apostasy, propaganda for "seductive faiths" and blasphemy by the court according to the news received by VOCIR.

Security forces arrested him on 21 Nov 2013 and transferred to the prison of Meshkin Shahr city. The young writer suffers from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

He is kept in the non-political ward among addicts and gangs because there is no special ward for the prisoners of conscience. The religious critic had frequently begun hunger strikes that led him to lose weight as well.

He has allegedly been accepted to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

22. Rescind 6-Year Prison Sentence of Iranian Women's Right Activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi

UPDATE July 4, 2015--Civil and political activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi has launched an appeal against the six-year prison sentence she received for her peaceful activism. Ms. Langroudi was convicted on charges of disturbing national security and propaganda against the state, based on her activities with a peaceful group that is critical of government policies.

“Ms. Langroudi’s activities have been within the law,” a source close to the family told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “All her life she has shown that she is not an extremist or a law breaker and now she expects the sentence against her will be quashed.”

Minoo Mortazi Langroudi is a member of the Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists, a political organization that advocates for political reform and greater democratization in Iran and which is banned by the Islamic Republic. She is also one of the founders of Mothers for Peace, a grassroots group formed to campaign against military action against Iran, and a board member of the Center to Defend Prisoners’ Rights, an informal civil society organization focused on obtaining due process and better conditions for political prisoners as well as their release, which is also banned in Iran.

Langroudi, who has been harassed and detained numerous times since the peaceful protests that followed the widely disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran, was put on trial in early May of this year at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati. In addition to her six-year prison sentence, she was banned from political and civic activities for two years. Judge Salavati, notorious for his harsh sentences, is frequently handpicked by Intelligence and security agencies to preside over the cases of political dissidents.

A source close to Langroudi said she hopes the harsh sentence will be reduced or completely rejected by the appellate court.

“In recent years Ms. Langroudi has beensummoned to the Intelligence Ministry many times to answer questions,” the source told the Campaign, adding that the authorities used those conversations regarding her peaceful activities to build the case against her. “She does not accept any of the charges against her.”
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2015/07/minoo-mortazi-langroudi/

June 13, 2015--Mrs. Minoo Mortazi Langroudi, a women's rights activist and a member of the National-Religious Council, was sentenced to six years imprisonment at branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court by the infamous Judge Salavati.

She was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of establishing the National-Religious Council and an additional year on a charge of blackmail against the regime. Further, she has been forbidden any further socio-political activity. Ms. Mortazi Langroudi holds an MA in Women's Studies.

The women rights activist along with his husband Habibollah Peyman have been frequently summoned, threatened and interrogated by officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran's security forces, as the Campaign to Defend Civil and Political Prisoners in Iran said.

Dr. Habibollah Peyman, the General Secretary of the Opponent Muslim movement, was released on expensive bail in 2001 after spending more than eight months in solitary confinement of the Revolutionary Guards and five months in the public wards. He has been deprived attending any socio-political conferences.

Furthermore, another member of the National-Religious Council Hussain Rafei was convicted to six years imprisonment and two years deprivation of media and press activities.

SOURCE: BCR Group

23. Drop ALL Charges Against Iranian Human Rights Attorney Mohammad Moghimi

UPDATE: June 17, 2015--Mohammad Moghimi has been released on bail. While we are relieved that he is no longer locked up in the truly horrible Rajai-Shahr prison, the fact that he is out on bail means that he is still facing charges which could end in a prison sentence. He would NOT be the first Iranian human rights lawyer to be sentenced.

UPDATE June 15, 2015--Mohammad Moghimi, Atena Farghadani's attorney who was arrested Saturday, was beaten in front of his family after being brought to court from Rajai-Shahr prison in shackles and handcuffs.

June 13, 2015--BREAKING NEWS: Mohammad Moghimi, the attorney of Iranian civil society activist Atena Farghadani who was recently sentenced to twelve years, nine months in prison for the "crime" of posting cartoons critical of censorship in Iran, has been arrested while attempting to visit his client in Tehran's Evin Prison. The reason given for his arrest was a charge that he shook hands with Ms. Faraghdani while meeting with her in the prison.

After being arrested, he was transferred to the notorious Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj, where prisoners of conscience are held in truly deplorable conditions.

