IRAN WATCH CANADA

Thursday, January 31, 2013

More Assault on Journalists and....

More and more arrests occurs in the streets -workplace or at home daily in Iran . For now regime is busy targeting the journalists, bloggers and those with social media connections to silence them. This is happening because of regime's fear for their important role in the coming 11th presidential election on June 12,2013. News from Iran indicate that; officials are more and more talking on their power ability to control the situation and usually in this kind of situation more public hanging take place to scare people and increase in national holidays aims to decrease big city's from its population.Regime does all these tactics to continue to stay in power a bit longer. The Iranian society talk about the coming birth of a new situation and when this will take place no one knows . It seems not only the Iranian people but also the world expect soon the peoples power will shake this regime.

News from Iran......

Reyhaneh Tabatabaei a journalist for reformists newspaper is arrested today ( Thursday Jan.31,2013) in Tehran.In the past Ms. Tabatabaei was arrested and spent 40 days in " Band Do-Alef Sepah" (solitary confinement) in Evin prison.
Reyhaneh Tabatabaei is journalist of Sharq Newspaper .She also worked in other newspaper as well.
Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2013/01/154636.php

In another news Mrs.Fatemeh Sagharchi editor of "Jamaran" website is also arrested on last Saturday at 8:00pm in her home. She was former manger of  the "Center for Strategic investigation " library.

Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2013/01/154640.php

     

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13 JOURNALISTS STILL HELD IN “BLACK SUNDAY” CRACKDOWN, OTHERS SUMMONED



Reporters Without Borders has learned that two other journalists were arrested yesterday after being summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison, bringing to 14 the total number of journalists arrested during the past three days on charges of collaborating with groups opposed to the “Islamic Revolution.”
But Motahareh Shafie, one of the ten arrested on “Black Sunday” (27 January), was released yesterday, so the number currently in detention now stands at 13. Other journalists in Tehran and various provinces have received summonses and are awaiting interrogation.
The two arrested yesterday were Kivan Mehregan, who writes for various reformist newspapers, and Hossein Yaghchi, who works for the weekly Aseman and the monthly Tajrobeh.
According to Agence France-Presse, the journalists were all arrested “under a warrant issued by the judicial authority.” AFP’s Tehran bureau put out several dispatches yesterday quoting Farsnews, an Iranian news agency linked to the Revolutionary Guards, as describing them as “supporters of the anti-revolutionary movement.”
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, the journalists were arrested by the intelligence ministry “in order to verify whether or not they work for news media based abroad.” They are currently being held in isolation cells in Evin prison’s Section 209, which the intelligence ministry controls.
“Accusing journalists of collaborating with groups opposed to the ‘Islamic Revolution’ is not new,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This charge is often used against Iranian journalists and intellectuals in order to silence them.”
Culture and Islamic Guidance minister Mohammad Hosseini said on 27 January: “These journalists were not arrested because of their journalistic activities. It seems that they were arrested on charges linked to security, not for violating the regulations governing the media.”
Link:

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Iran: Consolidating Power as Elections Near

Human Rights Watch -
For Immediate Release

Iran: Consolidating Power as Elections Near
Authorities Step Up Targeting of Lawyers, Opposition  

(New York, January 31, 2013) – Authorities arrested, detained, and harassed some of Iran’s most celebrated rights lawyers, and stepped up their assault on critical journalists, bloggers, and their families in 2012, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013.The government also prevented reformists and opposition leaders from participating in parliamentary elections, and is holding the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard under house arrestas Iran prepares for its presidential election in June 2013.

The judiciary issued death sentences based on non-serious, vague, or ill-defined crimes such asmoharebeh, or enmity against God, and authorities executed several hundred prisoners, many of them alleged drug offenders. Discrimination, both in law and in practice, against Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities led to the arrests of dozens of Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims. Iran’s government refused to cooperate with United Nations bodies and denied entry to the special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, who released two reports providing a “deeply troubling picture of the overall human rights situation” in Iran. Thousands of Iranians, including many journalists and activists, have fled the country since 2009.

“The Iranian authorities’ obsessive clampdown on rights defenders, journalists, and the internet suggests they are intent on clearing the field of all opposition for the upcoming presidential election,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The lesson that free and fair elections, not increasing repression, will lead to legitimacy and long-term stability seems to be lost on them.”

In its 665-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including an analysis of the aftermath of the Arab uprisings. The willingness of new governments to respect rights will determine whether the Arab uprisings give birth to genuine democracy or simply spawn authoritarianism in new clothes, Human Rights Watch said.

In February 2012, Iran’s Guardian Council, an appointed body of 12 religious jurists, disqualified more than 2,000 prospective candidates for the March 2 parliamentary elections, on ill-defined grounds such as “lack of adherence to Islam and the Constitution.” Weeks earlier, the Iranian judiciary had announced that calls for an election boycott constituted “a crime.”

Authorities have so far not allowed opposition parties and candidates affiliated with the reformist movement to field candidates for the June 14 presidential election.

