[FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great
Views expressed here are not necessarily the views & opinions of ActivistChat.com. Comments are unmoderated. Abusive remarks may be deleted. ActivistChat.com retains the rights to all content/IP info in in this forum and may re-post content elsewhere.
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Human Rights Violations in Iran: an Update

Post new topic   Reply to topic    [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index -> News Briefs & Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: 22 Jun 2003
Posts: 351

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:59 am    Post subject: Human Rights Violations in Iran: an Update Reply with quote

Blatant violations of human rights marked the end of September 2003. With the parliament elections five months away, it appears that the hardliners, holding most positions of power (the judiciary, for example), are bent on stepping up their policy of repression against intellectuals, writers, students and political activists, especially those associated with the reformist bloc.

Persecution of political activists continues

On September 29, 2003, dozens of political activists held a one-day-long hunger strike in protest of the continuous policy of repression exercised by the judiciary and the Revolutionary Courts that hold dozens of political prisoners in incommunicado detention for months and even years. Many well-known political prisoners held in Tehrans Evin prison started a hunger strike as well, calling upon the Iranian people to speak out against the hardliners policy of repression. Failure to do so, they said, would only encourage the hardliners to take more aggressive measures against the peoples fundamental rights (ISNA, September 29, 2003).

Khatamis government expressed its pessimism over the possibility that the judiciary would back out of its harsh positions against the political activists. The spokesman assessed that several Majlis members, such as Mohsen Armin, would soon be detained and prosecuted (ISNA, September 29, 2003).

Several examples of the judiciarys ongoing harsh policy toward political prisoners follow:

Mohammad Mohsen Sazgara, a political activist held in solitary confinement in Evin prison since the last outbreak of riots in Iran, was sentenced to one year of imprisonment. The Revolutionary Court declared that the verdict addressed just one out of a series of charges against the defendant; additional verdicts against him were to be issued. His lawyer announced that Sazgara held no hopes for change in the judiciarys approach, and therefore renounced his right of appeal. The lawyer added he was denied access to the prosecution documents, was not informed of the hearing, and was prohibited from meeting with his client before the trial by the Revolutionary Court (ISNA, September 29, 2003).

Sazgaras son, Vahid Sazgara, released after two months imprisonment, was brought to the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on charges of plotting to overthrow the regime (ISNA, September 29, 2003).

The Revolutionary Court in Tehran initiated legal proceedings against Ali Reza Alavi-Tabar, a well-known journalist and political activist. His trial is scheduled to begin shortly (ISNA, September 23, 2003).

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, a political prisoner held in Evin prison, writes, in a letter smuggled out by his family, that dozens of political prisoners are held in solitary confinement cells and endure lengthy interrogations accompanied by ruthless torture. He stresses that contrary to President Khatamis claims that all illegal detention centers have been closed down, they still exist. Every once in a while, he says, he and other political prisoners are transferred to these detention centers where they endure infernal torture. He reveals that Manouchehr Mohammadi, one of the leaders of 1999s student revolt, has been subjected to infernal torture during the last three months.

In an interview granted to Radio Farda after the letter was published, Tabarzadis son, Ali, said agents of the Tehran Revolutionary Court had broken into the familys house, searched it brutally, and even interrogated family members asking them, among else, whether or not they adhered to the five daily prayers (Radio Farda, September 25, 2003).

Abbas Abdi, a well-known journalist and politician held in prison for eleven months, continues his hunger strike. His daughter said that her father had begun the hunger strike about three weeks ago. His family has been forbidden from meeting him in prison ever since (www.emrooz.org, September 30, 2003).

Reza Alijanis wife says that after 100 days of imprisonment, the Revolutionary Court still denies her husband, a well-known journalist and political activist, telephone contact with his family. During the entire period of imprisonment, the prisoner has been held in solitary confinement and endured gruesome torture (Iran Labor News Agency, ILNA, September 30, 2003).

The judiciary continues to threaten political activists in universities

As the new school year in Iranian universities begins (September 27, 2003), those in charge of the universities and political activists endure twofold pressure from two fronts. The judiciary, on one hand, is trying to scare the students off political activity at the universities; on the other hand, the universities monitoring committees, backed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Khatamis reformist government, continues issuing severe verdicts against students, expelling dozens of them out of universities across the country. Other, less severe incidents involved suspending students studies for a year (Tehran newspapers, September 27-29, 2003).

