Karroubi: “The regime’s violence against the citizens is worse than in the time of the Shah.” [Updated 20 Dec. 2010]
Since the contested June 2009 elections, the reformist Green Movement has been active in organizing demonstrations, and the Iranian government has been cracking down on activists with increasing harshness.
Green Movement – Protest movement that began following the contested 2009 elections. A new manifesto explains the movement’s goals.
Mehdi Karroubi, one of Green Movement’s main leaders (together with Mir Hussein Mousavi) – interview Oct. 2010:
Mosharekat party – The Islamic Iran Participation Front, a reformist political party in Iran, in the past led by Mohammad Reza Khatami (the brother of Mohammad Khatami, the fifth President of Iran)
Basij: a paramilitary volunteer militia founded by the order of the Ayatollah Khomeini in November 1979. The Basij are (at least in theory) subordinate to, and receive their orders from, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Currently Basij serve as an auxiliary force engaged in activities such as internal security and law enforcement as well as morals policing and the suppression of dissident gatherings. They have a local organization in almost every city in Iran (wikipedia).
IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; also called the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution): a branch of Iran’s military, founded after the Iranian revolution to prevent internal dissidence and military uprisings. The IRGC was formed in May 1979 as a force loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but later became a full military force alongside the army in the Iran–Iraq War. The force (at least in theory) only reports to the Supreme Leader, and does not report to the president. The IRGC grew stronger under President Ahmedinejad, and assumed formal command of the Basiji militia in early 2009. The IRGC has also become a political force – many members have been elected to the Majlis, served in the cabinet, and others have been appointed as ambassadors, mayors, provincial governors and senior bureaucrats (wikipedia).
Majlis: The Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran (Persian: مجلس شورای اسلامی), also called The Iranian Parliament or People’s House, is the national legislative body of Iran.
Memorial service held in Mousavi’s house a year after “bloody Ashura” protests in December 2009, which resulted in the death of opposition leader Mir Hussein Mousavi’s nephew, Seyed Ali Mousavi. Families of political prisoners also attended. Less than a week before, security forces prevented the Green Movement leader from leaving his home to visit recently released reformist and former Majlis member Ali Tajernia (see Nov. 26, 2009 below). The security agents claimed that this measure was taken to “protect” Mousavi’s life. In the end, Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard visited Tajernia in Mousavi’s absence.
Father of Ashura Day victim arrested – The father of 22-year-old Ramin Ramezani, who was killed during the Ashura Day events last year, was arrested in the Teheran cemetery while visiting his son’s grave, together with relatives of Amir Tajmir, the mothers of Ramin Ramezani and Sohrab Aarabi, and relatives of other victims.
Journalist sentenced to prison; another imprisoned for 500 days without leave – Zeynab Kazemkhah, a culture and sports reporter affiliated with reformist newspapers and websites, was sentenced to four months in prison and five years probation. Kazemkhah was arrested six months ago by Intelligence Ministry agents and charged, among other things, with participating in illegal post-election demonstrations. Additionally, wife of imprisoned journalist Masoud Bastani stated in an interview that her husband has been imprisoned for 500 days without being allowed even one day of leave. Bastani’s wife, Mahsa Amrabadi was herself sentenced to one year in prison for disseminating propaganda against the regime.
UN human rights chief concerned by Iranian crackdown on human rights defenders
Iranian human rights chief accuses MI6 of murdering Neda Agha Soltan – In response to a UN resolution condemning human rights abuse in Iran, the Iranian representative to the conference accused the West of interfering in Iran’s internal affairs, claiming that British foreign agents infiltrated Iran during the post-election unrest, “assassinated an innocent young woman and fled back home.” Neda Agha Soltan, killed during the post-election events, became one of the symbols of the Iranian protest.
Concern for the fate of senior opposition cleric and supporters – Last weekend Ayatollah Seyyed Boroujerdi, an opponent of the Iranian regime, was unexpectedly removed from his prison cell and transferred to another location. All of his family’s efforts to obtain information about his condition or location have been unsuccessful. Furthermore, 10 days ago, six Iranian citizens were arrested on charges of supporting Ayatollah Boroujerdi. Since their arrest they have not made any contact with their families. Unofficial sources report that the six are incarcerated in the security division of Evin Prison and are subject to harsh torture.
Student reformist activist arrested – Zaynab Bahraini, a postgraduate student at Shiraz University, was reportedly arrested Saturday at her home and transferred to the Shiraz Intelligence Detention Center. Bahraini is a member of the youth branch of the reformist Mosharekat and a campaign activist for Mir Hossein Mousavi in Fars Province. Link to Bahraini’s blog Sedaye Sokoot (The Sound of Silence).
1. Security and intelligence forces in Khuzestan have arrested three more members of the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin in recent days. The detainees are Mahmoud Tavakoli, the engineer Aryaei and Alireza Sharifi. There is still no information on the condition of the previous two detainees.
2. Final sentencing of four reformists – The Teheran Prosecutor General announced the final sentences of four activists indicted for involvement in post-election events. Hassan Asadi Zeid Abadi (member of the Central Council of the Advar-E Tahkim Student Organization and manager of the Advar News website), was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine. Badrolsadat Mofidi (former secretary of the Association of Iranian Journalists), was sentenced to six years in prison and is forbidden to work as a journalist for five years. Emadoldin Baghi, a journalist and head of the Society for Defending Prisoners’ Rights, was sentenced to seven years in prison, including six for interviewing the late opposition cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Another activist, Abas Abutalebi, was also sentenced, but details of his sentence have not yet been announced.
Ahvaz political activists sentenced to prison terms – Massoud Ladani has been sentenced to two years and Parvin Kohzadi to six months in prison for acting against national security. Ladani was convicted of planning to overthrow the government by founding the Association for Cultural-Political Development of Khuzestan, which disapproved of the Supreme Leader and included secularism in its mission.
1. Attempt to prevent Mousavi-Karroubi meeting – Security forces besieged the area around Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s house in order to prevent Mahdi Karroubi from arriving at Mousavi’s residence for a planned meeting between the two Reformist leaders. When Mousavi learned about this state-of-affairs, he went with his private car to pick up Mahdi Karroubi, his son and their bodyguards.
2. Human rights lawyer sentenced to nine years – Mohammad Seifzade, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Human Rights Protection League, who offered legal defense to political prisoners and journalists, was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment and a ten-year ban from practicing law.
3. Political prisoner sentenced to four years – Ali Ghaderi from the Kurdish minority was sentenced to 4½ years of imprisonment for allegedly collaborating with opposition party.
1. Ashura Day protestor sentenced to 33 months and 75 lashes – Navid Kamran, a youth arrested during the Ashura Day anti-regime protests (December 27, 2009), was sentenced by the appellate court to 33 months of imprisonment and 75 lashes. He was indicted with “attempt to compromise national security and disrupt public order by taking part in a demonstration.”
2. Activist for women and children’s rights sentenced to six years – Parisa Kakaei, a prominent activist for women and children’s rights, was sentenced to six years of imprisonment. She had been arrested during the post-election events and accused of “attempt to compromise national security by taking part in a demonstration” and “propagating against the regime”.