Iran remained one of the world’s foremost executioners, with more than 500 prisoners hanged either in prisons or in public in 2012. Many had been convicted of drug-related offenses, including trafficking and possession, which internationally are not considered sufficiently serious to warrant execution. The UN Office of Drug Control (UNODC) continued financial support for law enforcement projects to combat drug trafficking in Iran although its guidelines require it to freeze or withdraw assistance to countries carrying out executions for drug-related offenses.

Iranian authorities have executed dozens of people since January 2010, many of them ethnic minorities, for moharebeh because of their alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups. Currently, more than 20 members of Iran’s Kurdish minority are on death row, sentenced on politically motivated charges. They include Zaniar and Eghbal Moradi, who are at imminent risk of execution. Since May 2011, authorities have executed at least 11 Iranian-Arab men and a 16-year-old boy for alleged links to groups involved in attacking security forces. On January 9, 2013, authorities informed the families offive Arab activists that Iran’s Supreme Court had affirmed their death sentences for moharebeh.

In January 2012, the Guardian Council approved the final text of an amended penal code, but the bill has not yet been signed into law. Lawmakers and judiciary officials have repeatedly portrayed the proposed code as a serious step toward compliance with Iran’s international human rights obligations, but it retains the death penalty for child offenders and for crimes not considered serious under international law.

As of December, 43 journalists and bloggers were in prison in Iran, according to Reporters Without Borders. On November 6, authorities notified family members of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger, that he had died in custody following his arrest by Iran’s cyberpolice on October 30. In response to international and domestic pressure, and allegations that Beheshti had been tortured, Iran’s judiciary announced on November 11 that it would open an investigation and hold anyone responsible for wrongdoing accountable. A parliamentary committee announced in January that several arrests had been made in connection with Beheshti’s killing, but that his initial arrest was lawful and warranted. The committee said investigations were ongoing.

The government systematically blocked websites, slowed internet speeds, and jammed foreign satellite broadcasts. Iranian security forces significantly increased their targeting of family members of Iranian journalists working for foreign media organizations. In September, the government announced that the first phase of a “halal,” or legitimate, internet to protect users from socially and morally corrupt content had been carried out in most provinces.

On March 4, Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent rights lawyer,  learned that a revolutionary court had sentenced him to 18 years in prison, barred him from practicing law for 20 years, and ordered that he serve his sentence in Borajan, a city more than 600 kilometers south of Tehran, where he lived. Prosecutors charged Soltani with “propaganda against the state,” assembly and collusion against the state, and establishing the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), which Soltani co-founded with the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi. An appeals court reduced Soltani’s sentence to 13 years and reversed the ban on practicing law. On the same day, an appeals court issued a six-year prison sentence against Narges Mohammadi, a CHRD spokesperson, on similar charges.

A month later, an appeals court informed Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a defense lawyer, that it had upheld his nine-year prison sentence on charges related to interviews he had given to foreign media and membership in the CHRD. The court also sentenced Dadkhah to fines and corporal punishment (in the form of lashes) and banned him from teaching for 10 years. Mohammad Seifzadeh, Houtan Kian and Nasrin Sotoudeh, other defense lawyers, are also in prison. In December Sotoudeh and the filmmaker Jafar Panahi were awarded the Sakharov Prize.

The government denied freedom of religion to Baha’is, Sufi Muslims, and evangelical Christians. Security forces particularly targeted Baha’is in the northern city of Semnan. According to the Baha’i International Community, the government has shut down at least 17 Baha’i-owned businesses, and 22 Baha’is have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 6 years since 2009, with 111 Baha’is in prison as of September.

The government also targets Sufis, particularly members of the Nematollahi Gonabadi sect. It detained and prosecuted prominent lawyers and adherents affiliated with the group on a range of national security charges. Shaheed said authorities have arbitrarily arrested and detained over 300 Christians, the majority of them evangelicals or Protestants, since June 2010.

“The Iranian people will neither forget nor forgive the abuses that the government has committed against human rights and minority activists, journalists and opposition leaders when it is time to head to the polls in June,” Whitson said. “Nor will they forget those such as Sattar Beheshti who have been made to pay the ultimate price in the struggle for a free Iran.”

To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2013 chapter on Iran, please visit:
www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/world-report-2013-iran

For more Human Rights Watch Reporting on Iran, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/iran

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Socio-Economic and union are the issues of protest in the coming presidential election, said chief of police Ahmadi Moghadam !

Police Chief :

University official must control or manage the student uprising !
The motive for street protest is economic issue ! 

Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghadam chief of Disciplinary Forces of the Islamic regime in Iran: The focus of the enemies are on socio- economic issues and they want to make this as a motive for street protest .In universities the issue of students is Union and the university officials must manage or control the situation.
He said: The crime level in Iran decreased from 62% to 35% and the safety/security increased from 35% to 59%.
Link:
http://www.ilna.ir/news/news.cfm?id=41679

Unrest among the regime officials from now until June 12,2013 the presidential election day.
When will the people of Iran start their street protest ? Night time or Day time ?  