BACKGROUND ON ATENA FARGHADANI
Atena Farghadani is a cartoonist and children rights activist, who is kept in ward 2-Alef Sepah in Evin Prison sentenced to 12 years and nine months imprisonment by Judge Salavati in the Revolutionary Court. Originally, it was expected that a seven-year sentence would be imposed her according to the article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Then, after he initial arrest, the civil rights activist revealed some details of the conditions in the women's ward of Evin prison, such as surveillance cameras in the bathroom hallway. After that, she was summoned to 15 branch of Revolutionary Court, chaired by the notorious Judge Salavati. Atena was accused of acting against national security, propaganda against the regime of Iran and insulting parliament members through her cartoons.

Atena had been kept in 2-Alef ward, run by the Revolutionary Guards, for about two months, and endured severe torture. She started a hunger strike to protest the prevention of her release. She was subsequently released on bail by Salavati because of her physical deterioration.

She was transferred to the hospital due to heat stroke and passed out after vomiting on day 16 of her hunger strike in Gharchak prison of Varamin city.
Atena started this hunger strike ito protest her deportation to Charchak prison from Evin, and her transfer to a ward for common criminals on 8 Feb 2015. Atena's condition is in imminent danger as her lawyer, Mahmoud Moghimi, has informed Campaign in Defense of Civil & Political Prisoners.

She had asked nurses that the IV tubes be removed when she regained consciousness on day 18 of her hunger strike according to the report which was received and updated the BCR Group. Atena was also refusing salt and sugar.

Authorities had reportedly forbidden the lawyer to meet her in Firoozabadi hospital.

It is worth noting that Atena was brutally beaten by the official in front of her family in court on 10 Jan 2015.

24. Drop Charges Against Iranian Writer Reza Khandan Mahabadi For Facebook Posts

Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers’ Association.

Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Writers’ Association, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Intelligence Ministry agents who appeared at his home on April 29, 2015, had a search warrant for his home and a notice from the Tehran Media Court, in which he was accused of “propaganda against the state,” and “publishing an illegal publication.”

After a thorough search of the premises and Mr. Khandan’s personal belongings, some of his hand-written notes, archives, and books, and his cell phone and computer hard disk were confiscated. The agents told him he had to appear at the Intelligence Ministry for interrogations. Mr. Khandan subsequently attended three interrogation sessions. He is currently waiting for his court summons.

Another member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Writers’ Association, the poet Baktash Abtin, [Link: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2015/05/baktash-abtin-poet/] received similar treatment.

“Most of the interrogations were about the Writers’ Association’s statements and Facebook page posts. They said these are examples of ‘propaganda against the state.’ The [Writers’] Association’s Facebook page is no longer accessible by its members, and we are unable to post content to it,” Reza Khandan told the Campaign.

“As one of the most important goals of the Association is to defend freedom of expression and to oppose censorship, whenever something happens where freedom of expression is questioned, the Association issues a statement in reaction. For example, when newspapers are banned, or when individuals are prosecuted and imprisoned for their different opinions. The interrogators determined such statements as examples of ‘propaganda against the state,'” he added.

Regarding his second charge, “publishing an illegal publication,” Reza Khandan told the Campaign, “‘Andisheh Azad’ is an internal publication with very limited circulation among members of the Association, and it has no public distribution. It was first published in 1979 and about 10 issues of it were published between 1979 and 1981, before it stopped publication. It resumed publication four years ago, and since then, only nine issues have been published. Now the interrogators say this internal publication which is intended for members only, is a manifestation of ‘an illegal publication.'”

“They told me to promise that the Association’s publication and statements will stop. But I don’t consider myself a criminal, and I don’t believe I have done anything wrong, therefore I didn’t promise. I said that I am a writer and I oppose censorship. But it appears that I would have faced lighter charges, or I would have been released had I made the promise. I don’t know,” he added.

“Why should a cultural and civil activity expose individuals and their families to such worry and hardship? What is the reason for such threats against cultural and civil activities? Every individual must be free to think and work however he/she wants within civil society’s frameworks,” Reza Khandan told the Campaign. “I was interrogated, my hand-written notes and archives that had taken me years to collect were all taken away and it is not clear whether they will be returned to me, and that if they are returned to me, whether it would be all the notes or only a part of them. Such behavior disrupts people’s lives and it is an example of persecution,” he added.

Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a writer and literary critic, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Iran Writers’ Association in September 2014, along with Hassan Asghari, Ali Ashraf Darvishian, Baktash Abtin, and Mehdi Ghebrai.

Baktash Abtin was also interrogated in April and May, and is now awaiting his trial date and summons to the Evin Prison Courts.
Link: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2015/05/baktash-abtin-poet/

25. Free Iranian Television Producer Mostafa Azizi, Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison

UPDATE June 10, 2015--Mostafa Aziz Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison
A man with Canadian permanent resident status has been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison.

Mostafa Azizi, 53, was sentenced Monday in Iran on charges of collusion against Iran and insulting the supreme leader. The charges apparently stem from some of Azizi's social media posts.

"I'm still in shock," says Parastoo Azizi, his daughter, who lives in Toronto.

Mostafa Azizi, a prominent filmmaker, emigrated to Canada with his family in 2008. His children have Canadian citizenship, and Azizi is a permanent resident who was in the process of gaining citizenship.

Azizi recently travelled back to Iran to visit his relatives. During that trip, Azizi was arrested and held in Tehran's Evin prison. After his trial, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

"My dad is innocent," says Parastoo Azizi. "He hasn't done anything wrong."
Mostafa Azizi is appealing his case.

Parastoo Azizi spoke with her father briefly earlier this week. He's "holding up" emotionally, she says. But his physical state "is not really good."

Mostafa Azizi has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since shortly after he arrived in Iran in January 2015.

Azizi has spent more than two weeks in solitary confinement, his son, Arash, says, before being placed in the general population.

It's unclear which of Mostafa Azizi's social media postings alerted Iranian authorities, says Sima Sahar Zerehi, a journalist with Shahrvand Publications who also occasionally works for CBC.

She is shocked by the sentence for Azizi, who became a prominent cultural figure in Toronto's Iranian community after his emigration.

"It's a very sad day for Iranian Canadians to see someone who was part of our community, who was part of our neighbourhood, who was very active face something as draconian as eight years in Iranian prison."
SOURCE: CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/mostafa-azizi-sentenced-to-8-years-in-iranian-prison-1.3107324

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Mostafa Azizi, a former Iranian television writer and producer, who has been in prison since February 1, 2015, will be put on trial on June 1, at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati. Azizi, a resident of Canada since 2008, returned to Iran in December 2014.

A source close to Azizi’s case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the charges he faces are “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic,” and “assembly and collusion against national security,” although no evidence supporting these charges has been presented.

“He is an artist, not a political activist. He is an artist who wrote his analysis of the social and political situation in places like his Facebook page, but he did not intend to break the law or insult anyone,” said the source.

Mostafa Azizi wrote and produced popular Iranian TV series before moving to Canada with his family in 2008. The source told the Campaign that Azizi had returned to Iran to be close to his ailing father and to possibly write or produce new TV series.

“He was summoned by Evin Prison Courts. He appeared at the courts on April 1. I’m not sure what happened there, but he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison. He spent 14 days in solitary confinement inside the IRGC’s Ward 2-A, and then he was transferred to a cell where there were four or five other prisoners. He is currently inside Evin Prison’s General Ward 8,” the source told the Campaign.

“If he thought he would face problems and that he could be arrested, he would not have returned to Iran at all. When Mr. [Hassan] Ghashghavi, Deputy Foreign Minister [in Consular and Parliamentary Affairs], said that all Iranians can return to Iran, he thought he, too, should return. News of his arrest was shocking,” added the source.

Dozens of Iranian expatriates who have traveled to Iran following assurances by President Rouhani regarding their safe passage, have been arrested, interrogated, prevented from leaving by having their passports confiscated, and, in many instances, imprisoned upon their return, due to the peaceful expression of views or lifestyles with which the government does not agree. This is in direct violation of Article 13(2) of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

26. Free Alireza Hashemi, Head of Iranian Teachers Organization, Sentenced To 5 Years

Radio Zamaneh, April 21, 2015: Reports from Iran indicate that head of the Teachers’ Organization, Alireza Hashemi, has been arrested and transferred to Evin Prison in connection with a court sentence issued against him five years ago.

