ENGLISH POSTS

Internet Cut-Off During Recent Unrest in Iran Reveals Tehran’s New Cyber Capabilities

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New Report Details Growing State Ability to Block, Censor and Monitor the Internet in Iran

January 10, 2018—The recent unrest in Iran—during which the authorities disrupted Iranians’ access to the internet and blocked major social media networks used by the protesters—demonstrates that the Iranian government’s decade-long effort to control the internet in Iran is being realized.

In a major new report released today, Guards at the Gate: The Expanding State Control Over the Internet in Iran, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) details the advances the Iranian government has made in controlling cyberspace in Iran, and the resulting losses to internet freedom and privacy.

The 76-page report provides a comprehensive review of Iran’s internet policies and initiatives, in particular, the development and new capabilities of Iran’s state-controlled National Internet Network (NIN), which gives the government newly expanded abilities to control Iranians’ access to the internet and monitor online communications.

“The Iranian government has now shown the world that it can—and will—cut its citizens off from the global internet, in total disregard for the rights of the Iranian people,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of CHRI.

Key findings of Guards at the Gate:

The NIN enables the authorities to separate domestic internet traffic from international internet traffic, allowing the state to cut Iranians off from the global internet while maintaining access to state-approved domestic sites and services on the NIN. The government demonstrated this capability for the first time in December 2017 as unrest broke out around the country: The authorities disrupted internet access through slowdowns and the blocking of circumvention tools on December 29—and briefly cut-off internet access on December 30 while domestic NIN traffic continued unhindered—in addition to blocking the Instagram social media site and the Telegram messaging app used by the protesters.
Without any judicial oversight, Iran’s NIN can be used by state security agencies to identify users and hack into private accounts. The stakes are especially high when it comes to internet security: many Iranians serve long prison sentences for online communications disapproved of by the state. State-sponsored DDoS attacks, phishing, malware, and message interception have all increased during Rouhani’s tenure.
The NIN also allows the state to more effectively filter and manipulate online content. Iran’s national search engines now automatically block keywords and phrases and send users to sites that deliver state-approved and sometimes fabricated content.
The state steers Iranians towards the NIN and its services—such as national search engines, email and video services—by making it cheaper and faster to use than the global internet, violating net neutrality principles.
President Rouhani, while publicly stating support for internet freedom, has increased internet filtering, accelerated development of the NIN, and during his tenure millions of websites continue to be blocked and major social media platforms remain banned—even as his administration has expanded internet use in Iran by making it faster and cheaper, and on occasion has reversed the blocking of some messaging apps.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has consolidated control over Iran’s internet policies and development of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure under hardline organizations and security agencies that are under his authority and which view internet freedom as a threat, in a significant institutional shift that will profoundly harm internet access and privacy in Iran.
“Iran is grouping itself among the autocracies of the world by violating its people’s rights to internet freedom and privacy,” said Ghaemi. “Governments worldwide should express their deep concern over these violations directly to their Iranian counterparts.”

Inside Guards at the Gate:

Comprehensive review of internet policies and technological developments in Iran over the last five years, with emphasis on the new internet blocking and surveillance capabilities of Iran’s NIN.
Analysis of the increasingly sophisticated nature of internet censorship in Iran, including the intensified filtering of encryption tools and the use of fabricated online content.
Discussion of the tools and methods of state-sponsored cyberattacks in Iran.
Guards at the Gate: The Expanding State Control Over the Internet in Iran builds on years of extensive research and reporting by CHRI on internet freedom and security issues in Iran and the growing technological capabilities of the state. The report provides a comprehensive understanding of the significant advancements the Iranian government has made over the last five years, and the implications these new capabilities have for Iranians’ access to the internet and their ability to communicate privately and safely online.

A protest rally in support of the people’s demonstrations against the corrupt Islamic regime

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In the past few days in different cities of Iran, we have witnessed a vast and massive gatherings of people’s protest to the centers of power and symbols of the Islamic Republic of Iran by  people.

In addition to suppressing, arresting, beatings and firing tear gas, the Islamic regime tried to prevent protest rallies by using water sprinklers. The Islamic Republic, which has survived only by the slaughter and repression of the people, is submissively trying to reduce the energy of the social explosion in various ways.