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More Journalists Arrested by Security Forces of the Islamic Regime !


According to news coming from Iran, security forces of the regime has arrested two more journalists and they are , Keyvan Mehrgan and Hossein Yaghchi and more journalists were asked to attend at court of revolution in the coming days.
These journalists have worked in the past for reformists newspaper . For Keyvan Mehregan this is his fourth arrest since the presidential election coup in June 2009.
Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2013/01/154477.php


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Islamic regime has started arresting journalist because presidential election is coming !

Regime began its repression again before the presidential election on June 12,2013.
According to Mehr News reporter , a group of independent journalists were arrested in Tehran by security forces . They were arrested on last Saturday and Sunday at their work. Those arrested are :
Akbar Montajebi,
Javad Daliri,
Sasan Aghaei,
Nasrin Takhayeri ,
Motahereh Shafiei,
Narges Joudaki,
Emely Amraei,
Pouria Alami,
Pejman Mousavi
Are among those arrested.

These journalists are from media such as : Arman ,Etemad, Bahar, Sharq, Aseman, ILNA , and were arrested with the order from judiciary Power. Their charges are "colaboration with Farsi counter revolutionary websites "
Link:
http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/article.jsp?essayId=50618

According to ISNA news agency ,Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance Seyed Mohammad Hosseini said ,the arrest of journalists isn't media related issue but it is security issue.

Link:
http://isna.ir/fa/news/91110905570


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Iran’s “Hanging Judge” Sentences Iranian-American Pastor to 8 Years in Prison


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 28, 2013| By USCIRF


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The trial and conviction of Pastor Abedini represent an outrageous miscarriage of justice and  yet one more damning piece of evidence pointing to the rampant denial of religious freedom and the absence of any semblance of rule of law in Iran, " said Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Iran’s “hanging judge” Judge Pir-Abassi on Sunday, January 27, sentenced  Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini to eight years in prison for “threatening the national security of Iran” because of his activity starting in 2000 in the Christian house church movement.  Pastor Abedini has been in Iran since July to establish an orphanage.
“The charges against Pastor Abedini were contrived, the process was irregular and deeply flawed, and the conviction flies in the face of both Iranian and international law,” said Lantos Swett.  “Judge Pir-Abassi has been responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. We call on the Iranian government to immediately release Pastor Abedini.  In addition, we call on the U.S. and the international community to raise Pastor Abedini’s case in all international fora, including the U.N. Human Rights Council.   We reiterate our call for the U.S. government to freeze the assets and deny entry into the U.S. of Judge Pir-Abassi, and other Iranian judges and government officials who have committed violations of religious freedom and related human rights, including the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, who would have had to approve the Pastor’s harsh sentence.”
Pastor Abedini was convicted and sentenced four months after he was arrested in September.  “Unfortunately, Pastor Abedini’s case exemplifies the Iranian government’s across the board assault on freedom of religion or belief,” said Lantos Swett.   “Iran has intensified its persecution of Christians, including lawyers of these victims, such as Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights defender who was sentenced to 10 years and who most recently defended Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and some Baha'i prisoners. The Iranian government also has intensified its attacks against Baha'is, with an increased number of arrests and detentions, including young mothers and their small children."
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that Iran be designated a “country of particular concern” or CPC for its systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.  The State Department has designated Iran as a CPC since 1999.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact Samantha Schnitzer at (202) 786-0613. 

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Iran's morality police crack down on coffee shops




