The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Ordibehesht 1395:
The Judiciary is using art and culture as a tool for settling political scores
شنبه, 03 ژوئن, 2017
The performance of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated that the Judiciary does not have any independence. If in the past, the Revolution Courts used to conduct the trials of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience on the basis of the instructions of the security forces, and in that manner, proved their lack of adherence to the law, these days the Judiciary shows its disregard for the law by trying to fulfill the wishes of a powerful minority in Iran's political system. For example, since last year, the Judiciary, once again ignoring all the relevant laws, has started to adapt a new way of dealing with writers and artists. Among these unlawful actions, one can mention preventing the holding of concerts in different cities of Iran, which had already received permission from the relevant authorities.
Attacks and assaults on artistic and cultural events to force their cancellation even in the presence of security forces have been common occurrences. Furthermore, these days, reports suggest that the not only the Judiciary is failing to fulfil its key duty, which is to defend the civil rights of all Iranian people, but in fact, it is resorting to actions beyond the scopes and remit that have been assigned to it by the law, and it is using art and culture as a tool for the settlements of political scores. This is to the extent that the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance has referred to the willful interference of the prosecutor in preventing a concert of singer Keyhan Kalhor in Neyshabur, despite the legal permission it had obtained from the authorities in advance. In a similar manner, a government official has reported the receipt of a list of books that Tehran's prosecutor has banned from public display at the twenty-ninth Tehran International Book Fair.
These actions of the Judiciary have been taking place at a time when a powerful but radical and extremist section within the Iranian state is planning to impose a certain style of life on the Iranian people; a powerful minority which has no interest in music and books and tries to fight against anything which is may awaken and vitalize the community. It therefore seems the Judiciary, by resorting to actions which fall outside the scope of its duties and authorities, is trying to impose a specific school of thought and tendency on a society with diverse ideas, life styles and preferences. This trend is clearly an obvious example of human rights violation and interference in the right of Iranians to choose freely.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Ordibehesht 1395 [Iranian month corresponding to 20 April to 20 May 2016], as follows. This report is based on information published by various media channels and websites, whose accuracy has been verified. The report is appearing under three separate sections, and in Farsi and English languages.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in April-May 2016
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, more than 39 people were detained and the names of them have been specified, who were: Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliff – an Iranian-British citizen; Rasul Bodaqi – a trade union activist; Omid Soleimani – a journalist; Soheila Karegar – a civil activist; Lotfollah Ahmadi, Nader Rezaqoli, Hossein Hassanabadi, Yadollah Samadi, Zahed Moradi – five labour activists; Heshmatollah Tabarzadi – a political activist; Mansureh Hosseini – a presenter of “Manoto” satellite network; and Mehdi Butorabi – a media activist. In addition, the police has reported the detention of one individual without mentioning his name in Mehrestan City due to the crime described as “supporting hostile groups in the cyberspace”.
On the other hand, some news has reported the detention of Saeid Ahmadi and Zarkhatun Sadini – two citizens of Hormozgan; Kaveh Sohrabzadeh – a citizen from Kermanshah City; Yaser Mosayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaei and Mohammad Vafadar – three newly converted Christians; Shabnam Azizpur, Farhad Gholampur, Saeid Shirmohammadi, Ali Darbari, Pedram Parsa, Mohammad Taqinasab, Bahram Latifi, Fatemeh Latifi and Sina Ahsan – nine fans of the Mystic Ring (Erfan-e Halqeh); Majid Albuebadi – a citizen from Mahshar City; Mansur Hassanzadeh – a citizen from Bukan City; Aram Ahmadi, Shahu Sadeqi, Mehrdad Saburi and Omid Ahmadi – four citizens from Kamyaran City; Qasem Qanbarzehi – a Sunni religious activist; Zakieh Hornisi – a citizen from Ahwaz City; Arash Hosseinpanahi – a citizen from Dehgolan City; and Afsaneh Bayazidi and Shahu Bayazidi – two citizens from Bukan City.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days until the date of their trial.