Four-year sentence for “defaming the president” – Ali Jamali, member of the Central Committee and head of the Political Forum of the Reformist alumni association Advar Tahkim, was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of “defaming the president”, “propagating against the regime” and “attempt to compromise national security”. Jamali was arrested several months ago. Ever since his arrest he has been held in Evin Prison, deprived of the right to see his wife and newborn son.
Report of UN Sec-Gen about human rights in Iran: cause for concern – The Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly published his annual report entitled “The Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran”. The report reads as follows. “Since the previous report of the Secretary-General and the adoption of resolution 64/176, there have been further negative developments in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran…[including] an intensified crackdown on human rights defenders, in particular women’s rights activists, journalists and Government opponents in relation to post-election unrest in June 2009. Concerns about torture, arbitrary detentions and unfair trials continued to be raised by United Nations human rights mechanisms. There was a noticeable increase in application of the death penalty, including in cases involving political opponents and juvenile offenders. Discrimination persisted against minority groups and in some cases amounted to persecution.
The following sections of the report highlight developments that illustrate the progress or lack thereof in implementing the various requests to the Iranian authorities by the Assembly in its resolution 64/176. These include the following thematic areas, outlined in paragraph 4 of the resolution: torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations; the death penalty, including public executions; executions of juvenile offenders; stoning as a method of execution; women’s rights; rights of minorities, including the Baha’i community; freedom of religion, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of opinion and expression and due process of law rights, including in relation to the events following the presidential elections in June 2009.”
1. Arrests – mother and sister of missing student: Saeid Zeinali’s mother and sister were arrested Saturday in their house. The mother is a member of Mourning Mothers. Zeinali was arrested 11 years ago, on Student Day, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Zeinali’s mother has recently announced that she holds the IRGC responsible for her son’s life and demanded they submit information about his fate.
2. Secretary of Democratic Front sentenced to nine years for “defaming the Supreme Leader” – Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, the secretary of the Iranian “Democratic Front”, was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment and flogging of 74 lashes. His sentence was calculated according to the following indictments – “propagating against the regime” (one year), “compromising national security” by participating in “illegal assembly” (five years), “defaming the Supreme Leader” (two years) and “disrupting the public order” (one year of imprisonment and 74 lashes).
• Imprisoned journalist Nourizad in an open letter to Khamenei: You are the only person in Iran who has freedom of speech – Mohammad Nourizad, an Iranian filmmaker and journalist who has been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison since August, publicized Sunday (October 10) an open letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Violation of people’s privacy has become common ever since the disputed 2009 presidential elections, Nourizad writes. Nourizad goes on saying, “In the United States, by contrast, personal privacy is strictly protected by law. The American judicial authority defends Muslims’ rights and allows them to build mosques just a short distance from the Twin Towers. But in Islamic Iran, Sunni Muslims are not allowed their own mosque to worship without fear in Tehran.” As for freedom of speech, Nourizad wrote to Khamenei, “You are the only person in Iran who has freedom of speech.”
• Concern over the fate of a detained blogger – Human rights activists in Iran expressed concern over the life of Mohammad Reza Pour Shajari, a blogger who was arrested four weeks ago by Intelligence Ministry agents. He is known to have been transferred to solitary confinement in Gohar Dasht Prison, and reports from the prison say he was sent to the prison’s clinic twice after being tortured; however his current condition remains unknown.
• “Free My Family” human rights campaign launched – “Many Iranians are currently in prison in different cities of Iran for having expressed their opinion and having ideas that differ from those of the ruling government. Sometimes the pressure exerted on the families is more than that exerted on the prisoners themselves. The families of prisoners of conscience are banned from giving interviews to the media; they are harassed and threatened and sometimes are even arrested. The pressure exerted on the families of prisoners of conscience became the sparking motivation to initiate the Free My Family Campaign… to be the voices of Iranian Prisoners of Conscience, their families, and their friends.”
Three-year sentence imposed on Reformist writer and journalist – The appellate court in Zanjan imposed a sentence of three years of imprisonment on Mahdi Jalil Khani, a former Majlis member and currently a writer, journalist and culture critic. Jalil Khani is believed to have been arrested due to his support for Reformist candidates in the contested 2009 elections. His indictment included “defaming the Supreme Leader” and “inciting the public opinion”.
Iranian blogger sentenced to fifteen years – Hossein Ronaghi, a blogger and student-activist, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment following 10 months of detention in solitary confinement. Ronaghi had been arrested during the post-election events and held in an IRGC’s detention facility. He was subject to heavy pressure and tortures, including threats of heavy imprisonment sentence, throughout his interrogation, in order to force him into televised false confession.
Human rights activist sentenced to nine years and 74 lashes – Heshmat Tabarzadi, a renowned Iranian activist for democratic reforms and human rights, was sentenced by a Revolutionary Court to nine years of imprisonment and 74 lashes. Tabarzadi is the secretary-general of the National Democratic Front of Iran (NDFI), which provided this information, and serves as the spokesperson for the Unity Council for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran. Tabarzadi was arrested on December 28, 2009, a day after Ashura Day’s protests. Tabarzadi was charged with “conspiring to commit a crime against national security” and “insulting the Supreme Leader”.
Call to release Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer who defended human rights campaigners and political activists – Nobel Peace Laureate and Iranian lawyer, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI), the Union Internationale des Avocats, and the World Organization Against Torture, have all condemned the continued detention without charge or trial of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran, and called for her immediate and unconditional release as she is being held solely in connection with her work defending others.
They warned that her arrest is the latest step in a series of measures intended to prevent Iranians – particularly those critical of the authorities – from being able to access appropriate, competent legal representation, a basic right and important fair trial guarantee. Nasrin Sotoudeh, the mother of two young children, has defended many high-profile human rights campaigners and political activists, including journalist Isa Saharkhiz and Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iran. In a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor General, the husband of the detained lawyer claims she was imprisoned after she refused to withdraw from a case involving one of her colleagues.
Saeed Haeri, leading member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and 74 lashes.
14 Sept 2010
Shiva Nazar-Ahari, a human rights and women’s rights activist who had been taken into custody 260 days ago, was released Sunday (September 12) on $500 thousand bail. Nazar-Ahari, who was arrested for human rights activities and released on October 28, 2009, had been re-arrested on December 20 with another activist, Mohboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (see January 4, below). The two women were on their way to Qom to participate in the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, but were arrested just as they got on the bus.
1. Iranian regime admits that legal defense for political prisoners is reason for arrest – The Iranian authorities arrested lawyer Jahangir Mahmoudi from Isfahan for defending several political prisoners. The reason for the arrest was given by the Iranian authorities themselves, after repeated inquiries by his wife. Mahmoudi is currently being held at the Isfahan Prison.
2. Two political prisoners banned from phone contact with their families – Reformist websites reported about a ban imposed by the Evin Prison’s authorities on Hossein Marashi, former Vice-President at the time of the Reformist government, and Hengameh Shahidi, a female journalist (see Dec. 6, 2009, Women in Iran), from making any phone contact with their families. The ban has been in force for two weeks now.
3. Condition of arrested filmmaker Nourizad is still obscure – Six days after his arrest, there is still no information available about the condition or whereabouts of the journalist and documentary filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad. His wife said she had turned to Evin Prison and other authorities, but they refused to offer any information.
