این نمایش پردهای نیاز به جاوااسکریپت دارد.
Dedicated to all those who struggle for freedom and democracy for Iran
Long live freedom, long live Iran
Iranians living in the U.K., come join in public solidarity to prevent elections taking place for the Islamic regime in London.
Dedicated to all those who struggle for freedom and democracy for Iran
Long live freedom, long live Iran
April 14, 2017–The candidacy in Iran’s upcoming presidential election of Ebrahim Raisi, who played a leading role in crimes against humanity during the 1980s, is a serious setback for a country striving to rejoin the international community.
In 1988, Raisi was part of a four-man commission that implemented the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners. Current President Hassan Rouhani, Raisi, and the former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are considered at present to be the most serious contenders for the presidency, which will be decided in Iran’s elections on May 19.
“A man who should be on trial for the most heinous crime in contemporary Iranian history, is instead seeking the presidency,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Allowing him to run for president is yet another grievous wound for the families who unjustly lost their loved ones in 1988,” he added.
Thousands of political prisoners were executed in Iran that year after facing what came to be known as the “death committee,” which decided whether the prisoners would live or die based on their perceived loyalty to the Islamic Republic.
The victims, who had already been tried and were serving prison sentences, did not know they were facing death when they then faced the inquisition-like proceedings conducted by the committee.
At that time, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who was the heir apparent to the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, condemned the killings, telling members of the committee: “I believe this is the greatest crime committed in the Islamic Republic since the  revolution and history will condemn us for it…. History will write you down as criminals.”
Montazeri’s son, Ahmad, released the taped recording of that conversation in an audio file posted online in August 2016, bringing the massacre to the forefront of public memory.
The dissent of Montazeri, who until that point was being groomed to become Iran’s second supreme leader, paved the way for his removal from his post. Despite being put under house arrest from 1997-2003, he continued his criticism of the executions until his death in 2009.
To date, no official has been held accountable for their role in the mass executions.
After serving on the “death committee,” Raisi went on to serve in senior judicial positions, and currently heads Astan Quds Razavi, one of Iran’s wealthiest religious institutions that effectively functions as a major business conglomerate.
In a statement posted on his website on April 9, Raisi said he wanted to rectify the “wrong culture in the management of the country” as president.
“We can save the country from impending crises and restore peace of mind to the public by simply transforming the administration of the executive branch and recruit strong and trustworthy managers,” he added.
In an interview with CHRI, Montazeri’s son, Ahmad, criticized Raisi’s decision to run and said he had more audio files in his possession.
“If any of the candidates had attacked a person with a knife, he would have had a criminal record and would not get clearance from the authorities, never mind Mr. Raisi, whose record is very clear,” he said.
“When the conditions are right and the people in charge of the country are more tolerant, the rest of the audio files will be published,” he added. “Already a lot of transparency has been achieved (with the release of the first file).”
In August 2016, Ahmad Montazeri was sentenced to six years in prison for releasing the audio file of his father’s condemnation of the commission. The Intelligence Ministry also tried to suppress and confiscate the recordings.
“When I was being interrogated, the Intelligence Ministry agents demanded all the files be handed over,” he added. “I told them, and replied in writing, that the files are not about me or my personal property.”
“They belong to the entire Montazeri family and indeed to the history of our country,” he said. “I cannot hand them over.”
Ahmad Montazeri was detained on February 21, 2017 to begin serving the sentence, but was granted furlough (temporary leave) and released the next day.
“The executed victim’s families who have requested a public investigation into the atrocities of 1988 or simply tried to find out where their loved ones were buried have been harassed and even arrested,” said Ghaemi.
“Instead of punishing the victims, and attempting to silence Ahmad Montazeri, all the files should be publicly released and everyone who enabled the executions, including Raisi, should be publicly investigated and held accountable,” he added.
Ehsan Mazandarani Starts Hunger Strike
Reformist editor Ehsan Mazandarani was shocked with a Taser stun gun while being returned to Evin Prison in Tehran by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization on March 11, 2017, less than a month after he was released.
“Around noon an agent contacted him and said he wants to go inside Ehsan’s garage,” Sam Hosseini, Mazandarani’s brother-in-law, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “When Ehsan went outside to see what was going on, he saw several agents of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, who then entered his home.”
“An argument followed, and one of the agents, who said his name was Mehdi Bahari, gave Ehsan an electric shock and dragged him away,” he added.
Mazandarani began a hunger strike to protest the “illegal, political and arbitrary action” upon entering the prison, said Hosseini.
