Cruel And Inhuman; Executions In Iran. Annual report on the death penalty in Iran, October 2018

Iran-executions

Introduction

While 160 countries across the world have either abolished the Death Penalty or at least called a moratorium on its use, the clerical regime ruling Iran remains among the world’s most brutal.

The Iranian regime executes more people per capita than any other country. The total number of executions carried out in Iran stands only next to China, whose population is over 17 folds greater. According to Amnesty International, Iran accounts for over half of executions world over.

Tehran sanctions capital punishment for political dissidents as well as ethnic and religious minorities. Juvenile offenders and women are not excluded.

Iran Human Rights Monitor recorded at least 3,602 death sentences carried out during Rouhani’s tenure. This includes the executions of 34 juvenile offenders, 84 women and 86 political prisoners.

Since January 2018, at least 223 people have been executed. The executions of at least nine political prisoners and six individuals who were under 18 at the time of the crime have been confirmed. 35 executions were carried out in public. The actual numbers are likely to be much higher as most executions are carried out secretly.

The death penalty is not only a means for punishment in Iran, but a tool for perserving the rule of those in power in the face of an increasingly furious populace.

The most recent case was the Judiciary spokesman threatening to execute truckers participating in a nationwide strike to demand their rights.

In yet another case, the head of the Revolutionary Court warned that those arrested in the January 2018 protests could face the death penalty.

On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Iran Human Rights Monitor draws attention in this report to the common use of the death penalty in Iran often carried out before completion of the due process of law against young Iranians.

Iran HRM calls on all international human rights advocates, in particular the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Executions, to use their powers and authority to compel the clerical regime to stop its prevalent use of the death penalty.

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Executing Child Offenders

Iran is one of only four countries known to have executed child offenders since 2013.

At least 85 individuals arrested as minors, are known to be on death row. They include, Mohammad Kalhori, Hamid Ahmadi, Abolfazl Naderi, Babak Pouladi, Mohammad Khazaian, Pouria Tabaie, Mohammad Salehi, Mehdi Bohlouli, Mohammad Reza Haddadi and Saleh Shariati.

In contrast to the international law, retrials of juvenile offenders pursuant to Article 91 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code result in renewed death sentences following arbitrary assessments of their “maturity” at the time of the crime.

Article 6.5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that death sentence “shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”

Iranian authorities detain death-row child offenders until they pass their 18th birthday and then they execute them.

Iran has executed at least five child offenders across the country since January 2018:

Amirhossein Pourjafar

On January 4, authorities in Karaj prison executed Amirhossein Pourjafar for the rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl when he was 16. Pourjafar, who was 18 when he was executed, told Shargh newspaper on December 30, 2017, that he was under influence of alcohol when he committed the crime. Mojtaba Farahbakhsh, Pourjafar’s lawyer, told the newspaper that Pourjafar had signs of a “conduct disorder” and had been hospitalized in a mental health center during his detention. Despite these circumstances, the authorities pushed ahead with carrying out the death penalty.

Ali Kazemi

On January 30, authorities in Bushehr prison, in southern Iran, executed Ali Kazemi for a murder he allegedly committed when he was 15. He was executed even though the authorities had promised to try to halt the execution. On the morning of January 30, prison authorities called to reassure the family that the execution had not taken place. However, at midday, Kazemi’s family found out that the execution had just been carried out.

Mahboubeh Mofidi

On January 30, in Nowshahr prison in northern Iran, authorities executed Mahboubeh Mofidi, who was married when she was 13, for the alleged murder of her husband in 2014, when she was 17. Mofidi was 20 when authorities executed her on January 30 in Nowshahr prison in Mazandaran province.

Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi

On June 27, Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi, aged 19, was executed in Qom prison in Qom province, central Iran.  He was sentenced to death for a murder committed when he was aged 14 based on an official medical opinion that he was “mature” at the time of the crime.

Zeinab Sekaanvand

On October 2, 24-year-old Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand was executed in Urumieh central prison, in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, despite being only 17 at time of alleged crime. Sekaanvand was married at 15, suffered domestic abuse and reportedly endured torture during her police interrogation.

Executing political prisoners

10 political prisoners have been executed since January 2018, most of which despite international campaigns urging reprieve.

Ramin Hossein Panahi, Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi

Ramin Hossein Panahi and cousins Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi were executed on Saturday, September 8.

The trials of all three men were grossly unfair. All were denied access to their lawyers and families after their arrest, and all said they were tortured into making “confessions”. They had been sentenced to death despite these massive failings in due process.

