Posts Tagged ‘Ahvaz Protests’

Ahvaz Protests,Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory workers strike,Human Rights,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),NCRI,PMOI

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

December’s Human Rights Report: Escalating Brutality and Crackdowns

The University of Azad Bus crash that resulted in ten students getting killed.

The University of Azad Bus incident that resulted in ten university students getting killed, and sparked large protests by students against the regime’s mismanagement and carelessness

On Monday, Iran Human Rights Monitor released its December report on human rights conditions in Iran. December was a brutal month in Iran due to the regime’s crackdown on political protests and strikes. In addition, the regime’s crumbling economy manifested on the deaths of several students this month.

Student Deaths

According to state-run media, four young girls died in a fire at an all-girls preschool and elementary school in Zahedan on December 18th. A fourth girl died later in a hospital from her injuries.

Several days later, a bus accident killed ten students from Azad University’s Science and Research Center in Tehran and injured 28 more. The bus swerved off of a mountainous road, crashing into a cement barrier. University students blame the accident on the school’s aging fleet of buses.

Tehran Students Demand Accountability for Bus Crash in Third Day of Protests

Regime officials have been faulted for allowing the unsafe conditions which led to both deadly incidents.

Executions

The Human Rights Monitor Report lists 23 executions during the month of December. Those executions include:

  • 3 public executions in Shiraz;
  • a mass execution of 12 prisoners in Kerman;
  • the hanging execution of a 25-year-old woman. She is the 86th woman to be executed during Rouhani’s presidency.

The Iranian Supreme Court upheld the sentence of a juvenile offender who was sentenced to death at the age of 14.

Freedom of Speech and Assembly

An increase in protest activity in the month of December led to a crackdown on political activism by the Iranian regime. The MEK reported on a number of arrests of protesting steelworkers and factory workers in the province of Ahvaz in December. The workers were striking in protest of months of unpaid wages.

Further Arrests Follow the Second Night of Raids in Ahvaz

Security forces arrested at least 41 striking workers from the Ahvaz National Steel Group in a series of midnight raids on the workers’ houses. Workers were violently dragged from their homes, according to Iran’s Free Labor Union (FLU).

35 of the workers were later released, but seven remain in custody in Sheyban prison in Ahvaz.

Ali Nejati, a labor activist for the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workers, was violently arrested and beaten for “disrupting public order” and “spreading propaganda” against the Iranian government after participating in the sugarcane factory workers’ strikes. Nejati suffers from a heart condition.

Torture, Inhumane, and Degrading Punishment

The Human Rights Monitor Report listed several instances of cruel punishments by the Iranian regime. Fifteen workers from the Ilam Petrochemical Plant were sentenced to prison terms and lashes for “disrupting public order and peace” after participating in a sit-in outside of the factory. The workers were protesting the factory’s refusal to hire local workers and the layoffs of eleven experienced workers from the plant.

Poet, satirist and Telegram channel administrator Mohammad Hossein Sodagar was publicly flogged after being convicted of “dissemination of false information.” He received 74 lashes.

According to the state-run IRIB news agency, another unnamed man was publicly flogged in Zeberkhan District after being convicted of drug charges.

Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, political activist Vahid Sayadi Nasiri died in prison after a 60-day hunger strike. Nasiri had been imprisoned repeatedly due to his social media posts and charged with “insulting the supreme leader” and “propaganda against the state.”

He began his hunger strike in October in protest of the conditions at the prison and his lack of access to a lawyer. He also said that he was being held along with ordinary criminals, which is a violation of his rights as a political prisoner. Nasiri was taken to the hospital before his death, according to reports.

Denial of Medical Treatment

Political prisoner Saeed Shirzad is being denied needed medical care, according to the Human Rights Monitor Report, and may lose a kidney as a result. Doctors at Rajaee Shahr Prison, where he has been held for the past three years, say that one of his kidneys has shrunk and the other has developed a cyst. His requests for hospitalization have thus far been denied.

Lack of Due Process

The regime’s Appeals Court upheld the conviction against Mohammad Habibi, a member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) for “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state” and “disturbing public order,” according to the Human Rights Monitor.