Iran's cafe society has been targeted as a fertile breeding ground for dissidents. Photograph: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images
Popular hangout for Tehrani intellectuals closes after refusing to install surveillance cameras to monitor customers
As the June presidential election in Iran draws near, authorities have
stepped up political surveillance by ordering coffee shop owners to install cameras on their premises and turn over the recordings on demand.
Cameras have proliferated in Tehran coffee shops since last summer. "Most people thought they were part of the security systems installed by owners to protect against theft," one Tehrani said. However the cameras are now required to be on during work hours and police have demanded access to the tapes, according to several business owners.
The practice became public when Café Prague, one of the most popular coffee houses in Tehran, closed down last week after its owners refused authorities' orders to install a video system. Café Prague, a stone's throw from Tehran University in the heart of the capital, has been a sanctuary for students, activists and young intellectuals since its opening in 2009.
A few weeks ago, Tehran's morality police and security authorities told the café's proprietors to install a minimum of four surveillance cameras on the premises as part of state efforts to tighten civic monitoring and security. The owners decided they would not do so. Recognising that this would result in further harassment and eventual closure, they shut down the cafe themselves to protest against the new surveillance measures.
"We always knew this day would come and, in the midst of Tehran's grimy winter, our end has finally arrived in spite of our many attempts to stay afloat," read a statement posted on the Café Prague Facebook page.
"But as much as it pains us and as much as we will miss our friends and all of you who stood by our side in the past four years, we take comfort in knowing that we at least didn't let Big Brother's glass eyes scan and record our every step, minute and memory from dawn till dusk."
The café's closure is a significant loss for Tehran's academic and cultural life. During its short existence, Café Prague offered much more than just coffee and free wi-fi; it played host to a number of social and political events, from photo exhibitions supporting local artists to music performances and vibrant left-leaning discussions on workers' rights.
"I have four years' worth of memories in that café," said Amir Hossein, a photographer. "I am sad that I didn't spend more time there. Café Prague wasn't just a café; it was like home, a safe haven for us to forget all our daily troubles and burden."
From the ninth century, the Iranian coffeehouse was a place that poets, artists and dervishes could gather without fear of harassment by royal deputies or local authorities. In the modern era, dissident café culture in Tehran stretches back some 85 years to the time when the celebratedCafé Naderi - much like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots in Paris - became a magnet for the intellectual elite. For decades it was frequented by prominent literary figures such as Sadegh Hedayat, Jalal al-Ahmad, Simin Daneshvar and Nima Yooshij.
After the 1979 revolution, the government closed many coffee shops, declaring them part of the "western cultural onslaught". Harking back to those early days of the Islamic Republic, some conservative political and religious leaders have taken a stricter line against "foreign culture" in recent years, promoting plans to "Islamicise" universities' liberal arts curricula and once again shutter venues that facilitate socialising and the exchange of ideas unbound from customary constraints. Last July, more than 87 cafés and restaurants in a single district of the capital were reportedly raided for defying "Islamic values."
The crowds at coffee shops in Iran tend to be young. They are the site of many couples' first dates, a place where they can be free of the inhibitions imposed by the morality police or parental supervision. Groups of young people gather as well, for everything from discussions after class at university to birthday celebrations.
"The decision to force this or that place to follow the rules or shut down also signals another trend at Tehran's coffee shops," an observer told Tehran Bureau. "An increasing number of their patrons use coffee shops to discuss politics - something the government does not appreciate."
Link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran-blog/2013/jan/23/iran-camera-coffee-shops

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Attempt on the life of a journalist in Iran !


On the evening of Thursday Jan.24 Fatemeh kharadmand  a reformist journalist and a supporter of Green Movement was walking at around "Shohada" Square in Tehran with her son ,when unknown motor cycle riders attacked on her in sidewalk. According to Kharadmand, she saw a motorcycle got into the sidewalk and drove straight at her and her little son ,but when the driver failed to do their intention ,stopped the motorcycle and the woman passenger of the motorcycle attacked on her and escaped when the people tried to go after them .
In the past Fatemeh Kharadmand was arrested and detained for her support to Green Movement and Musavi.Fatemeh is the wife of imprisoned journalist Masoud Lavasani the editorial member of " Ghalame Sabz" Newspaper.
Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2013/01/154365.php

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Musavi's Children: We Have Absolutely No News About Our Parents!

Will The Iranian People Start Their Street Protest for Their Release as they warned regime in the past !

 Leaders of Green Movement ( Musavi, Karoubi and Rahnavard )starting their third year imprisonment ( House Arrest ) Under Presence of Many Security Agents !


Musavi's children in a statement have said: They have absolutely no news about their parents, who have been under house arrest for almost two years. The children also are worried about the health of their parents Mr. Mir Hossein Musavi( 10th Presidential Candidate )and Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard at a time when 11th presidential election is going to take place just in five months on June 12,2013. The children added : "Many security agent are present at the house and controlling everything. This is illegal and it looks like kidnapping. They should be immediately and unconditionally released. "
Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2013/01/154345.php

  

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Iran: Stop Execution of Ahwazi Arab Political Prisoners


For Immediate Release

Iran: Stop Execution of Ahwazi Arab Political Prisoners
Whereabouts of Five Condemned Men Unknown

(London, January 24, 2013) – Iran’s judiciary should quash death sentences against five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority and immediately cancel their execution, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The sentences were handed down by a revolutionary court and upheld by the country’s Supreme Court on January 9, 2013.

The five men – Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, and Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) – are all activists in Iran’s Arab-majority Khuzestan province, in southwest Iran. A branch of the Revolutionary Court sentenced them to death on terrorism-related charges following an unfair trial in July 2012. On January 18, authorities informed families gathered outside Karoun Prison in the south-western city of Ahvaz that the five men had been transferred out of the prison. Their whereabouts are unknown.

“The reported transfer of these men to an unknown place is an extremely worrying development,” said Ann Harrison, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International. “In Iran, death row prisoners are generally moved to solitary confinement before their death sentences are carried out, and we fear that the authorities may be planning to execute them imminently.”

Security forces arrested all five men at their homes in early 2011 in advance of the sixth anniversary of widespread protests by Ahwazi Arabs in April 2005. Authorities arrested Mohammad Ali Amouri 20 days after Iraqi authorities had forcibly returned him to Iran, from which he had fled in December 2007. They did not allow him family visits for the first nine months. The human rights groups have received information that Amouri was subjected to physical and psychological torture during this time.