The two cousins had spent eight years on death row since confessing to a 2009 killing of the son of a Muslim cleric in Marivan, a confession that both men later said was extracted under torture.

Panahi was sentenced to death in January for allegedly drawing a weapon against Iranian security forces operating in northwestern Iran’s predominantly ethnic Kurdish region in June 2017. He confessed to taking up arms against the state, but Amnesty said family members who saw him in court believe he also was tortured into confessing because of apparent torture marks on his body.

Ramin Hossein Panahi began a hunger strike at Rajaei Shahr prison on August 26 by sewing his lips together in protest at his death sentence.

Mohammad Salas

On June 18, Iranian authorities executed Mohammad Salas convicted of killing three police officers during clashes involving members of a Sufi order, despite calls to stop his execution.

According to Amnesty International, the 51-year-old bus driver was convicted and sentenced to death in March following  a “grossly unfair trial.”

Salas said he was forced under torture to make a “confession” against himself. This “confession”, taken from his hospital bed, was broadcast on state television weeks before his trial and used as the only piece of evidence to convict him. He was not allowed access to his chosen lawyer at any point before or during his trial, and his independent lawyer’s repeated demands to the authorities to allow critical evidence indicating his innocence were dismissed outright.

Death-row prisoners, horrifying numbers

Rjaie Shahr Prison

The highest number of executions count up for Rajaishahr Prison. This prison is also known as Gohardasht. It’s located in the city of Karaj approximately 20 km west of Tehran.

Around 264 inmates are held in ward 10 of this prison, of which 86 are on death row, meaning one third.

In ward 3, known as the youth ward, with around 180 inmates under the age of 25, around 80 are currently on death row condemned for “retribution in kind.” A number of these individuals were arrested under the age of 18. This accumulates to nearly half of the youth ward and one-third of ward 10 are inmates on death row.

In ward 3 nearly 120 of the 210 inmates are on death row. This is more than half.

In ward 2, known as the Dar Al Quran ward, 120 of the 160 inmates are condemned based on “retribution” charges.

Qezel Hessar Prison

Unit 2 of this prison has around 1,000 death row inmates, with numerous individuals charged with murder and others for drug offenses.

Urmia Central Prison

Inwards 1 to 4 of this jail more than 166 individuals are currently on death row. All the while this may not be the latest numbers.

Wards 1 and 2 of this prison, specified for mentally disturbed inmates, eight individuals are on death row. Ward 12 is also home to three death row inmates.

The so-called youth ward houses six individuals condemned to execution.

Ward 15, known as the drug offenses ward, six individuals are known to be on death row.

Zahedan Central Prison

According to the latest list of names rounded up in March, 145 inmates are on death row. Some of which have been held in the horrendous conditions of this jail for years awaiting their execution. Drug criminals and a number of political prisoners are seen among the death row inmates.

24 individuals in ward 4 of this prison are on death row, mostly for drug-related charges, murders or affiliation to political groups.

Wards 1 and 3 of this prison houses another 21 death row inmates.

Dastgerd Prison of Isfahan

This prison has around 20 death row inmates, charged with murder and drug offenses.

Death-row prisoners’ conditions

 The 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty aims at raising awareness on the inhumane living conditions of people sentenced to death.

Death row prisoners in Iran linger in catastrophic conditions from solitary confinement to the medieval tortures inflicted on them. The living conditions tend to dehumanize death-row prisoners and take away their dignity.

In many cases where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international standards of the due process of law. This includes the extraction of “confessions” through torture or other ill-treatment.

The tortures some death row prisoners were reportedly subjected to follow:

  1. Completely stripping the prisoners and pouring boiling hot water on them;
  2. Pushing needles into their genitals;
  3. Hanging prisoners upside down from their feet;
  4. Hanging prisoners by their wrists;
  5. Pulling out the prisoners’ nails;
  6. Leaving the prisoners in absolute darkness for about forty days. Some prisoners lose part of their eyesight;
  7. Depriving prisoners of bathing for two months;
  8. Restricting prisoners’ use of restroom to only once in every 24 hours;
  9. Giving prisoners food rations the size of the palm of a hand;
  10. Forcing prisoners to eat in the same unwashed plate for three months;
  11. Flogging prisoners while eating their food.

Many spend prolonged periods on death row, sometimes for more than a decade. On numerous occasions, prisoners are sent to the gallows, then returned to the cell. Sometimes, they inform prisoners of scheduled hanging but postpone its implementation. In this way, death-row prisoners have to endure additional pain and suffering.