Habibi will have to serve at least 7.5 years of his 10.5-year sentence. He was also sentenced to 74 lashes and two years’ abstinence from political and social activities and was prohibited from leaving the country for two years.
Gonabadi Dervish lawyer Mostafa Daneshjoo was sentenced to eight years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security, disturbing public opinion, and spreading propaganda against the system.”

Indefinite solitary confinement

Iran Human Rights Monitor received information that guards at Zahedan Central Prison in Iran’s Baluchistan Province broke the legs of political prisoner Arzhang Davoudi. The guards reportedly threw him down a staircase while torturing him, breaking his legs.

Doctors have said the 65-year-old prisoner will not be able to walk again.

Freedom of Religion and Belief

Baha’is

Yekta Fahandej Sa’di was given an 11 year 9-month sentence for practicing her Baha’i religious beliefs by a preliminary court in the city of Shiraz. She was convicted on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”

Baha’i faith member Ali Ahmadi was arrested for the third time. Ahmadi was charged with “propaganda against the state” for having a holy book in his home. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at the Kachouie Detention Center in Sari.

Christians

According to the Human Rights Monitor, Christians in Iran faced a severe crackdown around the Christmas holiday. 114 Christians were arrested in December, many of whom had converted from Islam.

According to Open Doors UK, those who were arrested had to report a history of their Christian activities and cut ties with Christian groups.

Persecution of Ethnic Minorities

Arabs

According to the Human Rights Monitor, regime authorities arrested at least twelve Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan Province in December. Most of the detainees were not allowed legal representation or allowed to contact their families.

Baluchis

At least three Baluchis were killed while smuggling gas and oil in Sistan-Baluchistan Province. High unemployment in the province has forced many people to smuggle gas in order to get by.

Kurds

According to the Human Rights Monitor report, more than 20 Kurds were arrested in Kurdistan in December. Kurdish human rights activists report that some of those who were arrested for cooperating with Kurdish opposition parties were taken to the Revolutionary Guard’s al-Mahdi barracks detention center.

 

Security forces killed at least five porters through direct fire and wounded another 13.

Gender Discrimination

A bill to increase the marriage age in Iran was rejected in Parliament. The bill would have banned marriages for girls under the age of 13 and for boys under the age of 16. Girls between the ages of 13 and 16 would need parental and judicial consent to marry. The bill fail due to “religious and social deficiencies,” according to Allahyar Malekshahi, Chair of the Judicial and Legal Committee of the regime’s parliament.

Human Rights Attorneys

The Human Rights Monitor report listed a number of arrests and convictions of human rights lawyers in Iran during the month of December.

Human rights lawyers Qasem Sholehsadi and Arash Keykhosravi were sentenced to six years in prison after being arrested at a gathering in front of the regime’s parliament in August, according to the ISNA news agency.

Human rights lawyer Mohammad Najafi, who is currently serving a three-year sentence for exposing torture in Iran’s prisons, was sentenced to an additional 13 years for an additional two charges.

Human rights lawyer Amir Salar Davoudi has been detained by regime authorities since November 20th in Evin Prison and denied access to his attorney. His attorney believes that the charges against him are “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.” He may also be charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security.”

The MEK and Iranian Opposition have made repeated calls for the international community to take action against the theocratic regime to end its brutal human rights violations. It is clear that these atrocities will not stop until the regime is toppled and Iran is free.

Staff Writer

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Ahvaz Steel workers protest

Steelworkers in Ahvaz Release a Statement Condemning the Regime’s Unlawful Arrests and Torture

Ahvaz Steel workers protest

The Ahvaz Steel workers protest against the lack of payment and regime’s repressive measure against protesting workers.

Following the arrest and torture of a number of their colleagues, the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) released a statement condemning the brutal acts of violence and aggression carried out at the behest of the Iranian regime.

In their statement, the workers lamented that their once-thriving factory in Ahvaz had been reduced to little more than a military base where regime agents summoned and threatened activists at their whim.