1. Iranian-Dutch woman might face capital punishment – Zahra Bahrami is a 45-year-old woman with dual Iranian-Dutch citizenship. She was arrested during the post-election protests in Tehran and held for eight months in solitary confinement at Evin Prison, while being denied contact with her attorney. The judge informed her that she was accused of engaging in terror activity by virtue of her membership in the Iranian Royalist Society. In case of conviction she could face the death sentence.
2. Iranian university lecturer sentenced to three years – A Revolutionary Court in Bojnurd imposed a three-year sentence on Hadi Hakim Shafaei, a lecturer of literature at the Bojnurd University. Shafaei had been arrested during the crackdown on academics who joined the post-election protests. He was indicted for compromising national security and defaming the Supreme Leader.
3. Political activist sentenced to three years of imprisonment in exile – Teymur Rezaeian, a political activist who had been arrested during the post-election protests, was sentenced by a Revolutionary Court to three years of imprisonment at the remote Gohar Dasht Prison.
Death sentence to political prisoner; Her two children arrested and tortured – A Revolutionary Court sentenced Farah Vazehan, a woman arrested during the Ashura Day protests (December 27, 2009), to death following eight months of interrogations accompanied by torture. Vazehan was arrested with her two children, who are still subject to interrogation and torture at the security ward of Evin Prison. She was indicted for making films and pictures of the protest events and having contacts with the Mojahedin Khalq oppositionist organization.
Prison authorities at Evin ordered student activist Majid Tavakoli to be transported to the remote Gohar Dasht Prison (a.k.a. Rajaei Shahr Prison) in what seems to be a punitive reaction to his hunger strike along with other political prisoners. Despite the prisoners’ decision to end the strike, they are still not allowed to meet their attorneys or family members. Tavakoli was arrested after making a speech in a students’ rally against the Iranian Government on Student Day (December 7, 2009). He was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years of imprisonment.
The Revolutionary Court in Tehran imposed a four-year prison sentence on Ali Ajami, a student from Tehran University, who was injured during the Basij attack on the students’ dorms shortly after the post-election protests broke out. Ajami was arrested about half a year ago by Intelligence Ministry’s agents, and held for 100 days at Evin’s security ward. He was accused of propagating against the regime and compromising national security.
1. Iran’s Supreme Court rejects Jafar Kazemi’s request to appeal against his death sentence – Jafar Kazemi was sentenced to death for allegedly taking part in anti-regime demonstrations and having contact with an outlawed organization. His sentence may be carried out at any time. Six other people allegedly related to the same organization are said to be condemned to death as well.
2. Media figures convicted:
a. Press jury sentenced Mohammad Jafar Behdad, former managing director of the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRNA), to four months of imprisonment for allegedly publishing false reports. They added 91 days of imprisonment for insulting Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani and the Larijani brothers (Majlis speaker Ali Larijani and Head of Judiciary Sadeq Larijani).
b. Press jury found the managing editor of the Tehran-e-Emruz daily guilty of publishing false reports causing public panic. Likewise managing editor of Lian daily was found guilty of defamation and insult and not eligible for reduction in punishment (“Mardom Salari” August 2).
1. Publisher of Reformist newspaper sentenced to 11 months – Mostafa Kazazi, the publisher of the banned Seda-ye Edalat (“Voice of Justice”), was sentenced to eleven months of imprisonment for propagating against the regime, defaming the Islamic Republic and encouraging people to act against security. Seda-ye Edalat was banned and closed down in July 2009 for allegedly defaming the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini.
2. Women’s rights activist sentenced to 9 ½ years – Student and women’s rights activist Bahareh Hedayat’s prison sentence has been upheld in appeal. According to reports, Bahareh Hedayat faced a variety of charges after her arrest, including spreading of propaganda against the state through interviews with foreign media, defaming the Supreme Leader, defaming the Iranian president, disruption of public order through participation in illegal protests, illegal entry into and vandalism of Amirkabir University during a visit of Mahdi Karroubi, illegal gathering and collusion against the state.
The Green Movement and the Iranian regime prepared for another showdown on July 9, the anniversary of the 1999 student protests. Expectations for another confrontation between Reformists and Government forces are building up ahead of the eleventh anniversary of the 1999 student protests. The event, commemorated yearly, was the largest of its kind during the 30 years between the Islamic Revolution and the 2009 presidential elections. Iran’s Minister of Science and Higher Education, Kamran Daneshjoo, said students who rejected Velayat-e-Faqih (the basic principle underlying the Islamic Republic) “have no right to hold a job”.
June 12, 2010 marked one year since Iran’s disputed presidential elections. The anniversary passed relatively quietly, characterized by heavy security measures in the streets of Iran’s major cities and sporadic anti-regime demonstrations. Leaders of the Green Movement published an announcement canceling the planned protest marches in order to avoid loss of lives.
Tens of activists were arrested by the authorities ahead of Saturday’s planned protests: Abdolreza Tajik, journalist, human rights activist and a member of the Religious-Nationalist Party, was arrested Saturday (June 12) for the third time in the past year. Davoud Roushani, head of the pro-Mousavi “Campaign of Martyrs’ Children 88” organization, was arrested on his way home near his house. Roushani was previously arrested in the fall and held in solitary confinement for more than 45 days.
Fourteen student activists from Karman University were arrested during a confrontation with security forces trying to prevent a rally.
A year ago, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest alleged fraud, which they said deprived them of a Mousavi presidency … Mousavi had campaigned on promises of economic reform, freedom of expression and a review of laws that discriminate against women.
Since then, in massive government crackdowns, protesters have lost their jobs, been expelled from universities, arrested, held in isolation, tortured and put to death. The authorities have blocked Internet and cell phone communications in order to make it difficult to organize demonstrations.
"We have to expand social networks, websites, these are our best means," said Mir Hossein Mousavi. He and fellow opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi have declared the price of more direct confrontation to be too high (AP article, Foxnews.com, June 12, 2010).
Interior Ministry has so far refused to issue a permit for a “silent demonstration” on June 12, date of the contested elections a year ago. The Interior Ministry, although it is against the clear article of the constitution, asked to be informed of any slogan or possible resolution that might be read in this demonstration before issuing the permit.
Harassment: One of Karoubi’s guards was arrested last Thursday. According to reports, Mirzaee was severely beaten and suffers serious injuries.
1.Uncertainty over the supposed 81 pardons handed out by Supreme Leader – Tehran Prosecutor, General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, announced the release of “a series of prisoners” upon the Supreme Leader’s amnesty, after having expressed their remorse “as required”. Nevertheless, the reliability of this announcement is questioned, as the names of these supposedly released prisoners have not been provided.
2.Karroubi to Newsweek: We are ready to pay any price for the Iranian people – “They have attacked my house twice and broke all the windows”, Mahdi Karroubi, the Iranian Reformist leader, told Newsweek. “They closed down my office, my newspaper, and my party,” he said and added, “They beat up one of my children. Two of my children are banned from leaving the country. They have arrested many people who were affiliated with me. Any member of the Parliament who comes to visit me is chased and attacked.” And yet Mahdi Karroubi asserted in this interview, “I am not sure whether they are going to arrest me or not, but my family and I, we are all ready to pay any price for our struggle for the people of Iran” (Article in English).
