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Five Iranian Christian Converts Receive Trial Date
Following a long wait and much uncertainty and after the judicial authorities rejected their appeal to be released on bail, five Christian converts in Shiraz officially received a trial date. They spent eight months after their arrest in prison with their fate unknown.
According to Mohabat News reporters, five Christian converts, who have spent eight months in prison, finally received a date for their trial through their lawyer.
Their trial, according to the announcement paper, is to be held on Monday, October 15, at 10 a.m. in Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. The names of the Christians are as follow, Messrs.. Mojtaba Hosseini, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (Kourosh), Vahid Hakkani, Homayoun Shokouhi and his wife Mrs. Fariba Nazemian.
The report received by Mohabat News indicates, these Christian converts are charged with "creating illegal groups", "participating in house church service", "propagation against the Islamic regime" and "defaming Islamic holy figures through Christian evangelizing".
Prior to this, on May 11, 2008, Mojtaba Hosseini and Homayoun Shokouhi had been arrested because of their Christian faith, together with eight other Christian converts in Shiraz. At that time, they were sentenced to five years in prison but released conditionally. One year from that suspended five year sentence is still remaining. It is believed that their prior case may also be reviewed in the trial that is to come.
Since their arrest, all five Christian prisoners are being held separately in wards where dangerous criminals like murderers and drug dealers are also being held in Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz. According to reports, Homayoun Shokouhi is being held in ward 10, which is believed to be the worst ward of all, Mohammad-Reza Partoei is in ward 11 and Mojtaba Hosseini and Vahid Hakkani are in ward 4, but on different floors. Also, Mrs. Fariba Nazemian is in the women's ward in the same place as feemale drug addicts and murderers.
Homayoun Shokouhi and his wife, Mrs. Fariba Nazemian, have two children, a 17 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. Their children are totally alone since their parents' arrest and are going through many difficulties.
It is noteworthy that their trial was set to be held between April 19 and 26. They were transferred to Revolutionary Court of Shiraz and were interrogated by Mr. Rezaei Dadyar in Branch Seven. They were told that some judicial officials have said that they would not accept any kind of bail for their temporary release.
These Christian prisoners' rights were also violated during their transfer to the court. As Mohabat News reporters witnessed, each time they were transferred with their hands and feet chained. This occurred although according to the regulations of the Prisons in Iran, prisoners of conscience should not be handcuffed or chained.
It should be remembered that security authorities raided a house on February 8, 2012, after they had identified it as a house church. The group of Christians who had gathered there to worship were ill-treated and eventually arrested. They were then taken in police cars to the detention center of the Intelligence Office in Shiraz, known as "Pelak 100", for interrogation.
It should be mentioned that harassment and discrimination against religious minorities has been a major Human Rights violation issue by the Islamic regime of Iran, during the last 30 years.
Regarding the situation of Christians in Iran, in the opening paragraph of its report, Fox News wrote that in a country like Iran where Christians are being pressured, the only way to secure the release of Christian prisoners is to continue the international pressure on the Iranian regime.
The Islamic government of Iran has increased its pressure on Iranian Christian converts during recent years. It has closed churches or prevented Farsi-speaking people from entering churches and uses all means to restrict and suppress "freedom of religion".
Ali Pour Soleiman is a member of the Central Council of the Iranian Teachers' Organization. A prisoner inside Evin Prison's Ward 350, he has been in prison for almost a year without any furlough.
"We went to see Ali... Thank Good he was feeling a lot better, but he was sad to be behind bars on such a day. We cannot celebrate the Teacher's Day at all this year. We hope to celebrate when he gets out on 25 May, when he completes his sentence. We shall celebrate not just his release, but all our loved ones in prison," Pour Soleiman's mother told JARAS Website.
The teachers' rights activist was arrested in May 2011. He was severely beaten in prison and had to be transferred to hospital. After his hospital treatment, Ali Pour Soleiman was first transferred to IRGC's Ward 2-A, and then to Ward 350 at Evin Prison. His one-year sentence on charges of "propagating against the state" will end on 25 May. On Teacher's Day 2007, Iran's then Minister of Education and development, ordered the dismissal of Ali Pour Soleiman from his teaching position.
UPDATE Hrana 2013-04-23
Editor: Human Niazi
Translator: Houman Niyazi
HRANA News Agency – Mehdi Khodai and Mohammad Davari have returned to the section 350 of the Evin prison while their vacation has been finished.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mehdi Khodai and Mohammad Davari returned to the Evin prison couple of hours ago.
Mehdi Khodai is the former secretary of the Islamic Society of Shahre Rey Azad University and a member of Human Rights Activist has come for vacation on March 20, 2013 after 3 years.
Mohammad Davari is the Editor of Saham News Website and had been in the prison since September 2009. He had a heart problem when he heard his brother’s death and was transferred to hospital. He had been on the vacation since February 20, 2013 however he was not allowed to take part in his brother’s funeral.
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Judicial authorities have imposed an exorbitant bail on Mohammad Davari, whose conditions continue to worsen in prison. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Bijan Davari, Mohammad Davari’s brother, said his physical and psychological condition is seriously deteriorating.
“Though he exercised in prison and tried to keep up his spirits and when talking to us, he never talked about what he was going through, we can no longer deny that his physical illnesses are pressing him,” Bijan Davari told the Campaign.
Mohammad Davari is a journalist, former teacher, and former editor-in-chief of Saham News, a website affiliated with Mehdi Karroubi. He was arrested in 2009 after political opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi wrote a letter to head of the Council of Experts reporting the torture of political prisoners inside Kahrizak Detention Center. Security forces tortured Davari in prison, pressuring him to make televised confessions against Karroubi.
Bijan Davari told the Campaign that judicial authorities asked the family for a $400,000 bail collateral. “Really, even if our entire family came together, we would never be able to raise this amount. We can at best raise $100,000. He says himself, ‘I have not committed a crime. Therefore I will neither request a pardon, nor furlough. I only want my freedom.’ Nonetheless, we did make an effort, but the bail amount is too high. Since his imprisonment in 2009, Mohammad has not been granted even one day of leave. Our old mother travels from Bojnourd to Tehran to visit with him once every month,” he added.
Iranian authorities sentenced Davari to five years in prison, which in 2011 was increased to six years. The last year of imprisonment was added due to Davari’s inability to pay a $5,000 cash fine for a teachers’ protest he attended in February and March 2006. Davari is a union activist and member of the Central Council of the Iranian Teachers Association. He is also a disabled Iran-Iraq War veteran.
“Unfortunately, Mohammad has developed psychological problems. He also suffers from a heart condition and he has had problems with his teeth for a long time. They told us to provide the name of a doctor so that they would take him there. We gave the names of several doctors, but they did not agree to those physicians. But why didn’t they take him to a doctor of their own choice? Is it possible that a huge prison like that does not have a heart specialist? Forget about his teeth that are entirely decayed. Well, when he sees that nobody cares, he endures double psychological pressure. And there is nothing we can do. We don’t know whose advice to seek, whom to tell, and how to tell! We have no one in Tehran. All of us feel helpless about what to do. Mohammad had a lawyer whose work ended after his verdict was finalized. It is really unbelievable that Mohammad who is innocent should stay in prison for five years,” Bijan Davari told the Campaign.
“If we have freedom of expression and press, why should he be in prison? It is so painful that an innocent Mohammad should spend five years of his life in prison, and on the other hand, his situation is not reviewed. We cannot do anything, just to stand and watch,” he added.
Two Baloch teenage political prisoners sentenced to death were transferred to exile prisons
HRANA 14 SEPTEMBER 2012
HRANA News Agency –Two Baloch teenage political prisoners sentenced to death by Iranian revolutionary court and were exiled to Qazvin and Semnan prisons. And, also there is no information about another Baloch teenage political prisoner.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Abdulwahab Rigi was arrested in September 2010 when he was seventeen years old and he was exiled to Qazvin prison. Despite his young age, he is placed alongside dangerous criminals awaiting execution sentence.