At the same time, courts continue to summon students on grounds of political activity. New incidents of kidnapping leaders of students associations are reported by Tehran newspapers. The judiciary threatens lecturers and university seniors as well and has resumed issuing summons against top officials who have expressed support of the students protests. For example, the Vice-Dean of the University of Tehran, Said Nad-Ali, was brought to the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on September 30, 2003, where proceedings against him were initiated on charges of activities against state security. The defendants attorney has announced that seven other students will be brought to court in the context of this case, and so far they have been prohibited from continuing their studies this year (ISNA, September 30, 2003).

Hardliners threaten to shut down more newspapers, bring to court more journalists

The struggle between the two opposing regime factions is escalating as parliament elections approach. Recently, the judiciary has stepped up its threats on the newspapers, and the various courts have initiated legal proceedings against an increasing number of journalists. Several examples follow:

Yas-e No, considered to be the unofficial publication of Irans Islamic Participation Front, the party holding most Majlis seats in the current tenure, was shut down for ten days because the revolutionary prosecutor did not appreciate that parts of a letter he had sent to the editor in response to articles on persecution of the press were misrepresented (IRNA, ISNA, September 29, 2003).

One day later, the judiciary was forced to withdraw its draconian decision on account of the vehement protests by legalists and journalists. Although the decision was withdrawn, the judiciary threatened that the newspaper might be shut down in the future, this time for good. That is the first time in the last five years that the judiciary has withdrawn a decision against a newspaper and allowed its continued publication. As known, about 150 newspapers and other publications were shut down during the last five years, and dozens of journalists were brought to trial some of them are still in custody (ISNA, September 30, 2003).

Eight more journalists and political activists were summoned to appear in front of the Revolutionary Court. Among these Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, a journalist who was held in imprisonment for two years and was about to be released. He will remain in custody as the revolutionary prosecution initiated new legal proceedings against him (www.rouydad.ws, September 23, 2003).

The lawyer of Iraj Djamshidi, executive editor of the Asia newspaper, says that although it has been more than 80 days since Djamshidis arrest, the Revolutionary Court still wont allow him to meet with his client. The aforementioned newspaper was shut down after publishing a picture of opposition leader Maryam Rajavi where she could be seen smiling (ISNA, September 21, 2003).

In addition to journalists, verdicts against writers were recently issued all across the country. A writer who had published a book with the Ministry of Cultures approval was sentenced to 18 months in prison (ISNA, September 26, 2003).

Hardliners set their sights on reformist Majlis members

Reformist Majlis members may soon find themselves behind bars. The hardliners, backed by the judiciary, are taking steps to scare off reformists from submitting candidacy for the forthcoming parliament elections. During the last three years, legal proceedings were initiated against more than 60 reformists serving in the current tenure. Most of them were sentenced to jail, but the hardliners have so far not carried out the sentences, waiting for the appropriate time, which, it seems, has come. For example, chairman of the Majlis Foreign and Security Committee, the parliaments most important committee, Mohsen Mir-Damadi, was charged with activities against state security and sentenced to 26 months in prison. His deputy, Mohsen Armin, was sentenced to a similar term - for similar charges.

This week, Mohsen Armin has been summoned to appear in front of the Revolutionary Court on grounds of continuing activities against the state. He refused to comply, though, and announced that he did not recognize the judiciary as a just authority and therefore would not appear in court unless brought by force. During the last few weeks, Mohsen Armin delivered two speeches in which he directly accused the revolutionary prosecutor of the death of the Iranian-Canadian reporter-photographer, thus triggering the initiation of new legal proceedings against him. In an announcement made by Mohsen Armin, he stresses that the purpose of the summons against Majlis members is to intimidate the deputies from doing their jobs properly. He added that in protest of the persecution, he boycotted his official visit to Switzerland where he was supposed to participate in a convention of parliament representatives and carry a speech as a representative of the Iranian parliament. He writes, when a parliament member is being shamelessly persecuted only for expressing his opinion on the tragic death of a reporter with a dual citizenship (bringing further disgrace upon the international status of the Islamic Republic), I cannot serve as a representative of the Islamic Republic in international conventions and claim that freedom of speech exists in Iran (ISNA, September 28, 2003).

Ministry of Intelligence: Death of Canadian Photographer Misrepresented by the Judiciary

On September 29, 2003, the judiciary announced that the open trial of an intelligence agent, allegedly responsible for the death of the Canadian reporter-photographer, would take place during the next few weeks. However, the Ministry of Intelligence has repeatedly emphasized that the judiciary distracts public opinion from the truth and misleads the people. No investigators or other intelligence employees, stressed the Ministry, were involved in the photographers death. According to the Ministry, the reporter was not murdered at the time she was being held at the Intelligence detention center, and the murder took place while she was in the custody of other parties. The Ministry of Intelligence has threatened to reveal the truth and, at this point, called upon the judiciary to withdraw its decision to prosecute one of the Ministrys agents (ISNA, September 28, 2003).