June 3, weekly review
Preparing for year anniversary of the elections: One of the most prominent messages in the statements made by leaders of the Green Movement lately was that Iran has turned into "a giant prison". Mir-Hossein Mousavi wrote that the Green Movement wants to return to the original aspirations of the Revolution: justice, freedom and spirituality.
In this battle for the consciousness of the Iranian people, both camps use whichever media is available to them. The government is blatantly using the state-owned media, including television, radio, and websites (especially Fars News) to slander the reformist leaders and activists. In one case this week, conservative newspaper Keyhan has even made a connection between the takeover of the flotilla to Gaza by Israeli Naval Forces and the internal struggles in Iran, claiming that human rights activist and Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has refrained from commenting on the "massacre of civilians" perpetrated by Israeli forces, thus proving she identifies with the messages of Western media such as VOA, CNN and BBC.
Mohsen Mirdamadi, Chairman of the Reformist Mosharekat Front Party, stressed that, as time is getting closer to the anniversary of the tenth presidential elections, the regime is panicking and taking desperate measures, such as re-imprisonment of released political prisoners. He anticipated that the regime will make some new arrests ahead of the election anniversary in order to intimidate people and try to prevent any possible wide-spread protests.
The Iranian regime is preparing on several levels for the upcoming events on June 4 and 12. As part of its “goodwill policy”, the Supreme Leader granted a pardon to 81 political prisoners. At the same time, the regime is re-arresting "high profile" reformist activists, who had previously been released from prison for the Persian New Year, and moving them to prisons outside Tehran. This is obviously an attempt to harm the protest movement’s coordination capabilities and to remove its "field commanders" from activity. The regime is also imposing a heavy-handed policy on youths, and especially women, in regard to Islamic morality and dress code.
Jahan: Jundallah leader to be executed on election anniversary – The Intelligence Ministry-affiliated Jahan website quoted rumors saying Abdulmalek Riggi, leader of the militant Jundullah group, was about to be executed within days. According to Jahan, experts argued that the authorities must not be hasty about his execution and let his interrogation be completed. Opposition websites estimated that the execution was scheduled for the anniversary of the presidential elections in order to deter potential demonstrators.
The regime has succeeded in containing the protests. This was achieved through the deployment of thousands of security forces to the streets, mass arrests and executions of protesters, and in general through blatant violations of human rights and limitations on the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. The regime has been creating an atmosphere of terror using national media, and tightening the ring around the leaders of the protest movement, Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi. Before May 1, when the regime was concerned by the prospect of May Day protests incorporating disgruntled factory workers, it made sure to cut off cellular and internet communications.
Wave of protest by the Green Movement against the execution of the five Kurdish prisoners last week (May 9). This protest was vehemently condemned by conservative elements in the Majlis, who called to prosecute Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami on the charge of "supporting terrorist organizations". Rafsanjani, who has been supporting the protest movement behind the scenes, has also recently renewed his criticism of the regime.
The Green Movement’s criticism of the May 9 executions also served to gain support from the Kurdish minority in Iran. The protest movement is trying to gain support from other minorities as well, as about half of Iran’s population is composed of various minority groups.
Manager of Jomhuriat Reformist website sentenced to 11 years – Hamze Karami, the manager of the Reformist website Jomhuriat and close affiliate of Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s son Mahdi Hashemi, was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment. Karami had been arrested during the post-election events and accused of propagating against the regime, participating in an illegal demonstration and compromising national security.
Even peaceful protest is not allowed in Iran: A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced each of the three senior Reformists, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Davud Soleymani and Mohsen Mirdamadi, to six years of imprisonment and banned them from engaging in political and journalistic activities for the next ten years. The court said they conspired to compromise national security and engaged in propaganda activities against the regime.
Another political prisoner sentenced to death – A Revolutionary court imposed a death sentence on Motahare Bahrami, a woman who had been arrested with her family during the Ashura Day protests. Ms. Bahrami was convicted of maintaining contact with the Mojahedin Khalq oppositionist organization.
A list has been published with the names of 107 people killed in the violence that followed the June 12 presidential elections in Iran.
March 18 – April 6
Thirty mourners arrested during the funeral service of Ayatollah Montazeri’s wife – Thirty mourners were arrested during the funeral service of Mrs. Rabbani, the widow of late Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
Political activist banned from leaving Iran – The Iranian Government prevented dissident MANSOUREH BEHKISH from leaving Iran to Italy, where she planned to meet her children. Six of Mansoureh’s relatives were killed in the 1988 political prisoners’ massacre. Since then, she has been paying an annual visit to Khavaran cemetery, where the victims were buried in mass graves. The victims’ relatives are frequently summoned to excruciating interrogations in the Intelligence Ministry offices and sometimes arrested. Mansoureh is also a member of the Mourning Mothers Movement.
March 14, 2010
- Three-year sentence imposed on official of Mosharekat Party – Azar Mansouri, the Deputy-Chair for Political Issues at the Reformist Mosharekat Party was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. She was convicted by a Revolutionary Court of disrupting public order, propagating against the regime and publishing false information with the intent of stirring the public opinion.
- Lawyer sentenced to one year in prison – Mohammad Olyaeifard, a lawyer representing political activists, was sentenced to one year in prison. Charges of “propagating against the regime” were pressed against Olyaeifard, following interviews he had given to foreign media outlets while representing executed juvenile offender Behnoud Shojaee.
- Three detained Mousavi advisors meet their families after 74 days of solitary confinement – Qorban Behzadian Nejad, Ali Arabmazar and Alireza Beheshti, three of Mir Hossein-Mousavi’s closest advisors, met their families for the first time after 74 days in solitary confinement.
- Mostafa Tajzadeh, a leading reformist ideologist, was freed from Evin Prison after a long period of detention, including 120 days in solitary confinement. One month before the presidential elections, Tajzadeh stated that before the Revolution, Iranians enjoyed all types of freedom save political freedom, which was the very right denied from them today by the Islamic Republic.
February 11, the day concluding the annual ten-day celebrations of the “victory of the Islamic Revolution,” is usually a day of mass government-organized rallies aimed at demonstrating the popular support for the regime. The Green Movement was planning another wave of protests for that day; the government succeeded in minimizing the protests with a series of measures:
- Closing down streets and central squares where the protesters planned to meet.
- Visible military presence in the streets of Tehran, particularly in the vicinity of Azadi Square, where the official rally was held, but also in other major cities.
- Issuing threats beforehand on behalf of governmental and security bodies, talking about an “iron fist” and “zero tolerance” toward rioters and slanderers of the Supreme Leader and the government.
- Attacking Reformist leaders in order to force them out of the protest venues; These attacks included:
a. An attack on Karroubi’s entourage and the arrest of his son, Ali Karroubi.
b. Security forces and plainclothes militiamen encircled Mir-Hossein Mousavi while he was trying to join the protests and forced him to leave. His wife, Zahra Rahnavard, is said to have been injured following a severe attack on her by plainclothes militiamen.
c. Mohammad Khatami was attacked by plainclothes militiamen when he joined the protestors in Azadi Street, and had to leave.