Rashidi was hospitalized after his arrest, possibly as a result of torture or other ill-treatment. Sources have told the groups that he is in poor health.

Family members outside the country have said that Sayed Jaber Alboshoka’s jaw and teeth were broken during his detention and that Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka has experienced depression and memory loss as a result of torture or other ill-treatment.

In May 2012, Al Arabiya reported that Intelligence Ministry agents forced Sha’bani to confess to crimes he had not committed by pouring boiling water on him.

A branch of the Revolutionary Court convicted the men in July 2012 on vaguely worded charges related to national security that did not amount to internationally recognizable criminal offenses. These included “gathering and colluding against state security,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” “enmity against God,” or moharebeh; and “corruption on earth,” or ifsad fil-arz. The death penalty is a possible punishment for the latter two. Under articles 186 and 190-91 of Iran’s Penal Code, anyone found responsible for taking up arms against the state, or belonging to an organization taking up arms against the government, may be considered guilty of “enmity against God” and risks being sentenced to death. The specific acts of which the men were accused are not known.

The five men are founding members of Al-Hiwar (“Dialogue” in Arabic), a scientific and cultural institute registered during the administration of Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami, who served from1997 to 2005. Al-Hiwar organizes seminars, educational and art classes, and poetry recitals that have taken place in the town of Ramshir (known in Arabic as Khalafiye). Authorities banned al-Hiwar in May 2005, and many of its members have since been arrested.

Iranian Ahwazi Arab rights groups maintain that authorities extracted “confessions” from the five men while subjecting them to torture or mistreatment and denying them access to a lawyer and their families for the first nine months of their detention at a local Intelligence Ministry facility. The men later denied the charges against them in court, sources reported.

Article 38 of the Iranian Constitution prohibits all forms of torture “for the purpose of obtaining confessions.” The Penal Code also provides for the punishment of officials who torture citizens to obtain confessions. Despite these legal and constitutional guarantees regarding confessions under duress, “confessions” are sometimes broadcast on television even before a trial has concluded and are generally accepted as evidence in Iranian courts. Such broadcasts violate Iran’s fair trial obligations under article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a state party.

Iranian authorities have executed dozens of people since the disputed 2009 presidential election, many of them from ethnic minorities, for moharebeh because of their alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups. Since May 2011, authorities have executed at least 11 Iranian Ahwazi Arab men and a 16-year-old boy for alleged links to groups involved in attacking security forces.

Rights activists maintain that at least another six Iranian Ahwazi Arabs have been tortured to death in the custody of security and intelligence forces in connection with anti-government demonstrations that swept across Khuzestan province on the 2011 and 2012 anniversaries of the 2005 unrest. According to Kurdish rights activists, more than 20 members of Iran’s Kurdish minority are on death row after conviction for political offenses. They include Zaniar and Loghman Moradi, who are at imminent risk of execution.

In 2012 Iran remained one of the world’s foremost executioners, with more than 500 prisoners hanged either in prisons or in public. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose capital punishment in all circumstances because of its irreversible, cruel, and inhumane nature.

“Iranian authorities should end the suffering of the five men’s families by immediately informing them of their whereabouts and allowing them family visits and access to their lawyers,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “On no account should they be executed.”

Background
Jaber Alboshoka, 28, is a computer scientist who had been performing his national service as a private in the army; Mokhtar Alboshoka, 28, worked at a stone mining company; Rashidi, 26, holds a masters degree in applied chemistry and was a chemistry teacher; Sha’bani, 39, was an Arabic literature teacher and a student working toward a master’s degree in political science at Ahwaz University; and Amouri, 34, was a fisheries engineer and school teacher.

The Iranian government alleges that the five men are part of an armed Arab terrorist group responsible for shooting at several government employees. In December 2011 a government-run TV station broadcast televised “confessions” of several of the men, including Rashidi and Sha’bani, in which they claimed responsibility for armed attacks against government officials.

Human rights groups have previously expressed concern regarding the condition of Rashidi, Sha’bani, and other Iranian Ahwazi Arab activists detained by security and intelligence forces, and worry about their fate in light of reports of the execution of Heidarian and three other Ahwazi Arab men in June for their alleged role in the killing of a police officer. On June 9, officials in Ahvaz’s Karoun prison transferred Taha, Abbas, and Abdul-Rahman Heidarian, all brothers, as well as another man, to an unknown location. About a week later authorities informed the men’s families that they had been executed.

The December 2011 program that aired the confessions of Rashidi and Sha’bani also showed Taha Heidarian “confessing” to involvement in the killing of a law enforcement official in April 2011 amid widespread protests in Khuzestan.

Several days after reports surfaced regarding the executions, Iranian Ahwazi Arab rights groups circulated a video purporting to show the men, following their arrest by security forces, reading a plea to save their lives addressed to Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran. It has not been possible to verify the authenticity of the video.

