Friday, September 28, 2007

Psychological Torture of a Human Rights Activists in Evin Prison

Keyvan Rafiee was arrested on July 9th 2006, in front of the Tehran University, on the day when a ceremony was planned in remembrance of July 9th 1999 pro-democracy demonstrations.

He was taken to Section 209 of the Evin Prison and was in solitary confinement for more then 8 months. The Intelligence Ministry has charged him with involvement with opposition groups; however Mr. Rafiee has always maintained that he is a human rights activist.

Solitary confinement is an interrogation method used by the Intelligence Ministry in Iran, used to break the resistance of political prisoners. The prisoner is completely unaware of what is going on outside of the prison, has no access to his family. Also interrogators give them false news and information over a long period of time. The prison is not allowed to go out for fresh air, he also has no access to a defense lawyer. This is a silent kind of torture, a torture with no sound and does not bruise the body, however it destroys the person’s spirit.

Keyvan Rafiee has been extremely strong in the face of this torture, which is why the Intelligence Ministry keeps on torturing him in various ways in order to break him and force him into false confessions.

The Intelligence Ministry and the Courts have not yet formally charged him with any offence. Since his arrest Mr. Rafiee’s trial has been adjourned six times. The reason for these adjournments has been the non-attendance of the prosecution at trial.

According to Mr. Rafiee the Intelligence Ministry has no evidence against him, and has used these adjournment techniques in order to build a case against him while he is in prison.

Mr. Rafiee recently wrote a letter from prison which explains in details his arrest and the treatment of the Judiciary and Prison Officials as follows:
(This letter was published on June 2007)

In the Name of Freedom,
With Greetings to all Iranians,
I have decided to share with all human rights organizations and freedom fighters all over the world my story, and what has happened to me in the past year at the hands of the Islamic Regime of Iran.

I am a human rights activist and have been working with other human rights activists and groups in Iran, fighting for the rights of those whose basic human rights have been violated. I am and was not a criminal nor have I ever committed a criminal act. My only “crime” is being a human rights activist who believes in the principles of human rights for everyone.

On July 8th 2006 I was arrested by the Islamic Regime forces without an arrest warrant or without having any idea as to what I was being charged with. After my arrest I was taken to s. 209 of the Evin Prison which is under the direct control of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. This section is famous for its solitary cells, blindfolds and torture. I was taken to solitary cell numbered 115, and was there for two days, when I was informed that I would be brought before a judge. At that time I still did not know what I was being charged with. My bail was set at 500 million Rial however I was not given permission to call anyone in order to try to obtain this money.

Shortly after, I was taken into a small room with one interrogator and three guards. In the hopes of breaking my spirits, they forced all of my clothes off and told me that my hair was too long and tried to cut off my hair with a scissor. I did not want to allow them to do this and started fighting back, at this time they took me to solitary cell number 73. At this time I still had no idea what I was being charged with. Being distraught by the way I was treated I started banging on the door of my cell trying to get some answers.

One of the guards blindfolded me and took me to see the warden of s. 209 of the Evin Prison Mr. Mostafa Karimi. In answer to my protests he told me that they could and would keep me there for as long as they wanted and that they did not need any reason for my incarceration. He also informed me that if I continued my struggle they would handcuff my hands and feet in addition to keeping me in a solitary cell.

Once again I was taken to solitary cell number 63 and the blindfolded interrogations started. Their only goal was to force me into false confessions in order to use the confession to further persecute me and other members of the Human Rights Activists in Iran. Because of the fact that they had no evidence against me and they had not laid any charges the interrogations and accusations kept on changing, and they kept on accusing me of different “crimes.” There were also times when I would not be interrogated for days or even weeks and I would be left alone in my solitary cell.

It is also important to mention that during this time my family had no news of my whereabouts and I was not able to contact them. I was also not allowed very basic rights such as adequate clothing, being able to get fresh air, pen and paper or telephone calls and visitations.

