In one of the most concerning reports, the level of dust and particles in the air in the city of Ahwaz was reported to be 70 times higher than the officially reported number. Moreover, there were reports concerning the severe air pollution in Ilam and demonstration of the people of Abadan regarding the drastically high level of air pollutants and particles.
Monthly Report – An Overview of the Human Rights Situation in Iran in January – February, 2015
HRANA News Agency – The Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran has published the following monthly report on the human rights situation in Iran during the period of January – February, 2015 (Persian calendar month of Bahman, 1393). This report cannot perfectly and comprehensively reflect the details of human rights concerns in Iran for obvious reasons including the existing governmental limitations and ban on the free exchange of information. It should be emphasized that in addition to the monthly reports, the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists Association of Iran publishes a comprehensive and analytical annual report at the end of each year.
An Overview of the Human Rights Situation in Iran January- February, 2015
The systematic violation of human rights in Iran continued in the month of Bahman (January- February, 2015) of the Persian calendar year, 1393. The first sign of a terrible month from human rights violations perspective appeared when more than 20 people were executed in the cities of Bonab, Minab, Esfahan, Kerman, Hamedan, Shiraz, and Arak. One of the most significant reports on death sentence pertains the mass executions of 10 individuals with charge on drug trafficking in Taybad prison on February 10th, 2015. Moreover, the execution of the only remaining individual of the Golpayegan incident in Isfahan; the execution of 14 prisoners on February, 16th , 2015; and execution of one individual in Shiraz with charges of Moharebeh (fighting against the God) occurred on this month. Unfortunately, most of these executions were carried out in secret and without public coverage.
One of the most controversial cases of human rights violations in this month was the situation of the political prisoner Saman Nasim who is in the verge of execution in the central prison of Orumieh prison. He was arrested at the age of 17 with the charges of Moharebeh. His family and his lawyer reported that the authorities are planning to carry out his death sentence soon.
Perhaps the most optimistic news relevant to the human rights situation in this month was a proposal discussed in the parliament to substitute the execution sentences with milder verdicts at least in the case of the crimes concerning drug trafficking. Hussein Ahmadi, a member of parliament indicated: “this proposal concerns the crimes related to the drug trafficking and we hope this will result in a positive outcome. Because of the increasingly high number of crimes in this category and the associated death sentence, the need to move forward with such proposal seems to be crucial.”
In another positive report, the Public Prosecutor of the city of Saveh said “the life of 43-year-old killer from the city of Savoj was spared on the gallows on Thursday.” Hojjattollah Doroudgar said: “The killer was forgiven by the family of victim during the execution of his death sentence. He was given another chance to live while he was hanged by the neck and suspended between heaven and earth. ”
Moreover, seven prisoners sentenced to death in Isfahan were spared from being executed. The secretary of the prisons of Isfahan explained that at a ceremony attended by the families of victims, authorities, and other people involved in charities, the prisoners sentenced to death were pardoned.
On the other hand, the violations of human rights continued in this month: a number of young individuals of Nasirabal – Balouchestan were summoned by the intelligence department of the revolutionary guard; a citizen of Balouchestan was shot and killed by the revolutionary guard forces; a young individual was killed in a shooting incident involving the special forces in the city of Iranshahr.
Moreover, a 14 years old teenage boy and his 20 years old brother were shot dead by the security forces after eing suspected of smuggling gasoline. Also, Ghasem Abyat, a Sunni young clergy in Zahedan, was suddenly disappeared a couple of days ago.
Ali Hosseinzadeh, the Imam of a mosque in a village named Khankandi in Miandoab and a member of Maktab Quran organization in Bookan, was severely beaten by an armed group. The assailants performed air embolism on him stuck his head in the mud.
Twelve Kurdish citizens were arrested only because of not welcoming and accepting the appointed Imam in their city. Seyyed Jamil Badavi, the brother of one of the arrested individuals who has been arrested in one of the villages in the suburb of Mahabad, emphasized that these individuals committed no crime and were arrested only because of not welcoming the appointed Imam and trying to organize their own prayers. He mentioned that all other rumors are pure propaganda.