Mehrollah Rigi was arrested in September 2010 in a raid by agents of the Intelligence Ministry when he was just 17 years old as well. He was sentenced to death in a few minutes after the court session had started. Currently, he is exiled to Semnan Prison awaiting his death sentence.
Meanwhile, there is no information about another Baloch teenage political prisoner, Mohamad Saber Malek Reisi with the charge of Moharebeh (Enmity against God) sentenced to 15 years in exiled prison.
FREE Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi
UPDATE 23 JANUARY 2013 :
Iranian authorities have given furloughs to a number of political prisoners in recent days, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, Bahareh Hedayat, Mahsa Amrabadi (the wife of Masoud Bastani) and Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi.
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Journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, who is married to imprisoned journalist Massoud Bastani, was sent to Evin Prison on 9 May to serve her one year prison sentence.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Right in Iran, mother of Mahsa Amrabadi expressed shock about her daughter's sudden imprisonment. "Yesterday (Tuesday, 8 May), they called us from the Sentence Enforcement Unit and they said that Mahsa had to turn herself in the next day. I asked whether they wanted to send her to prison, but they did not reply. Mahsa went there with her father today and they sent her to prison at 1:00 p.m. Mahsa was prepared, so she had taken her bag of things and clothes. But I'm still dumbfounded and can't yet believe that she is gone. I thought like other times, she would come back again. I didn't even go to prison with her and say goodbye for the last time," she said.
Asked why after several summonses Mahsa Amrabadi was transferred to prison this time, her mother told the Campaign, "because the Judge in charge of the Sentence Enforcement Unit has changed and the new Judge believed that Mahsa should go to prison."
Journalist Mahsa Amrabadi was arrested in June 2009 and was released two months later on bail of $200,000. Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced her to five years in prison, 4 years of which were suspended and one year to be served, on charges of "propagating against the regime through interviews and reports." An appeals court later upheld Amrabadi's sentence in its entirety. Amrabadi's activities such as participating in Qur'an reading gatherings with families of political prisoners, interviews, and writing reports for newspapers, visits with independent Grand Ayatollah's, and defending her imprisoned husband were cited as evidence of her charges. Security forces arrested Amrabadi a second time during February 2011 demonstrations in Tehran, and she was subsequently released a few days later.
Journalist Massoud Bastani, Mahsa Amrabadi's husband, was also arrested in 2009. He was sentenced to six years in prison and $36,000 in cash fines. He is currently serving his prison term inside Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj and has been denied furlough since his arrest. Amrabadi occasionally spoke with media outlets about her husband's conditions.
Mahsa Amrabadi's mother stated that her daughter has been asked several times in the past to sign a letter, requesting pardon. "The former Judge of the Sentence Enforcement Unit asked Mahsa several times to write a letter, requesting pardon, but Mahsa said that if she wrote a letter requesting a pardon, she would be accepting the accusations made against her, and that she had not committed any crimes and did not accept her charges. She never agreed to writing such a letter," said Amrabadi's mother.
"This sentence is truly cruel for Mahsa. All Mahsa's activities were legal and she worked in this country's legal newspapers. All the accusations made against her are ridiculous and meaningless. In this country, criminals are free, and kids who care about the country are in prison," said Maryam Amrabadi.
"My request of Iran's judicial authorities is to review these cases one more time. Three years ago, there were those who wanted to create a state of crisis in the country. Now, if the authorities wish to end the crisis in the country, they should review these cases again and see whether the rulings they made were fair or not. I believe none of the sentences issued for these kids are fair," she added.
Stating that Amrabadi and her husband are no longer able to visit with each other, Maryam Amrabadi added, "The problem is that Massoud, Mahsa's husband, is at Rajaee Shahr Prison and Mahsa is at Evin Prison. Our minimum request is that they transfer her husband to Evin Prison, so that at least they can see each other once a week."
Bardia Taherpur in Danger of Deportation
from Holland to Iran
The Persian dissident Mojtaba (Bardia) Taherpur is in danger of deportation from Holland to Iran. He told "Persian Dutch Network” today, September 4th, that the Dutch Immigration Office has rejected his asylum request.
Taherpur, who was quite shocked, added: “IND has given me and my wife 28 days to leave the Netherlands.”
Taherpur problems began in 2005 when he was a student in Tehran. Iranian authorities prevented him from finishing his studies because of anti-government activities. Taherpur moved to Dubai to continue his studies and activities but during a short visit to his family in Tehran was sentenced to 1 month imprisonment and 80 lashes. Taherpur fled to The Netherlands through Turkey in November 2010.
Frank Wassenar, spokesman of Dutch Immigration Office (IND), did not give any details about the rejection of Taherpur’s case. “Based on the law we are not allowed to discuss personal cases,” he told “Persian Dutch Netwok” today.
Since his entrance to Holland, Taherpur has actively studied the Dutch language and is now a student of Hoogschool van Amsterdam. He has participated in various meetings of Persian opposition groups and also spoken at a demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy in The Hague.
In 2011 Bardia Taherpur converted from Islam to the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Because of an interpretation of Islamic law forbidding conversion and even punishing it with death, Tahrepur and his wife face potential harassment and even execution or sanctioned murder. His popular blog contains critical postings about Islam and the Islamic Republic in Iran.
Taherpur and his wife now live in an asylum camp in Almere.
SOURCE : Payvand Iran News 09/05/12
Prominent Iranian journalist Jila Bani-Yaghoub has begun her one-year jail term at Evin Prison.
The Kaleme opposition website reports that Ban-Yaghoub, a prominent Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist, returned to Evin Prison on Sunday September 2 to serve out a one-year sentence.
She was arrested in 2009 during the election protests against the controversial victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ban-Yaghoub was arrested along with her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi, another journalist, who is currently in jail serving a five-year prison term.
In addition to her one-year jail term, Bani-Yaghoub has also been banned for 30 years from media activities for the charge of "propaganda against the Islamic Republic and insulting the president."
The Islamic Republic government has arrested and jailed many journalists in reaction to the 2009 protests.
Reporters Without Borders has been consistently speaking out against the treatment of journalists in Iran, and in its latest statement, the press-rights group reports that with 26 journalists and 18 netizens in jail, Iran only trails China as the biggest prison for journalists.
Behnam Rohani-Fard, a Bahai Musician and composer who had resided in Tehran for some time traveled to the city of Yazd to participate in the mourning ceremony arranged for one of his family members. In the morning hours of Monday, October 12, Mr. Rohani-Fard was detained by Intelligence agents while driving in his private car; he was taken to an undisclosed location.
In repeated follow-ups made by Mr. Rohani-Fard’s wife, she was told that her husband would be released in one week and his detentions was related to his change of residence, as well as chanting religious Bahaei songs.
Readers are reminded that Mr. Rohani-Fard was a target of investigation by agents from the Intelligence Ministry in March 20 of this year. During the investigation, Mr. Rohani-Fard’s computer and some of his personal effects were confiscated. The agents carried a search warrant and an issued sentencing for a one-year suspended jail term, effective for the next four years.
SOURCE : Iranian.com
Jailed journalist released in Tehran
Journalist Amirali Allamehzadeh has been released after 95 days in Evin Prison.
The Human Rights House of Iran reports that Allamehzadeh was released on Wednesday on bail.
He was arrested in September in Tehran and transferred to Section 2-Aleph of Evin Prison, which is under the supervision of Revolutionary Guards.
Allamehzadeh’s family and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran had expressed grave concern for his well-being during his detention, and his sister has said he was being pressured to make false confessions.
Ever since the controversial 2009 presidential elections in Iran, journalists have been repeatedly targeted for persecution, arrests and imprisonment.
source : Radio Zamaneh
Jailed journalist Amirali Allamehzadeh is being subjected to grave pressure in prison, his sister has told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Zeynab Allamehzadeh reported: “We want his case to proceed through the normal legal procedures because, from the way my brother talks to us, we realize that his situation is not good.”
Previously, the campaign had cited another source close to the jailed journalist saying that he is “under pressure and torture to make false confessions.”
His sister reported that lately he has been urging his family to get him a lawyer as soon as possible.
Amirali Allamehzadeh was arrested in Tehran in September and has been held ever since in the Revolutionary Guards section of Evin Prison.