UN human rights mechanisms have condemned the executions of the four men.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/en/middle-eastn-africa/iran

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in Azar 1391 [November- December 2012]


Sat 22 12 2012

ebadi18.jpg
Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Defender and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in continuation of her monthly reports, has reviewed the human rights situation in Iran in Azar 1391 [November- December 2012]. According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights [CDHR], Dr. Ebadi starts her Azar report by addressing the plight of children in Iran. She highlights the fire incident at a school in northwestern Iran in which about 31 schoolgirls suffered burns or died. . She also addresses the issue of HIV and AIDS in Iran which now involves individuals at a lower age. The human rights defender continues her report by criticizing the government officials' ignorance of the future of the “most voiceless” sect of society, i.e. children, calling for more attention to be paid to these future-builders.
The Nobel Laureate continues her report by examining the human rights situation under three categories: “civil and political rights”, economic and social rights”, and “cultural heritage and environment”. The civil and political rights section, in addition to identifying the political and civil rights activists who have been summoned to prison to serve their sentences, highlights the pressure imposed on the family of the political prisoners.
The following is the text of Mrs. Ebadi’s report for Azar 1391, published on 1 Dey [22 December 2012].
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in Azar 1391[November – December 2012]
Introduction
According to a report published by the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) in Azar, 31 schoolgirls of a school in West Azerbayjan Province were injured owing to a fire incident caused by an oil spill and explosion of a heater. Two of them namely, Hay Seydan Yeganeh and Elham (Ameneh) Esmaeil Poor died later. Unfortunately, the above report is an example of the appalling condition of schools in Iran, which are old and dilapidated. Consequently, similar incidents are reported in at least one of the schools across the country each year.
During the past two months, a number of buses carrying students to visit the remains of the Iran-Iraq war zones crashed due to substandard facilities. As a result, more than 50 students were either killed or wounded. Unfortunately, students are still forced to go on these trips as it is introduced as part of their social course.
Government officials' ignorance of the future of the most voiceless sects of society i.e. children, led the Economist magazine to rank Iran 58 out of 80 countries, in a table naming the best countries for the future of the children. Iran was ranked 48 in a similar table in 1988 just after finishing eight years of war with Iraq.
On the other hand, according to the head of the Iranian Parliament's Health Committee, the age of children infected with HIV has dropped to as low as 11-13. Sexual relations is the most common reason for the increase in the number of those suffering from AIDS. Also, according to another report, four percent of children are infected with HIV. In such circumstances not only schools do not provide any educational program, the Media also fail to discuss it. However, according to a bill ratified by the Cabinet of Ministers last month, condoms are considered luxury items and their imports have been banned.
Another point is the decrease in child welfare in Iran. According to Iranian Government reports, every year a million students drop out of school and end up on the streets due to poverty. These children are forced to beg for a morsel of bread.
According to the chief of the literacy movement, there are over ten million illiterate individuals in the country, three million and five hundred thousand of whom are in the age group between 10 and 40 years. In this situation the Supreme Leader has ordered a halt in the birth control programme. Therefore, the official policy makers are encouraging citizens to have more children by providing them with more facilities as incentives. They are trying to increase the population of the country to 120 million people.
So, wrong educational programs and macroeconomic policy, which is focused on military priorities, coupled with mismanagement and corruption, threatens the future of Iranian children. "Children are the future-builders, today we have to think about tomorrow."
The report on human rights situation in Iran in Azar 1391, which has been based on material taken from various newspapers and websites, will appear in both English and Persian in three sections, upon verification of the sources.

