The Iranian regime has escalated pressure on political prisoners, Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) reported.
According to Iran HRM, political prisoner Soheil Arabi has been transferred from Evin Prison to the notorious Greater Tehran Penitentiary, 20 miles southeast of Tehran, for not accepting to give a forced confession.
Prison authorities told Arabi that he will be transferred from ward 8 to ward 4. While preparing to leave, an Intelligence Ministry agent told him: “You have only two options. You can withdraw your previous declarations and express regret on TV, or you’ll be transferred to a worse prison.” Soheil Arab responded immediately: “I choose a worse prison.”
According to Iran HRM, the Intelligence Ministry had previously asked Soheil Arabi to step back from his stances and dismiss his previous declarations on the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane and bloody crackdown on November protests in Iran.
Yet Mr. Arabi said: “I told the truth in my statements. You killed people in the streets. People want their rights. They have the right to protest and express their opinion. Why do you kill those who protest? We also have the right to express our views. So, we made statements and protested the repression of the people. It’s not a crime.”
According to Iran HRM, the 23-year-old economy student has been serving a three-year sentence on the charges of “insulting officials and agents” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.” He was arrested on October 21, 2018 after agents of the intelligence agency raided his home in Shahriar, western Tehran.
There have been thrilling reports from Fashafouye prison and its units. Reports indicate that Fashafuyeh Prison, as it was originally designed for drug-addicted prisoners with little mobility, lacks a public restroom. The toilet consists of a hole in the ground in an area of about 60 by 60 cm without a water hose, sink or lights, which is separated from the beds with a curtain in a 3 by the 3-meter room where 26 to 32 prisoners are packed on top of each other. These cells are called “physics.”
Reports from Iran also indicate that Iranian teachers’ rights activists, Jafar Ebrahimi, one month after his arrest is in state of limbo. According to Iran HRM, he was arrested on December 26 while attending a ceremony for the victims of the November protests.
No information is available on the charges against Jafar Ebrahimi currently. In addition, on January 5, the Teachers’ Association of Tehran issued a statement, protesting the arrest of Jafar Ebrahimi and demanding his release.
In a similar issue, there is no information on the whereabouts of Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, an Iranian Christian who was arrested during the recent protests in Tehran against the regime’s downing of a Ukrainian airliner.
Iran HRM reported that Ms. Mohammadi had published a series of tweets on the day she was arrested, saying that the Iranian people faced “soft repression” in Iran as the regime creates “false beliefs through selective coverage of the news.”
On January 11, the second wave of Iran protests erupted after the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet by the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). These protests ruined the regime’s attempt to portray now-dead commander of IRGC’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, as a national hero. During the second wave of the nationwide protests Iranian people showed their abhorrence toward this criminal and the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, by tearing down their pictures. A video published online, shows a young man kicking Soleimani’s large banner.
Tehran’s Chief of Police, Hossein Rahimi, announced the arrest of a teenager because he “Insulted the image of Qassem Soleimani a few days ago and kicked a poster of Soleimani on the street.”
An Iranian regime official recently said that insulting Soleimani is blasphemy and insults to his personality are tantamount to the crime of spreading propaganda against the state.
Reports of the regime’s human rights violations once again give greater urgency to the call made by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), on the United Nations to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Iran in order to prevent the regime form further human rights violations.