Posts Tagged ‘Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI)’

Iranian Human rights defender Narges Mohammadi sentenced to another 8 years prison and more than 70 lashes

January 25, 2022

On 24 January 2022 the prominent rights defender Narges Mohammadi, already serving time at Iran’s notorious Gharchak Prison, has been sentenced to another eight years in prison and more than 70 lashes, according to a tweet by her Paris-based husband. [winner of 5 human rights awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/07C20809-99E2-BDC0-FDC3-E217FF91C126]

Mohammadi’s new conviction was after a 5-minute trial, her husband Taghi Rahmani wrote. He stated she also had a two–year ban on “communication,” but that she has not contacted the family and he did not know the details of the trial or the new sentence.

The prominent activist’s latest conviction comes as the authorities intensify their efforts to squash growing dissent in Iran by imprisoning activists and human rights attorneys after grossly unfair trials, shooting to kill protesters in the street, imposing death sentences on dissidents and protesters, and causing the death of political prisoners by egregiously neglecting their medical needs. See e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/06/24/list-of-lawyers-imprisoned-in-iran-for-defending-human-rights/

One by one, the Iranian authorities are trying to silence the voices of dissent in Iran, through imprisonment, torture, and even death,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “The Iranian government fears these brave individuals because they speak truth to power and their voices carry great authority in Iranian society,”

Outrage at the government’s actions—not only the unjust imprisonments but also the treatment of political prisoners—is growing both inside and outside Iran’s prisons.

Seven political prisoners in Evin Prison’s Ward 8 went on a hunger strike on January 16, 2022, to protest the death of Baktash Abtin, who died after contracting COVID-19 in Iran’s overcrowded and unhygienic prisons, where even the most rudimentary precautions against the spread of the virus are not followed. They include: Sadegh Omidi, Peyman Pourdad, Moin Hajizadeh, Mehdi Dareyni, Hamid Haj Jafar Kashani, Aliasghar Hassani-Rad, and Mahmoud Alinaghi. The latter three were transferred to an unknown prison on January 23. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/01/10/iranian-dissident-poet-baktash-abtin-dies-of-covid-in-arbitrary-detention/

In solidarity with the hunger strikers, Shakila Monfared began a hunger strike in Gharchak Prison for women on January 17; Sina Beheshti joined the hunger strike on January 17 in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary; and Mohammad Abdolhassani joined the hunger strike on January 17 in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary.

Meanwhile, British-Iranian dual national Anoosheh Ashoori, who is being held in Iran on unsubstantiated spying charges, began a hunger strike in Evin Prison on January 23, to bring “global attention to the plight” of those unfairly held by Iran.

Outside Iran, In Vienna, journalist Jamshid Barzegar, began a hunger strike on January 18 in solidarity with hunger strikers in Iran, in front of the hotel where the nuclear talks are being held in Vienna. He has been joined by more than a dozen Iranian activists abroad. Former American hostage Barry Rosen was on hunger strike from January 16-24 in Vienna “to demand the release of all hostages being held by Iran.” Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese former hostage in Iran, joined the hunger strikers in Vienna on January 21.

These names are only part of a larger, rapidly growing group. A list from January 24 was published on Twitter that included names of more than 40 activists hunger-striking outside prison to demonstrate solidarity with the hunger strikers and protest the government’s actions.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, responding to a question on hunger strikers in Vienna at January 24 press conference in Tehran, said: “These matters are not very important. What’s important is to reach a reliable and stable agreement that satisfies Iran’s interests.”

Mohammadi has proved to be a particular thorn in the authorities’ side, refusing to be silent either in prison or during her brief periods of release between convictions. She had already been serving a 30-month sentence at Gharchak Prison after she organized a sit-in at Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward to condemn the killing of hundreds of protesters by state security forces during the November 2019 protests, and the unjust execution of wrestler Navid Afkari.

“Narges Mohammadi is only one of many individuals behind bars in Iran because of their peaceful dissent and the willingness of a judiciary to do the bidding of a brutal and unlawful security state,” Ghaemi added.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-01-25/husband-says-iran-sentenced-activist-wife-to-prison-lashes

Iranian dissident Poet Baktash Abtin dies of Covid in arbitrary detention

January 10, 2022

On 8 January 2022 the Iranian poet Baktash Abtin died in Tehran after contracting COVID-19 in Evin Prison. Abtin, who died after being put into an induced coma while hospitalized, is the second known political prisoner to die in Iran in the first week of 2022. On January 1, Kian Adelpour died after going on hunger strike to protest being imprisoned without a fair trial.

This is a preventable tragedy and more prisoners’ deaths are inevitable because there is no accountability in the Iranian government,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “Abtin was imprisoned in Iran because the government wanted to muzzle him with a jail cell; the state killed him.” Abtin had been serving a five-year prison sentence on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security.