Zeynab Allamehzadeh says: “My brother has been in solitary confinement for more than 74 days, which is a torture in and of itself.” She added that in all that time, the prisoner’s family has not been informed of any charges against him. He has reportedly been allowed brief visits with his family, during which they are not allowed to discuss his case.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has expressed deep concern about Allamehzadeh’s situation and called on authorities to honour his right to due process.
UPDATE CHRR April 17 , 2013
Reza Shahabi returned to prison.
Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Labor activist Reza Shahabi returned behind bars in Evin prison with the ending of his medical furlough.
According to CHRR, Reza Shahabi, treasurer of Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), who was granted medical furlough on January 7, 2013 due to his deteriorating health, returned to prison on Monday April 15th.
Reza Shahabi was inflicted with serious health problems while he was held in custody including dangerous fluctuations of his blood pressure and a severe cervical and spine injury. He embarked on several hunger strikes in prison in protest of being banned from needed medical attention an medical furlough.
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UPDATE 8 JANUARY 2013
Labour activist ends prison hunger strike
Radio Zamaneh Tue, 01/08/2013
Jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi has ended his hunger strike after 23 days, after he was given a five-day furlough by Evin Prison authorities.
The Committee in Defence of Reza Shahabi reports that the executive member of the Tehran transit drivers union was released late on the night of Monday January 7.
Reza Shahabi has been under arrest since June 2009 and was sentenced to six years in jail for his labour activities.
He began a hunger strike 23 days ago to protest his mistreatment in prison and the lack of proper medical attention for his conditions.
He is suffering from neck and spine complications that may lead to paralysis.
Many international labour organizations spoke out in support of Shahabi, urging the Iranian government to release him.
UPDATE 7 JANUARY 2013
Hunger-striking activist attracts international concern
Radio Zamaneh Mon, 01/07/2013
Twenty days into a hunger strike by jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi, labour organizations in various countries have expressed concern regarding Shahabi’s health.
The Committee in Defence of Reza Shahabi has issued a statement to report on the condition of the jailed executive member of Tehran’s Vahed Company transit drivers’ union. The statement reports: “Reza Shahabi is in very bad health after two and a half years of prison, interrogations and abuse and is in immediate need of medical treatment and relief.”
It goes on to add: “The only effective solution in this situation is the immediate release of Reza Shahabi and his hospitalization in a well-equipped institution.”
Reza Shahabi has been on hunger strike since December 17. He has been refusing food and medicine in protest against his mistreatment by prison authorities and demanding that he receive medical treatment outside of prison facilities.
The Committee in Defence of Reza Shahabi reports that labour organizations in France, UK, Denmark, the U.S. and Canada have written letters of support for Shahabi, demanding the authorities take responsibility for the jailed labour activist’s health.
On Tuesday, the Shahabi family gave the authorities a documented application calling for the release of Shahabi, but so far the authorities have not responded.
Shahabi was sentenced to six months in jail and a five-year ban from union activities. He is suffering from great pain due to neck and spine injuries and has been hospitalized on several occasions during his prison term.
UPDATE 19 DECEMBER 2012
Reza Shahabi, Iranian Imprisoned labor Activist Begins Hunger Strike
HRANA News Agency – Reza Shahabi, an Iranian labor leader imprisoned since June 2010, went on hunger strike on 17 Dec 2012 to protest against mistreatment by jail guards as well as prevention of his medical treatment by the judicial authorities.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Reza Shahabi's physical conditions have deteriorated. He has announced that he will refuse taking his medication and eating food until he is allowed to be transferred to a hospital outside prison for complete treatment.
Update May 9 , 2012
Reza Shahabi (also known as Reza Shahabi Zakaria), the Treasurer of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), has been detained in Evin Prison in the Iranian capital, Tehran, since June 2010. He is in poor health after numerous hunger strikes in protest at the conditions in which he is held. Since around February 2012, he has complained that one side of his body was numb.
However, it was not until 30 April that the prison authorities took him to hospital. It is not clear whether he is receiving adequate medical treatment.
SOURCE : Amnesty International
UPDATE 14 April 2012
Reza Shahabi - trade unionist and a board member of Syndicate of Workers of Tehran -
is sentenced to 6 years imprisonment!
Press Release: Reza Shahabi’s Condition Alarming
THURSDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2011
HRANA News Agency – The administrative office of Human Rights Activists in Iran has issued a press release to express concerns over Reza Shahabi’s condition in prison after this political prisoner began his hunger strike, and the news of his deteriorating health was reported.
Human Rights Activists in Iran has requested that the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations to pay immediate attention to this prisoner of conscience. Demanding immediate and unconditional release of the labor activist Reza Shahabi, this organization has also reminded the government of Iran that the freedom to form and participate in labor unions is an integral part of international obligations towards human rights.
Pointing out that the Islamic Republic of Iran has historically neglected the health and general wellbeing of political prisoners, Human Rights Activists in Iran has announced that this organization holds the government of Iran including the State Prisons System, the Judiciary Branch and the Intelligence Agency responsible for the health and life of Reza Shahabi.
This press release as published on the organization’s official web site contains the following:
Reza Shahabi is a labor activist and the board member of SWTSBC, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He was also previously in charge of the labor committee of Human Rights Activists in Iran. On Saturday, June 12, 2010, four security agents arrested Reza Shahabi at work around 10:00am. Since then, he has been in temporary custody in a legal state of limbo. On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, Reza Shahabi began his open ended hunger strike to protest against the present conditions under which he has been incarcerated.
The current hunger strike is just another form of objection in a series of attempts made by Reza Shahabi to protest against being imprisoned illegally. On May 25, 2011, Reza Shahabi appeared in the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court in order to face charges filed against him. Although the presiding judge announced that a ruling would be issued within four days after the trial, Reza Shahabi still remains in a legal state of limbo indefinitely.
While locked up in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, Reza Shahabi has been in hunger strike several times in the past. He suffers from osteoarthritis, low blood pressure, and heart and liver problems. During his incarceration, the degenerative arthritis has resulted in the loss of control over the left side of his body such that physicians have strongly recommended immediate surgery for him.
Given Reza Shahabi’s serious medical problems threatening his life and the fact that there has been no news of him since he began his latest hunger strike, Human Rights Activists of Iran has become increasingly concerned about this political prisoner’s current condition.
Human Rights Activists of Iran announces that this labor activist has been in a legal state of limbo for nearly 18 months. According to Article 9, part 3 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, anyone arrested or detained on criminal charges shall be brought promptly before a judge and shall be entitled to a trial within a reasonable amount of time or must be released. Additionally, Article 32 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution strongly reiterates that the charges against an individual who has been detained must be formally given to him in writing, and within 24 hours, the initial case must be referred to the judicial officials in order to begin criminal proceeding as soon as possible.
Moreover, Reza Shahabi’s life has been endangered due to the lack of proper medical care during his incarceration. Such treatment is in violation of Article 22, Part II of Geneva Convention defining the rights of prisoners and Article 103 of the State Prisons System’s regulations requiring the availability of all necessary medical care to inmates who might have to be taken outside the prison to seek treatment.
Human Rights Activists in Iran hereby requests that the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations to pay immediate attention to this prisoner of conscience and his current condition. Human Rights Activists in Iran also demands immediate and unconditional release of the labor activist Reza Shahabi and reminds the government of Iran that the freedom to form and participate in labor unions is an integral part of international obligations towards human rights.
Since the Islamic Republic of Iran has historically neglected the health and general wellbeing of political prisoners, Human Rights Activists in Iran hereby holds the government of Iran including the State Prisons System, the Judiciary Branch and the Intelligence Agency responsible for the health and life of Reza Shahabi.
The Administrative Office of Human Rights Activists in Iran
November 29, 2011
Another Iranian journalist sentenced to prison
Iranian journalist Mehran Faraji received a confirmed prison sentence from the appellate court today.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that Faraji’s six-month suspended sentence comes on top of a six-month jail term for “propaganda activities against the regime.” He was sentenced to one year in prison in the preliminary court.