Recently I found out that shortly after my arrest intelligence ministry officials had gone to my fathers house and went through my family’s personal belongings and took number of things that did not belong to me. At this time my family was desperately searching for me in revolutionary courts, jails, coroner’s office, hospitals and even graveyards, and finally after 3 months they were informed of my whereabouts.

After one month in solitary confinement and having faced such cruel and inhuman behavior I decided to go on a hunger strike and I even refused to drink water. After four days I was promised by the prison warden that the prison conditions would improve and I ended my strike. Unfortunately as a result of not drinking water for so long I came down with an intestine infection as well as severe gum infection and was not able to eat or drink anything but water for 15 days, and I was in severe pain and unable to move for these 15 days.

On numerous occasions I was told by the prison guards that I was free, or that I would be free soon, or they would give me a date on which I would supposedly be released. Unfortunately I realized that all this was nothing but a form of psychological torture and I was left in solitary cells with no hope of being released.

After three (3) months in solitary confinement once again I started my protests and insisted that I be taken into the general prison ward rather then solitary cells. I was told by prison guards that the only other place they would take me would be in a cell with Al’Qaeda detainees. When I continued my protest they did indeed put me in a cell with two prisoners whom I was told were Al Qaeda members, who needed to take dozens of medications every day in order to be able function. These two prisoners threatened me to death on numerous occasions and on one occasion produced a piece of glass and threatened to kill me with it.

Once again I requested to be put in a cell with Iranian inmates and once again I was refused. Again I was forced to go on a hunger strike even though I was extremely ill and in danger of coming down with another intestine infection. After three days of refusing to eat or drink water, once again I was taken to see the prison warden who told me that I could choose between where I was or the solitary cell, and that those were my only two choices. I had no choice but to choose the solitary cell. They forced me to write a statement claiming that I had requested to be transferred to a solitary cell and they were granting my request.

I was once again taken to solitary cell 130 and was there until 11 October 2006 when I was taken for interrogation at a revolutionary court and was charged with acting against the regime, propaganda against the regime, risking national security and involvement with anti-revolutionary groups. I asked why I had not been allowed to post bail and was told that the revolutionary courts had special powers and that they would not let me post bail and would keep me in jail for as long as they wanted.

I asked to see my family and asked for a lawyer. I was told that the lawyer I had requested was a spy working against the government and that in any event I would not need a lawyer, and if it was necessary for me to have a lawyer they would assign one for me. They also did not allow me to call my family.

Because of my requests the prison officials were not happy with me and once again I was taken to the same interrogation place on 17 October 2006 and was further charged with organizing and participating in protests, after which I was taken to solitary confinement again.

On 6 December 2006 I was taken to court and without the presence of my lawyer, or the crown the trial proceeded with the judge reading the charges against me and giving me 10 minutes to defend myself. During these 10 minutes I only had time to ask to see the evidence they had against me. I was not shown any evidence and taken back to my cell. A month later I was told that my case was under review and they did not know when there would be a verdict on my case.

On 11 January 2007after 190 days of imprisonment most of which had been in solitary confinement with severe psychological torture I was taken to the general ward in s. 209 of the Evin Prison which was an extremely small room and housing 19 prisoners. I was finally given permission to call my family after 6 months and was able to tell them that I was alive.

At this time there was a virus going around the prison and due to lack of medical attention and dirty air most of us including myself were suffering from it. I myself was coughing blood and suffering from this virus for more then 2 months without being able to get any medical attention.

Every week we had about 2 hours of “fresh air” time, where we were taken into another cell with the only different being that this cell had windows on its ceilings. We also had 10 minutes a week to call our families. The days kept passing by. Later I learned that my father had been summoned to court and ordered to speak with me and try to talk me out of my beliefs and my human rights activities.

However I cannot and will not stop my human rights activities. We celebrated the New Year in our small cell with great hope for the future and thinking about our beloved country Iran and our countrymen.

Once the prison officials realized that they would not be able to break me or change my beliefs and ideas I was taken out of s. 209 of the prison and into s. 6 of the Evin Prison. On 18 April 2007 once again I was taken to court, however due to non cooperation of the crown and the intelligence ministry officials once again my trial was postponed and all I was left with was the pain and pressure of waiting.