The group said that since 2016, it has witnessed despicable threatening behavior by regime security authorities, including, “arrests, prison, torture and preventing our colleagues from coming to work”.

The statement also highlighted the defiance and determination Iran’s brave steelworkers possessed to keep turning out to protest in the face of such aggression. The statement maintained that “these events haven’t prevented the noble workers of National Industrial Steel Group from pursuing their rights.”

The statement went on to accuse the regime of deliberately trying to shutter the group by deliberately placing military personnel in the factory and “gradually transforming INSIG from a production facility into a military base under the control of security and judiciary institutions.”

Months of Strikes

INSIG is Iran’s largest producer and exporter of steel and employs a significant portion of the Ahvaz workforce.

In recent months, this workforce has laid down their tools and left their place of work in a display of anger over unpaid wages, decreased workers’ rights, limited job security, and corruption amongst the company management.

The workers have referred to the company director and his allies as “the mafia” due to their extensive network of corruption and greed with little regard for the hardworking workforce that depends on the company for their livelihood.

Support from Across Iran

The steelworkers’ protests drew attention from across the Iranian population. Students in Tehran pledged their support to the workers, as did the Iranian opposition and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, mentioned the brave workers in her recent speech at a conference on December 15th. She said, “the brave steel workers of Ahvaz have incited more resistance and protests across the country.”

Out of fear that the steelworkers’ protest would spread to other segments of the Iranian population, the regime administered a violent crackdown against the striking INSIG workers.

Regime agents raided the properties of known protestors during the night and carted them off to prison where they face torture and inhumane conditions.

The INSIG statement read, “seven of our colleagues are still in prison. Meanwhile, authorities continue to summon and imprison more workers.”

They expressed their dismay but indicated that they would use the incidents to channel their anger and fuel their determination for further protests. “At first glance, it might seem that after our street protests were halted, our justice-seeking voices have been stifled. But rest assured that this isn’t the end of our struggle against tyranny and injustice and the mafia. By drawing lessons from the past and using the experience we’ve earned, we will soon return in full force.”

Staff Writer

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The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

One Year Later: A Summary of Protests in Iran in 2018

The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

The photo symbolizes the December 2017 uprisings in Iran that has not stopped and has continued in forms of protests and strikes across the country.

December 28th marks the one year anniversary of the nationwide uprising that mobilized people from all walks of life to take to the streets in protest of Iran’s theocratic regime. The protests began in Mashhad on December 28, 2017, and spread to over 140 cities in every province in Iran over a two week period.

The initial protests were in response to the economic disaster facing the country. Poverty, corruption, inflation, and rising unemployment drove many Iranians into the streets to protests. But as the uprising grew in strength and numbers, the demonstrators began to protest the regime itself.

Protesters chanted, “Death to the dictator!”

“Death to [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!”

“Khamenei shame on you, let go of your rule!”

One year later, Iran is still the scene of daily protests and demonstrations against the authoritarian regime. The protesters have made it clear that they will not be satisfied until the ruling regime is toppled and democracy is restored to Iran.

The MEK has played a leading role in the protests taking place across Iran. As the movement to topple the mullahs’ regime has grown, the people have sought a viable alternative to the corrupt dictatorship that has destroyed Iran’s economy and environment, and that has oppressed its people for the past four decades. The MEK offers a democratic alternative that will restore freedom to Iran.

Iran News Wire summarized protest activity in Iran over the past year. The following is a summary of their report:

January

Recorded Protests: 643

Daily Average: 21

The uprising that began in December 2017 continued into January, and protests took an anti-regime turn in the month of January. Protesters set fire to Basij bases and tore down images of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

February

Recorded Protests: 596

Daily Average: 21

March

Recorded Protests: 422

Daily Average: 14

April

Recorded Protests: 452

Daily Average: 15

May

Recorded Protests: 1,093

Daily Average: 35

June

Recorded Protests: 475

Daily Protests: 16

 

In June, bazaar merchants in Tehran launched a large-scale strike in protest of the failing economy and rising prices. Protesters in Khoramshahr took to the streets to protest water scarcity.