In recent days, dozens of protesters have killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands have been arrested or subjected to arrest.

Persian solidarity  invites you to come and join us in the opportunity of a public gathering to overthrow the corrupt Islamic regime

In front of the Iranian embassy in London on 6 January 2018 at 14:00 hours.

16 Princes Gate

Knightsbridge

London

SW7 1PT

Dedicated to all those who struggle for freedom and democracy for Iran

Long live freedom, long live Iran

Ahmadi

Iranian Authorities Confiscate Prominent Director’s Passport, Ban Him From Making Films

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Award-winning director Mohammad Rasoulof has revealed that he has been banned from making films in Iran and is not allowed to leave the country.

“As soon as I arrived at Tehran’s international airport [on September 11, 2017], two individuals came to me at the passport checkpoint and took me to a room where they confiscated my passport and personal belongings,” Rasoulof told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 23, 2017.

“Two hours later they returned my personal belongings but kept my passport and told me I should appear at the Culture and Media Court,” he added. “But a few days later, I received a summons telling me not to appear in court until further notice.”

Rasoulof’s passport was confiscated after he returned to Iran in September 2017 after winning the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival for “A Man of Integrity.” The film, which has not received a permit to be screened in Iran, focuses on corruption in the Islamic Republic.

“Then, on October 3, I was questioned for more than four and a half hours by three individuals who asked me about all my films, especially ‘A Man of Integrity’ and ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn,’” which is about murders carried out by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in the 1990s,” said Rasoulof.

He continued: “From the start, it became clear that the gentlemen questioning me were from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization. They told me I am charged with ‘assembly and collusion against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state.”

“They literally said their office works independently without any supervision,” he added.

Rasoulof was prosecuted on the same charges in March 2010 along with fellow dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi and sentenced to six years in prison. Upon appeal, the sentence was reduced to one year in prison but has not been enforced.

Giving more details about his questioning by the IRGC intelligence agents, Rasoulof said, “They were very angry. They insisted that I had smeared the values of the [1979] revolution in my films.”

“One of the interrogators said frankly that independent cinema is a joke and should be banned,” he added. “I told him that if independent cinema is a joke, why don’t you let me tell my jokes?

He continued: “Then I was questioned about one of the stories in ‘A Man of Integrity’ and they were adamant that I was defending Baha’ism. I explained that one of the topics in the film is discrimination in Iran. I did not defend any particular group or ideology in my film but it is my right to protest the ruling establishment’s denial of basic rights to certain groups of people.”

Iran’s Constitution does not recognize the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Although Article 23 states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief,” followers of the faith are denied many basic rights as one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in the country.

“They said I am banned from making films and should come back for more questioning,” Rasoulof told CHRI. “Two months have passed and I am still waiting in limbo.”

Rasoulof revealed that two colleagues who have worked on his films, including producer Kaveh Farnam, have also been banned from traveling outside Iran.

“We all know that in Iran’s political structure, power is concentrated in a place that takes away the authority of the executive branch, headed by the president, in implementing the law,” he said.

“We are still witnessing films, which were approved for public screening, being postponed because of threats and attacks by [religious] radicals,” added Rasoulof. “The Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry cannot even defend its own decisions.”

A protest in support of Reza Shahabi, a labour activist and political prisoner

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Following the second stroke of Reza Shahabi in rajaei prison, and preventing him from sending him to the hospital for treatment and care, Robạbh Rezaei his wife’s  will be in protest against this situation and his immediate release on Tuesday.

We are in solidarity with this call and with the request of immediate freedom and no constraint.

In front of the Iranian embassy in London on 26 December 2017 at 13:00 till 14:00 hours.
16 Princes Gate

Knightsbridge

London

SW7 1PT

Persian Solidarity invites you to join us on this protest.

Dedicated to all those who struggle for freedom and democracy for Iran

Long live freedom, long live Iran

Ahmadi

Baha’is Still Misunderstood in Iran, Says Former Leader After Serving 10 Years in Prison

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Baha’i leader Behrouz Tavakkoli has spoken out about the Iranian government’s “misunderstandings” about his minority faith.