It should be noted that the unyielding resistance by the Ministry of Intelligence to the way the judiciary handled the case of the murdered photographer escalated when Khatamis government promised the Canadian government that the matter would be dealt with justly and fairly and those responsible would be brought to justice. In a meeting held several days ago by the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs with his Canadian counterpart, Bill Graham, in New-York, he promised that justice shall be done and the sinners shall be punished. While giving this promise, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs preferred not to mention the fact that Khatamis government and the reformists had no influence on the hardliners in control of the judiciary.

Executions Continue

Londons Amnesty International called upon Iran to revoke the death sentence against a young woman named Afsaneh Nowrouzi, held in prison in the city of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. She is accused of murdering the chief of security forces in Kish Island, although the court accepted her claim that she acted in self-defense, protecting herself from being raped. Afsaneh, with her husband and children, residents of Tehran, visited the security chiefs house in Kish Island several years ago. When the security chief attempted to rape his visitor, she defended herself. Afsaneh and her lawyers stress that if she had submitted to his advances, she would have been sentenced to stoning. Since she defended herself, though, the court had to release her or prosecute her on charges of manslaughter.

Amnesty writes that 83 death sentences were registered in Iran in 2003, but fears that the true figure is much higher.

Afsaneh Nowrouzi has been held in prison for six years; recently, the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence against her and it can be carried out any day (press release by Amnesty International, September 25, 2003).

In the north-western city of Maraja, a citizen was executed in public on charge of murder. The execution took place at one of the town squares (Keyhan, September 30, 2003)

Brides might be arrested on their wedding nights

The involvement of the security forces in the peoples daily lives continues. This week, commanders announced that dozens of girls and women have been arrested for violating Islamic dress code, in at least three provinces: Tehran, West Azerbaijan and Khorasan.

A 26-year-old resident of Tehran was killed by security forces gunfire because he and some friends had taken part in a dance party and played loud music in their car after leaving the party. Three of the security agents admitted to the murder (Iran, September 30, 2003).

In the framework of the so-called Moral Upkeep Emergency Project, about fifty girls and women were arrested in the city of Mashhad; 43 of them stood trial. (Etemad, September 25, 2003).

During recent weeks, the modesty patrols in the city of Orumieh have arrested about 1200 young men and women who have been attending at wedding parties. The arrests were made on the grounds that the men and women danced together in the ceremony halls, violating the rules of separation between men and women. The security forces cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of West Azerbaijan district resulted in the establishment of mobile courts. Mobile judges accompany the modesty patrols while they arrest sinners in their homes, giving them their verdicts on the spot (Aftab-e Yazd, September 24, 2003).

In the city of Orumieh, 13,000 young men and women got warning letters from the security forces for violating Islamic dress code (www.peikiran.com, September 23, 2003).

Deputy General Commander of the security forces in Tehran warns that brides who fail to comply with the Islamic dress code will from now on be arrested on their wedding nights. Commander Azim Hosseini has said that lately, the number of incidents of brides not veiling their hair or exposing a part of their arm has increased (as seen when the brides car, as customary in Iran, circulates through the town streets just prior to the brides reaching the wedding hall). Henceforth, he says, the security forces will not hesitate to arrest the brides and transfer them to prison (Hambastegi, September 30, 2003).

A concert celebrating the anniversary of Muhammads prophecy held in the city of Karaj, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, turned sour when security forces, accompanied by a Revolutionary Court judge, arrested dozens of viewers on charges of dancing to music. Some of them were temporarily released pending trial; others remained in custody (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 25, 2003).

In the city of Zanjan, dozens of citizens who came to watch a concert by a group of guest musicians from the republic of Azerbaijan were arrested. Chaos erupted when several girls, aged 5 and 6, presented the performers with bouquets of flowers; the performers expressed their gratitude by kissing the girls cheeks. This forbidden kiss resulted in the security forces breaking into the concert hall. Viewers who tried to stand up for the guests and showed their support of the forbidden kiss were arrested (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 28, 2003).

Security forces in Tehran broke into the houses of citizens who possessed satellite dishes that could pick up foreign stations, confiscating more than 2,000. The families were heavily fined (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 20, 2003).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index -> News Briefs & Discussion All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group