2. Seyyed Rasul Talebmoqadam, Naser Moharamzadeh, Mohammad Abdipur, Azad Ahmadi, Ahmad Abdipur, Sediq Mohammadi and Pedram Abdipur – seven labour activists; Yusef Nodorkhani, Fatemeh Pasandideh – two Christian citizens – and Seyyed Zia Mortazavi – a professor of religious studies – were detained for several hours.
3. Musa Sudi Moghanlu – a civil activist – was sent to prison to serve seven months imprisonment. Also, Aliakbar Baghani – a civil activist – was sent to Zabol City for ten years of exile.
4. Afarin Chitsaz – a journalist who is currently serving a jail term – was sentenced to ten years in prison, Ehsan Mazandarani – a journalist who is currently in jail – was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, Davud Asai – a citizen who is currently in jail – was sentenced to five years in prison and Saman Safarzaei - a journalist who is currently serving a jail term – was sentenced to five years imprisonment term. In addition, Narges Mohammadi – the vice chairman of the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights, who is currently interned in the prison – was sentenced to 10 years in jail once more, Afshin Hosseinpanahi and Puya Hosseinpanahi – two civil activists who are currently serving in the prison – were sentenced to one year in jail for each of them, Arman Hosseinpanahi and Puya Moqadam – two civil activists who are currently serving in jail – were sentenced to six months and one day for each of them, Mohammad Akramipur – a Sunni prisoner – was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment term, Alireza Golipur – who is currently serving in jail – was sentenced to 15 years in jail, Mohammadreza Hajrostambaglu – a poet – was sentenced to three years imprisonment term and Nazak Afshar – a civil activist – was sentenced to six years in jail.
Moreover, the Appeal Court confirmed the sentence of six years and one day imprisonment term for Ali Hosseinpanahi – a civil activist – and decreased the sentence of six years imprisonment for Majid Abedinzadeh Moqadam – a civil activist – to three years.
5. The court trial sessions of Mohammad Najafi – a lawyer – was held in the Third Branch of the Disciplinary Court of Bar Association and Mohammad Mozafari – a civil activist – was held in the Revolution Court. In addition, Sorush Farhadian – a journalist – was summoned to the magistrate court and released on bail after briefing.
6. Abdolhakim Shahbakhsh, Yaqub Shahbakhsh and Sa’adat Abidollahi - three Sunni cultural and media activists; Rahman Kardar, Hossein Moradi, Seyyed Anvar Moatar and Seyyed Jalal Hosseini – four labour activists – were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and Khaled Hosseini, Ghaleb Hosseini and Majid Hamidi – three labour activists – were summoned to the police.
7. The relevant officials prevented the participation of Mohammad Hossein Gorgij – a Sunni religious activist – in an academic conference.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The Judiciary has prevented the holding of concerts of Shahram Nazeri and Keyhan Kalhor in Neishabur City. Moreover, the relevant officials prevented the attendance of women in the concert of Hafez Nazeri in Esfahan.
2. The relevant officials have prevented the lecture of Sadeq Zibakalam – a university professor – in Miandoab and Shahindej cities. In addition, the relevant officials have prevented the holding of a religious ceremony by Zavadol Aemme in Yazd, business roundtable of students in the Faculty of Psychology of Tehran University and the conference of "suffering of children in contemporary Iran” in the Tehran University. On the other hand, the relevant officials prevented the holding of congregational Prayer in the Seyyed ol-Shohada Mosque in Kamb Village.
3. The relevant officials removed the seal of Mohammadreza Nekunam’s library – a religious activist – and seized all of his books. On the other hand, a governmental official has reported the seizure of some Arabic and Latin books in the twenty-ninth International Tehran Book Fair inconsistent with fair criteria in terms of content.