Tavakkoli spoke to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 15, 2017, 11 days after his release from Rajaee Shahr Prison where he served a 10-year-prison sentence for his religious beliefs.

“Those in charge of the country knew how the Baha’i community operated but there were some misunderstandings that led to the charge of ‘acting against national security,’” he said.

“For instance, just because the Baha’i international community’s headquarters is based in Haifa [Israel], they accused us of spying for an enemy state,” he added. “We tried to explain and get rid of these misunderstandings but unfortunately we were not successful.”

Iran is 90 percent Shia Muslim and the country’s Constitution does not recognize the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Although Article 23 states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief,” followers of the faith are denied many basic rights as one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in the country.

Tavakkoli was one of seven Baha’i leaders known as the “Yaran” (“the friends”) who were arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for “collaborating with enemy states” in a mass trial.

Baha’i leader Mahvash Sabet was freed on September 18 and Fariba Kamalabadi on October 31.

“The charges against us were completely false,” said Tavakkoli. “The authorities were convinced that we had formed an illegal organization. But the Baha’i community is active in 184 countries. We perform religious duties such as marriage, divorce, and burials for our followers and offer spiritual teachings. We also provide social services in various countries but in Iran we are not allowed to do so.”

The Yaran were initially sentenced to 20 years in prison each for several national security charges, including “collaborating with enemy states,” “insulting the sacred,” and “propaganda against the state” by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in August 2010.

Their sentences were eventually reduced to 10 years in prison each based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which allows prisoners to serve only the longest sentence in cases involving convictions on multiple charges.

“I served as a member of the Yaran for 18 years but it does not exist any more,” said Tavakkoli. “We have no titles or responsibilities.”

“In March 2009, the prosecutor general issued an order that the Yaran’s operations were against national interests,” he added. “The Baha’i community complied and disbanded the group and local affiliates. Officials even opposed Baha’is performing marriage, divorce and burial ceremonies.”

Continued Tavakkoli: “Now there’s no national leadership and if rights are violated, every Baha’i is individually responsible for themselves. Of course, international organizations such as the United Nations always follow up and mention the violations against the Baha’i community in Iran in their resolutions. But for the time being, there is no Baha’i administration in Iran.”

Tavakkoli told CHRI that during his 10 years in prison, he was denied the right to go on furlough.

“There was no physical torture when I was being interrogated,” he added. “But we were held in solitary confinement, which is a form of psychological torture.”

“When you don’t know what has happened to your family, that’s psychological torture,” he said. “I was not allowed to use the phone to call my family for two months after my arrest. Family visitations were banned for four months while I was held in solitary confinement.”

Tavakkoli was expelled from the Iranian Welfare Organization in 1981, where he worked as a psychologist, because of his faith.

Baluchi Imprisoned For Brother’s Alleged Terrorist Links Hunger Strikes Against Repeated Beatings

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Mohammad Saber Malek-Raeisi, imprisoned in Iran for the last eight years solely because of his brother’s alleged links with a terrorist organization, has gone on hunger strike in Ardabil Central Prison in northwestern Iran.

His mother, Golbibi Malek-Raeisi, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that she has been informed that her son would be released if she turns in his brother.

“Obeidolrahman is a fugitive,” she said. “I have no idea where he is. The Intelligence Ministry’s office in Zahedan [city] told me to hand him over in exchange for Mohammad Saber. But how can I find him? He ran away 10 years ago because the Intelligence Ministry said he must cooperate with them.”

Malek-Raeisi is hunger striking against the severe beatings he has received in prison, his mother told CHRI in an interview on December 11, 2017.

“Mohammad Saber called on the phone on November 28 and said he was going on hunger strike because he was beaten and tortured and held in quarantine,” said Golbibi Malek-Raeisi. “We have not heard anything since and we don’t know what has happened to him.”

In an open letter to the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran published on December 4, 2017, Malek-Raeisi wrote: “On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, the security office in Ardabil Central Prison accused me of insulting religious sanctities and I was transferred to the guardhouse where the head of the penitentiary and the guard officer tied my hands and feet and beat me with batons and kicked me while cursing my family.”

“After lots of beatings, I was moved with my bruised body in chains into quarantine where a prisoner, who is a prison agent, was instigated into starting a fight with me so the authorities could blame him for all my injuries,” he said.

