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Narges Mohammadi Attacked and Threatened Twice in Past Week by State Agents

June 17, 2021

Prominent Activist in Iran Fears Her “Life is in Danger” After Violent Confrontations

Excerpt from  June 17 Press Release ~ Center for Human Rights in Iran:

Iran Should Stop Assaulting, Threatening Peaceful Activists

Iranian authorities should stop physically assaulting, harassing and threatening peaceful activists in Iran, including the prominent rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that she fears for her life after being twice violently confronted by unidentified state security agents in less than a week.

“I am extremely worried for my life,” Mohammadi told CHRI on June 17, 2021. “In a matter of a few days, unknown assailants who do not identify themselves have attacked and threatened me.”

“They have told me to stop my activities because it ‘harms the interests of the Islamic Republic,’” she added. “I am a human rights defender and have not broken any laws.” Photographs received by CHRI show large bruises on Mohammadi’s body.

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CHRI calls on the Iranian authorities to cease trying to muzzle free speech and expression and allow peaceful activism without the threat of violence, imprisonment or death. CHRI urges the international community to speak out against this unlawful state violence, and to monitor the human rights situation in Iran with heightened vigilance ahead of a sham election, scheduled for June 18, 2021, that could bring Ebrahim Raisi, a man guilty of crimes against humanity, to power.

Mohammadi and Mothers of Killed Protesters Violently Confronted in Shiraz

Mohammadi and other activists, including the mothers of peaceful protesters who were killed by security forces, were first violently confronted and briefly detained by state agents who refused to identify themselves on June 12, 2021, in the city Shiraz. They had traveled to Shiraz to visit the grieving family of champion wrestler Navid Afkari, who was unjustly executed there in September 2020.

The activists had peacefully gathered outside the prison where the wrestler was hanged—and where his two brothers now also fear for their lives in prolonged solitary confinement—when they were beaten by plainclothes agents who refused to identify themselves.

The second confrontation occurred on June 17 when Mohammadi traveled with fellow activists to the city of Shazand in Markazi Province to visit the family of an imprisoned human rights lawyer, Mohammadi Najafi, and was refused entry into the city.

Agents who again refused to identify themselves forced her into a car, drove her around for hours and “confronted her with violence.”

"They showed us an Intelligence Ministry letter requesting the prosecutor prohibit [my] entry into Shazand,” Mohammadi said in an audio message that was circulated on social media.

In the message, Mohammadi added that she was with three human rights lawyers, Abdolfattah Soltani, Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili, as well as Shanaz Akmali, who has been seeking justice for her son Mostafa Karim Beigi, who was killed in Tehran during a 2009 protest.

Mohammadi: “It has been nothing short of kidnappings and threatening my life”

“When I ask them to show me any legal documents and identify themselves, they refused,” Mohammadi told CHRI. “It has been nothing short of kidnappings and threatening my life. In Shiraz I was assaulted and bruised. My life is in danger.”

They were ultimately forced to return to Tehran.

Released from prison in October 2020 after serving five years for engaging in peaceful activism including against capital punishment, Mohammadi was again sentenced to 30 months in prison and 80 lashes in May 2021 for joining a peaceful sit-in at Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward to protest the violent state suppression of street protests in November 2019.

In late December 2019, following her participation in a peaceful protest in Evin prison against the killing of protestors by state security forces in November 2019, Mohammadi was forcibly and violently exiled to Zanjan prison, some 300 km from Tehran.

Instead of investigating her complaint against the violent prison transfer, she was later sentenced to more prison time. These rights violations took place during the tenure of Judiciary Chief Raisi.

In 2016, Mohammadi was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” group; “taking part in assembly and collusion against national security” and “committing propaganda against the state.”

The former Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), Mohammadi was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work in 2011 and the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society in 2018.

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Outside the Courtroom - Interview with Mehran Raoof's friend

Reprinted from Akhbar-Rooz, rough translation.