On 20 may 2007 I learned that once again the Intelligence Ministry had continued its cruel and inhuman behavior by going to my fathers house and after going through their personal belongings, arresting my father and sister, as well as my brother an hour later. The only possible purpose of these arrests was to put further pressure on me and try to break my will. My family members were released at 10 pm that night after being interrogated and threatened.

On 22 may 2007 I was once again taken to court for my trial however due to the absence of the Crown as well as the Ministry of Intelligence Officials my trial was postponed once again.

On 3 Juan 2007my family was summoned to court once again and this situation still continues. In the past year I have not been able to visit with my family even once. Also 11 other members of the Human Rights Activists have been summoned to court, interrogated and threatened.

My only “crime” is being a human rights activist who strongly believes in equality and other basic rights for everyone. Although I am subjected to severe physical and psychological pressures in prison I am not willing to stop for even one second from defending human rights and fighting against human rights violations in Iran. I will cope with the injustice done against me in the hopes of the rise of justice and support of all other human rights activists in the world.
Long Live Freedom and Equality,
Keyvan Rafiee
Human Rights Activist Evin Prison

Sepideh Pouraghaei contacting family from prison

Human right activist and journalist, Sepideh Pouraghaei has contacted with her family from 209 prisons.

Her mother has expressed concern over her dismayed tone of voice over the, line.

She has said that her daughter reiterated that she is under investigation and her charges are not yet clear, and that she is in 209 Evin prison.

Sepideh Pouragahei has been active in the Student committee of Human Rights Reporters . She was also involved as a volunteer in the campaign to collect 1 million signatures against gender discrimination and apartheid.

She was arrested along with 5 other activists on 9 September. Those arrested along with her were, Abbas KHorsandi, Meisam roudaki, Bahram Rasekhifar, Mansour Faraji, Ghasem Shirzadian.

Her mother said that Sepideh left her house at 3 pm and was not seen there after. Security forces attacked their house at 11 pm and confiscated all her work papers, computer and floppy drives.

Sepideh Pouraghaei and her friends have been denied to have a lawyer in Evin prison.

Read More:
+ 6 Human right activists in solitary confinement

Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Boutimar relocated

Saleh Nikbakht, attorney to Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Boutimar has informed the relocation of his clients to the public section of the prison.

The lawyer said that the 2 prisoners having received a death sentence by the first branch of the “revolutionary court” and having been transferred to solitary confinement, had began a hunger strike.

According to Mr. Nikbakht, after endeavoring to encourage the prisoners to eat and after having their families wrote to the Director of the Judiciary, the detainees broke their hunger strike.

read more:

Dr.Keyvan Ansari freed

After enduring one year in 209 Evin prison, Dr. Ansari was freed on 26 September.
Dr. Ansari is former member of Graduate Association and the Students Union of Amir Kabir University.

The Intelligence Ministry arrested Mr. Ansari and two of his colleagues, Saeid Derakhshandi , and Abolfazl Jahandar in September 2006 and attacked the offices of the Associations .

The three students have been charged with; founding an illegal group, teaching to take control of government media, having confidential emails, and insulting high ranking government officials.

The 6th branch of the “revolutionary court” sentenced Keyvan ansari for 3 years and six months, Saeid Derakhshandi for 3 years and Pouya Jahandar for 2 years and six months imprisonment.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

322,300 dollars bail for temporary release of a reporter

The “revolutionary prosecutor” has asked for 322,300 dollars as bail, for the temporary release of reporter Soheil Assefi.

Mr. Assefi has been transferred to the public section of Evin prison, from 209, on 25 September after having changed his arrest through accepting bail.

He had been kept in solitary confinement during 54 days of detention. According to his mother, he had been subjected to psychological torture.

The prosecutor has not yet announced Mr. Assefis’ charges, but it appears that his arrest has to do with his engagement with an internet site called “Rooz”.