According to the report, Faraji was held in solitary confinement throughout his arrest and was denied a defence attorney at court.
Faraji was arrested last December and released two months later on bail of $100,000.
Faraji has worked with several Iranian dailies as well as the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) and the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).
In the past two years, many journalists have been arrested on similar charges and many have received stiff sentences.
Hamid Reza Khadem Serving His Sentence in Evin Prison
Political activist Hamid Reza Khadem, 34, reported to Evin Court in order to begin serving his four year prison sentence and has been locked up behind bars in Ward 350.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), on December 7, 2010, the fifteenth branch of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Hamid Reza Khadem to 5 years in prison on charges of conspiracy and propaganda against the regime. This sentence was later commuted to 4 years by the Appeals Court.
Hamid Reza Khadem was arrested after the presidential election in 2009. He is a member the Research Bureau of the National Front of Iran (Jebhe Meli).
Updates 2 , December , 2011
Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour who was transferred to Ahvaz prison last week, was verbally notified of the increase in his prison sentence.
Per a document from the Qom special court for the clergy, it was verbally announced to Ahamdpour that not only was his request for release denied, 2 years were added to his prison sentence for the additional charge against him of “acting against national security” and he must now spend 5 years behind bars.
Ahmadpour who was summoned to court on Tuesday objected to the sentencing and asked that the added charge of acting against national security be dropped considering it was not part of the verdict that the appellate court had previously handed down. But he was told that even though they understood his point, the court’s hands were tied and there was nothing they could do.
Full Story Here ;
Article in Persian: http://www.rahana.org/archives/46333
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Appeals court upheld 13-year prison sentence for cleric Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour.
Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour, dissident cleric, blogger, former political prisoner and member of the Qom Hezbeh Mosharekat to be imprisoned for 13 years.
Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour is a cleric, member of the Qom Hezbeh Mosharekat (Participation Front), a blogger for Pezhak-e Khamoosh, and a researcher. Intelligence agents in the city of Qom arrested him on July 19, 2010 after which he spent almost a year in prison. The appeals court has now issued a verdict based on additional charges against this cleric.
According to Human Rights House of Iran, Ahmadpour was handed down a sentence of 3 years behind bars in Ahvaz prison and 10-years exile to the city of Izeh. He has now found out that this verdict has been upheld at the appellate court.
Ahmadpour faced the new charges stemming from a letter he wrote to the United Nations. Because of this letter he was convicted of “publishing lies for the intent of disturbing public opinion”, “propaganda against the regime” and “violating the dignity of the clergy.”
In 2009 Ahmadpour was convicted of “acting against national security”, “propaganda against the regime”, and “violating the dignity of the clergy.” At that time he was handed down a one-year sentence, which he served behind bars.
Ahmadpour is a war veteran [of the Iran-Iraq war] who suffers from physical disabilities due to being exposed to chemical weapons during the war. Even though per doctor’s orders it is imperative that Seyed Ahmadpour is under around the clock medical supervision, the courts have handed down this new verdict with plans of again putting this cleric behind bars.
Article in Persian: http://www.rahana.org/archives/45631
Isa Faridi sentenced to 5 yeas in prison. Judge Salavati handed down a 5-year prison sentence, $40,000 fine and 30 lashes.
In a court session last week branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati handed down the verdict for Isa Farid. This citizen will face 5 years behind bars, plus a $40,000 fine and 30 lashes.
According to Kaleme, Faridi was arrested in June 2009 during the mass arrests and harsh crackdowns on citizens that took place following the protests against the disputed presidential elections. Faridi was detained at his office at work and transferred to Evin’ ward 2A, which is under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards (IRCG).
Faridi endured 110 days in solitary confinement in the notoriously harsh 2A ward before he was released with a heavy bail of close to $310,000.
He was acquitted of some of the charges against him, and no decision was handed down on other charges that will up for review in the future. Isa Faridi has been involved in various areas of commerce including construction and the Ministry of Oil.
Article in Persian: http://www.rahana.org/archives/45600
UPDATE Thu, 07/26/2012
Jailed Iranian human rights activist Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand has ended his 59-day hunger strike against the government’s refusal to live him visit his sick son.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Organization reported that Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand ended his strike on Tuesday, after prison authorities promised to grant him a furlough to visit his son.
The reports indicates that Kaboodvand expressed deep appreciation for all the people both inside and outside Iran who expressed support for him and his family throughout his ordeal.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Organization also reports that Kaboudvand’s wife, Parinaz Hassany, was told by her husband during their latest visit that prison authorities have agreed to grant him leave to visit his son.
Kaboodvand has reportedly said that the head of Evin Prison, along with a number of other officials, have urged him to end his hunger strike by promising they will agree to grant him a furlough.
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for his human rights activities. He is charged with “acting against national security and propaganda against the regime.” He has already been jail for more than five years.
He has been on hunger strike because authorities have refused to let him spend time with his son, who is under treatment for a rare blood condition.
SOURCE : Radio Zamaneh
UPDATE Mon, 06/04/2012
Hunger strike lands jailed activist in infirmary
Jailed Iranian human rights activist Mohmmad Seddigh Kaboodvand is in critical condition following more than a week on a hunger strike.
Kaleme reports that Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand, who has been refusing food since Saturday May 26, has been transferred to the Evin Prison infirmary.
Kaboodvand, who is also suffering from existing prostate complications, had already been issued a letter by the coroner’s office indicating that he is not physically capable of enduring his prison sentence. However, prison authorities have not heeded this verdict.
Kaboodvand began his hunger strike because prison authorities refused him leave to visit his sick son, and he has announced that he will continue starving himself until he is granted permission to spend time with his child.
He had broken an earlier strike after the state promised that he would be given a furlough once he began eating, but the promise was not fulfilled.
Kaboodvand is a human rights activist in Iran’s Kurdistan province and he has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for establishing the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and one more year for “propaganda against the regime.”
SOURCE : Radio Zamaneh
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand , a 49 year old Kurdish human rights defender, is serving sentences totalling 10 and a half years imposed since May 2008 for “acting against state security by establishing an illegal group [the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK)]”.
He is also facing other charges brought against him while in prison for his writings on women’s rights and other human rights issues.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand suffers from kidney and prostate conditions which have been exacerbated by poor prison conditions and lack of adequate medical care. In early December 2008, he was seen by a prison doctor who noted that he was suffering from dizziness and unstable blood pressure, and that his existing kidney and prostate problems were worsening.
It is believed that on 17 December 2008 he suffered a heart attack but no doctor was available in the prison clinic as it was a national holiday. He has also had one episode of unconsciousness, lasting approximately 30 minutes. Doctors at Evin prison reportedly requested that the prisoner be granted specialist assessment and treatment outside of the prison, but the request was ignored by the authorities.
It is also reported that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand suffered two strokes in 2010 -- one on 15 July and the other on 19 November.
His sister said he told her that he had been seen by a neurologist after the first stroke but was not examined thoroughly and no tests were administered. Instead the physician prescribed a series of pills to take daily but did not give any details on the name, recommended use or possible side-effects of the pills.
In June 2011 Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was seen by an independent doctor who reportedly stated that he needed to undergo two operations for hardening of the heart arteries and an enlarged prostate. Since his imprisonment Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has lost about 20 kgs.
An Open letter From the Family of Anvar Hussein Panahi to Dr. Shaheed
TUESDAY, 06 DECEMBER 2011;
Anwar Hossein Panahi is a Kurdish political activist who has been sentenced to death by the revolutionary court. After protests from human rights organizations, his sentence was changed to 16 years of detention.
Therefore, his brother Ashraf Hossein Panahi tried to prove Anwar’s innocence. Two years ago, he set off to Teheran with a petition signed by 5000 people and on the way he was killed in a false accident.
Due to the protests against Anwar’s verdict, the other brother Afshin Hossein Panahi has also been arrested and sentenced to one year of prison in the city of Ghorveh, where he is still held in custody. According to family members he has lost 50% of his sight in the prison of Ghorveh because of torture.