June 14, 2021

On Sunday, June 14, the second session of Mehran Raoof's court was held. . . . After several requests,  finally they allowed me to to visit. Many families of the prisoners were present. It was about one o'clock when the defendants came out one by one and met with their families and talked.

Mehran, who came out with the guard, wore his reading glasses and had a thoughtful look on his face. Then, with a loud voice, he protested: "They did not let us talk!" I went forward and Mehran asked me for my house phone number. I repeated it twice, before the soldier pulled his arm and took him away.

Compared to a month ago, his general condition was a little better, but I was upset that they did not let us talk. I asked his lawyer how Mehran's case had gone. He said then sentence would be announced at the next hearing, and that Mehran could face one to ten years in prison.

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He said he had objected to several aspects of the cases. He said that they prevented us from visiting because I am not a first-degree relative. Yesterday, Mehran was finally transferred to a public ward after eight months in solitary confinement.

On the way back. I stopped in front of Shahr-e-Kitab,  ( big bookstore, city of books). Usually, I would have been interested in seeing books. But, this time I did not have the patience to go to those chic-op's halls. I told myself how ironic and ridiculous it would be, to go to such a place while Mehran is in prison for translating several books and publishing them without censorship. Then I consoled myself that at least Mehran would no longer be in solitary confinement, but in a ward with other prisoners.

Indeed, freedom is so great for us, the people of this distant land, that we should be happy about going to a prison ward instead of solitary confinement! Then I remembered some of the writer friends who are also in Evin, and some of the labor and student activists who are there too. Maybe Mehran will join them and make a difference.

The memory of our walking in the streets of Tehran came to my mind, and of the Friday morning we crossed the same street by car and went to the mountains.

Damn this life!

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Aljbar-Rooz.com

Iran Election: Political Prisoners Dying Under Candidate Raisi’s Watch

June 7, 2021

At Least Two Political Prisoners Have Died in Past Four Months

Niknafs Was Jailed Despite Health Conditions That Made Him Unfit for Prison

June 7, 2021 – Another political prisoner has died in state custody two weeks before Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, who is ultimately responsible for the care of prisoners, runs for president.

“The reported death of Sassan Niknafs in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary reveals the mounting human toll of the Iranian judiciary’s policy of imprisoning individuals for criticizing the government,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“These individuals shouldn’t be in prison in the first place yet they’re dying in state custody while Raisi focuses on his latest power grab,” he said.

Niknafs’ death was reported just four months after another political prisoner, Behnam Mahjoubi, died in state custody after Iran’s State Medical Examiner had concluded he could not withstand incarceration.

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IranHumanRights.org

Haidar Ghorbani, labor activist, sentenced to 11 years

June 5, 2021
Haidar Ghorbani

Labor activist Heydar Ghorbani was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Second Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Shahriar County on June 4, 2021.

HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, reports that the labor activist was sentenced on charges of “membership in a group or population or a branch of a population formed within the country to disrupt the security of the country” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting The Independent Union of Iranian Workers, Ghorbani is from Kamyaran in Kurdistan Province.

Ghorbani is a construction worker and a member of the Free Trade Union of Iran.

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More detail at HRNA News

Nahid Taghavi Transferred, New Trial Scheduled

May 18, 2021

Press release from Mariam Claren regarding Nahid Taghavi, 66 year old innocent German citizen arbitrarily detained in Iran since 16 October 2020.

After 43 days in solitary confinement, Nahid Taghavi was transferred back to the women’s wing in Evin prison.
New trial date scheduled for June 13, 2021

The German government must intervene and free their citizen, Nahid Taghavi immediately and unconditionally. She has been arbitrarily detained for 7 months, her health has deteriorated severely and she is now facing a sham trial.

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Nahid Taghavi was arbitrarily detained by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tehran on October 16, 2020.

She was held in solitary confinement for the first 5 months of her detention. Nahid was not given appropriate access to medical care or legal representation. She has high blood pressure and her inhumane treatment took a toll on her health causing her diabetes which was previously under control, to return.