Mr. Assefis’ demanded bail appears to be considerately high in comparison to bail paid by two former detained American Iranians, Ali shakeri and Kian Tajbakhsh, who were also accused for trying to topple the regime.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Persecution of a clergy opposed to Islamo-fascism

Reports by relatives of Ayatollah Kazemini Boroujerdi, a clergy opposed to Islamo-fascism, who has been arrested since September last year for expressing his views and has been detained in Evin prison, have suggested that this clergy is facing continuous persecution by prison officials.

According to this report the last restriction imposed was to transfer Mr. Boroujerdi to solitary confinement. He had started hunger strike to complain against this act.

Once his physical condition deteriorated, prison officials transferred him to the special section made for clergy opposed to the present regime, known as 325 detention centre.

His relatives also state the special clergy court has sentenced Sid Hossein Kazemini Boroujerdi for 10 years imprisonment in Yazd.

It had previously been stated that the Prosecutor of the court had demanded death sentence for Mr. Boroujerdi. News of the sentence has not yet been confirmed by official sources.

AN official of the Clergy court in a statement to ISNA news agency had stated on 12 September this year that, Mr. Boroujerdi’s sentence has been released but his file is under revision.

Sid Kazemeiny Boroojerdi and around 500 of his supporters had been arrested last summer and violently tortured while in detention in 209 and 240 of Evin prison.

Recently Mr.Boroojerdi in his letter to EU Foreign Affairs Directorate wrote: “Now with a devastated physical situation and under the harshest physical and psychological conditions of my lifetime, and as I am regularly threatened to death in prison, I look forwards to your righteous and effective interference.”

2 Tehran University students detained in 209

2 Kurdish students, Hedayat Ghazali and Sabah Nasri have been transferred from Sanandaj to the notorious 209 section in Evin prison.

The two students have managed somehow to contact their families from prison but it’s not clear whether they are in solitary confinement or the public section of the prison.

The intelligence Ministry has warned the families to keep silence about their beloved ones’ condition.

Prior to their transfer, the students had been kept in solitary confinement for one month in Intelligence offices in Sanandaj , and then transferred to the public sector.

According to the news letter of Amir kabir, the two students had been subjected to torture while in Sanandaj prison.

Hedayat Ghazali, student of psychology of Allame University, and Sabah Nasri, student of law of Tehran University, where arrested 55 days ago by the security forces.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A progressive clergy in Iran, charged for “causing disorder”

Hadi ghbal, a reformist clergy, is accused of causing disorder by the special clergy court. “I have heard this from reliable sources” says Rohollah Ghabel, Hadi Ghabels’ son.

It is said that Mr. Ghabels speeches and interviews have been used as reference by the clergy court, to prove his charges.
Mr. Ghabel is a reformist clergy and a member of the central committee of the partner ship front. He was arrested on 12 September in the religious city of Qom as the security forces searched his house and confiscated his writings and computer and transferred him to an unknown place.

His son has told us that the special clergy court has rejected their plea to get a lawyer or even visit him. This is whilst Mr. ghabel suffers from heart problems and needs close medical care.

First Court hearing of the 3 Amirkabir imprisoned Students

The first hearing of court to examine charges facing Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli, and Ahmad Ghassaban, the 3 AmirKabir university students, was held on 22 September by the 6th branch of the “revolutionary court”.

The session was not official and was held behind closed doors.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah , the lawyer in charge of the case, told us after the court read out the students charges, they began their defense.

Mr.Dadkhah said there was no time for him to take the defense for his clients, and the defense procedure was postponed for a further seven days when the next session would commence.

Prior to this, Judge Haddad, deputy prosecutor on security of courts in Tehran had previously announced the students’ charges to be insulting Islamic sacred values. The students in return had rejected all charges against them including, publication of insulting articles against “Islamic holy values”, through a letter from Evin prison.

In this letter they had revealed that they were subjected to pressure and torture in 209 section of Evin prison, to confess to charges they do not accept.

The three students, Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli, and Ahmad Ghassaban, have been held in 209 section of Evin prison for the past 4 and a half months.