On November 6th 2007 Anwar Hossein Panahi has been arrested and spent the following 6 months left in complete ignorance about the charges. One of the fellow inmates reports that Anwar Hossein Panahi had been tied naked to an iron pole in the middle of winter after having had broken a rib and suffered from inflammation of one kidney. After a certain amount of time he lost his conscience and was brought back to his cell. According to his fellow convict this torture was repeated several times a month.
In accordance with his lawyers Anwar Panahi has not commited any crime that would justify keeping him in prison for even one day.
In accordance with his lawyers Anwar Panahi has not commited any crime that would justify keeping him in prison for even one day.
Anwar Hossein Panahi is a civil rights activist and the confidant of the farmers in the Dehgolan region. He has also established a program for drug addicts, that is being practiced in the Sanandaj prison. The prisoners can attend courses, which should prevent drugs from spreading in jail. Over 200 convicts participate in his program. Because of this Anwar Panahi is often not allowed to receive visitors; a week ago he was not permitted to see his family.
The Committee of Human Rights Reporters strongly disapproves of such a treatment of convicts and demands the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners.
Anwar Hossein Panahi’s Children Ask for Support for Their Father
The children of Anwar Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish civil rights activist who has been in prison for years, have written a letter to the international human rights organizations asking for help.
Mahtab’s (daughter 15 years old), Milad’s (son, 12 years old) and Mahshid’s (daughter, 6 years old) letter:
Everybody knows that our father is being held in prison without any evident reasons for 4 years. In these 4 years our family has been put under pressure by many occurrences, such as the death of one of our uncles, the arrest of our other uncle and many other problems that have been caused for us.
Our father had been suffering from inflammation of one kidney as well as bleeding in this area. The prison doctor told him that he needed to go to the hospital and be treated there. His application for a leave of absence to be hospitalized was not granted. After some human rights organizations protested, our father was brought to the hospital and received basic treatment.
Our Mother is also very sick and needs to go to the hospital sometimes because of her illness. But she taught us to have endurance and she reminds us that our father is in prison because of his fight for justice.
Over 4 years we have been denied our father and his love. For over 4 years we have been looking up this high and cold wall waiting and hoping that our father dreams of us on the other side of this wall.
We heard that the 30th of Khordad is the international day of political prisoners. Due to this we, the children of Anwar Hossein Panahi, ask for the help and support of every individual that stands up for human rights and loves man.
We need everybody’s help to free our father and have him back in our family.
Mahtab, Milad and Mahshid, the children of Anwar Hossein Panahi
17. Free Maryam Majd
Maryam Majd, a sports photojournalist, was scheduled to arrive in Dusseldorf, Germany on 17 June to photograph the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Petra Landers, a former player on the German National Team who was scheduled to collaborate with Majd on a FIFA book project on female soccer players worldwide, has written a letter to the German Foreign Ministry urging them to ask Iranian authorities to provide information about Majd’s whereabouts.
Majd’s German hosts in Dusseldorf waited for her for hours on Friday, according to reports, but she never showed up. Several hours after Majd’s scheduled flight had landed, her hosts contacted Mahan Air to ask about her whereabouts, but were told that Majd’s name was not on the passenger list of the flight.
Iranian asylum seekers are trapped in an inhumane limbo in the Netherlands !
We need to support these people instead of punishing them even more as it is now ...
U.N. Committee Condemns Human Rights Abuses in Iran
Iran Human Rights, November 28, 2012: A resolution on the human rights situation in Iran was passed by the U.N. Third Committee on Tuesday, November 27.
The resolution, which was drafted by Canada and co-sponsored by other countries, received 83 votes in favour, 31 against, and 87 abstentions.
According to Reuters, formal voting on the resolution will take place next month "at plenary sessions of the General Assembly."
Among other human rights violations in Iran, the resolution criticized the "continuing alarming high frequency of the carrying-out of the death penalty (in Iran) in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, including an increase in the number of public executions."
Reuters reports that the resolution on Iran "received more yes votes than a year ago, when a similar text was approved with 80 in favor, 44 against and 57 abstentions."
* UPDATE 2012- 04-05
#UN Rights Experts Decry
"Mounting Repression" in#Iran
#Reuters GENEVA | Fri May 4, 2012
"The Conviction & Extremely Harsh Sentencing of Human Rights Defenders Is An Indication Of Mounting Repression Against The Legitimate Activities Of Human Rights Defenders & Represents A Serious Setback For The Protection Of Human Rights In Iran"
- Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iran.
Iran is cracking down on activists and their lawyers, meting out harsh sentences in an effort to quash pro-democracy activities, United Nations human rights experts said on Friday.
In a joint statement, the independent experts called for the immediate release of human rights defenders including Narges Mohammadi, whom they said was rearrested on April 21 to serve a six-year prison sentence handed down by an appeals court.
"The conviction and extremely harsh sentencing of human rights defenders is an indication of mounting repression against the legitimate activities of human rights defenders and represents a serious setback for the protection of human rights in Iran," said Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. special rapporteur on Iran.
Thousands of opposition supporters have been detained since the disputed 2009 presidential election won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including scores of senior reformist figures.
Mohammadi, former vice-president of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, founded by rights lawyer and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was convicted of "assembly and collusion against national security, membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Centre and propaganda against the regime," the statement said.
She is said to be in "extremely fragile" health, it said. A U.N. official told Reuters that Mohammadi is believed to be held in Tehran's Evin Prison.
"Human rights defenders play a fundamental role in ensuring a democratic society which respects human rights. They must be allowed to carry out their work without facing intimidation, harassment, arrest and prosecution," said Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteur on human rights defenders.
Lawyers representing activists in the Islamic republic are also facing difficulties as they are being identified with their clients' causes, according to Gabriela Knaul, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
"The government has an obligation to ensure that lawyers can perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference and that they do not suffer prosecution for any action taken while carrying out their duties," she said.
Abdolfattah Soltani and Nasrin Sotoudeh, both lawyers who have represented many high-profile political and human rights activists, are among those to have been jailed for carrying out their legitimate work, according to the statement.
Soltani, co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, was arrested in September on charges of collusion, anti-regime propaganda and acquiring property through illegitimate means, leading to an 18-year prison sentence and 20-year ban on practicing law, it said.
Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer, was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced to six years by an Iranian appeal court, along with a 10-year ban on her practicing law, it said.
Shaheed, a former foreign minister of the Maldives, and the other investigators report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Despite repeated requests, he has never been allowed into Iran, but the Geneva forum renewed his mandate in March for a second year after he reported a high rate of executions as well as abuse of minorities, and persecution of homosexuals and labor unions.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, told the U.N. forum in March that his government had "repeatedly manifested its unwavering commitment toward the advancement of human rights" and that "self-monitoring" was a key principle. The aim was to build a prosperous society based on justice, equality, legitimate freedoms and development.
The report submitted by Shaheed "amounted to nothing more than the repetition of a barrage of unsubstantiated and biased contentions traditionally levied" against Iran, Larijani said.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!
During the 2 years since the election , people have been beaten , tortured , raped , imprisoned & murdered by the regime in Iran ...
We need to come together and stand up for everyone of ALL political prisoners & prisoners of conscience !
08 Sep 2011: Reported released. Source: http://snup.us/ccw
Imprisoned Teacher in Death Row Ward at Vakilabad Prison
A human rights activist in the city of Mashad told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Hashem Khastar, a retired teacher from Mashad who was imprisoned inside Security-Political Ward 6/1 of Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison, has been transferred to Hall 102 of Ward 5 in that prison. Ward 5 of Vakilabad Prison houses convicts who have committed murder and drug-related crimes. According to requirements for separating prisoners within prisons, prisoners of conscience and political prisoners should not be kept inside this ward.
“Up until last week, Hashem Khastar was kept together with 40 prisoners of conscience, but he was recently moved to Hall 102 of Ward 5 inside Vakilabad prison. Ward 5 of Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison contains halls number 101, 102, 103, 104, and 105, where prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes and murder, most of whom have been sentenced to death, are kept,” the human rights activist told the Campaign. “Considering Mr. Khastar’s age, the illnesses he developed in prison over the past two years, and the horrific conditions of Ward 5′s Hall 102, anything could happen to him. At this time, the responsibility for Mr. Khastar’s life lies with the Mashad Prosecutor and other judicial authorities who have ordered his transfer to the fearsome Ward 5′s Hall 102,” said the activist.