“When the agents were asked why they were arresting Ehsan again, all they said was that there had been a mistake and he shouldn’t have been freed,” he said, adding that it was actually the IRGC who made the mistake.
Following his trial, Mazandarani was verbally informed that he would have to serve two years in prison, but says he received a shorter sentence—the one he actually served before being released—in writing.
“The first court sentenced Ehsan to seven years in prison and then he and his lawyer were told that the Appeals Court reduced the sentence to two years in prison,” Hosseini told CHRI. “But when Ehsan received the actual court ruling, it said he had been sentenced to one year, one month and 12 days.”
“Ehsan twice corresponded with Ms. Fattaneh Fattahi, the court’s clerk, and said that the ruling was different than what was told to him before,” added Hosseini. “She replied that the ruling was what it was.”
Before his arrest in November 2015, Mazandarani was the editor-in-chief of the reformist Farhikhtegan newspaper. He had not returned to work after his release, Hosseini told CHRI.
Mazandarani was released from Evin Prison on February 11, 2017 after serving a little over 13 months for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” He was also banned from working as a journalist for two years.
In 2016, Mazandarani was hospitalized on at least two occasions to receive emergency treatment for the life-endangering health effects of the hunger strikes he underwent to protest his unjust sentence.
When the agents of the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization first arrested Mazandarani on November 2, 2015, they also arrested three other journalists: Issa Saharkhiz, Ehsan (Saman) Safarzaei and Afarin Chitsaz in the largest wave of arrests by the IRGC since 2009.
Marketing manager Davoud Assadi, the brother of Paris-based dissident journalist Houshang Assadi, was also arrested that day.
Behrouz Tavakkoli, an elderly former Baha’i community leader who has spent nearly nine years in prison for his faith, is legally eligible for early release, but his requests for a case review are being ignored.
His son, Naim Tavakkoli, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that his father, a 64-year-old former member of the Baha’i leadership council in Iran, is also suffering from heart disease.
“My father has heart problems because one of his arteries is 70 percent clogged and he needs an operation,” Naim Tavakkoli told CHRI. “One time he was transferred to the hospital, but was returned to prison without receiving treatment.”
“The doctors said that the operation would be expensive and his recovery would require special care that’s unavailable in prison,” he added. “Also, when they take prisoners to the hospital, they are put in chains and my father doesn’t want to go anymore under these conditions.”
Political prisoners in Iran are singled out for harsh treatment, which often includes denial of medical care.
“My father has been in prison since 2008 and although the family tried a lot to get him out on furlough (temporary leave), all requests have been denied without explanation,” he said. “Besides, my father has served more than two-thirds of his sentence and is eligible for early release.”
According to Article 58 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the deciding court can issue the order of conditional release for those sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after half the sentence is served.
“We’ve been running around trying to convince the authorities to release him, but we haven’t gotten anywhere,” he added.
Behrouz Tavakkoli and six other Baha’i leaders, including Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saied Rezaie, Vahid Tizfahm and Mahvash Sabet, were arrested in the spring of 2008.
In 2010 they were sentenced to 20 years in prison each for the charges of “carrying out espionage for Israel,” “insulting the sacred,” “propaganda against the state” and “spreading corruption on Earth.” Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years in prison each.
“My father had studied psychology and worked for the Welfare Organization in a center dedicated to finding employment for people with physical disabilities,” said Naim Tavakkoli. “In 1981, he was fired for being a Baha’i and was never able to go back to his job.”
“He was not even allowed to start his own business or open a bank account,” he added.
The Baha’i community is one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in Iran. The faith is not recognized in the Islamic Republic’s Constitution and its members face harsh discrimination in all walks of life as well as prosecution for the public display of their faith.
In November 2016, an elderly Baha’i man was stabbed to death outside his home in the city of Yazd because of his religious beliefs.
Rouhani Officials Ignore Jalali’s Wife’s Letters
Iranian-born Swedish resident Ahmadreza Jalali is protesting his detainment in Iran since April 2016 without charge and denial of access to due process by refusing food and water.
“On Thursday (February 23) Ahmadreza’s relatives in Tehran visited him in prison and said he had lost a lot of weight and was in a bad mental state,” Mehran-nia told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “He also has chest and kidney pains.”
Jalali stopped eating food on February 15, 2017 and shifted to a dry hunger strike on February 24.
Officials within the administration of President Hassan Rouhani have meanwhile not responded to letters from his wife, Vida Mehran-nia, demanding justice for her husband.