- A near-complete blockage of the various communication networks: websites (including governmental websites, during the first and most sensitive hours of “Revolution Day”), foreign satellite channels (BBC, VOA), email services (Gmail was completely blocked and so were the social networks Twitter and FaceBook) and text messaging. These steps were the “lesson” learned from previous protest events, and they hampered the ability of the “Greens” to plan and coordinate the demonstrations.
- Serious restrictions on foreign reporters who wished to cover the Revolution Day events. Foreign reporters were not allowed to cover any event outside Azadi Square in Teheran, where the official pro-regime demonstration was to pass (source-English).
- Members of the “Mourning Mothers” movement were arrested to prevent their participation in the Revolution Day protests.
- Large-scale arrests of Reformist senior figures in Tabriz and Varamin.
- Busing hundreds of thousands of citizens from all across Iran into the streets of Tehran, and recruiting – sometimes forcefully – civil servants to participate in the pro-regime demonstrations.
- Focusing the media coverage on the pro-regime demonstrations, while ignoring the “Greens” and presenting them as lawbreakers who act against Iran’s interests and in favor of “foreign interests”.
These measures were successful in keeping many Reformist activists away and preventing large-scale anti-government demonstrations. The resulting impression was that support of the regime is overwhelming.
There were some clashes reported:
1. In Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan (severe clashes between security forces and "Greens" – many injured), Mashhad, and Shiraz – Clashes are escalating at Amir Abad, close to the main Tehran University dormitories. Families of Prisoners gather in front of Evin prison.
2. Clashes between security forces and people trying to reach Azadi Square – The crowds chant “Death to Dictator” and “Death to Khamenei”. Passengers on Tehran bus chant “Death to the Dictator”. People gathered early morning in the north and northwest of Azadi Square, the official venue of the pro-regime rally, where Ahmadinejad is due to make his speech, and chanted “death to the dictator”. The square is also the unofficial destination of the opposition protest march.
3. Sporadic, and at times heavy, clashes at Vanak Square (northern Tehran).
The focus of government propaganda is that the opposition does not come from internal strife but rather from attempts by Western influences to weaken and divide Iran from within.
Feb. 11 (before the events themselves)
• The Iranian regime’s official slogans for February 11 are “Death to America” and “Death to Israel".
• Addressing a group of Basij and IRGC commanders, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli said that anyone who engaged in acts of revolt on Revolution Day would be committing a religious transgression.
• Another prisoner has been convicted of being mohareb (“wager of war against God”) and sentenced to death.
• Rafsanjani’s ultimatum to the Supreme Leader brings about the release on bail of Mousavi’s advisor – Mousavi’s advisor, Alireza Beheshti, was released on bail from Evin Prison, according to Rah-e-Sabz.
• Mousavi’s wife’s nephew, who was the head of the legal Committee of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s campaign, was summoned for interrogation at Evin Prison and arrested there.
• Human rights activists reported about a wave of arrests of activists known to be supporters of the Mourning Mothers movement.
• Mohammad Qaznavian, a Political Science student and activist for women’s and children’s rights, was arrested in the city of Qazvin. Qaznavian published many articles in newspapers and human rights websites.
1. Iranian Police to take control over Internet access and text messaging – Chief of Police, Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moghaddam, reiterated his announcement that the Iranian Police would take control over the access to the Internet and the text messaging service. “The new technologies allow us to identify conspirators and lawbreakers”, said Ahmad-Moghaddam. He also said: “now that the different aspects of the sedition are clear, we will show no more tolerance" (source in English).
2. Disruptions in the text messaging service – Following reports about disrupted Internet connectivity and cutoffs ahead of February 11, Iranian citizens now report about disruptions in the text messaging service. The public relation department of the Iranian cellular communication company promised to fix the malfunctions within a week, according to the official websites.
3. Loudspeakers were installed to fade out protest chants on “Revolution Day”, February 11.
4. Arrests of social activists, journalists and student human rights activists have increased. In one case, Kazem Rezaei, an activist student from Tehran University, was put on trial last week after three months in custody. Eyewitnesses reported noticeable signs of harsh abuse and torture when he was brought before the court. Kazem was wounded during his arrest, when the Tehran University’s security personnel beat him and broke his nose. No accurate information was provided as to the charges against him.
• The conservative Fars News agency reported that one of the Ashura Day detainees, a UK-born who lives in Tehran and works as an English teacher, confessed to having been in contact with German diplomats, whom he had met two years ago. He said he had accepted a green bracelet from them bearing the words “I am Neda”. According to the report, he was charged with compromising national security, propagating against the regime, defaming the heads of the regime and using satellite reception equipment.
• Reports coming from inside Evin Prison tell about heavy pressure on Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), to make him announce the dissolution of the movement. Ebrahim Yazdi, who suffers from cancer, was arrested on the day following Ashura Day, and has been held in solitary confinement for about a month. He did not make contact with his family, except once when he asked to send him his medications.
• Senior cleric: blaming barehanded protesters for terrorist activity is a meaningless and false accusation that contradicts Islamic law – Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani said that according to Islamic law, a terrorist is a person who opens fire at other people and slaughters them. Therefore, he said, those who came barehanded, just to express their political protest, were not terrorists. He stressed that accusing them of terrorist activity was meaningless and false and contradicted Islamic law.
• Member of the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization arrested – The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran denounced the arrest of Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, a leading human rights activist, journalist, and member of the Central Council of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan. The Spokesperson of the Campaign said Kermanshahi was “one of the most important sources of objective human rights information and analysis in Iran, and one of the few still courageously working to document, in a scientific way, the deprivation of human rights there”.
Agents of the Intelligence Ministry arrested last week Reza Mahabadian, a member of the Iranian Writers Association and children’s rights activist, bringing the number of detainees of the Children’s Rights Association to seven.
1. Execution of two post-election detainees – Amnesty International: Iranian protesters unfairly convicted and unjustly killed – Amnesty International condemned the execution of two men arrested during the post-election protests. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were hanged on January 28. Ali-Zamani’s indictment accused him of being a mohareb, i.e. “one who wages war against God”.
2. Trial of sixteen Ashura Day detainees begins; five of the defendants are facing charges of moharebeh, i.e. waging war against God (which carries potential death penalty). The others were being tried for taking part in “illegal protests, threatening national security, and spreading propaganda against the regime”. The indictment said that they had compromised the country’s security “by encouraging others to rebel”.
3. Forty people arrested at the 40th Day memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri – Of the 40 arrested, eight are still detained. Ali Ashraf Fathi, a.k.a. “Toorjan Blogger”, is among those arrested on Ayatollah Montazeri’s 40th Day memorial.
Mousavi supporter found lying in the street unconscious and bruised – Three days after his capture by militiamen of unknown identity, a student, son of a member of the Kashan City Council, who acts as the deputy chairman of Mousavi’s HQ in Kashan, was found lying in the street unconscious. His legs and hands were broken and his body showed signs of severe abuse, including cigarette burns.
a. High probability of death sentences against five of the Ashura detainees – Tehran’s Attorney General announced that five of the Ashura detainees will be charged with terrorist activity. He stated that rioters who set fire to public property are considered terrorists and will face such charges. Human rights activists fear these detainees might be sentenced to death, since this is the legal punishment for terrorism under Iranian criminal law.