“The prisoner struck me with a tea cup so hard that I lost consciousness and fell on the ground and injured the entire right side of my face,” he wrote. “I’m thankful that at least my nose was blue and bloody but didn’t break for the fourth time by this regime and its agents.”

An ethnic Baluchi from the port city of Chabahar in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Malek-Raeisi was arrested in 2009, when he was 15-years old, upon returning to Iran after visiting his older brother Obeidolrahman Malek-Raeisi in Pakistan.

A source close to the family who requested anonymity for security reasons told CHRI in January 2017 that Obeidolrahman Malek-Raeisi is wanted by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry for allegedly cooperating with the militant terrorist group Jundallah (Army of God).

Claiming to fight for the rights of Baluchi Sunni Muslims in southeastern Iran, Jundallah has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks on Iranian soil, including a suicide bombing in October 2009 that killed several members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the city of Sarbaz, Sistan and Baluchistan Province.

However, Malek-Raeisi’s mother told CHRI that her son was only a young student in school at the time of his arrest with no ties to the group and had simply visited Pakistan to see his family.

“He was in 10th grade,” she said. “In the Chabahar region near Pakistan, it’s normal for people on both sides of the border to visit relatives. Mohammad Saber’s sister and one of his cousins live in Pakistan, too”

“Then they came and took Mohammad Saber hostage. My son was a good student,” said Golbibi Malek-Raeisi. “He was just 15-years old. He should not have been jailed. He could have been going to university now but instead, he has been in prison for eight years.”

Malek-Raeisi was initially held in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in Chabahar and for another two years in the ministry’s detention center in Zahedan before being transferred to Ardabil Central Prison, more than 1,400 miles from Chabahar, to serve a 17-year prison sentence for “acting against national security by collaborating with an armed group.”

“I have not seen my son for two years,” Golbibi Malek-Raeisi told CHRI. “Ardabil is far away. I’m not healthy and can’t travel all that distance. We don’t have anybody to help us. He doesn’t have a lawyer. We are Baluchis. We are Iranian. Why are they doing this to us?”

The informed source told CHRI that Malek-Raeisi’s prison sentence could be overturned if reviewed by the judiciary because in the new version of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, passed after his conviction, contact with an armed opposition group is no longer categorized as a national security offense.

Golbibi Malek-Raeisi told CHRI that her son is unable to see from his right eye because it was badly injured as a result of the beatings he has received from guards in the four years he has been held in Ardabil Prison.

In his letter, Malek-Raeisi wrote that the medical staff at the prison has also mistreated him.

“When I opened my eyes, I was on a bed in the prison clinic and for a moment could not remember what had happened and why I was there,” he said. “I asked the doctor and the medical staff about my injuries and they said I had been in a fight and killed someone. I believed them and became terrified. But eventually my memory came back and I realized it was all a lie, like all the other lies they tell people.”

Continued Malek-Raeisi: “After the fight, the authorities opened a file and asked me to press charges but I refused to sign anything and I said I have no complaints against anyone other than Parviz Sourazar, the head of security in Ardabil Central Prison, Farhad Norouzi, the head of the penitentiary, and Ghafour Sadeghzadeh, the prison guard officer.”

After Burn Victims Denied Compensation Because They’re Girls, Lawyer Says Law Must Change

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A lawyer in Iran is speaking out about sexism in the country’s legal code after the families of two children who died in a fire at an elementary school were denied full compensation because the victims were girls.

“In the case of the two innocent girls who died from burns in this terrible incident, the Diyah allocated for them has been cut in half because of their gender,” Hossein Ahmadiniaz, a lawyer representing victims of the fire, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 9, 2017. “That’s discriminatory and unfair.”

According to Islamic law, Diyah, known as “blood money” in English, is paid as financial compensation to the victim or heirs of a victim in the cases of murder, bodily harm, or property damage.

However, in Iran, the Diyah for women is worth half the value of the Diyah for men.

“The religious leaders should keep in mind that we are not in seventh-century Saudi Arabia. We are in the 21st century. In progressive societies, women work side-by-side with men,” said Ahmadiniaz.

He added that Iran’s Islamic Penal Code must be revised to prevent future cases of injustice against females.