Protests quickly turned to calls for regime change, with chants of “Death to the Dictator!”, “Death to Rouhani!”, “Death to Khamenei!”, and “Our enemy is right here, they lie when they say it’s the U.S.!”

Women played a key role during the protests in Khorramshahr and in Khuzestan in southwest Iran.

July

Recorded Protests and Strikes: 970 in cities and regions

Daily Average: 31

August

Recorded Protests: 133

Daily Average: 20

September

Recorded Protests: 1,367 in 293 cities, villages and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 46

Iran’s truck drivers began their nationwide organized strike in September.

October

Recorded Protests: 1,533 in 323 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 49

October saw the most protest activity in Iran in 2018. Truck drivers, teachers, and bazaar merchants all went on strike in October.

November

Recorded Protests: 911 in 171 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 30

Iranian truck drivers went on another round of strikes in November, as did Iran’s teachers.

The workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory workers in Shush and the Iran National Steel Group workers in Ahvaz also began striking in protest of months of unpaid wages. Their weeks-long strikes would attract international attention.

Head of Iranian Regime’s Judiciary Threatens Striking Workers

December

Recorded Protests: 273 as of December 21st

Daily Average: 9

Workers, credit union clients, retirees, students, and prisoners all protesters during the month of December.

The regime arrested a number of striking Ahvaz steelworkers and Haft Tappeh factory workers in an escalation of their previous attempts to suppress the strikes. Regime agents carried out a series of midnight raids on the houses of striking workers and arrested dozens of workers. Reports indicate that labor activist Esmail Bakhshi was tortured in prison.

Iranian truck drivers started their fifth round of strikes this month as well. Those numbers are not included in the report, which will be updated by Iran News Wire in January.

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More arrest of the protesting Ahvaz steel workers

Further Arrests Follow the Second Night of Raids in Ahvaz

More arrest of the protesting Ahvaz steel workers

More arrests of Ahvaz steelworkers by the Iranian regime’s repressive forces, in a bid to intimidate the workers to end their strike.

Iranian agents carried out raids on the homes of steelworkers in Ahvaz for the second consecutive night. Dozens of workers that were arrested on Sunday night over their involvement in recent protests remain in custody. Reports from MEK sources indicate that following the raids on Monday night, several more employees of the Iranian National Steel Industries Group (INSIG) are have been detained.

The raids were part of a coordinated regime response to the Ahvaz steelworkers strike which has raged unabated for the last 39 days. What began as a strike over poor working conditions and regime corruption, has evolved into a stand-off as protestors refuse to disperse until the last steelworker has been freed from regime custody.

Instead of negotiation, the regime has adopted an increasingly repressive and violent approach to the strikes.

Public Support

In recent weeks, the striking steelworkers of Ahvaz have received the support of the Iranian people. In a student protest ahead of Iran’s national student day earlier this month, the demonstrators chanted slogans in solidarity with the striking steelworkers in Ahvaz.

On Tuesday morning, pensioners protesting outside the Parliament building in Tehran also voiced their support for the striking steelworkers. They engaged in chants of, “free the steelworkers” and “imprisoned workers must be freed”.

Out of Ideas

The most recent crackdown and midnight raids carried out at protestors’ homes speak volumes about the regime’s inability to deal with the rising tide of discontent that is sweeping across Iran.

The clerical regime has carved out a position at the top through violence and oppression. As a result, it lacks mechanisms to engage with the population and meet their demands. Its only response is further violence and further suppression.

While this may buy some time, it is not tenable in the long-term. The Iranian resistance and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) is growing more popular and stronger by the day. The Iranian public and its international allies increasingly view it as the only democratic alternative to the mullahs’ rule of terror.

The MEK and the Iranian resistance have called on international organizations, NGOs, labor groups and trade unions from around the world to stand with the workers of Ahvaz, as the Iranian public is. They have also urged Iranian citizens, in particular, the country’s youth and students to do what they can to support the striking workers and call on the regime to free those detained in regime custody.

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Ahvaz Steelworkers protest - Day 24.

Ahvaz Steel Workers Gain Support in Their Protests

Ahvaz Steelworkers protest - Day 24.