4. The relevant officials closed the Melli Bank account for the maintenance and restoration of Ahmadabad castle – the tomb of Mohammad Mosaddeq [nationalist prime minister in the 1950s].
5. By notice, Mehrab Qasemkhani and Peyman Qasemkhani [film-makers] have been banned from working in TV for three years.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 27 individuals were executed in this month. The complete names of some of them are still not clear but judicial authorities or government-controlled media have confirmed their executions. Some of the names are as follows: “Z-Ch”, “S-R” and “H-H” were executed in Sari; “H-M” was executed in Bandarabbas and “M-R” was executed in Nahavand. The Judiciary officials have said their crime was murder. “A” and “Morteza” were executed in Mashhad and “Avaz” was executed in public in Shahr-e Nur City. State-controlled media have announced that their crime was first-degree murder. In addition, state-controlled media have reported the execution of one individual in Mashhad due to the crime of murder. A Judiciary official, furthermore, has reported the execution of one individual in Qazvin due to the crime of murder.
“A-A” and “A-Sh” were executed in Rasht. A Judiciary official has announced that their crime was the possession and transportation of drugs. The Judiciary officials have reported the execution of two individuals in Ardabil and three individuals in Yazd due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs.
“A-B” and “A-S” were executed in Yazd and “H-P” was executed in Rasht. The Judiciary officials has announced that their crime was rape. Moreover, state-controlled media has reported the execution of one individual in Mashhad and two individual in Yasuj due to the crime of rape.
“Ch-R” was executed in Yazd. A Judiciary official has reported that the person’s crime was armed robbery. In addition, Judiciary officials have reported the execution of one individual in public in Kermanshah due to the crime of Moharebeh [declaring war against God].
On the other hand, some unofficial news websites have reported the carrying out of the execution sentences against Behnam Mohammadi in Maragheh due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs, and Reza Hosseini in Lorestan because of the crime of murder and some other individuals in Rajaei Shahr Prison, Central Prison of Orumiyeh, Minab, Qezelhesar Prison and Central Prison of Zahedan. These news reports have not been confirmed or rejected by the Judiciary or other relevant officials.
2. The sentence of amputation of fingers of “M-T” was carried out in the city of Mashhad. State-controlled media have announced that his crime was robbery.
3. The lashes sentence against a woman – “S-T” – was carried out in public in Golpayegan. State-controlled media reported that her crime was unlawful sexual relations.
4. The Judiciary officials have reported the issuance of death sentence for one individual in Esfahan and four individuals in Qazvin. State-controlled media also have reported the issuance of death sentences against six individuals due to the crime of murder.
5. The state-controlled media have reported the issuance of lashes sentence for one individual due to the crime of robbery and another individual due to the crime of cruelty against animals.
6. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them - such as Morteza Parvin, Jaber Sakhravi, Hadi Qaeimi, Afshin Sohrabzadeh, Maryam (Nasim) Naqash Zargaran and Yaqub Maleki – are sick but no serious action has been taken to provide them with medical treatment.
7. The Judiciary officials have reported the detention of 15 lawyers in Sorkhrud due to participating in a party. Mizan News Agency – which is affiliated with the Judiciary – has reported the detention of seven actors due to attending in a party. Moreover, a Judiciary official has reported the detention of eight individuals due to the charge of running fashion pages.