Ahmadiniaz is the legal counsel for the families of Siran Yeganeh and Saria Rasoulzadeh, two young girls who died in a fire at a public school in the village of Shinabad, West Azerbaijan Province, in December 2012.

A faulty substandard heater was determined to be the cause of the fire, which left burns on nearly 30 children. Many of the burns were so serious that the children continue to require reconstructive surgery five years after the event.

Ahmadiniaz told CHRI that his clients have still not received any compensation from the government.

“All women in Iran face this discrimination when they are in an accident,” he said.

“Article 20 of the Constitution clearly states that there should be no inequality between men and women and Article 21 states that the government should facilitate gender equality,” he said.

“However,” Ahmadiniaz said, “we are still witnessing inequality between the sexes.”

According to Article 551 of the Islamic Penal Code, the family of a woman who was murdered would receive half the Diyah that the family of a murdered man would receive.

Ahmadiniaz said some of his other clients are experiencing similar problems caused by the gender discrimination contained in Iran’s penal code.

In May 2012, two young women, Monia Yousefi and Roxana Iravani, fell and died when the “Crazy Mouse” ride malfunctioned in the state-owned Eram amusement park in Tehran.

“The government is completely liable for the incidents at Eram Park and inShinabad and must take steps to provide treatment for the survivors and equal compensation to the families of the dead,” Ahmadiniaz told CHRI.

“A human being’s worth in Iran is much, much less than what is accepted in Europe and the US where victims can collect millions of dollars for police brutality,” he said. “In Iran, the maximum amount of blood money is 250 million tomans [approximately $71,700 USD], which is cut in half for women.”

 

Why the international community must no longer ignore torture in Iran

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Freedom from Torture’s new report “Turning A Blind Eye: why the international community must no longer ignore torture in Iran” examines forensic evidence of 69 Iranian torture survivors examined by Freedom from Torture since 2015. These reports document alarming levels of torture and abuse perpetrated by the Iranian government between 1985 and 2015, and criticises the muted response to these human rights abuses from the UK and other countries.

At a time when the UK is seeking deeper political and financial links with Iran, and the detention of British-Iranian nationals highlights the shocking way those who are arrested and detained in Iran can be treated, our report calls for a greater emphasis from the UK government on human rights in all of its dealings with Iran.

The research confirms that the widely-reported crackdown following Iran’s 2009 election was not a one-off, detailing the use of torture both before and afterwards by the police, intelligence and security services. It exposes the horrific abuses that take place inside detention centres across the country. Given that international monitors are routinely denied access to these facilities, the evidence represents a unique and detailed insight into the country’s shocking detention practices.

The evidence demonstrates how torture has been used by the Iranian regime to restrict real and perceived political, religious or minority ethnic activity, including low-level activities such as attending a protest, blogging or drawing graffiti.

Torture methods identified in “Turning a Blind Eye” include appalling physical abuses, from beatings and stress positions to electric shocks and cutting with knives, as well as high levels of sexual violence perpetrated against men and women, including rape. A distinctive feature of torture in Iran is the sophisticated use of psychological torture, including humiliating treatment, extended use of solitary confinement, and threats or harassment directed at torture survivors and their families. This appears to be an effort to destroy not just individuals but societal structures and trust in order to maintain control.

Hamid’s Story

All his life, Hamid had experienced discrimination on the grounds of his Arab ethnicity. One day at university, he joined a small gathering of Arab students, where people were making speeches calling for freedom of speech and for the Arab culture to be respected. Suddenly police appeared. They started insulting the Arab students and rounding them up, using handcuffs and blindfolds. They were taken to an unknown place, and held together initially, all in one room.

Hamid was then taken and kept in solitary confinement in a small, foul–smelling cell, with no toilet. If he asked to go to the toilet, he was severely beaten. Interrogators asked questions about whom he was taking orders from and for the names of his friends. They tried to force him to sign an unseen document, but he refused. This made the interrogators very angry, and they threatened him with further torture. They suspended him by his wrists and ankles, and used a pipe to beat him on the soles of his feet.