“Prison authorities said that the reason for his transfer to Ward 5′s Hall 102 is the letters he has recently published from inside the prison, and the transfer is aimed at punishing him. One of the authorities has said that since he writes so much about the prison in his letters, he needs to find out what’s happening in Ward 5.”
“Detaining political prisoners next to regular criminals and dangerous convicts is against the procedures of the Prisons Organization. This illegal measure is taken to break Mr. Khastar’s spirit, as he has thus far resisted increasing psychological and physical pressure by Mashad’s security and judicial organizations,” he continued.
“This ward is one of the most horrible wards of Vakilabad and all prisons nationwide, which due to its weekly group executions, has a most regrettable situation from the standpoint of prisoner morale. Inside Ward 5 of Vakilabad Prison, death reigns. Each week, at least 10 prisoners are hanged and most of them come from the different halls inside Ward 5. In this regard, Ward 5 of Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison is comparable to Ward 2 of Ghezel Hessar Prison in Karaj. It is said that there are nearly 2,000 death row inmates inside Ward 5 of Vakilabad Prison. At this time, in Hall 102 where Mr. Khastar is currently kept, there are more than 700 prisoners, which is four times its capacity. In the summer of 2009, there were 370 prisoners in this Hall, and the number has risen to 700 in less than two years. Most of the inmates in this Hall are sentenced to death.”
“The room capacity of where Mr. Khastar is kept is only 15, but currently 60 people are kept in that room. According to Mr. Khastar, because of the large number of prisoners, there are a lot of problems for using the toilets and the kitchen. Sometimes there are as many as 100 people waiting in line to use the toilet and the sink,” he added.
“Presently, Mr. Khastar shares a bed with another prisoner. Due to lack of space, many other prisoners sleep on the floor, in the hallways, in the prayer room, on staircase landings, and even in the toilets. The hygienic conditions of this ward are a lot worse than all the other wards at Vakilabad Prison. Large quantities of drugs are used in this ward and there is a high rate of sexual violation. Because dangerous criminals are kept in this ward, the statistics for murder, fights, and rape in this ward are very high. The air in the ward is full cigarette smoke and various kinds of drugs.”
Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has been sentenced to 5 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province. He is a Baluchi teenager arrested by Iranian Intelligence Agency in order to force his oldest brother to return to Iran. Abdol Rahman, Mohammad’s brother, fled the country in 2009 fearing for his life after he refused to be the Intelligence Agency’s spy amongst Sunni scholars and Baluchi tribes.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi was arrested when he was 17 years old and has been in prison for over a year in the Intelligence Agency’s detention center and the central prison in Zahedan. The Revolutionary Court has sentenced him to 5 years in prison. He must serve this prison term in exile.
One of Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi brothers has reported that Mohammad must spend 5 years in Ardabil Prison away from his family and their residence. The city of Ardabil is in northwestern Iran in Ardabil Province while Zahedan is a city in the south east part of the country. Because of the long distance between two locations, Mohammad will be practically denied visits from his family at the age of eighteen.
During the past year, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has also been denied the right to attend school. His only crime is being related to his brother who is outside the country. Iranian Intelligence Agency has threatened Mohammad’s family multiple times with executing him if his oldest brother doesn’t return to Iran.
Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi is one the youngest prisoners arrested for political reasons by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Baluchi Teenager Taken Hostage by Intelligence Agency for 20 months ...
Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi, a Baluchi teenager who was kidnapped by the Iranian Intelligence Agency 20 months ago, still remains locked up in solitary confinement.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), this Baluchi teenager was arrested in late 2009 in Chahbahar County because his brother refused to cooperate with the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has been locked up since then in solitary confinement in a detention center in the city of Zahedan, [Sistan and Baluchestan Province].
In the last twenty months, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has been denied access to phone or visits with his family. During this time, he has also been unable to attend school and has fallen behind his education.
Since Zahedan Intelligence Agency has neither offered any explanation regarding this teenager’s continued detention nor Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has been tried for any crimes, it is safe to conclude that the arrest has been done illegally.
In an earlier interview with HRANA, Mohammad’s brother expressed his concern and said that he was worried about his brother’s continued detention since the Intelligence Agency could be holding Mohammad hostage until he would be at a legal age to be executed.
Despite the fact that one year ago the news of this arrest was published, and Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi was introduced to the world as Iran’s youngest political prisoner, human rights organizations inside or outside Iran have made no effort to look into this prisoner’s condition.
In short, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi has been denied the right to attend school or pursuit a normal life for twenty months, and his family has not been allowed to see their child for the same period of time.
UPDATE 2013-04- 27
Iranian says he was jailed for refusing to engage in military research
Letters from imprisoned physicist describe offers of freedom in exchange for cooperation.
By Michele Catanzaro
Nature.com 26 April 2013
Omid Kokabee, a former graduate student in physics who has been imprisoned in Iran since January 2011, has written in an open letter that he was being persecuted for refusing to cooperate with Iranian military projects. In another, private letter, he says these projects are related to nuclear applications.
“Is it a sin that I don’t want, under any circumstances, to get involved in security and military activities?” he asks. “I have just turned 30 years old after spending two years in prison, when I am eager to pursue scientific research,” he remarks. Nature received copies of the letters from Kokabee’s contacts, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution.
In the public letter (read Nature's English translation of the Kokabee letter from the original Farsi), addressed to Ali Sharifi, who Kokabee describes as his former roommate at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Kokabee says that he was asked to collaborate with the military before and during his detention, but always refused. The letter is dated March 2013 and marked as having been written from section 350 of Evin prison in Tehran, which houses those accused of political and security crimes.
Kokabee started a PhD programme specialising in laser physics at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, in 2007 and then transferred to the University of Texas in Austin in 2010. He was arrested in a Tehran airport on 30 January 2011, as he was leaving Iran after a visit. On 13 May 2012 he was sentenced to 10 years for “cooperation with a hostile government”.
As in his earlier letters, Kokabee asserts his innocence and claims that numerous violations plagued his interrogation, detention and trial. Scientific organizations — including the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Commission for Optics and the Committee of Concerned Scientists — have called for Kokabee to be freed or for him to receive a fair trial.
“Since 2005, I have been invited several times to work as a scientist and technical manager for military and intelligence projects,” the public letter reads. These instances include being offered admission to a PhD programme with full sponsorship by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), he writes. In all cases, Kokabee declined.
One of these invitations, Kokabee writes, was offered the day before his arrest, in a conversation with a member of the AEOI. A document that Kokabee’s contacts provided to Nature shows that he was received by a person at AEOI: according to the private letter by Kokabee, this person was part of the office of the high-ranking AEOI official Mohammad Ghannadi-Maragheh.
The pressure continued after his jailing, Kokabee writes, and included a visit to Kokabee from an alleged representative of Iran’s National Elites foundation, and one to his family in his hometown of Gonbad-e Qabus from government representatives. In some of these cases, Kokabee says that he was offered release from prison in exchange for cooperation.
In the private letter, Kokabee writes that in 2006 he was asked to work on a high-powered carbon dioxide laser to be used for isotope separation, for military application. He says that he was considered a good candidate for this job because of his managerial skills.
Eugene Arthurs, chief executive of the International Society for Optics and Photonics in Bellingham, Washington, says that carbon dioxide lasers are indeed considered a promising tool for isotope separation. “The particular process that looks successful is called SILEX (separation of isotopes by laser excitation) and it involves carbon dioxide laser,” he says. In September 2012, GE Hitachi received approval to develop the technology at a plant in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Although laser isotope separation could be used for energy or medical purposes, one of its potential applications is to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons, Arthurs says. SILEX has been described as a proliferation risk by science policy experts.
Other possible military applications of high-power carbon dioxide lasers are anti-missile weapons, military range-finding and an optical remote-sensing technology called laser-imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR), according to another expert, who asked not to be named.