Iranian TV reported that the first court hearing was held on Jan. 18. The representative of the prosecution, Ahmad Ali-Akbari, read out an indictment bill, according to which “secular groups, counter-revolutionary groups, monarchists, hypocrites (namely, members of Mojahedin Khalq) and the misled Baha’i sect” had been behind the riots.He added that the defendants had sent the video of unrest to “the main links of sedition abroad, the enemy’s security agents, and foreign-based channels”.
b. Senior reformist sent to 6 years in jail – senior reformist and one of the leaders of the Islamic Iran Participation Front and former Member of Parliament Mohsen Safai Farahani has been sentenced to six years in jail. He was accused of "acting against national security, spreading lies and anti-regime propaganda and insulting officials".
c. Members of the freedom movement arrested – Mahmoud Naeem Pour and Khosro Qashqavi were arrested on Monday. Two other activists, Solmaz Ali Moradi and Farid Taheri were arrested earlier that day.
1. Mina Jafari, a lawyer defending two detained human rights activists, said that, in response to her request to meet her clients, the authorities explained that Ashura incidents’ detainees are under interrogation and cannot hire lawyers. This practice contradicts Iranian law as well as international legal procedures. Meanwhile, a new online video documents the killing of a protester during the Ashura incidents.
2. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi said, "People continue to take to the streets, knowing that they might even be killed during a demonstration. This shows how serious they are about their protest against the regime." The regime should listen to the demands of the Iranians. If they don’t, the protests will turn more radical" (interview in German).
Relatives of killed protesters harassed – the relatives of protesters killed during the Ashura incidents are hard-pressed and intimidated by the government, in order to make them announce that their relatives were killed in accidents during that day, and not while attending protest rallies.
• Nobel Prize laureate and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi: "censorship is very strong; civil and political liberties have been taken away – The recent intensification of protests in Iran has been met with more arrests. Among those detained: the sister of Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize–winning human-rights lawyer. NEWSWEEK’s Anita Kirpalani spoke by telephone with Ebadi, in exile in the U.K. since June 2009, about her perspective on the green revolution (source).
• Iranian doctor who treated Neda Agha Soltan: Government’s accusation that I killed Neda after she faked her own death – a shameless and worthless attempt to shift blame away from security forces" – In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Dr. Arash Hejazi said Neda’s death has become a thorn in the side of the Iranian regime, which "has been doing everything it can to distance itself from the incident and throw responsibility on others". In a PressTV documentary, Neda is portrayed as a foreign agent who became the victim of a plot orchestrated by foreigners and opposition supporters.
• Majlis to discuss draft law to cut the period of time between a death sentence and the execution from twenty to five days in cases of “terror activities” – Pro-government Majlis members said that in light of the post-election events and the urgent need to deter rioters, they proposed a speed-up of the execution procedure, so that the execution could take place as soon as five days following the death sentence, rather than twenty days as required today.
• Attempt to minimize the broad support of the protests: Deputy Minister of Intelligence claims: “the Monarchists” initiated the demonstrations, and the arrested were Marxists, Baha’is and members of the Mojahedin Khalq organization. Jahan News reported that fourteen members of Mojahidin Khalq and sixteen Baha’is were arrested during Ashura Day demonstrations last week.
More intellectuals, political activists and students arrested
1. Bahman Ahmadi Amooei, a journalist and economic analyst who had been arrested with his wife following the elections, was sentenced to seven years in prison and 34 lashes.
2. Another two Reformist political activists from Golestan Province were arrested in the local Intelligence Ministry HQ after being summoned for interrogation. One of the two is Mohammad Rafati, a member of the youth section at the Mosharekat Front party and cofounder of the local Reformist election campaign HQ. The other one is Mohammad Kiqobadi, a member of the “Revolution Mujahidin” organization and member of the election campaign.
3. Mahdi Gilani, a member of the youth section at the Mosharekat Front party and deputy chairman of the election campaign HQ in Khorasan Province was arrested on his way to the university. Another member of the Khorasan election campaign HQ, Farshad Azizi, was arrested too in Mashhad.
4. Morteza Simiari, a secretary for social affairs at the Tahkim Vahdan association’s office, was arrested in his house by Internal Security forces. Two student activists from Zanjan University, Alireza Firoozi and Soorna Hashemi, were also arrested.
5. Mahdi Motamedi Mehr, member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, was arrested at the Intelligence Ministry after being summoned for interrogation. Mahdi used to be the legal consultant of the Free Elections Protecting Committee, and spent a month and a half in custody before the elections.
There is no news on the situation of Kouhyar Goodarzi and Saeed Haeri, who are December 21 detainees. The families of Saeed Kalangi and Saeed Jalalifar, detainees from December 30, are hoping to meet their children in the next few days.
Shiva Nazari Ahari, human rights activist and blogger, member of CHRR: after being released on October 28th for a 200 million toman bail (approximately $200,000 USD) she was arrested again on Dec. 20, 2009, on the way to Qom to attend Ayatollah Montazeri’s burial ceremony. Ahari stated that she is being kept in the solitary confinement of section 209 of Evin prison. She went on hunger strike (Jan. 2 approx.) and was admitted to the prison’s clinic. From a letter from her parents to an “expert” of the Ministry of Intelligence (Dec. 26, 2009): “As far as we understand from our daughter’s writings and activities, she has not done anything except some human rights activities. In her attempts to realize this goal, she does her best to defend every religion and ideology. Is it a crime to defend human rights?”
In keeping with the decision by Reformist activists to exploit significant dates in the Iranian/Muslim calendar for showdowns with the regime, protests have been staged this year on November 4 (Anti-Imperialism Day), December 7 (Student Day) and December 27 (Ashura). Ashura is the most important Shiite holiday, a day of mourning to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, Muhammad’s grandson, at the battle of Karbala in 680 CE. The holiday is commemorated on Muharram 10, according to the Muslim lunar calendar, which fell this year on December 27. The Ashura protests were wide-spread and marked by violence.
Jan 3, 2010
• Armored corps and other army forces sent to Tehran – As the unrest and confrontations between protesting citizens and security forces continued throughout the weekend, many military forces, including tens of armored vehicles, were reportedly sent from Karaj to the Iranian capital.
• Families of 35 people who disappeared during Ashura Day events organize a protest rally – More than 100 people, relatives of 35 people who disappeared in Tehran during Ashura Day events, held a protest rally in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The relatives said they had managed to receive information indicating that their loved ones had been arrested, but they could not get information as to their condition or whereabouts.
a. One of Karroubi’s close affiliates – Mohammad Sadeq Javadi Hesar, member of the Central Committee of Karroubi’s Etemad Meli party, was arrested. A member of Mousavi’s staff – Ahmad Reza Baharloo was arrested Saturday. Mohammad Reza Tajik, Khatami’s advisor and lecturer in Shahid Beheshti University, who served as the deputy chairman of the Center for Strategic Researches during Khatami’s presidency, was arrested Wednesday. His arrest was kept in secret for several days before its announcement. Two members of an Iranian human rights watch – Parisa Kakaei and Mehrdad Rahimi, were arrested immediately after their arrival at the Intelligence Ministry (they, and two others, were summoned for interrogation). With these last two arrests, the number of detained members of the CHRR (Committee of Human Rights Reporters) reaches seven. Rouzbeh Karimi, a journalist, and his wife Forough Mirzaee, a lawyer, were arrested. Both of them are experts in the field of human rights.
b. Seven Reformist activists arrested in Gorgan; security forces in Golestan confiscate satellite dishes – Reports from the city of Gorgan in Golestan Province tell about the arrest of seven Reformist activists following Ashura Day events. Among them, Hossein Rafati, former governor of Golestan Province, Ehsan Alaei Far, member of the youth section in the Mosharekat Front party and Ali Qolitabar, chairman of the Golestan branch of the Reformist organization “Revolution Mojahedeen”. The reports also say that security forces in Golestan Province started a campaign to confiscate all satellite dishes and other equipment for receiving satellite broadcasts from residents’ houses. The forces went from house to house and removed the dishes off the rooftops in order to prevent receiving of channels broadcasting from outside Iran.