After public pressure due to campaigning by her daughter, Mariam Claren based in Germany, Nahid was transferred to the women’s wing for 20 days before being returned to solitary confinement once again on April 5, 2021 under the pretext of a visit to the doctor. After another 43 days in solitary confinement in Isolation Section 2-Alef, Nahid Taghavi was moved back to the women’s wing in Evin prison recently on May 16, 2021.

Nahid’s initial trial was on April 28, 2021. Her lawyer was only given access to her case file for the first time on April 24, 2021, 4 days before the trial itself and he could not see Nahid. As a result, her trial was postponed. Nahid’s new trial date is scheduled for June 13, 2021 before Revolutionary Court branch 26 in Tehran.

The German government must intervene and free their citizen, Nahid Taghavi immediately and unconditionally. She has been arbitrarily detained for 7 months, her health has deteriorated severely and she is now facing a sham trial.

Key points on Nahid Taghavi:

  • 66 year old German-Iranian dual national
  • Arbitrarily arrested on October 16, 2020 in her apartment in Tehran
  • More than 6 months in solitary confinement
  • No consular support despite her German citizenship

Contact:
Mariam Claren, +49 172 886 23 29
Twitter: @mariam_claren

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“Unbearable”: Reza Khandan, Husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, on the Ground in Iran’s Qarchak Prison

May 10, 2021
Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan protest

Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan (Ms Magazine, courtesy of Jeff Kaufman)

"The little girl is three years old. She approaches my wife Nasrin Sotoudeh who is sitting in a corner of the prison yard and asks, “Aunty, can you tell me the Rolling Pumpkin story?” Sonbol is a beautiful girl with golden hair, born here at Qarchak prison. Her mother was pregnant when she was arrested for bank robbery. Now they live in a place the inmates call 'the end of the world.'

"Nasrin has been unjustly and cruelly imprisoned since June 2018 for her legal work representing Iranian human rights and women’s rights activists. She was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Under the law she must serve at least 12 years. In October 2020, Nasrin was taken out of Evin prison and told she was being taken to the hospital to have treatment for her heart condition. They lied and drove her to Qarchak. Soon after she arrived, Nasrin caught COVID-19. She told me that coronavirus had spread in her ward and many inmates became sick."

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MsMagazine.com

Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounts to torture, says Raab

May 2, 2021

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was difficult to argue with the characterisation that dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held state hostage by the Iranians.

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TheGuardian.com

Iran sets trial dates for dual nationals before nuclear deal talks in Vienna

April 21, 2021

Trials coincide with Iran announcing desire for ‘all for all’ simultaneous prisoner exchanges with west

Iran has set April 28 as the trial date for two dual nationals in cases that may increase the pressure before the next stage of talks on the future of the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna: British-Iranian Mehran Raoof, who has been detained in Evin prison in Tehran since 16 October 2020, and German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi.

Read full article on TheGuardian.com.

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British-Iranian Labor Activist Detained in Solitary Confinement for Six Months

April 15, 2021

More than 80 days after his arrest, Mehran Raouf, a British-Iranian labor activist, remains in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.

The 64-year-old was detained by security forces in Tehran on October 16, 2020.

Mehran Raouf
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Six months later, Raouf is still being held on Ward 2A of Evin Prison, which is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The reasons for his arrest and the charges against him remain unknown.

A source close to Raouf, told HRANA news agency that the unionist is now suffering from physical ill-health due to the long interrogations and protracted time in a solitary cell.

The Committee to Support Mehran Raouf, which was set up by a number of international labor movements following his arrest, issued a fresh statement on April 9 expressing concern over his continued detention.

“Despite widespread support for Mehran Raouf from than 90 syndicates and trade unions around the world,” it read, “and the signing of a petition calling for Mehran Raouf's release by hundreds of social activists, the British government has not yet taken action to support him.”

IranWire approached the UK Foreign Office regarding Raouf’s case on February 8, 2021. Nine days later, the FCO responded: “We continue to raise the issue of British dual national detentions with the Iranian authorities”.