Ahmad Gassaban, is the director of the student publication called “Sahar” and the first student nominee to take part in elections of the central committee of the AmirKabir student Association. He was arrested on 3 May 2007 , as he had approached the courts to deliver the students complaints of their University directorate, the Official news paper Keyahn and also Raja news site.
The next day, the second nominated student for the student elections , Majid Tavakoli , had to reside in court along with his other fellow students, Majid Sheikh pour and Pouyan Mahmoudian (directorates of student publications “Rivar” and “Sarkhat”).

On 22 May, security forces attacked Ehsan Mansouris’ house, and while creating fear and beating up Mr.Mansouris’ family members, fired shots, arrested and confiscated his belongings.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Keyvan Ansari dismissed of all charges

Dr. Keyvan Ansari , member of the Alumni Association of Iran (advar tahkim), and ex-member of Amir Kabir University Student Society , who has been detained by the Intelligence Ministry for the past year, has been dismissed of the charge of conspiring against National Security.

The Intelligence Ministry of Iran, arrested Mr. Ansari on 18 September 2006, and simultaneously attacked offices of the Alumni Association for detailed inspections.

The sixth branch of the “revolutionary court” had sentenced Mr. Ansari for 3 years and six months imprisonment on charges of threatening National Security and creating public disorder.

His relatives predict his near future release from Evin prison, considering that he has already undertaken one year of his sentence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

6 Human right activists in solitary confinement

The six activists have been arrested in Firouzkuh, Sanandaj, and Tehran simultaneously by the Intelligence ministry on Sunday 9 September.

Abbas Khorsandi, Meisam Rudaki, Bahram Rasekhifar, Sepideh Pouraghaei, Mansour Faraji and Ghassem Shirzadian have been arrested and held in solitary confinement in 209 Evin prison.

Sepideh Pouraghai a graduate of languages is a journalist and has been previously detained for participating in student protests.

Intelligence Ministry agents attacked Ms.Pouraghaeis house on Sunday and arbitrarily transferred her, with some personal belongings, to Evin prison.

Ghassem Shirzadian, a close friend of Ms. Pouraghaei, was arrested the same day.
He is a weblogger and has just graduated.

Abbas Khorsandi was also arrested in his house in Firouzkuh.
He had been previously arrested 3 years ago on charges of conspiracy against the government, and had been kept in 209 Evin prison for a month, before he was released on bail.

Families of the detainees have tried very hard to verify the situation of their beloved ones but in vain.

The “revolutionary courts” have not announced any charges with regards to the detainees, although some families have approached the Evin prison authorities searching for results, but have been turned back.

Prison authorities have told the families that they have no traces of the missing persons.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Two political prisoners' death sentence annulled

Death sentence of 2 suspected opposition members to the Islamic Republic annulled.

According to reports from Evin prison, death sentences delivered for 2 members of the Peopels' Mojahedin Organization of Iran, who had been arrested and sentenced in the “revolutionary courts” to death for entering Iran for armed operations against the Islamic Republic, have been reduced to Life sentence.

The two members, Saeid Massouri and Gholam Hossein Kalbi, who have been in prison for the past 6 years have received their amended charges.

During the last 3 years Saeid Massouri has been kept under inspection of the Intelligence Ministry in solitary confinement.

It is reported that his isolation in the 209 section of Evin prison has been ordered to pressure him for co–operation with the Ministry.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Son of detained Iranian American breaks his silence

Kaveh Shakeri, son of Ali Shakeri, has told the Los Angeles times that Iranian officials have not allowed their family lawyer access to his fathers dossier.
Ali Shakeri is an American Iranian who has been arrested by the Intelligence Ministry on charges of trying to topple the regime, has been kept in solitary confinement of 209 Evin prison for the past 4 months.

Kaveh shakeris interview with the La Times:
By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 15, 2007

The son of an Iranian American peace activist from Lake Forest who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than four months broke his family's silence Friday, asking Iranian authorities to release his father.