Arthurs points out that Kokabee’s research on using high-intensity lasers to induce transmutation, his work as part of the optical parametric oscillators group at the Institute of Photonic Sciences and the Austin laboratory's focus on the interaction of high-power lasers and matter constitute a background “that puts him in the laser and nuclear field”. However, Arthurs adds that Kokabee was doing basic science that had no direct application to isotope separation.
The Iranian embassy in Madrid did not respond to Nature's requests for comment.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
UPDATE 9 JANUARY 2013
UT student Omid Kokabee gains more international support amid prison sentence
The Middle East Studies Association, an organization of roughly 3,000 academics from around the world, joined the more than a dozen academic organizations asking for justice for Omid Kokabee, a UT physics doctoral student. In a Jan. 3 letter the organization’s Committee on Academic Freedom asked Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for Kokabee’s “immediate release." :
#Iranian prisoner Dr. Kamiar Alaei sits down
with The Daily Texan to recount stories of #Evin Prison:
Iranian imprisonment to be discussed after Omid Kokabee sentenced for additional charge.
A new charge has been filed against Omid Kokabee, a former UT physics doctorate student who was jailed in Iran last year, this time for teaching other inmates.
According to Kokabee’s attorney, Saeed Khalili, the Iranian government has added an additional 91 days to Kokabee’s original 10-year sentence for earning illegal money after Kokabee was paid by other inmates to teach them English, Spanish, French and physics.
URGENT UPDATE May 14, 2012
Scientist Omid Kokabi Is Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Refusing To Cooperate With IRGC
After fifteen months in temporary detention, University of Texas post-doctoral student in nuclear physics, Omid Kokabi was sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of cooperation with an enemy state, by Judge Salavati in a show trial labeled “Trial of those accused of cooperation with Mossad in Israel”.
On Sunday May 13, trial was held for 15 defendants charged with espionage in the court room of Judge Salavati. This trial was reported and covered in the pro government media, including Seda va Sima (TV) as the trial of Israeli spies.
Eight of these defendants were imprisoned for months prior to this trial. In the courtroom, some of the defendants accepted their charges and even thanked the Intelligence Ministry for arresting them. But Omid Kokabi refused to say anything in court, therefore was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Sharif University in Tehran, Omid Kokabi went to Europe and the United States for further education where he obtained a post-doctoral degree in nuclear physics from University of Texas in the U.S.
In recent years, he had been approached a number of times by Iran’s nuclear program and by universities affiliated with IRGC to cooperate and work with them but he had always refused their offer.
During his incarceration and interrogations they tried to force him to cooperate and work with them by putting pressure on him and his family but Kokabi refused and said it would always be an honor to serve his country through academic activities but has no interest in working on military projects.
During his fifteen months of incarceration, many domestic and foreign scientific organizations and scientists voiced their support for this 30 year old scientist and had asked for his release from prison. Included in this group were a number of Nobel Physics Prize winners who wrote a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei asking for the release of Kokabi. Also among them were international science Olympiads and winners of dozens of scientific societies including the Society of the IEEE.
Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran also voiced concern about Omid Kokabi’s situation in his report.
UPDATE February 8 , 2012
A year in jail without trial for Iranian student accused of spying
03 Feb 2012
Omid Kokabee, a physics student accused of spying by Iran, has spent one year in Evin jail in Tehran without being judged. In a hearing on 31 January the trial was postponed for at least another four months, according to sources in Tehran. The trial has already been postponed twice before, in July and October.
Full story here ;
Omid Kokabee a young, an Iranian graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, failed to return from a visit to Iran during the winter break.
According to reports from Kaleme, Kokabee a Turkman and man of tradition, with no history of political activism, was arrested in February 2011 when he traveled to Iran to visit with his family. Upon his arrest, Kokabee was first transferred to ward 209 at Evin where he spent more than one month in solitary confinement and later moved to Evin's ward 350.
Kokabee is charged with "communicating with a hostile government" and "illegitimate/illegal earnings" .
During his studies, Kokabee had traveled to Iran on numerous occasions in order to visit with his family.
How ever on his last trip, upon leaving Iran in February of 2011, he was arrested at Khomeini International Airport and transferred to Evin prison's ward 209, a ward under the supervision of the Ministry of Intelligence, where he endured long hours of interrogation. To date, Kokabee has spent more than one month in solitary confinement and another month in prison cells with several cellmates.
During his interrogation process Kokabee was asked why the U.S. government granted him a visa and he responded that he was given a visa because he was a student.
Iranian government agents in Paris kidnapped the brother of Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) leader Amir Fakhravar, took him past French security at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, and placed him aboard an Iran Air flight to Tehran.
The 20 year-old victim, Mohammad Reza “Arash” Fakhravar (pictured), was living under French government protection after receiving political asylum in January. He escaped from Iran last year to avoid persecution. French authorities are investigating the kidnapping.
“The Iranian Embassy in Paris abused the protected status of its vehicles and its personnel to commit a crime, by kidnapping a refugee who lived in France under French protection,” a source tells IranChannel. Arash Fakhravar is the second figure associated with the secular democratic student movement to be abducted in a week. Previously, 29 year-old Shiva Kamalipour Azad was taken from her grandfather’s house in Tehran while on bail after a week of brutal interrogations at Evin Prison. She has not been heard from since.
CIS has launched an online petition to free Shiva. Ironically, the younger Fakhravar had just placed a “Free Shiva” icon on his Facebook page in the hours before his kidnapping
IranChannel has pieced together the information available so far: In 2010, Arash Fakhravar escaped from Iran. In January, 2011, France gave him political asylum. In March and April, he joined other Iranian exiles in street protests against the regime.
On Friday, April 29, agents of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran approached Arash on a Paris street during a protest against the regime. They took him into an embassy vehicle with diplomatic plates. They transported him to Charles de Gaulle Airport, claiming diplomatic immunity to get him past French security, and, using diplomatic privilege, avoided the check-in process completely by driving the car directly to the stairway of an Iran Air aircraft bound for Tehran. One of the agents boarded the plane and delayed the flight to make arrangements to take Arash back to Iran as others stood guard at the stairway.
In Iran, government officials alerted members of the Fakhravar family to pick up Arash. The family members waited for three hours after the plane had landed, without seeing any sign of the young man. At about 2:00 a.m. local time, after family members repeatedly pressed herassat airport about the whereabouts of Arash, officials told them that Arash’s case was a matter of “national security” and that they had no information about where Arash had been taken. The airport security officials suggested that the family go to the Revolutionary Court the following day.
Today, the Revolutionary Court said it had no word about Arash, suggesting that the young man is in the hands of intelligence officials outside regular judicial channels.
Arash Fakhravar has a history of student activism against the regime. On December 7, 2009, he was arrested for participating in Ashura protests and was held for a month in solitary confinement at Evin Prison. He was released on bail and was placed on seven years’ probation. He escaped Iran in 2010.
The Supreme Court issued a rare final ruling, sentencing the suspect in an acid throwing case to eye gauging and earlobe cutting. Six years ago, the young man had mistakenly thrown acid on a tailor shop employee’s face.
According to our reporter, on 23 June 2005, Hamid, 26, threw acid on a young man by the name of Davood in an eastern Tehran neighborhood. After hearing the heart-wrenching screams of the 22-year-old victim, the neighbors immediately transferred him to the hospital, but the acid blinded the tailor shop assistant’s eye and had disfigured his face. Through expert tracking, the officers arrested the perpetrator while in possession of a knife and a bottle of acid.
The acid throwing victim told the judges at Branch 71 of Tehran Penal Court: “I don’t know the individual who threw the acid, and I don’t know why he ruined my life. He had mistaken me, and I don’t know for what sin I became the victim in this story. My left eye has been removed completely and I have lost 80% of my vision in my right eye. My right ear lobe has burnt completely and 90% of my eyebrows and 36% of my body have also been damaged. Now I request Qisas (retribution) for the suspect’s facial parts.