Sometimes, the families are not informed of the execution of their loved ones adequately in advance and not given the chance to say goodbye.

A commonplace in many Iranian prisons is to force the families of execution victims to pay for the noose used to hang their loved ones, or the bullet used to shoot them. The victim’s body is not delivered to the family until the money is paid.

2018 reports included cases of authorities refusing to deliver the body of execution victims to their families or burying them without the families’ permission.

Download the names and identifications of the victims of executions in 2018:

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Amnesty International Calls on Iran Regime to Release All Protesters

Amnesty International Calls on Iran Regime to Release All Protesters

The Iranian regime’s response to the largely peaceful protests that spread across Iran over the past week was mass arrests.

In a letter dated August 8th, 2018, Amnesty International calls upon the Iranian authorities to release any individual held solely for peacefully taking part in the protests. They also called for authorities to conduct a prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into the killing of a protester in Karaj, north-west of the capital, Tehran, on August 3rd, 2018.

Amnesty also urged the authorities to protect all detainees from torture and any other ill treatment, as well as to reveal the fate and whereabouts of dozens of detainees who have not been heard from since their arrests.

Amnesty-International-Calls-on-Iran-Regime-to-Release-All-Protesters
Arrests of Iranian protesters by secret agents of the Iranian regime during the August 2018 protests

Human Rights Defender N. Afshari, is among those detained. He was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials on August 1st, 2018 in the city of Karaj, north-west of Tehran. His whereabouts are unknown. He believed to be held in a secret detention facility.

High inflation and the steep devaluation of the rial have added to the economic crisis in Iran, sparking protests that began on July 31st. However, dozens of videos that have been shared on social media also show protesters chanting slogans opposing the political establishment — specifically, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

By and large, the demonstrations appear to have been peaceful, but some protesters have engaged in acts of violence, like stone-throwing, arson, and other damage to vehicles and buildings.

State-run Tasnim News Agency reported on August 3rd, 2018, that a group attacked a religious school in the district of Eshtehard in Alborz province. They threw stones and bricks through windows.

On social media, reports and videos show the use of unnecessary and excessive force by security forces to disperse demonstrations. According to reports from journalists and human rights activists inside Iran, as well as independent news groups outside the country, security forces have detained scores of people in jails and secret detention facilities. Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani reported that he believes between 50 and 60 protesters who were arrested in Tehran had been taken to Evin prison since the start of the protests.

Fifty women protesters have been taken to Shahr-e Rey prison in Varamin, outside Tehran, according to reports on social media. Shahr-e Rey prison (also known as Gharchak) holds several hundred women convicted of violent offenses in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, allegedly without access to safe drinking water, decent food, medicine, or fresh air.

Male protesters have reportedly been taken to Fashafouyeh prison in the south of Tehran following their arrests.

Amnesty International is concerned by reports that the detainees who have been taken to Evin prison, Shahr-e Rey prison, and Fashafouyeh prison have been given little or no access to their families or lawyers. Amnesty International fears for the well being of Nader Afshari and other detainees.

During the violently dispersed protests, dozens of people are said to have been injured. Videos of the protests shared on social media show crowds running from what sounds like gunfire. On one video, the voice of a bystander recording a protest in the city of Shiraz can be heard saying, “Plain-clothed security forces are beating the people.” 

Reza Outadi, a 26-year-old protester, was killed in Karaj, north-west of Tehran, on August 3rd. The Prosecutor General of Karaj announced that he had been “killed by gunfire that came from protesters amidst the rioting that took place” in Karaj. He said that Reza Outadi was “shot in the back and killed”. He also claimed that a number of security forces personnel in Alborz province had been injured after being shot, stabbed, and hit with stones.

Fars News reported on August 7th, that the Prosecutor General of Karaj announced that a special unit has been set up to investigate Reza Outadi’s death.

Initially, authorities told the family that they considered Outadi to be a “rioter” (shooreshi) and consequently would not be releasing his body to them. They have since released his body, and his family were able to hold his funeral under heavy security presence, on August 6th.

Amnesty International is concerned that the special unit that has been established to investigate the death of Reza Outadi does not meet the requirements of impartiality and independence under international law and standards. Amnesty urges the Iranian authorities to ensure that the investigation into the death of Reza Outadi is impartial and independent, and that anyone reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility be brought to justice in fair trials, and without recourse to the death penalty.