A group of main NGOs had addressed a joint letter to Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei on 7 January repeating their call that Abtin be given access to the best possible medical care as he battles for his life. In addition, we urge that: he and all those unjustly detained for their writing or expression be immediately and unconditionally released; that authorities refrain from summoning political prisoners to serve their sentences while the conditions inside Evin and other Iranian prisons remain unsafe; and that any who do contract COVID-19 or other serious illnesses while in jail be granted speedy access to all needed medical care or a medical parole on humanitarian grounds.

While offering condolences to Abtin’s family and friends, the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) where Abtin, 48, was a board member, released a statement on January 8 on the “injustice that was committed against Abtin”: “Baktash Abtin is alive because the spirit of freedom-seeking and the fight against tyranny and injustice is alive,” said the statement.

Fellow IWA board member Reza Khandan Mahabadi was also sentenced to five years in prison and Keyvan Bajan to three years and six months. An international chorus has condemned the IWA writers’ imprisonment, with dozens of high-profile writers and artistic figures including Nobel laureates calling for the writers’ acquittal.

At least 11 writers are known to be either currently imprisoned or living with an unserved prison sentence hanging over their heads in Iran as they await an appeal or to be summoned to jail, according to a list compiled by CHRI.

In an interview with CHRI in May 2019 after his trial, Abtin forcefully said the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security” was for statements published by the IWA, articles in the organization’s internal newsletter, and holding memorial ceremonies for IWA members Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, who were murdered in 1998 as part of a concerted state policy to eliminate political and cultural dissidents inside and outside of Iran.

“Nowhere in the world is it necessary to get a permit to gather around someone’s grave,” Abtin told CHRI. “But that’s what we’ve been charged with.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/07/joint-ngo-letter-khamenei-baktash-abtins-condition

List of Lawyers Imprisoned in Iran for Defending Human Rights

June 24, 2020

On 23 June 2020 the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) published under the title “No Lawyers, No Justice” a list of lawyers imprisoned in Iran for defending Human Rights Defenders. The adagium “utopia is a world without lawyers” clealry does not apply to Iran:

At least nine known cases of attorneys that have been arrested, charged with national security-related crimes, and/or banned from practicing law in the last two years. In addition to the list below, CHRI maintains this regularly updated list of lawyers known to have been imprisoned in Iran for their work defending the law.

Payam Derafshan: Held incommunicado at an unknown location since his arrest in June 2020 on unannounced charges. In May 2020, he was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence for“insulting the supreme leader,” and suspended from practicing law for two years.

Soheila Hejab: Held at Gharchak Prison since May 2020, serving an 18-year prison sentence, five of which she must serve before becoming eligible for parole for “forming a group for women’s rights.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh: Detained in June 2018 and sentenced to 38 years in prison, 12 years of which she must serve before becoming eligible for parole. Among her charges were “encouraging prostitution” for advocating against compulsory hijab. Previously she served three years in prison for “acting against national security” and “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center.”

Mohammad Najafi: Imprisoned for demanding accountability for deaths in detention and facing new unspecified charges, he was sentenced in 2019 to 13 years in prison for “propaganda against the state,” “insulting the supreme leader,” and “collaborating with enemy states,” in addition to a four-year prison sentence in 2018. He must serve 10 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Amirsalar Davoudi: Behind bars since November 2018, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison and 11 lashes. He will be eligible for release after serving 15 years under the charge of forming “an illegal group,” which was a news channel for lawyers on the Telegram messaging app.

Arash Keykhosravi, who, along with fellow lawyer Ghasem Sholeh Sa’di, was sentenced to six years in prison but later acquitted, is facing new charges of “publishing falsehoods” for writing an article criticizing the imprisonment of attorney Mohammad Najafi.

Abdolfattah Soltani, who spent more than seven years behind bars for defending political prisoners, and Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who was sentenced in 2012 to nine years in prison but released on furlough in 2013, are both banned from practicing law.

The assault on rights lawyers in Iran has been occurring amid a backdrop of two major changes to the legal process that have facilitated the authorities’ ability to convict defendants in politically motivated prosecutions on unsubstantiated charges.

In January 2018, Iranian courts began citing the Note to Article 48 of Iran’s Criminal Procedures Regulationsas justification for forcing defendants to choose their legal counsel from a court-approved list. The note also allows a delay in an individual’s access to counsel in cases involving “national security” charges, which are used against perceived critics of the state.

In a second blow to due process, in November 2019, Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi ruled that Appeal Courts could issue verdicts without the presence of defendants and their attorneys, rendering the appeal process effectively meaningless.

If the head of the judiciary can stop lawyers from practicing, it’s time to say goodbye to this profession,” Sotoudeh said in 2018. She was arrested two months after making the comments and has been behind bars ever since. [See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/nasrin-sotoudeh/]

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2020/06/no-lawyers-no-justice-attorneys-imprisoned-in-iran-for-defending-human-rights/