In the category of violations of Baha’is rights, these violations continued as usual, and several reports including the arrest and trial of 3 Baha’is in Tonkabon, 6 years imprisonment for a Baha’i citizen, and the arrest of 14 Baha’is in Tehran and Isfahan were published. In another report, the ministry of intelligence in Rasht summoned and threatened multiple people who helped and supported Baha’i citizens.
In one of the most exceptional reports on the violations of Baha’is rights, the court of administrative justice refused the right of Baha’is to continue higher education in the state universities in Iran.
In continuation of harassment of Iranian dissidents, Naser Abdolhoseynzadh, a civil rights activities and resident of Parsabad Moghan who was spending his military service in Tabriz, was arrested on 24th of January at his place of work by the security agents with an arrest warrant. He was later turned into the judiciary authorizes of the Parsaabad city.
Hassan Damirchi, the famous master of Moghami Music of Azerbaijan who was returning from Azerbaijan after receiving a Notice of Appreciation, has been under pressure from security forces.
The arrest of Ali Rezaei, the civil rights activist, and three other activists in the city of Khoy were also additional reports concerning the violations of human rights in this month.
Regarding the rights of Gonabadi Sufis, unfortunately there was worrying news regarding the confirmation of charges of Moharebeh (i.e. fighting against the God) for Gonabadi Sufis by the Supreme Court.
There was also a disturbing report regarding the rights of children and concerning the injury of 15 students in the city of Karaj because of a demolished wall, which was not properly taken care of by responsible authorities. On the other hand, it was reported that Soghra Najafpour who was initially sentenced and had only 15 years of age at the time of arrest was released after 26 years in prison.
The deputy minister of education indicated: “unfortunately many residents of villages in the province of Khorasan have migrated to big cities in view of vast geographical area. This migration has increased the number of working children in this province.”
The head of Emergency Centre for Social Welfare has recently reported that the number of children being abuse has become a common social threat and more than 40 kids are facing abuse, torture and beating everyday.
The violation of primary rights of women continued in this month. Some of the most important reports in this regard included the arrest of several women rights activists and journalists, the sequential increase of the homeless women, and blocking the education for more than 30,000 girls in Iran.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) insisted on its position on supporting the right of Iranian women to attend the sport complexes to watch Volleyball games. Once again this news has been given publicity in view of Iran’s request to host the 2015 World League final stage and also Iran’s national volleyball team becoming one of four major dominating teams in the world. Iran has been actively pursuing the request to host this world-class competition.
There was also a report on two high ranking Shia religious leaders, Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani and Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, condemning the release of a music album by a female singer. These religious leaders publically condemned signings of the nationally popular song of “I love you, my ancient country”, which was released by the Cheshmeh publishing company.
Comparable to the last few months, there were a number of incidents and news around workers situation in the month of Bahman. These incidents were mainly involved with lack of job security, including layoff of forty workers of Aqdarreh gold mine, layoff of hundred and twelve workers in “Pars Ceram Co.”, dismissal of 100 workers of “Dorbal Co.” and lack of support for the injured workers by the social security organization in Iran.
In addition to the abovementioned reports, a group of senior workers from the Department of Energy demonstrated in front of the parliament; 1000 workers of Nabard-Foulad company of Ahwaz” started a strike, and two workers rights activists from Kurdistan were summoned and arrested in this month.
Rahmatollah Pour-mousa, the secretary general of the association of Islamic council of Iranian workers indicated that more than 80% of Iranian workforce are living in poor condition, below the poverty line. He added “19974 workers lost their lives due to the fatigue resulted from multiple jobs.
In another interesting incident, a Meeting named “Threat of Foreigners to the workforce in the construction industry”, which was held on Sunday, February 4th, 2015 and the president of the House of Workers party, Alireza Mahjoub; the member of Parliament and Social Commission, Azizi; and the Director of the Foreign Nationals of the Ministry of Work, Eghbali attended. In this meeting, a reward program for reporting the Afghan workers who work without permit was established.
The suicide report of a worker in the city of Bushehr whose contract was not renewed was one of the most controversial reports about the workers situation in this month.
In addition to the aforementioned reports, there was a report regarding the work related accidents. The Iranian Forensic Organization reported that there has been 3% decrease in the work related mortality in the first 9 months of this year compared to the same period of the previous year. Despite the upward trend of work related deaths in recent years and the growth of the number of deaths from 697 people in 2004 to 1994 in 2013, the statistics in the 9 months of this year showed a downward trend with 4. 3% decrease in the number of work related deaths compared to the same period last year (reaching 1506 deaths in 2014).