The protest by thousands of Steelworkers in Ahvaz continues.

Monday marked the 24th day of protests for the workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz, Khuzestan, report MEK sources inside Iran. The workers once again rallied in the streets of Ahvaz to demand payment of their wages, which they have not received for several months.

The protesting workers held banners reading, “The workers are awake, they are fed up with exploitation!” and “Don’t make workers the victims of mafia deals!”

The Ahvaz steelworkers have demanded their unpaid wages for months, but they have been ignored by both their employers and the Iranian regime. The workers have now been forced to strike in order to make their voices heard.

The regime has responded to the protests with threats and intimidation. The head of the regime’s judiciary threatened to arrest the striking workers, calling their protests “sedition.” Nevertheless, the steelworkers have continued to rally on the streets of Ahvaz for more than three weeks to demand payment for their work.

Regime officials recently announced that two months of wages had been deposited into the workers’ accounts. However, according to the state-run ILNA new agency, workers reported that only 120 workers were paid. The 3,500 striking workers did not receive their wages.

The Ahvaz steelworkers place the blame for their situation on the regime and its corrupt policies. They are among many groups of oppressed Iranian workers who are suffering from the Iranian regime’s corruption. The workers of the Haft Tappeh sugar factory in Shush, Khuzestan have been protesting for their unpaid wages for 29 days. The factory workers blame the regime for allowing the privatization of their company, which has nearly bankrupted it.

Iran: Haft Tappeh Workers Strike for 26th Day, Ignoring False Promises and Intimidation

As the strikes have gone on, the striking workers have gained support from the Iranian people and from human rights activists and labor rights groups across the world. MEK sources report that students have joined the steel workers’ protests. Students were seen holding signs reading, ““We’re the workers’ children; we’ll stand by their side!”

Regime officials have been forced to acknowledge that workers in Iran are unhappy with labor conditions in the country. State media has run a number of reports about the regime’s deep concerns that the workers’ dissatisfaction will lead to a large scale revolt led by the MEK.

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Iran Protests continue in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz

Head of Iranian Regime’s Judiciary Threatens Striking Workers

Iran Protests continue in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz

Despite the Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz, the protests continue.

After weeks of strikes by the Ahvaz Steelworkers and Haft Tappeh Sugar Factory workers, the regime has resorted to desperate measures to end the strikes and prevent the protests from spreading further. On November 26th, Sadegh Larijani, the head of the regime’s judiciary, addressed the protesting workers in comments that were broadcast by the state-run ILNA news agency. Larijani threatened the striking workers, saying, “We must deal with those who want to disrupt the order of the country, under the pretext of pursuing the demands of workers.”

Larijani also referred to the strikes as sedition. He said, “Workers should not allow their demands to be an excuse for the use of enemies and to create disorder.” He then added: “Workers will never meet their demands with turmoil, crisis and actions countering the public order.”

Despite these threats from the head of the regime’s judiciary, Ahvaz steelworkers continued their strike for the third week. The striking steelworkers also faced a large security presence, including state security forces, anti-riot guards and plainclothes officers, but they refused to allow the regime’s suppressive forces to intimidate them. The workers gathered once again in front of the regime’s governorate in Ahvaz, broke through a blockade made by suppressive forces and rallied in the streets of Ahvaz. The workers were joined by Ahvazi youth in their rally. They chanted, “We stand, we die, we get our rights!”

“The worker dies; he does not accept humiliation!”

“Our enemy is here, they claim falsely that it is the United States!”

“Government, Mafia, happy marriage!”

Meanwhile, the Haft Tappeh Sugar Mill factory workers continued their strike for the 22nd consecutive day. The tireless workers rallied again in the city of Shush, chanting, “The worker dies; he does not accept humiliation!”

“Death to the oppressor, greetings to the worker!”

“Imprisoned worker must be freed!”

Steel, Haft Tappeh, unity, unity!”

The MEK and the Iranian Resistance support the striking workers. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, has voiced her support of the striking workers and urged others to join them in solidarity.