It is understood that no consular assistance has yet been provided to the British-Iranian national, whose immediate family all live outside Iran.

On March 16, 2021 calling for the unconditional release of the Iranian-British labor activist, saying: "Mehran Raouf is being held 'arbitrarily' in Evin Prison in Tehran. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally."

Amnesty International has also repeatedly called on the British government to include Mehran Raouf in its efforts to secure the release of Iranian-British nationals in Iran, alongside Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The charity reports that Raouf was held incommunicado for a month after his arrest, after which he was allowed to make one brief telephone call to distant relative inside Iran.

Since then, Amnesty added, he had been “denied calls with his immediate family and the right to access legal counsel, even from the judiciary-approved lawyers that his family have retained on his behalf.

“He has been held in prolonged solitary confinement for months. Amnesty International fears that he is at serious risk of further torture and other human rights violations, especially given the Revolutionary Guards’ pattern of subjecting detainees to torture to extract forced ‘confessions’ which are later used to issue convictions in unfair trials.”

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IranWire 4/15/2021

Nahid Taghavi Back in Solitary

April 5, 2021
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Dangerous Surge in Transfers to Remote Locations of Iran’s Political Prisoners

March 24, 2021

Since December 2020, there appears to be concerted efforts to disperse prisoners, among them many women, who have been standard bearers of resistance in Iran’s prisons including during their imprisonment.

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From Mariam Claren about Nahid Taghavi

March 17, 2021

On the 151 day of her arbitrary detention my mother Nahid Taghavi was transferred to the women’s wing in Evin prison on Tuesday, 16 March.

She called my uncle and said, that her transfer was only made, because of all the media attention and our campaign to #freenahid.

Nahid Taghavi
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The women in the wing gave her a warm welcome and told her about all the efforts that are made on international level to free her.

This is a first victory but the campaign and fight for her unconditional and immediate release have to be continued.

For today, I am happy that my mother is not isolated anymore and has the opportunity to talk with all the strong and brave women who are behind bars with her. We should all continue campaigning to free them all.

Special thanks to all the media for tireless covering the story of Nahid Taghavi.

Mariam Claren

Key points on Nahid Taghavi:
· 66 year old German-Iranian dual national
· Arbitrarily arrested on October 16, 2020 in her apartment in Tehran
· 5 months in solitary confinement
· No access to lawyer
· No consular support despite her German citizenship

Contact:Mariam Claren, +49 172 886 23 29
Twitter: @mariam_claren

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Iran: Four Ahwazi Arab Men Secretly Executed

March 17, 2021

Ali Khasraji, Hossein Silawi, Jasem Heidary and Naser Khafajian, from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, were executed in secret in Sepidar prison on 28 February 2021. The Iranian authorities are concealing the full truth about their fate as well as the location of their graves and are refusing to return their bodies to their families, thereby committing the ongoing crime of enforced disappearance.

Ahwazi Arab prisoners of conscience Mohammad Ali Amouri, Jaber Alboshokeh and Mokhtar Alboshokeh continue to be denied adequate health care.

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Amnesty International Alert

Lawsuit by Civil Rights Activists Reignites Debate over Solitary Confinement in Iran's Prisons

March 11, 2021

A group of civil rights activists, many of them former prisoners who suffered solitary confinement, appeared before the Judiciary Services Office in Tehran to file a suit against those who order or enforce solitary confinement in Iran’s detention centers and prisons.

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https://iranhumanrights.org

In Letter to the UN, Imprisoned Iranian Writer Nasrin Sotoudeh Protests Executions

February 23, 2021
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PEN America Report

Iran Executes Dissident Journalist Accused of Inciting Unrest

December 20, 2020

Amnesty International said: “The authorities rushed to execute Ruhollah Zam in what we believe was a reprehensible bid to avoid an international campaign to save his life."

The execution was also condemned by the press freedom groups Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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The Guardian