The suspect admitted during his confessions that he had mistakenly aimed for the victim. Therefore Judge Nourollah Aziz Mohammadi, Head and two councilor judges of Branch 71 of the Tehran Province Penal Courts unanimously sentenced Hamid to Qisas in his left eye and his right earlobe, and payment of diyah (blood money), and transferred him to prison on temporary detention orders. With the suspect’s objection to the court ruling, Judges in the Sixth Branch of the Supreme Court upheld the decision and ordered that the sentence of gauging the eye and cutting of ear lobe be carried out through any means other use of acid.
Iranian authorities have abducted, beaten and imprisoned a student opposition leader, who is in danger of torture or death. Supporters have begun an international solidarity campaign to free her.
Shiva Kamalipour Azad is a courageous 29 year-old journalist and executive member of the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS). On April 17, 2011, intelligence officers from the Office of the Presidency arrested Shiva at the International Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, as she was leaving for Dubai to pick up a United States visa. The officers abducted her, seized her passport, camera, computer and phone, and brought her to the notorious Evin Prison to appear before a special section of the Revolutionary Court.
Shiva was held incommunicado for a week of detention and interrogation, and released on bail for three days. CIS leaders believe she was subjected to severe beatings while in custody.
Then, while staying at her grandfather’s house, Shiva was arrested again – this time in a middle-of-the-night raid by six intelligence officers. She was blindfolded and taken back to Evin Prison, where she is now being held in a special ward for political prisoners and is in solitary confinement.
The Confederation of Iranian Students tells IranChannel that Shiva is in grave danger of being tortured or killed in prison. Her latest arrest is her sixth for political activities in opposition to Islamist rule in Iran. She has been the subject of repeated interrogations and abuses by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Shiva recently earned her bachelor’s degree in English translation from Payame Nour University in Tehran. On November 6, 2005, Shiva was a speaker at a national seminar of the scientific societies of law entitled “A study of the impediments of Iran’s membership in WTO”. During that conference, the Confederation of Iranian Students officially began its activities as a re-constituted opposition group, and Shiva started working with CIS as an active member.
Shiva is a member of the editorial committee of CIS Press, the official news agency of the Confederation of Iranian Students. This year she was selected as a reporter for participating in the Senior Journalists Seminar on “Bridging Gaps Between the United States and the Muslim World.” Shiva was also invited by the Center for Culture and Security at the Institute of World Politics as a speaker in the forthcoming US-Iran Relarions and New Generation Conference scheduled for May 8, 2011.
Shiva had previously been arrested and interrogated four times by officers of the ministry of intelligence and the IRGC and had been charged with cooperation with the Confederation of Iranian Students.
A young political prisoner in Iran, Houad Yazerlou who was sentenced to three years in prison for for going to Camp Ashraf to visit his relatives, has been transferred to Evin Prison’s Ward 209 despite the fact that his three-year prison sentence has come to an end.
He has reportedly been banned by prison guards at Gohardasht prison in Karaj from having phone contacts with his mother, who herself is being held at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Houad Yazerlou and his mother, Ms. Nazila Dashti, are placed under pressure and psychologically tortured by Iranian regime officials.
When Mr. Yazerlou intended to phone his mother from prison recently, he was told that Evin prison officials have banned such contacts.
Mrs. Nazila Dashti is currently being held at the Women’s Ward in Evin. After the female prisoners’ transfer to the so-called “methadone ward,” inmates have been banned from having phone contacts.
Mr. Yazerlou’s brother, Hamed, who is also a university student, is imprisoned at Evin’s Ward 350 for the same charges as Houad .
Mr. Yazerlou has spent three years in Evin and Gohardasht prisons, and according to reports, he was due to be released on April 23.
According to an association defending the rights of imprisoned Iranians, the regime’s agents transferred Mr. Yazerlou to Evin without the knowledge of his family or lawyer.
According to these reports, on April 24, a day after the transfer, he contacted his family by phone and said in a short conversation that he is being held at Ward 209. It is unclear what the regime plans to do by continuing the arbitrary detention.
27. Free Akbar Amini
UPDATE CHRR MAY 20, 2013
Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Akbar Amini, member of Saraye Ahl-e Ghalam (Association of Writers) has been summoned by phone to appear at the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence.
According to CHRR, this Green Movement activist is required to appear at the Intelligence Ministry on Monday May 20th while no reason was given for the summons order.
On April 16th, Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court handed Akbar Amini a 5-year prison sentence; 4 years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime,” along with a 5-year ban from membership in any political party or group, and activity in any Internet or media outlet. A one-year suspended term from a previous sentencing was also enforced, requiring him to spend a total of 6 years in prison.
Akbar Amini was among a group of writers who were detained on October 30, 2012 when security agents raided a gathering of the Saraye Ahl-e Ghalam (Association of Writers) and arrested around 70 members. Most were later released but 17 members were transferred to Evin prison.
On February 14, 2011 (25 Bahman), when Akbar Amini climbed on top of a crane and waved a green cloth in an act of protest, he was violently arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry.
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UPDATE MAY 4 , 2013
Akbar Amini – Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, 4 years on charges of assembly and collusion with the intent to act against the national security, and 1 year for propaganda against the establishment.
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UPDATE CHRR 15 April , 2013
Akbar Amini and Pejman Zafarmand summoned to court
Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Green activists Akbar Amini and Pejman Zafarmand, who were among the detained group from the raid on Saraye Ahl-e Ghalam (Association of Writers), have been summoned to appear at the Tehran Revolutionary Court.
According to CHRR, on Monday April 14, Pejman Zafarmand will face charges brought against him at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Pir Abassi and on Tuesday April 15, Akbar Amini will face his charges at Branch 27 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati.
On April 9, two other members of Saraye Ahl-e Ghalam, Mohsen Ghashghaizadeh and Mohammad Parsi faced their charges in courts presided by Judge Salavati and Judge Pir Abassi. On March 14, another member of the group, Ahmad Reza Ahmadi was summoned to face charges brought against him in Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh.
On October 30, 2012, security forces conducted a raid at a gathering of writers at Saray Ahl-e Ghalam (Association of Writers) and detained close to 70 members. Most of them were later released and 17 writers including Mehdi Khazali were transferred by van to Evin prison. Two others named Pejman Zafarmand and Mehdi Karimi were detained in separate encounters and were also transferred to Evin prison by security agents.
SOURCE : CHRR
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Today Akbar Amini has been called to security Police and has been arrested, Saturday 25th of August 2012.
Akbar Amini one of those who was arrested on 2009 protest because of going on a crane as a symbol of protest was arrested today.
Based on Harana Reporters today Wednsday morning security forces started to abuse and follow Akbar Amini, After many days of chasing Akbar Amini's Brother, they have claimed that if Amini present himself in Security Police HQ he will be Freed.After Akbar Amini presented himself in Security Police HQ , his brother was freed.
Akbar Amini in 2009 had a Green flag and the pictures of those who lost their lives in 2009 election disputes, mounted a crane in Ghasr roundabout in Tehran and caused a scene and people gathered around him.
ARTICLE IN PERSIAN :
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NEWS AGENCY: https://hra-news.org/00/13350-1.html
SOURCE : HRANA
Akbar Amini, the heroic protester who climbed atop of a crane holding a poster of Green Movement martyrs during demonstrations on February 14th, 2011, was transferred from Ward 209 to Ward 350 at Evin prison after almost two months in jail.
According to Kaleme, his new cell mates stated that on the day of the demonstration, Akbar had also held a picture of himself so that if in the event that security forces threw him off the crane, people would still be able to identify him. His cell mates say that he still defends the Green Movement and opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi [who are still under house arrest] with admirably high spirits. After enduring a lot of pressure, including losing his brother Hossein, his cell mates say he still does not regret his actions to encourage people to attend the demonstrations.
The February 14th [25 Bahman] demonstrations had been announced by Mousavi and Karroubi in a call to stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia.
On the morning of February 14th, a large number of internet users witnessed Akbar’s heroic display of bravery as the introduction to an eventful day. Akbar Amini, wearing symbolic green ribbons and holding a large poster of Green Movement martyrs, stood on top of the crane, and while inviting people to participate in the rally, he commemorated and honored the memory of the Green Movement martyrs.
This young green protester soon became the hero of the February 14th protests. That day, Amini was identified by security forces and arrested.