“A month ago (January 2017), I wrote a letter to Hassan Rouhani and asked for his help,” said Mehran-nia. “For the sake of an innocent citizen behind bars, I asked him to look into the unjust treatment Ahmadreza has received and to investigate Judge (Abolghasem) Salavati’s death threats. I haven’t gotten a response yet.”
“Is this justice? I also wrote to the judiciary’s Human Rights director Mohammad Javad Larijani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif,” she said. “None of them have replied to me.”
Jalali has been repeatedly denied lawyers of his choice and told by his interrogators and the presiding judge before the start of his trial that he will be sentenced to death.
“Judge Salavati rejected Ahmadreza’s first lawyer, Mr. Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee (prominent human rights lawyer),” Mehran-nia told the Campaign.
“Then, four months ago, the court accepted Ahmadreza’s new lawyer, Ms. Zeinab Taheri, but now that we are getting close to the date of the trial, Judge Salavati is saying he won’t accept her either, and Ahmadreza has to find yet another lawyer,” she said.
“Judge Salavati rejected Jalali’s lawyer and demanded that the lawyer be changed or a public defender would be imposed by the court,” she added. “Jalali said he would not change his lawyer and that if his lawyer was not permitted to attend the trial, he would not show up in court either.”
“What could all this mean other than the fact that Ahmadreza is innocent?” said Mehran-nia. “They have nothing on him and they just want to take away his ability to defend himself in court.”
“Ahmadreza had no choice but to go on a hunger strike to make his voice heard,” she told the Campaign.
Salavati is infamous for imposing harsh sentences in politicized cases.
In interviews with the Campaign, several lawyers have criticized Salavati for ignoring arguments by the defense in court and bowing to the demands of the prosecution, especially in cases in which the arresting authority was the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization.
Salavati has presided over many cases against dual nationals, including Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, who were released in January 2016 in a prisoner swap deal with the US.
He is also the presiding judge in current cases against dual nationals including against Iranian-American Siamak Namazi, his father Bagher Namazi, and British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
In all these cases, the victims have been held without due process and under unclear or unannounced charges, and denied full and proper legal representation.
“We kept quiet for nine months and didn’t say anything about Ahmadreza’s detention because we thought he would go free, as the authorities kept saying he would,” Mehran-nia told the Campaign. “But we’ve had enough of all this injustice.”
In April 2016, Jalali, who lives in Sweden with his wife and two children, was officially invited by Tehran University to speak about his knowledge and experience as a disaster medical response expert.
On April 24, 2016 he was arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents and held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison’s Ward 209 where he was interrogated for seven months.
The charges against Jalali have not been publicly disclosed.
The Judiciary’s ongoing imprisonment of dual nationals contradicts Rouhani’s repeated calls for expatriates to return to Iran. The growing number of arrests also reflects hardliners’ efforts to prevent the engagement with the West that the Rouhani administration has sought to encourage.
Iranian-British dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016, has been held since April 2016; Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, held since October 15, 2015 and his father, 80-year-old Bagher Namazi, held since February 2016, have both been sentenced to ten years in prison; Iranian-American Robin (Reza) Shahini, held since July 2016; has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, British-Iranian Roya Saberi Nobakht, held since October 2013, has been sentenced to seven years; and Iranian-Austrian dual citizen Kamran Ghaderi, held since January 2016, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Iranian-American Karan Vafadari, held since July 2016, has not been sentenced yet.
Former political prisoner Majid Asadi was arrested at his home in Karaj, west of Tehran, and taken to Evin Prison on February 21, 2017 by “unidentified agents who did not show a warrant,” an informed source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Asadi contacted his family on February 23 from Evin Prison by phone, but did not talk about the charges against him or specify which ward he was being held in, said the source.
At the time of his latest arrest, Asadi was working as a translator in a private company and was not involved in politics, “but his friendly relationships with former cellmates may have made the security officials sensitive towards him,” said the source.
Asadi is still suffering from the digestive problems resulting from a hunger strike he endured during his first round of prison and his condition could get worse without medical care, added the source.
The Intelligence Ministry previously arrested Asadi, 34, on July 3, 2008 while he was a student activist at Allameh Tabatabaie University in Tehran. He was released approximately three months later on bail.
In March 2010, Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Asadi to four years in prison for “assembly and collusion against national security.”
Asadi began his prison term on October 5, 2011 after the Appeals Court upheld his sentence and completed the sentence on June 8, 2015.