After a few days, Hamid was transferred to prison. It was a year before he was taken before a judge, but he received neither a sentence, nor bail, and was returned to prison for years. He was detained amongst serious offenders, who harassed him, and made his time in prison especially difficult. Eventually his father managed to bribe an official for his release, on condition that the deeds to the family home were handed over. Fearing for Hamid’s future, his father arranged for his escape from Iran. Travelling via an agent he eventually arrived in the UK. Hamid’s legal representative commissioned Freedom from Torture to prepare a medico-legal report documenting evidence of his torture. The report was included in his claim for asylum and Hamid was eventually granted refugee status.

* Names have been changed and other specific details omitted to protect anonymity.

Marjan’s Story

Marjan was born into a politically active family, which had a history of involvement in oppositional politics. She was proud of the lineage of strong women in her family. Though she had not previously been involved in politics, after the 2009 election she attended a peaceful demonstration. Later in 2009 she attended another demonstration in outrage at the killing of peaceful protesters by state security. Security agents violently attacked the crowd and Marjan, along with many others, was arrested.

She was held in an overcrowded and dirty cell with many other women. One by one women were released but she, with a few others, was kept there. Eventually they were transferred to another place of detention. Marjan and other women were stripped naked on many occasions and subjected to searches. Guards touched them inappropriately and insulted their personal hygiene, though their access to washing facilities had been restricted. She was detained with other women in an overcrowded and filthy cell with only two blankets and a lightbulb kept on 24 hours a day, making sleep almost impossible. Then they moved Marjan to solitary confinement. They interrogated her on several occasions, beating her severely each time, and raping her. She was made to sign papers that she was not allowed to see, and sentenced to prison.

After serving her sentence, she was eventually released. She knew that the authorities would be watching her from now on. Following her experiences in detention, re-building family relationships was very difficult. One of the torturers from her time in detention continued to harass her, threatening to tell her husband of the rape she had suffered, which would have caused her unbearable shame. Fearing that Marjan would come to further harm, her family arranged for her escape from Iran. Marjan claimed asylum in the UK, but the Home Office refused her claim. She lodged an appeal, which included a medico-legal report prepared for her by Freedom from Torture, and was eventually granted refugee status in 2017.

*Names have been changed and other specific details omitted to protect anonymity.

Download the Iran report 2017

Three Activists Sentenced to Prison in Trial “Directed” by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry

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Political prisoners Majid Assadi, Payam Shakiba, and Mohammad Banazadeh were sentenced to prison and exile after the Intelligence Ministry pressured the court, a family member of one of the prisoners told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“The lawyers defended their clients in court but the judge found them guilty in the presence of the Intelligence Ministry representative who practically directed the court proceedings,” said the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

In a ruling issued on November 27, 2017, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Banazadeh to 11 years in Evin Prison and two years in exile in the city of Nikshahr, Sistan and Baluchistan Province. Assadi was given a six-year sentence in Evin Prison and two years in exile in Borazjan, Bushehr Province. Shakiba was sentenced to six years in Evin Prison.

The three men were charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security” based on claims made by the Intelligence Ministry, the source told CHRI.

“This is a preliminary sentence,” said the source. “The sentences will not stand if the Appeals Court makes a fair judgment because the case is only based on accusations by a representative of the Intelligence Ministry without any evidence and the accused all denied the charges during their interrogation.”

The men were arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents in March 2017 and held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison for about two months before being transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison, located 31 miles west of the capital.

Assadi, 35, was first arrested on July 3, 2008, for his peaceful political activities while he was a student at Allameh Tabatabaie University in Tehran. In March 2010, he was sentenced to four years in prison for “assembly and collusion against national security” and was released after serving his sentence from October 2011 to June 2015.

Shakiba, 30, was previously arrested on July 8, 2008, for exposing sexual misconduct against a female student by a senior administrator at the Zanjan University campus, where he was a student at the time.

In March 2010, Shakiba was condemned to a year in prison for “causing public anxiety” and “instigating illegal gatherings against national security” and barred from returning to university for two semesters. Upon appeal, his sentence was reduced to six months in prison, which he served from November 2010 to March 2011.

A veteran political activist, Banazadeh, 63, was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry on November 30, 2009, for his alleged involvement with the banned Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MEK). He was freed in November 2014 after serving a five-year sentence.