In another report, eight construction workers died because of falling from a lift-truck and 23 mine workers died in the “Toot Mine”.
In the category of professional workers, there were some reports regarding human rights concerns in this month. In a well-organized and orchestrated activity, the teachers of the Technical schools of Tehran started demonstrations against the poor living conditions, unacceptably low wage, payment methods, government policies, delayed monthly and bonus payments.
In a number of cities including Islamshahr, Robat-Karim, Karaj, Share-Qods, Shahriar, Shiraz, Shahrood, Saghez, Baneh, and Marivan, the teachers refused to go to classes for two days. Moreover, hundreds of teachers gathered in front of the Education Department in Sharrood in 19th February, and hundreds of teachers gathered in front of the Education Department in Marivan in 20th February.
There was also one report concerning the violation of spiritual and cultural rights of the citizens. This report was involved with the destruction of part of the holy shrines of Shush Daniel at the beginning of this month. This report reflected lack of attention to historical and cultural sites in Iran.
Moreover, in the Fajr Film Festival of Iran, one of the movies named “the house of daughter” was banned from public show. The deputy head of the parliament later reported that he had a telephone conversation with two high-ranking clergies (Ayatollah Jannati and Ayatollah Ayoubi) and warned them of public display of this movie.
In the category of health and environmental reports, there were several reports concerning the air pollution and environmental concerns in this month. In one of the most concerning reports, the level of dust and particles in the air in the city of Ahwaz was reported to be 70 times higher than the officially reported number. Moreover, there were reports concerning the severe air pollution in Ilam and demonstration of the people of Abadan regarding the drastically high level of air pollutants and particles.
In addition to these reports, Isa Kalantari, the secretary general of the organization for reviving the Oriumieh sea, indicated that about 600 water resources of the country are drying out. Moreover, Dr. Mohammad Ismail Akbar, the head of cancer research of Iran, mentioned that the cancer prevalence in the country is less than the global average, however he added that the trend of increasing the number of cancer cases in Iran is concerning.
Specific Attention to the Violation of Human Rights
In this section of this monthly report, it is necessary to highlight the most controversial and publicly sensitive cases of violations of human rights in Iran. It is obvious that more attention does not necessarily mean that it is a measure of the magnitude of the violations of human rights in that specific category.
The first case to underline is the controversial death sentence of Saman Nasim. Then, the news of elimination of Shajarian (i.e. any indication to the name of this famous Iranian traditional singer) from President Rouhani’s primary assistant’s interview in national TV, banning voice or image of Mohammad Khatami (the former president of Irab) being broadcasted in National TV, suppression of Mohamma Ali Taheri’s supporters and the arrest of one of his supporters were the most sensitive cases of violations of human rights in the eyes of Iranian public. Other cases worthy of highlighting are preventing Narges Mohammadi from visiting the deputy chair of the German parliament, the urgent proposal of a number of member of parliament to ban journalistic activities, the arrest of 13 citizens because of Facebook membership, and 133 years imprisonment verdict for eight Facebook activists.
The least underlined human rights violations
In contrast to the reports indicated in the previous section, many human rights reports received little or no attention from media and Facebook and internet activists, who are considered a main part of the public opinion. It should be note that some of these unintentional or intentional negligence has resulted in further spread of human rights violations in Iran.
Some of these reports include two dead or injured because of the explosion of a mine in the city of Fakeh, more than 82% unemployment among the women who are considered the family head, and the death sentence for a cleric in the city of Qom.
Moreover, another case that was not well noticed in public was the report of 37 members of the instructors of the Erfan Halgheh group being sentenced to 37 years imprisonment and refund more than 130 millions Touman (more than $40,000). Other cases that should be mentioned in this section are summoning Mohammad Ayoub Kazemi, a researcher active in university and religious institutions; the arrest of Mohammad Mozafari, a member of the Students and Alumni of the Iranian National Front; six months imprisonment for Abbas Salimi-Namin, the head of the Center for Studies and Edition of the Recent History of Iran with charges of insulting Ahmadi Nejad.