ILNA quotes a spokesperson for the organization saying that in 2010, the head of the organization was handed a five-year prison sentence for what he described as “pursuing the rights of teachers and families who visit jailed teachers”.

The report indicates that he was charged with “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the regime”.

Hashemi was reportedly arrested on Sunday April 19 at his home.

ILNA writes that Hashemi was previously arrested in 2006 at a teachers’ protest in front of Parliament. He was reportedly sentenced to three years in jail, but the sentence was withdrawn upon appeal.

Teachers across Iran have been engaged in widespread protests in recent months, demanding that their wages be brought into line with those of other government employees.

27. Free Faribourz Baghi, Serving Two Years In Prison For His Bahai Faith In Iran

March 7, 2015 – Mr. Faribourz Baghi reported to prison in Yazd on March 7, in response to a summons sent through his bail guarantor.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), he is to serve a 2-year term (previously reported as 3 years in prison and 1 year suspended), on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the regime.

He is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and the sixth of this group to begin their prison terms.

28. Free Iranian Fariba Ashtari, Serving Two Years For Practicising Her Bahai Faith

Feburary 26, 2015--Fariba Ashtari, a Baha’i resident of Yazd, started her two-year sentence on Saturday at the central prison of the city. She is the fourth of the the twenty Baha’is in the province whose sentence has been carried out.

According to HRANA Press, the news portal of Human Rights Activists in Iran, on Saturday, 21 February 2015, Fariba Ashtari, a Baha’i resident of Yazd, presented herself to serve her two-year imprisonment at the city’s central prison. In addition to the prison sentence of two years, she is sentenced to one year of a suspended sentence.

It is worth noting that she is the fourth Baha’i of twenty-four for whom the revolutionary court of Yazd has carried out their sentences, based on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership in the Baha’i community. Before Fariba Ashtari, in recent weeks, Farah Baghi, Navid Haghighi and Shahram Fallah were other Baha’is who have been transferred to prisons in Yazd, Kerman and Arak to begin their sentences.

29. Free Iranian Human Rights Activist Majid Moghaddam

MARCH 7, 2015 -- DAY 95 OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR IRANIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST MAJID MOGHADDAM, TO FORCE A FALSE "CONFESSION" OUT OF HIM.

Majid Moghadam who was arrested in December and transferred to ward 2-A of Evin prison which is under the control of IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) is still kept in this ward and his status is uncertain and in (ILLEGAL) limbo.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Majid Moghadam was arrested at his father’s house on December 3, 2014, at 8 p.m. and was transferred to ward 2-A which is controlled by IRGC.

He is still kept in this ward and in two-person cell. He has no contact with the outside world, as he is deprived of having phone calls and regular weekly visits.

A close source to Majid Moghadam told HRANA’s reporter, “authorities did not clarify Majid’s status, or the charges and allegations against him and just responded that he has 'gone to places that he should not have.'”

This source also said, “Prison authorities intentionally prolong his detention and do not carry out any investigations. They have refgused to release him on the bail.”

It should be mentioned that Majid Moghadam was previously arrested during the 2009 presidential election’s protests and was transferred to the notorious torture and murder house of that summer, the Kahrizak detention center.

30. Saudi Arabia MUST Rescind Sentence Of 200 Lashes, Six Months In Prison For Rape Victim!

A woman who was violently gang raped in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail after being found guilty of indecency and talk to the media.

The 19-year-old was in a car with a student friend when two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area. She says she was raped by seven men, three of whom also attacked her friend.

The Shia Muslim woman had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicted of violating the Kingdom's religious diktats on segregation of the sexes.

After the sentences were handed down following the rape in 2006, the woman was sentenced to 90 lashes; however her lawyer appealed to the Saudi General Court. It then doubled her sentence. At the same time, they also doubled the prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping her, according to Saudi news outlets.

Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, who defended the woman, reached out to the media after the sentences were handed down. The court has since banned him from further defending the woman, confiscating his license and summoning him to a disciplinary hearing later this month.

Saudi Arabia defended the controversial decision to punish the victim, saying that she was at fault for being out without a male family member, something which was met with international outcry.

"The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism, away from emotions," it said in a statement.