 

Iranian Regime’s Abuse of Human Rights Must Be Addressed

At the end of last year, millions of people in Iran took to the streets to protest against the economic issues that were affecting all classes of society. The protests started in the city of Mashhad and spread across the country. They quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations and calls for “Death to Khamenei  and Death to Rouhani”. It was very clear that the people of Iran see regime change as the only way forward.

As always, when the Iranian regime is faced with dissent and protests, there was a major crackdown. Thousands of people were arrested and scores of people were killed. This reaction from the regime is not surprising – it is the standard reaction that the people of Iran have experiences, and the world has witnessed, for decades.

However, the international community failed to respond accordingly. And the Iranian regime has not been made to face the consequences of its unjust oppression and its violation of human rights.

The people of Iran have not been dissuaded – not by the Iranian regime’s brutal reaction and not by the relative silence of many international leaders. They are strongly supported by each other in Iran and they have the backing of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main opposition to the regime.

There are still protests going on across the country and young people were chanting the same slogans about regime change that were heard in January.

It is important that the West reacts to the protests and to the regime’s brutal attempts at extinguishing them. Europe in particular must take action. It is taking about trade deals and normalized relations with Iran, but this must be postponed until Iran takes human rights seriously. The EU upholds the human rights of its citizens and it must ensure that it does not negotiate with a regime that disregards those of its own people.

For as long as Europe remains silent, the Iranian regime will continue to ignore human rights. It has faced impunity for decades and the only way to put an end to this is for international leaders and organisations, as well as the European Parliament, to demand an international commission of inquiry into the human rights abuses. Silence is complicity.

The regime is in a place of extreme desperation. It is under pressure from its own people, but also from the United States because of the 2015 nuclear deal. President Trump, who has made his feelings about Iran very clear, is threatening to pull the United States out of the deal if Europe does not fix the major flaws.

The United States is keen to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and there is talk of further sanctions that will cripple the country.

More pressure like this will likely push the regime over the edge. It cannot be allowed to continue its belligerent rampage across the Middle East and the people of Iran must have their human rights restored. Let’s not forget that the international community must uphold the rights of everyone.

 

Iranian Resistance Urgent Call to Save Two Lady Political Prisoners on 11th Day of Hunger Strike

Atena Daemi(L) and Golrokh Iraee

The Iranian Resistance calls to save political prisoners, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee, who are in dire situation due to 11 days of hunger strike. The NCRI calls on international human rights and women’s rights advocates to take urgent action to save the lives of the two political prisoners. The two young women are exposed to verbal abuse and harassment by prison authorities in addition to the effects of hunger strike.

On January 24, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee were unlawfully transferred from Evin Prison to Varamin’s Qarechak Prison in retaliation for supporting the January uprising, after being brutalized on fake charges and a fabricated new case.

In Qarchak Prison, prisoners are deprived of the most basic needs of life, such as fresh air, drinking water, bathing facilities, minimum medical treatment and sleeping area. Political prisoners are at risk of developing hepatitis and other diseases due to the prison’s overcrowding by ordinary inmates who have dangerous contagious diseases.

Ms. Daemi and Ms. Iraee have been on hunger strike since February 3, to protest violation of the principle of separation of prisoners’ categories and their unlawful exile to Qarchak Prison, aka Kahrizak II. They demand their own and another inmate, Soheil Arabi’s return to Evin Prison.

Political prisoner Soheil Arabi, blogger and photographer, went on hunger strike on January 24 in protest to violent treatment of Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee, after which he was sent to exile to Greater Tehran’a Prison.

Atena Daemi, 29, a human rights and child rights activist is sentenced to 7 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime”, “collusion against national security”, and insulting Khamenei. Golrokh Iraee, 37, a human rights activist, is sentenced to six years in prison for “insulting the sanctities” and insulting Khamenei.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 13, 2018

Human rights icon Asma Jahangir passes away in Lahore

Leading human rights lawyer, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ms. Asma Jahangir, passed away in Lahore on Sunday, February 11, 2018.

Asma Jahangir, 66, was a human rights lawyer based in Pakistan and was Pakistan’s first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

She was known for taking up court cases of victimized and marginalized sections of society and for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights. She remained fearless in the face of any pressure and opposition and stood for what she believed in.

Asma Jahangir was the first UN Rapporteur who included in her report the complaints of families regarding the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. As she was presenting her report to the Human Rights Council, she was interrupted by a furious Syrian representative who assailed her at the behest of the Iranian regime. But she remained calm and firm and continued her report to the Council and was undeterred in pursuing her mandate.

The worldhttps://twitter.com/4FreedominIran/status/962633466297896960 has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy. May her soul rest in peace.