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Protests continue in Ahvaz and Shush

Factory and Steel Workers Continue Their Strikes Despite Repressive Measures by Iranian Regime

Protests continue in Ahvaz and Shush

The protest by workers of Fulad-Ahvaz and their families and other fellow citizens continue despite heavy security measure by the repressive regime.

Saturday marked the 15th consecutive day of strikes for Ahvaz Steelworkers and the 20th consecutive day of strikes for the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory workers. The striking workers have continued to stand up for their rights despite repressive actions by the Iranian regime, based on reports from the MEK sources inside Iran.

Ahvaz Steel Workers

The striking Ahvaz Steelworkers rallied on Saturday in front of the governorate in Ahvaz and marched toward the Pol Sefid. Police confronted the workers and assaulted some of the protesters in an attempt to stop the demonstration, but young people who had joined the protest in support of the striking workers forced the police to retreat. The protesters chanted “Lest we are humiliated!” as they marched to Naderi Street.

Haft Tappeh Factory Workers

Also on Saturday, the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory workers gathered in front of the governorate in Shush to protest the recent false statements by the regime’s Deputy Minister of Labor. The deputy minister claimed that the workers had all received their unpaid wages and returned to work and that the strike was over. The striking workers responded to these lies with a rally. They made banners reading, “Imprisoned workers must be freed!” The workers chanted, “Even if we die, we will get our rights!” The MEK network shared video of the protests on social media.

Regime authorities arrested 19 Haft Tappeh factory workers for taking part in the strikes and protests. After their fellow workers pushed back and rallied for their colleagues’ release, the regime relented and released 14 of the workers. Five of the factory workers are still detained.

Maryam Rajavi Salutes Striking Workers

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), commended the striking factory and steel workers for continuing their strikes despite the regime’s repressive measures. She further called upon all the people of Khuzestan to stand in solidarity of the oppressed workers and to support their strike. She specifically called upon the youth of Iran to support the striking workers.

Mrs. Rajavi also called upon trade unions and workers’ rights activists to condemn the labor policies of the Iranian regime and to support the workers’ strikes in Iran. The MEK has pledged its support for the striking workers.

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Ahvazi Protesters Still Detained

Ahvazi Protesters Still Detained

Ahvazi Protesters Still Detained

Ahvazi protesters who were arrested during their uprisings in March, 2018, are still detained without trial

On Friday, May 18th, NCRI-Iran.org reported on the plight of protesters in Ahvaz. Hundreds of Ahvazi Arabs are still in detention a month after mass arrests in Khuzestan province in Iran. The protesters are being held without trial, and their future is uncertain.

 

Protests broke out in Ahvaz last month after a television program on state-controlled media led ethnic Arabs to believe they would be expelled from the region. People protested the program with weeklong demonstrations and rallies in Ahvaz and across Khuzestan province. The regime responded to these protests with mass arrests. Human rights activists estimated the number of people arrested at 500, though no official numbers have been released. The regime’s Ahvaz MP did confirm that arrests were made, but he estimated that only 150 were detained. Many of the families of detainees have gathered in front of the prison where their children are held and in front of government offices to protest their detention without trial.

 

Protests have continued to take place since the uprising that began at the end of last year, despite the regime’s attempt to suppress dissent. The MEK had a large role in organizing the uprising, and the people responded with a cry for regime change. Despite mass arrests, protests continue to occur across Iran.

 

According to the NCRI report, among those arrested during the protests was Reza, a young taxi driver who did not take part in the protests. Reza described his arrest:

 

“I was just back from Friday market and wanted to change my car’s oil. I left the car in an auto repair shop and then went to buy the oil when I noticed people gathering on the street. Security forces were chasing a number of young people who were just passing by while I was just watching. Suddenly I felt pressure and a heavy blow that caused me to fall down to the ground. I was then circled by security forces who were beating me and forced me into a police van, without allowing me to say a word.”

 

Reza said he was shocked and could not resist.
“I was blindfolded and taken aboard a bus. The bus didn’t move for about an hour, waiting to be filled with other detainees.”

