February Report from Iran Human Rights Monitor Provides New Data on Regime’s Treatment of Prisoners and Oppressed Groups
Human rights situation in Iran deteriorates in February 2019. Iran Human Rights Monitor released its February report on human rights in Iran on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The report includes data on executions, torture, denial of medical treatment, imprisonment and suppression of lawyers and human rights activists, violations of women’s’ rights, and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. The report is summarized below:
- Total executions in the months of February: at least 12;
- Public executions: one.
The actual numbers are most likely much higher, but it is difficult to obtain accurate data because the regime carries out most of its executions in secret.
Three young men who were sentenced to death for crimes committed while they were minors face imminent execution.
Mohammad Kalhori was arrested in December 2014 for the murder of one of his teachers. He was 15 years old. Kalhori has been diagnosed with several mental and emotional disorders.
His lawyers have asked for a pardon from the victim’s family, citing his lack of mental maturity at the time of the crime, due to his age. This is allowed under the rules of the presiding court in
Borujerd, Lorestan Province.
Barzan Nasrollahzadeh was arrested in May 2010 in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province by Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) agents. He was 17 years old at the time of his arrest. Nasrollahzadeh was severely tortured in an MOIS detention facility for months and denied access to his family or an attorney.
Nasrollahzadeh was convicted of “enmity against God” in August 2013 and sentenced to death. His request for judicial review of his case was denied, placing him at risk of imminent execution.
Shayan Saeedpour turned himself in at a police station for killing another person in a fight in August 2015. He was 17 years old at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to death in October 2018 for first-degree murder and received 80 lashes for consuming alcohol.
Amnesty International issued a statement calling on the Iranian regime to halt the executions of all three of these young men. The statement, written by Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, read, in part, “The Iranian authorities must act quickly to save these young men’s lives. Failing to stop their execution would be another abhorrent assault on children’s rights by Iran.”
Torture, Inhumane, or Degrading Punishment
- Flogging sentences issued: 20
- Flogging sentences carried out: 5
On February 8th, twenty prisoners at Gharchak Women’s Prison, including five Sufi political prisoners were sent to solitary confinement or transferred to Evin Prison after being violently attacked by prison security. The attack occurred after women in two of the wards asked that prison officials provide medical care to a fellow inmate and were denied. The women protested this neglect and were subsequently attacked.
The women were then placed in unheated cells and denied food and fresh air breaks for two days. Several of the inmates were beaten severely.
Human Rights Activists
On February 4th, regime Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani announced that there were no longer any political prisoners in Iran. This claim came after he pardoned 50,000 prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic regime’s rise to power.
#Iran security forces detained Sirwan Ghorbani, an environmentalist & a central council member of the Kurdistan National Unity Party, at his home on Tuesday.#Iranian authorities have tightened their grip on environmental activists in recent months. pic.twitter.com/OuWQPBy3zF
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) February 17, 2019
Iranians on social media were quick to react to Amol Larijani’s pronouncement, noting that the Judiciary uses the term “security prisoner” in place of “political prisoner.” International human rights groups have also observed that political prisoners in Iran are generally charged with “acting against security,” most likely in order to avoid being accused of having political prisoners.
Denial of Medical Treatment To Prisoners
Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi
72-year-old political prisoner Mohammad Banazadeh has been denied medical attention for a meniscus tear in his leg. The elderly man also suffers from untreated prostate issues, sleep disturbances, and memory problems.
Political prisoner Hassan Sadeghi is being denied medical care that could save his eyesight. Sadeghi was tortured by intelligence agents when he was arrested, which led to a variety of injuries and illnesses. He also has glaucoma and is now in danger of losing his sight altogether.
Sadeghi also has infections in his stomach and small intestine and a gastric ulcer.
Sadeghi was arrested and tortured in 1981 for his membership in the MEK. He served six years in prison and was released. He is once again a political prisoner and still suffers from the torture that was inflicted upon him in the 1980s.
Saeed Shirzad has been banned from receiving urgently needed hospital care for severe damage to his kidneys. The political prisoner’s condition has deteriorated due to the lack of treatment for his condition, which requires sophisticated care in a hospital setting. Both of his kidneys are damaged, and his right kidney has shrunk by 25%. His family has paid for his hospital treatment, but regime officials have denied his request for a transfer.
Imprisoned human rights activist Arash Sadeghi has been denied chemotherapy or hospital treatment for a rare form of bone cancer.
Prison officials allowed him to have a tumor removed from his hand after a long delay, but they refuse to allow him to complete the cancer treatment. He also developed an infection in his hand after the surgery, which destroyed the nerves in his right hand.
Political prisoner Shahram Pourmansouri has been denied hospital treatment for spinal disk inflammation and problems with the muscles in his back. He is in urgent need of surgery to treat these problems and the resulting pain.
Hamzeh Savari has been denied hospital treatment for a tumor behind his right knee that is causing severe pain and is impairing his ability to walk. Doctors have said that the tumor needs to be removed to prevent further damage.
Six Christian converts were arrested during the month of February. All of the arrests occurred in the city of Rasht.
Persecution of Ethnic Minorities
Arrests of Ethnic Minorities in February:
- Ahvazi Arabs: 70
- Baluchis: 20
- Kurds: 20
- Turks: 2
The Provision of Security for Women against Violence, otherwise known as the PSW bill, was rejected by the regime’s judiciary and sent back to the regime’s parliament to be “fundamentally revised.”
The bill, which has been blocked from the passage for 13 years, would criminalize domestic violence, penalizing some violent abusers with prison sentences.
For 40 yrs, #Iran have placed enmity w/ women at core of its crimes, intimidating entire society through repression of women. 40 yrs of crimes aginst Iranian women under mullahs’ rule is a matter of security & ideological.
On #IWD2019 stand w/ Iran's women#InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/tT5cVUyMfg
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) March 8, 2019
When questioned about the regime’s refusal to pass the current bill, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Eje’ii, First Deputy Minister and spokesman for the Judiciary Branch, replied, “The PSW bill contained numerous problems so much that it could not be reformed. The solution is to draft a totally different bill or to reform the existing bill only in collaboration with the government,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
Eje’ii went on to say, “One of the problems is that our general policy is de-imprisonment. In the PSW bill, however, imprisonment has been predicted as a punishment for every minor violation in this regard. And in doing so, it jeopardizes the foundations of families.”
The idea that the regime has a policy of de-imprisonment is false on its face. Iran Human Rights Monitor and MEK-Iran.com have written dozens of reports on arbitrary arrests and overcrowding in Iranian prisons. Iran is responsible for half of the world’s executions.
Eje’ii also made earlier comments claiming that the anti-domestic violence bill would not protect women, saying, “The objective of adopting this bill is to fortify the family environment so that women, spouses, and others, would feel secure in every respect. Now, the question is whether the articles contained in the PSW bill provide such security or not.”
The Judiciary’s Cultural Deputy, Hadi Sadeqi, went even further, saying, “The PSW bill against violence is apparently drafted to support women, but in essence, it strikes the greatest blow to women and families. When a woman sends her husband to jail, then that man can never be a husband for her again, and the woman must accept the risk of getting divorced in advance.”