"It's now been 130 days that he's been imprisoned, and we don't even know why, to this day," said Kaveh Shakeri, the 27-year-old son of Ali Shakeri. His father was one of four Iranian American dual citizens detained in Iran for what the country said were national security reasons. Two have been released.
"Whatever security-related charges they have him on are mistaken, and they should've realized that by now," Kaveh Shakeri said.

Ali Shakeri, 59, a Lake Forest mortgage broker and a founding board member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at UC Irvine, has been held in solitary confinement in prison since he was arrested May 8 in the Tehran airport.

The Shakeri family has quietly been working to free him and has hired a lawyer in Tehran. But family members have said little publicly for fear of compromising his chances of being released.

Shakeri said the family's lawyer has not been given access to documents related to his father's case, and that authorities have given no reason for detaining his father or elaborated on what charges he faces.

"We've listened to what [Iranian authorities] had to say," Shakeri said. "They told us they're investigating, they told us not to be vocal, they told us just to sit and wait. . . . We've sat here remaining silent, and nothing has come of it.

"The family had been awaiting his return from a two-month trip to visit his dying mother.

"We thought everything was fine, but he was pulled off that plane," Shakeri said. "We were at LAX waiting for him . . . when he didn't show up. That's when we started saying, 'Where'd my dad go?' "

Since then the only contact with his family has been four sporadic, brief phone calls, including one in early May in which a guard assured his wife, Zoreh Shakeri, that her husband would be home in time for Mother's Day.

Kaveh Shakeri said he was designing a website to build awareness of his father's plight, and plans to fly to New York to put pressure on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the next time he visits the United Nations General Assembly.

The last time they heard from Ali Shakeri was Aug. 24, when he called for less than two minutes and sounded "very depressed," his son said.

Shakeri said his father's absence has devastated the close-knit family. His mother has been calling Ali's answering machine just to hear the sound of her husband's voice, he said.

The two detainees who were freed -- Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Parnaz Azima, a reporter for Radio Farda, a U.S.-financed station based in Europe -- were allowed to return to the United States last week.

The fourth detainee, Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planner with ties to the Open Society Institute financed by George Soros, has also been held since May.

Shakeri is known in the Southern California Iranian American community as a political moderate who promoted peace and communication as a path to reform in Iran. He was working on a book about building common ground between Iran and the West, his son said.

Unlike the other detainees, he was not a nationally known figure before his arrest.

"He is a peace-builder and would absolutely not do anything to put Iranians or Iran in jeopardy," said John Graham, co-director of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at UC Irvine. "We've been encouraged by the release of the others and hope that Ali's will follow quickly."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Complaint letter of Ayatollah Boroujerdi form prison to EU foreign affairs directorate

Sid Kazemeiny Boroojerdi , a Shiite clergy and supporter of separation of religion from state , has appealed to the EU Foreign Affairs Directorate . He was arrested in summer of 2005, after his sit-in with one thousand of his supporters had been brutally crashed.
In his letter Boroujerdi has written: “ Iranian people suffer from expansion of terror, increase of hangings and violence on the streets and kidnapping, and demand respect for Human rights and freedom of believe, and also internationally respected laws and conventions by the Iranian government.
“The majority of the people don’t consider the violent Islam propagated by the mullahs as the real Islam. They call the mullahs brand of Islam a production of the 1978 revolution.” He continues in his letter.
“It has been more than 15 years that I have been facing threats and pressure and have been boycotted by Government Clergy. My only wish has been to rid my country men of discrimination and to establish peace and equality for them. Last year, regardless of extreme suppression and terror in the society, our last religious gathering with no political content, successfully took place in the sports stadium in Iran.
“In that unprecedented gathering which only involved a part of the active society, many religious minority members had taken part. That gathering represented the peaceful co-existence and solidarity to be, amongst all divisions of religions and beliefs present in Iran.” writes Mr.Boroujerdi.
His letter then continues as; “as a Human being who believes in his creator and lord, I beg you to help us. We have not been and are not political. Our only wish has been to separate religion from state. This has instigated the tyrant mullahs’ wrath.”