 

Reza was taken to an unknown detention center with 200 other people, where they were held in appalling conditions until the next day. He said that there was no room to sit down and the center had a foul smell.

 

The following day, he and the other detainees were transferred to Ahvaz Shayban Prison, where they were given inadequate food. More detainees arrived daily. Reza was not a part of the protest and is not politically active. Despite this, [he] was repeatedly interrogated in the prison while being beaten each time, uselessly telling them that [he] was mistakenly arrested.”

 

The taxi driver was finally released on a 110-million-toman bail after 22 days and taken home by his family.

 

Those who dared to seek answers about the detainees were arrested as well. Saeed Fakhernasab, the former head and deputy head of Shadegan and Ahvaz district one education departments and prominent Ahvazi civil rights activist, was arrested after meeting with members of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, MPs, and high-ranking officials of the regime in an attempt to have the Ahvaz protesters released. He was finally released on a 500-million-toman bail after he had to be hospitalized. He remains on bail until his sentencing.

 

An Ahvazi civil rights activist familiar with the protesters’ situation said that that arrested fall into three groups: people who took part in the protests, people arrested at home or at work, and activists arrested after the protests. He added, “We’ve been informed that random arrests have taken place to a great extent.”

 

The activist went on to say that many of those arrested, like the taxi driver,  had not participated in the protests. Some of the detainees were arrested by high-ranking officials hoping to settle scores with activists.

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Protests intensify in Khuzestan-Iran in defiance of the Iranian regime

Protests intensify in Khuzestan-Iran in defiance of the regime

Protests intensify in Khuzestan-Iran in defiance of the Iranian regime

Protests intensify in Khuzestan-Iran in defiance of the Iranian regime

Protests in cities across the Iranian province of Khuzestan, Southwest of Iran have intensified. Just months after the country came together in mass anti-regime demonstrations against the Iranian regime, the people of Khuzestan are back in the streets due to severe government mismanagement.

At the beginning of March, there were some small anti-regime protests near Isfahan. Farmers in the region had been affected by drought due to the mismanagement of water by the Iranian regime.

With discontent for the regime among the provincial population rising, the protests soon spread, with protestors from nearby Ahvaz, Kut Abdullah, Abadan, Mashahr, Shoush, Hamidiyeh and Sheyban taking to their streets in anti-government protests.

The regime responded with force and repression

On Thursday the 29th of March, police and anti-riot personnel attacked protestors in Kut Abdullah with tear gas and batons. In Ahvaz, they arrested protestors, including women. In Shoush, four workers from the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Complex were arrested for their involvement in protests.

In fear of the growing protests, the Iranian regime is planning to clamp down on communications platforms available to the Iranians. The regime has plans to close the Telegram, Iran’s popular social media platform, by April 20th. The regime will replace the platform with a similar platform under the control of the regime. The move violates international treaties and is in direct contrast to the values of internet freedom upheld by the United Nations Security Council and the International Telecommunication Union.

The move will severely limit access to free and independent information

Telegram is essential for the Iranian population’s access to information. 80% of the Farsi-language information on the internet is sent via the social media platform. It also provides more than 200,000 jobs and contributes significantly to the Iranian economy.

The closure further demonstrates the lack of interest from the Iranian regime at promoting a strong national economy. Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), lamented Rouhani’s destruction of the Iranian economy the day before the protests in Khuzestan erupted. The country’s currency reached record lows against the US dollar in February of this year.

The resistance movement shows solidarity with protestors in Khuzestan

The government crackdowns are becoming more forceful. Individual arrests are limiting Individual freedoms. Now, the collective freedom of the whole of Iran is in jeopardy with the loss of the Telegram as a space to share information.

However, the protests in Khuzestan demonstrate the people’s will to rise up against the repressive regime is growing despite all repressive measures. While the possible Telegram’s shutdown demonstrates a regime scrambling to maintain control against an increasingly frustrated and determined population.

As the appetite for regime change in Khuzestan is increasing, we stand with them and call on the International communities for solidarity to protect Iranian civil freedom and access to information on the internet and to take the human rights dossier of the Iranian regime to the United Nations.

Staff writer.

 

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