Section 1: Political and Civil Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political-Social Activists
1.Twenty-three individuals were arrested this month. Some of them were released on bail after several days. Those arrested include the following: Hossein Falah, a civil rights activist, Behruz Ghobadi, Milad Dehghan, Hojat Kalashi, Ujan Akbari and Akbar Javid, four members of Pan-Iranist Party, Kurosh Zaim, Isa Khan Hatami, Mohammad Oveisi and Mohsen Rahami, four members of Iran National Front and 15 citizens from Ahvaz Province namely Ali Chabishad, Hossein Chabishad, son of Ali, Salahodin Chabishad, son of Ali, Habib Silaveh, Seyed Yasin Moosavi, Salman Chapan, Mohammad Chapan, Karim Chapan, Ashur Shamikli, Jalil Tatureh, Ghasem Zargani, Rahim Hamidi, Maki Barihi, Mohammad Naseri and Omid Dehdar Zadeh.
2.Mohammad Sadegh Rabani Amlashi, university professor and a member of the National Council for Peace, was summoned to prison to serve his three-year prison term. Saeid Haeri, a former member of the Human Rights Reporters Committee, was transferred to prison to serve his two-year prison sentence and receive 74 lashes; Asal Esmaeilzadeh, a civil rights activist, was summoned to prison to start her four months prison sentence and receive 74 lashes, Ali Zakeri, a citizen objecting to the result of 2009 presidential election, Hassan Ark, Ahmad Riyazi, Hamidi Shafigh and Azizolah Purvali, civil rights activist from Azarbayjan, were summoned to prison to serve their respective sentences.
3.Jamshid Zarei, Taghi Salahshur, and Vahid Sheykhbeyglu, all civil rights activists from Azarbayejan, were summoned. Mohammad Maleki, a retired university professor, was also summoned to prison to serve his sentence after his house was searched.
4. Ali Rashidi, an economist and a member of the leadership board of the National Front of Iran, was convicted to two years in prison and five years deprivation of social rights; Maryam Behraman, a women rights activist, was sentenced to an eight-month suspended jail term. Ataolah Mohammadian, Asadolah Saed Mucheshi, Abedin Saed Mucheshi, Ali Mohammad Saedpanah, Fardin Saed Mucheshi, Saber Ayubi and Hamed Osati, eight members of the House of Quran House (Maktab-e Quran), in the city of Muchesh were sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term.
5.Mohammad Jiyan Moftizadeh, Hossein Alai, Foad Mardukh Rohani and Abubakr Amini, all followers of Sanandaj Quran House, were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence. Hashem Aghajari, a university professor and a member of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, and Ahmad Montazeri, son of Ayatollah Montazeri, were summoned to court. Said Montazeri, another son of Ayatollah Montazeri, was summoned to court and released on bail.
6.The court sessions of Kazem Dehghan, Hamid Arayesh, Mohammad Ali Shamshirzan, Omid Ali Akbari, Gholamali Beyrami and Mehrdad Keshavarz, six Dervishes living in the city of Kovar, were held.
7.The situation of some political prisoners has been reported as poor. For instance, Mohammad Seifzadeh, a founding member of the Centre for Supporters of Human rights, Abdollah Momeni, a member of the Alumni Association of Iran (Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat) and Seyed Mohammad Ebrahimi have not been transferred to the hospital despite doctor’s recommendation. Investigators of the Ministry of Intelligence, despite the request of Tehran’s prosecutor, have not permitted a medical examination of Mir Taher Moosavi
8. Another instance of human rights violation concerns the unfair punishment of relatives of political prisoners who attempt to inform the public about the plight of their imprisoned family members. In this month, a month after the arrest of Mehdi Khazali, his wife, his daughter and his brother, Hossein Khazali, were summoned to court. One of the daughters of Mir Hossein Moosavi and Zahra Rahnavard, has been deprived of visiting her parents because she had informed others about the situation of her parents. Kamal Sharifi, a political prisoner and Habibolah Golpari Poor, a Kurdish political prisoner, on death row, have been refused the right to visit their families. The investigator of Alireza Rajaei, a member of the National- Religious Movement and a journalist, who is serving his prison term, has told his wife to divorce him.
9. Security forces who were present at a memorial ceremony marking the fortieth night after the death of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger who died in prison, attacked his family and beat up his mother.
10. Azar Mansuri, a member of the central council of The Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been deprived of teaching in Azad University, the Shahr-e Rey branch.
11.Ahmadreza Ahmadpoor, an imprisoned clergy, has gone on hunger strike in protest at his prison conditions.

B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers and Journalists
1.Mehrdad Sarjoi, a journalist working in the Majles, reported to prison to serve his three-year prison term. Mostafa Badkubei, a poet and critic of the government, was transferred to prison to serve his 18-month sentence.
2.Shahu Hosseini, a journalist and teacher from Mahabad, was convicted to a five-year jail sentence.
3.“Nasir Booshehr” weekly, was closed down on the orders of Bushehr prosecutor. “Varesh”, a local newspaper in Mazandaran Province, was also shut down.
4. Ahmad Zeydabadi, an imprisoned journalist and Secretary-General of the Iranian Alumni Organization , who was on a sick leave, was taken back to prison. Hamidreza Moradi, Mostafa Daneshju and Reza Entesari, three imprisoned directors of the “Majzoban-e Nur” website, who were in hospital, were taken back to prison.
5.Isa Saharkhiz, an imprisoned journalist, who is in hospital, was beaten by the security forces.
6. The editor-in-chief of “Sabzpoosh” news agency, and Mohammad Nurizad, a journalist and a writer, have been summoned to court.
7. Baran Kusari, an actress, announced that she has been banned from acting.
8. Iran's government announced that sections of the movie "I am a mother," had been censored and declared that the release of the film was prevented in religious cities. Also Seyed Ali Salehi, contemporary modernist poet and critic, declared that his book would only receive a licence if he removed 120 pages of his 150-page book, a poetry anthology. Hormuz Homayun Pur, director of “Ketab-e Roshab” publishing house, announced the closure of the latter after its license was not renewed.
c) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1.Seven individuals were executed in the month of Azar. The public prosecutor of Kermanshah Province announced the execution of four individuals. Government news agencies declared the charges against three of them as possession of drugs and one was charged with rape. “M. H”, in the city of Semnan, “Iraj. M”, “Mahmud. T” and “Nematolah. A” were executed in the city of Zahedan. Government news agencies declared their charges as possession of drugs.
2.Security forces prevented a meeting of political and civil rights activists in Isfahan with Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Expediency Council.
3. The attorney general declared the arrest of two people in connection with the case of Mehdi Hashemi, son of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
4.Some official Iranian media reported that a large number of underground studios, which were promoting vulgarity and were related to "counter-revolutionaries and enemies" of the Iranian nation, had been discovered and 30 Members of these networks had been arrested.