Boroujerdi ends his letter saying: “And now with a devastated physical situation and under the harshest physical and psychological conditions of my lifetime, and as I am regularly threatened to death in prison, I look forwards to your righteous and effective interference.”
This letter has been smuggled out of Evin prison by Boroujerdi.
An official of the Special Religious Court had told the press on the 12 September that Mr. Boroujerdis’ sentence had been delivered by the court but his case was to be reconsidered.
Sid Kazemeiny Boroojerdi and around 500 of his supporters had been arrested last summer and violently tortured while in detention in 209 and 240 of Evin prison.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kian Tajbakhsh will be freed soon

Iranian judiciary announced that Kian Tajbakhsh would be released soon. Mr Tajbakhs – the Iranian –American researcher, who had been detained in the 209 prison 122 days ago, would be freed through bail soon.

The news was disclosed after a visit by International media to his quarters in Evin prison. Mr. Tajbakhs has told the reporters that he has been kept in solitary confinement but is satisfied of the prison conditions and is waiting to be released soon.
His visit with International reporters in the notorious Evin prison seems to have been an orchestrated theatre.
The announcement came after Mr.tajbakhsh had asserted his good health in front of the media.

Reporters, who had interviewed Mr.tajbakhsh in Evin, were not allowed to talk to Ali shakeri- another Iranian –American researcher accused of conspiring to topple the regime. He is kept in the security section of Evin prison.

It appears that Mr. tajbakhsh early release is related to the recent trip by the High Commissioner on Human rights of the UN, and also Mr. Haleh Esfandiaris’ comments after retuning to the US.

It is imperative to note that, whilst Mrs Esfandiari and Mr.Tajbakhsh have announced conditions in Evin prison as pleasing, many dissident students only released from 209 section of the same prison and families of imprisoned political prisoners have in an open letter and in a visit with the Head of the Judiciary in Iran, testified to torture and harsh treatment of their friends and beloved ones.

Ako Kurdnasab charged for regime change through journalism

According to Kourosh Fathi, Ako Kurdnasabs attorney, his clients’ case was addressed in a closed un-official court of the first Judiciary Branch in Sanandaj.
Mr. Kurdnasab has been writing for the Weekly “Kereftou”.

In a report published by “Moukerian” news agency, Ako Kurdnasab has been called for a hearing by the court on 10 September. The court announced his charges to be; threatening national security, trying to topple the regime through journalism and also working with opposition groups.
Human Rights Watch of Kurdistan news agency had reported that Mr. Kurdnasab had been banned from visits whilst in detention.
Ako Kurdnassab had been arrested on 21 July 2007 in his office in Sannandaj .

Saturday, September 8, 2007

No news of a woman activist

According to a report released in the weblog of Advocates of Human Rights in Azerbaijan, there is yet no news of Ms. Shahnaz Gholami, a woman activist who had been arrested on the 21 August 2007, by the Intelligence Ministry of Iran.

The last information about Ms.Gholami, was her contact with her friends in which she had expressed concern over a telephone contact by the Intelligence Ministry that had summoned her to be interrogated. In her contact with friends, she had said that this verbal summoning was irrelevant and illegal and that she had refused to attend.

She had received verbal threats in the telephone conversation made by the Ministry.
Shahnaz Gholami is a member of the Womans’ Journalist Association (ROSA) and had recently begun a weblog defending womans’ rights.

Ensaf ali Hedayat, an Iranian journalist in Toronto, has written in an article that Ms. Gholami had been arrested in 1977 after the revolution and sentenced to death by hanging. She had been in prison for four years and had been tortured.

Her arrest has not yet been confirmed by any official State news media.

“My son is under torture” says a journalists’ mother

Nahid Kheirabi, a journalist and mother to political prisoner and journalist Soheil Assefi, has told reporters that she was not given any explanations by the Judiciary as to why her son has been kept in solitary confinement of 209 Evin Prison, after 1 month of detention .

According to Nahid Kheirabi , although her son is not allowed any visits, his father has managed to see him in presence of an interrogator.

“Soheil has been tortured in prison, he has been fed lies and been put under torture, I am extremely worried.” says Mrs.Kheirabi.