• Film shows plainclothes militiaman shooting directly at demonstrators on Ashura Day.
Dec. 27, 2009
1. In clashes throughout Tehran and in other cities: state-run English language Press TV put the death toll from the clashes at eight, quoting an official with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. It did not specify where the victims were killed (France 24, Dec. 28). Protests also took place in south-central and south-east Tehran, and in the cities of Shiraz, Arak, Najafabad, Isfahan, Mahshad and Babol, reported witnesses and opposition websites.
2. All Opposition websites were under attack; mobile network was shut down; Internet speed was reduced.
3. Isfahan – fierce clashes at Enqelab Square. Pepper spray was used to disperse demonstrators. There were around 500 to 700 plainclothes forces present. 20 people were arrested in the demonstrations in Isfahan. Clashes were also reported in Najafabad , Zanjan and Qom.
4. Sunday also marked the seventh day of mourning for Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a prominent "Grand" Ayatollah and founding father of the Islamic Republic who later became a staunch critic of the Iranian government. Mr. Montazeri’s death last Sunday sparked a fresh wave of protests throughout Iran. A Reformist website said late Sunday that state authorities declared martial law in the Grand Ayatollah’s hometown of Najafabad.
5. Security forces attacked a memorial ceremony held in Qom by female family members of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. The forces interrupted the ceremony and arrested Ayatollah Montazeri’s granddaughter for several hours. The Iranian regime also blocked Ayatollah Montazeri’s official website, and hung announcements in various places saying that by decision of the Supreme National Security Council, mourning ceremonies for Montazeri were forbidden throughout Iran, except in Qom and Najafabad.
Protest demonstrations started on Thursday evening. Thousands of Tehran residents thronged to Toopkhane Square chanting “death to Khamenei” and “death to the dictator”, despite the massive presence of Internal Security forces. The rally, which was meant to be a memorial ceremony for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, soon became a protest against the Iranian regime. Motorcycle-mounted security forces attacked the demonstrators using tear gas and batons.
Clashes over the weekend:
5. Some 50 Basij and plainclothes militiamen attacked a rally led by Khatami Saturday evening (December 26), and abruptly cut off his speech before a large crowd on the occasion of the Ashura mourning ceremonies at Imam Khomeini Hosseiniyeh (a Shiite religious center) in Jamaran. The militiamen used pepper spray, batons and metal chains. The speech was interrupted when Khatami said: “Imam Hossein’s rebellion arose from his willingness to die for the sake of freedom. See Robert Mackey’s blog for The New York Times.
6. After Khatami’s interrupted speech, people gathered outside the Jamaran Hosseiniyeh and headed toward Tajrish Square in northern Tehran chanting “death to the dictator”. Security and civil forces attacked protestors with tear gas and batons in an attempt to disperse them. There were reports of shots being fired into the air. Confrontations were also reported in other centers of Tehran, such as the squares of Emam, Hossein and Hafter Tir.
7. Ansar Hezbollah attack students in Mashhad; students wounded, two kidnapped – Students from the Ferdosi University in Mashhad, who held a ceremony in memory of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, were brutally attacked by forces of the Ansar Hezbollah group, who entered the campus with batons, metal chains and pepper gas. The violent confrontation that erupted between the two parties has lasted several hours. Ansar Hezbollah forces kidnapped two of the demonstrating students and sabotaged the cars of students and lecturers. There is no information as to the condition and whereabouts of the two kidnapped students. There are also reports about many injuries.
Arrests and harsh sentences against Reformists and human rights activists
1. Six years in prison imposed on the spokesman of Khatami’s former government, after several months’ arrest – The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Abdollah Ramezan Zade, one of the prominent Reformist activists, to six years in prison. Ramezan Zade who had been held in custody since the presidential elections, used to be the spokesman of Khatami’s former government, and the Deputy Chairman of the Mosharekat Front party.
2. Another arrest of a Reformist activist in Isfahan – Rashid Esmaeili, member of the Policy Directive Committee of the Advar Thkim association, was arrested in Isfahan after having been summoned to the Intelligence Ministry for interrogation. Esmaeili was transferred to Isfahan Prison.
3. Two human rights activists held in solitary confinement; no information about the condition of a third activist – Saeed Jalali Far and Saeed Kalanki were arrested about a month ago and have been held in solitary confinement in Evin prison’s security ward ever since. The two were allowed to contact their families over the phone only once. They said their physical condition was good, but they were not allowed to meet their families or their attorneys. Saeid Jalali Far was expelled from Zanjan University due to his activities for human rights and children rights. (See report in English.) Human rights activists report that Koohyar Goodarzi, a journalist and human rights activist, had been arrested more than a week ago, with no information provided as to his condition or whereabouts. Goodarzi, who was a student at Sharif University of Technology, was also expelled from university due to his human rights-related activities (Dec. 27).
1. Azrasadat Mir Saeed was sentenced to three years in prison by a Revolutionary Court for supporting a group affiliated with the opposition organization Mujahidin Khalq.
2. Ten years of imprisonment in exile for being a relative of an Iranian oppositionist – The Iranian Supreme Court approved the ten-year sentence of imprisonment in exile imposed on the political prisoner Hassan Tarlani. Tarlani was arrested due to his family ties with members of the Iranian opposition organization Mujahidin Khalq (MKO). He was accused of having contacts with anti-regime organizations.
1. Member of Karroubi’s campaign staff mysteriously murdered – Amir Eslamian, a student activist from the Kurdish minority and member of Karroubi’s campaign staff in Hamedan, was murdered a few days ago in peculiar circumstances. Eslamian studied at the state university in Yasouj and was subject to heavy pressure from security forces due to his political activity. Since the elections, he was hiding in order to avoid arrest. His body was found near his residence. There is no information about the circumstances of his death.
2. Green Movement’s “bard” was arrested – Hadi Houri, whose poems are read during the weekly prayer ceremony in Tehran for the release of the political prisoners, was arrested by security forces. His poems of protest are associated with the Green Movement to a degree that made him known as the movement’s “bard”. He was arrested in Mashhad and taken to an unknown place.
3. Capital punishment imposed on a political prisoner – The Revolutionary Court in Tehran imposed death penalty on Eyoub Porkat, a political prisoner being held in custody for over a year. He was indicted for membership in the Iranian oppositionist organization Mujahidin Khalq.