Section 2: Economic and Social Rights
1.The economic situation in Iran continues to be deteriorate, for example, the inflation rate reached 26.1 percent in Aban 1391[November 2012]. This level has been unprecedented in the past 15 years. Due to the bad economic conditions and shortages of raw materials, mainly because of adverse economic management and political sanctions, many workers have not been paid their overdue salaries for several months. For instance, Vice President of North Tea Factories Union announced that more that 65 of of 180 tea manufacturing units have been closed in the north of the country owing to improper government policies regarding purchase of tea leafs. Also 30 workers of the metal industry of Iran have become unemployed after the termination of their contract. Moreover, some 400 workers of the Zagros Khodro factory and 55 workers of Ahvaz urban railway companies have also become unemployed upon the closure of those factories. Meanwhile, the workers of Mahabad livestock complexes have not received their salaries for seven month. Also about 2400 workers of Saveh rolling mills and Safa tube factory went on strike in protest at the non-payment of their wages for six months.
2. The annual report of the Transparency International ranked Iran 133 among 170 countries in terms of government corruption. Iran’s rank was 120 in the 2011 report, which means its rank has fallen by ten grades.
3. Father of Hadi Daneshyar, a labours’ rights activist, who was sentenced to three years prison term, was arrested.
4.Shahnaz Sogand, wife of Ali Nejati, a board member of the syndicate of workers of Haft Tepe, was charged after he was summoned to court.
5. Reza Shahabi, a board member of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), went on hunger strike to express his objection to the authorities for not pursuing his deteriorating physical condition and the offensive behaviour of the prison guards in hospital
6.Ramin Zandnia, Baha Maleki, Peyman Nodinian, Ali Qureyshi, Kamal Fakurian, Mostafa Sarbazan, Ezat Nosrati, Parviz Nasehi, Mohammad Sadigh Sadeghi, Hiva Ahmadi and Reza Vakili, eleven members of the Teachers Union of Kurdistan, were each sentenced to four months in jail, which have been suspended for two years. The banishment verdict of Mokhtar Asadi, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, was renewed for the fifth consecutive year, and the travel ban of Hashem Khastar, a cultural activist, was renewed.
7. Forty-seven employees of Kerman Cultural Heritage Organization have not received any salary for about five months.
8) Payam Noor University officials refused the requests of some of the members of the university communities to hold a gathering to show their sympathy with children from the city of Piranshahr who lost their classmates in a fire incident.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment in the month of Azar also serve to indicate the unfavourable situation in those sectors.
1.Governmental statistics suggest that the wood harvested from forests in northern Iran in the year 1389-90 [2010-2011] amounted to over 1.5 million cubic meters.
2. Two hundred and fifty trees of the forest park “Jahan Nama” were cut down by contractors of the Ministry of Urban Development.
3.Water penetration into the foundation of the Freedom Tower, of Tehran threatens the foundation of the tower.
4.The explosion of an unidentified object in Larak Island, which according to residents of the island was like a sea mine, took the lives of two children.

Conclusion
In conclusion of this monthly report, I would like to draw the attention of the Islamic Republic's authorities to the plight of Iranian children especially those who either lack proper guardianship or have no guardians at all. I also would like to attract their attention to the necessity of providing minimum welfare and free education for all Iranian children. “Children are our future-builders; today we have to think about tomorrow."

Shirin Ebadi
Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
22 December 2012

Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Iran: UN welcomes temporary release of imprisoned human rights defender

IRAN WATCH CANADA: Three days after release (She was released for indefinite according to prison official), But she was called back to prison.!!??? Picture below shows her son Nima says good bye to his mom again.


18 January 2013 – The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the temporary release of lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is serving a six-year sentence in Iran, and voiced the hope that her leave will be extended and she will soon be released indefinitely.

Ms. Sotoudeh, who was arrested in September 2010, was banned from practising law for 10 years on charges linked to her work as a human rights defender. Last October, she began a hunger strike to protest against her prison conditions as well as a travel ban imposed on her husband and 12-year-old daughter.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva that Ms. Sotoudeh was granted a three-day temporary leave from Tehran’s Evin Prison and joined her family yesterday.
“The travel restrictions imposed on her family – the issue that caused her to go on hunger strike in the autumn – were lifted in December, so her temporary release marks a second improvement in her case,” he stated.
“We hope that the temporary leave will be extended, and that Ms. Sotoudeh will soon be indefinitely released.”
Last month High Commissioner Navi Pillay urged Iran to promptly release Ms. Sotoudeh and all those activists who have been arrested and detained for peacefully promoting the observance of human rights in the country, noting that the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights which must be protected and respected.
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