Jahangir was born in Lahore in January 1952.

She received a Bachelors’ degree from Kinnaird College and an LLB from Punjab University. She was called to the Lahore High Court in 1980 and to the Supreme Court in 1982. She later went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

She became a pro-democracy activist and was jailed in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which agitated against military dictator Ziaul Haq’s regime.

 

 

She was also active in the 2007 Lawyers’ Movement, for which she was put under house arrest.

Renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir
Renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir

She co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the Women’s Action Forum.

She received several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-i-Imtiaz. She was also awarded a UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Légion d’honneur by France. She received the 2014 Right Livelihood Award and the 2010 Freedom Award.

Asma Jahangir Calls on Iran Regime: Abolish Torture and Release Detainees

UN Special Rapporteur Speaks on Dismal Human Rights Situation in Iran

 

 

Teenage girl becomes a national heroine

Haniyeh2

In the ancient myths, the stereotype for a hero has always been a big, strong man. Recently, however, a story has been circulating in the internet about a frail, young girl who has been named a national hero.

Haniyeh, 13, used to live in Sarpol-e Zahab, the epicenter of the earthquake that hit Kermanshah Province in western Iran on November 12, 2017.

“We were at home that night when the earthquake struck,” says Haniyeh. “Our grandma was staying with us that night. We started to run but as I was running away, I suddenly remembered my little sister who was sleeping upstairs on the carpet. So, I ran back inside.”

As soon as Haniyeh finds and grabs her sister, a steel bar falls from the roof and hits her back and the power goes off…

“The next thing I remember is that my father came with his car and took us to hospital. My mother was taken to Tehran.”

Haniyeh’s spine has been severed, but she says, “I do not regret what I did. I’d never wanted my little sister to be in my place.”

Haniyeh is presently hospitalized in a Kermanshah hospital whose officials are recommending that she be taken to a convalescence home for the elderly.

Had it been in some other country, Haniyeh would have received numerous awards and offered government aid to receive medical treatment and gain back her health. In Iran, however, the only help available for this young teenager is the elderly house.

Is this her reward for a loving sister who jeopardized her own life and future opportunities to save her toddler sibling?

One of the hospital nurses says if she receives a good treatment and physiotherapy there is a chance for her to gain back her health.

Haniyeh is one out of hundreds of young little girls who have lost their homes and parents in the earthquake in Kermanshah. She is one out of thousands of little girls who are deprived of opportunities and are discriminated against all across Iran. The girl children who burned in Shinabad school, and those who died while taken on a tour by their school.

Despite pervading injustices, Iran’s women and girls are the force for change and they are the ones who will realize equality and freedom for the whole nation.

Amb. Kenneth Blackwell on Iran Human Rights, Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners.

In a panel on December 1, 2017 at the National Press Club by the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), human rights experts called for accountability for Iranian regime’s human rights abuses. Referring to NCRI’s newly released book, “Iran, Where Mass Murderers Rule, The 1988 Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners and the Continuing Atrocities,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Kenneth Blackwell, called for accountability into the 1988 massacre to “put pressure on the regime to give access so that we might shine light on the evils that were done… [to give] hope to [those] inside Iran.” Blackwell added, “our delegation at the U.N. [should] continue to be a leading voice, not only on international terrorism…by the regime, but …to bring justice to a regime … that is a threat to the basic fabric of humanity across the globe.” Former Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Linda Chavez, referred to the role of women in the opposition. “It is no accident,” that Iran’s opposition movement “is led by a woman, Madame Maryam Rajavi. She stands as a real affront to this regime. The regime hates and fears the MEK [Mujahedin-e Khalq] because in the MEK women … are allowed to lead others. And men are willing to listen and to follow them; a major threat to a regime that wants to imprison half its people.” NCRI’s U.S. Representative, Soona Samsami said, “why the regime continues to perpetrate such atrocities and continuing? The answer is simple; it fears its population. Despite harsh crackdown, Tehran has been unable to extinguish the Iranian people’s yearning for change, freedom, and human rights.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg emphasized, “The violation of human rights has become an inconvenient truth to those who have decided that the Iran nuclear agreement is what begins and ends our engagement with Iran… We need to begin holding Iran accountable.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said, “Many of the perpetrators of this crime are in positions of high authority and this has produced a culture of impunity that Iran’s rulers exploit to continue arresting, torturing, and murdering at will and without consequences or penalty… The only way to stop rogue regimes from using terror and murder as tools of their rule is to hold them accountable for their crimes.”