8. Ehsan Mazandarani, Saman Qaderiazar and Mahmud Masumi were transferred from public wards of the Evin Prison to the security ward. It should be noted these transfers have been carried out without any specific reason and contrary to the regulations and rules of the prisons internal affairs.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
Reports concerning situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas. For example: news indicate the undesirability of the employment conditions and pay levels of workers in Omidieh Municipality in Khuzestan Province, the Parsilun Textile Factory, the Contracting Arfa Steel Plant in Ardakan, Yas Soap Making Plant in Khorramshahr, “Telda Khavaran Pad” Brake Disk Factory in Qazvin, phases No. 14, 20, 21 of Asaluyeh, retired and fired workers of “Shisheh Abgineh” glass making factory, and the sacked employees at the “Khorramabad Steel” Factory, “Mashin Sazi Tabriz” Factory, Neybar of Haft Tapeh Agro-industry, phase No.6 of Parand City, Tehran urban train services, Bafq Iron Ore Mining Company, “Soha Teb” Biomedical Engineering Industries, the workers of municipalities in all of the cities of Khuzestan Province, Almehdi Aluminum Complex, the Green Zone of Neishabur Central Municipality, “Almehdi Hormozal Aluminum” Factory, Nowshahr fire-proof box Factory and Esfahan Poly-acrylic Factory and educators of Literacy Movement.
1. The payments of 300 workers of Ahvaz Abfa have not been paid for two months, 1000 workers of Setareh Persian Gulf Refinery have not been paid for three months, 170 workers of Jam Tile Factory have not received their salaries for eight months, 1400 workers of Alborz Sharqi Coal Mine have not been paid for two months, 100 workers of Kar Glass Factory of Fashafuyeh have not received their benefits for one month, 50 workers of “Pakan Textile” Factory have not been paid for four months, 25 workers of Herbicides Factory have not received their salaries for five months, 74 contract workers of Lushan Municipality have not been paid for three months and 170 workers of “Elegant” Textile Factory have not received their salaries for three months at the time of preparation of this report.
2. Some 15 workers of “Setabran” Factory – producer of tile and ceramic material; 250 workers of “Pars Saram” Factory were fired from their jobs. In addition, 35 workers of two factories “Tulipers” and “Alborz Packing” and 200 workers of Tangeh Bijar and Kaman Kuh Oil Well were made unemployed after their contracts came to an end. On the other hand, 285 workers of Varamin Sugar Factory and 52 workers of “Omran Alborz” Construction Material Factory were made unemployed after the closure of these industrial units.
3. Several business and trading units of 38 Baha’i citizens were officially closed and sealed off for a few days. These included units belonging to: Farshid Hekmat Shoar, Maqsud Laqaei, Shahin Sanaei, Borzu Motearefi, Bahman Sahand Mehrabad, Ahmad Nikunejad, Seizollah Nikunejad, Sasan Vedaei, Badiollah Vedaei, Babak Vedaei, Afshin Azadi, Erfan Masumian, Mehryar Qanbari, Armin Sobhani, Shahin Akbari, Serajollah Kian, Behnaz Farahani, Farid Kasiri, Sahba Zanjani, Naeim Zanjani, Soheil Haqdust, Bijan Nokhah, Nima Miri, Korush Rezaei, Rezvan Mirzagolpur, Zahra Golabian, Shahin Sanaei, Fariborz Sanaei, Behnam Mirzaei, Bahaeidin Samimi, Dariush Ahmadzadegan, Adel Ataeian, Farzad Sabeti, Shahin Akbari, Changiz Derakhshanian, Jalal Ataeian, Akbari and Armin Sobhani.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
1. Reports concerning situation regarding cultural heritage and environment also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month to the extent that the World Health Organization announced that the city of Zabol has been dubbed as the most polluted city in the world because of sandstorms in the summer months.
2. A ten-year old girl was killed due to mine explosion in Bostan. In addition, a citizen lost a leg in Oshnavieh after landmine explosion. Also, Hajar Vahedi from the Pirumaran Kuhestan region lost her leg due to mine explosions. On the other hand, two individuals suffered from shell shock syndrome in Qasr-e Shirin due to mine explosion.
At the end of the report for the month of Ordibehesht of 1395, The Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights has emphasized on the inherent jurisdiction of the Judiciary is to prosecute and punish those who disregard the laws and commit crimes. It has then announced that it is therefore not appropriate for the Judiciary to perpetrate those very actions for which it has to punish others if they commit them. Respecting and obeying the laws is the duty and obligation of all state institutions.