Police violence against protesting mothers – Security forces violently confronted the group known as “the Mourning Mothers”. This group gathers weekly in one of the biggest parks in Tehran (Laleh Park) to protest against the ongoing detention of political prisoners (see video). These meet-ups attract many citizens who come to express their solidarity, despite continuous attempts by security forces and Basij militiamen to prevent them. According to reports, security forces tried to disperse last Saturday’s gathering with brutal violence and tear gas, despite its peaceful nature.
Atefe Nabavi, female activist student who was arrested in post-election protests – Atefe Nabavi, an MA student, was arrested with her cousin and several friends of theirs while participating in post-election demonstrations. She was held in Evin prison in the security ward’s isolation cell for 97 days, then transferred to the general ward with other political prisoners. Nabavi was accused of planning terrorist attacks and having ties with Mujahidin Khalq, an Iranian opposition organization acting from abroad. Nabavi’s lawyer emphasized that there was no evidence which connected her client with Mujahidin Khalq save family relations. Nabavi was suspended from university. According to a October 15th report, her release on bail was withheld due to the Intelligence Ministry’s objection. Nabavi was sentenced to four years in prison. See (in English) Violations of Law and Due Process Standards in the Conviction of Atefeh Nabavi and I Am Atefeh -The Committee of Human Rights Reporters (28 December).
Karroubi: “regime’s violence against the citizens is worse than in the time of the Shah” – In an interview to a Dutch television channel, Mahdi Karroubi (Reformist politician and presidential candidate in 2005 and 2009) compared the violence against Iranian demonstrators during the post-election events to that exerted by the Shah’s security forces, saying the current violence was even worse. He said he had never experienced such violent behavior against citizens in his entire career as a politician. He said his hands were tied as his newspaper had been closed down, his political party could not operate, and his freedom restricted. He did not rule out the possibility that he would be arrested.
For background on Mehdi Karroubi (English) see A Lone Cleric is Loudly Defying Iran’s Leaders – Michael Slackman, NY Times Oct. 22, 2009.
Reformist activist sentenced to six years in prison and 70 lashes – Ali Tajernia, member of the Central Committee of the Mosharekat Front, who had been recently released on bail, was sentenced to six years in prison and 70 lashes.
Daughter of Karroubi’s advisor denies the reports about his release – Following rumors and reports about the release of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a senior advisor to Mehdi Karroubi, his daughter announced that her father was not released, and that he was still serving the sentence of six years in prison imposed on him by the court. Abtahi is also a popular blogger and served as the head of the presidential bureau when Khatami was in office. He was arrested on June 16, 2009 during the protests following the presidential elections.
1. Another member of Mousavi’s election campaign staff arrested – Amir Ali Soltan, a member of Mousavi’s election campaign staff, was arrested by security forces. No information is available regarding his condition.
2. Appellate court approves death penalty imposed on a post-election detainee – Ali Zamani’s appeal against the death penalty imposed on him was rejected by the appellate court. Ali Zamani, a 37-year-old married man from Eslamshahr, was accused of terrorist activity through membership in the Iranian organization of royalists. He was also accused of trying to harm the Islamic regime, taking part in an anti-regime assembly and leaving the country illegally.
3. Human rights activist sentenced to 3 years in prison – Saeid Habibi, a human rights activist who had been arrested during post-election events, was sentenced to three years in prison for propagating against the regime and taking part in an illegal demonstration with the intention of compromising national security.
Post-election detainee sentenced to two years in prison and 76 lashes – Kambiz Norouzi, one of the Iranian citizens arrested during the post-election protests, was sentenced by a Revolutionary Court to two years in prison and 76 lashes. He was found guilty of propagating against the regime, attempting to compromise national security and disrupting public order.
Reza Khademi, who had been arrested one day after the elections, was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court for being a member of the Iranian opposition organization Mujahideen Khalq. His family claimed that he did not take part in most of the protest events. This is the fifth time an Iranian court sentences a post-election detainee to death.
1. Post-election detainee sentenced to 74 lashes and 7 years in prison – The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Soheil Navidi Yekta, a youth who had been arrested during the protest demonstrations following the presidential elections, to a flogging of 74 lashes and seven years in prison. Navidi Yekta, whose father was a soldier killed in the Iran-Iraq War, was convicted of compromising national security, propagating against the regime and disrupting public order.
2. The trial of 48 Shiraz residents – 8 of them under 18 and 12 students – arrested during November 4 demonstrations opened yesterday (Nov.11). According to reports, no less than 300 demonstrators had been arrested in Shiraz; only 75 of them were released on bail.
November 4 protests – see Students targeted…
In preparation for November 4, when reformists plan wide-ranging protests, the Iranian regime ordered the official press to avoid coverage of November 4 events and censor news about Mousavi and Karroubi (Reformist politicians who ran against Ahmedinajad in the June 2009 presidential elections). [November 4 was the date on which Iranian students and militants took over the American embassy in Tehran in 1979, taking hostages from among its workers. The day is celebrated in Iran annually as "Anti-Imperialism Day". This year, Reformist activists plan to turn the occasion into a day of protest against all that happened since the presidential elections.]
Three political activists sentenced to death – Tehran’s prosecutor general announced a court decision to impose death penalties on three people, one of them accused of membership in the Mojahedin Khalq opposition organization and the other two of membership in the pro-shah organization. The three were arrested during post-election events.
Kiyan Tajbaksh, a human rights activist who holds both Iranian and American citizenships,was arrested following the elections, and sentenced to 15 years in prison, it was reported on October 19. The charges against him included belonging to an e-mail list run by Gary Sick, a professor at Columbia University whom the indictment identifies as a CIA agent. He was also accused of inciting the public, spying and having relations with foreign anti-regime elements. His lawyer said he would appeal against the verdict. On Nov. 1 it was reported that Tajbaksh’s lawyer was not allowed to file an appeal, although Iranian law ensures the right to appeal within 20 days.
• Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday it was a crime to cast doubt on the June election, which the opposition says was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state television reported. Khamenei endorsed Ahmadinejad’s victory in the June 12 election, which was followed by opposition protests and plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Thousands of people were arrested after the presidential election. Most of the detainees have since been released, but more than 100 senior reformers, activists, journalists and others, have been put on trial accused of fomenting unrest. (IranPress News Blog)
Internal Security arrests participants in a prayer ceremony for the release of political prisoners – Internal Security forces broke into a house, where a prayer ceremony for the release of post-election political prisoners was held, and arrested 71 people.
• Six-year sentence imposed on a journalist and political activist – Masoud Bastani, a journalist and political activist who had been in custody since the elections, was sentenced to six years in prison: one year for propagating against the regime and another five years for taking part in an illegal assembly and provoking riots.
• The wife of a prominent activist was arrested – Maryam Alangi, the wife of Mohsen Dokmechi, a prominent activist at the Grand Bazaar of Tehran, was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry. Her husband has been in custody for about two months for his support of Mousavi and the financial aid which he offered to post-election victims. Maryam Alangi was transferred to the security ward in Evin prison, and the couple’s personal belongings were confiscated.
Mir Hossein Mousavi in his first video interview after the election: “As long as the existence of the crisis in the country is denied, the majority of people are called outlaws and deceived and are not being considered and the right of people to decide their own destiny is not honoured, there will not be any concrete solution for the current crisis.”