She also said although her sons’ physical condition has seriously deteriorated, but he has still been kept in solitary confinement.

“In a country that claims to have freedom of choice, the minimum which is freedom of opinion and speech does not exist” says Nahid Kheirabi.

Kurdish reporter refused contact for 48 hours in prison

Human rights watch in Kurdistan has reported that Ako Kurdnasab, a journalist from Sanandaj, was refused any contact with his family and lawyer for more than 48 hours while detained illegally.
Akos family has received a verbal verdict, accusing him of “disturbing public belief, threatening domestic security, and giving news reports to foreign news media”.

Ako kurdnasab is responsible of the weekly “ Kerftoo” and is supposed to be trialed on 19 September.

An elderly political prisoner in need of medial care

According to reports from Evin prison, Khalil shalchi, who is an elderly prisoner, detained in section 350 of Evin prison, is suffering because of old age conditions, and needs desperate attention in a hospital.

According to our sources, although the Medical Commission of the prison has agreed on the necessity of his transfer to a hospital, but his relocation has been rejected by prison officials.
Khalil shalchi has been arrested for having relations with the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran and has been spending years in prison for this charge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Families of long time arrested Amirkabir students meet their beloved ones

Ahmad Ghassaban, Majid Tavakoli, Ehsan Mansouri, who have been detained for at least 3 weeks in solitary confinement supervised under auspices of the notorious Hassan Zare Dehnavi- Tehran chief Prosecutor, have finally met their families.

Families who net their beloved said that their meeting on the 3rd September was supervised in the presence of an interrogator. Their sons had been told not to talk about prison conditions in 209 Evin section.

These families have also said that their beloved ones have been transferred to solitary confinement, after their letter was published, revealing horrific prison conditions.
All three had begun a hunger strike immediately after being transferred to the cells.

Ahmad Ghassabans’ family said their son was extremely nervous and hyper tensioned in the meeting and had lost considerable weight.

In a separate report, it is said that judge Haddad from the prosecutors office- had called all three families to his office to warn them against any contacts with the High commissioner , Mrs. Louise Arbour, who was at the time in Tehran, attending the so called “ Human rights conference “ of the non aligned in Iran.

As the fathers of the families were in judge Haddad’ office being told what to do, the mothers of the arrested students along with a number of other political prisoners’ families had gathered in front of the UN building in Tehran to see the High commissioner. The families were brutally beaten up and dispersed by the Interior Ministry security forces,

Accoring to Shirin Ebadi, who had managed to see the commissioner in the UN offices, Mrs. Arbour had been very alarmed by the treatment families had received from the security forces. She had taken down names of these families and promised to talk to Iranian officials about the incident and follow the situation through her offices in Geneva.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Keyvan Rafiee’s Trial

Keyvan Rafiee, a human rights activists who was arrested on July 9th 2006, by the Intelligence Ministry Officials has been imprisoned in Section 209 of the Evin Prison since his arrest. Mr. Rafiee’s trial is set for Wednesday September the 5th 2007, in Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Courts. Mr. Rafiee’s trial has been postponed six (6) times in the past year.

Mr. Rafiee has stated that the prosecution has started gathering evidence against him AFTER his arrest, not before, and this is the reason for the non-attendance of the prosecution at the trial on the previous occasions, and the reason behind these adjournments.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Keyvan Ansari transferred to section 8 of Evin prison

keyvan Ansari who was following his Doctorate in Amirkabir University of Tehran, was arrested on 18 September 2006 by the Intelligence agents. After spending one year 209 section of Evin, he is now ordered to be transferred by the Ministry to the violent section 8 of the prison, known to contain criminal cases and narcotics.
This is a known method used to pressurize political prisoners for confession and repentance.

It is relevant to mention here that ,Mr, Andasri and two other students ; Pooya Jahandar, and Saeid Derakhshande, have been charged by the “revolutionary courts “ of forming an illegal group, Tutoring to take hold of government TV broadcasts, having covert emails, and offending High ranking government officials!

The Sixth branch of the revolutionar court sentenced Keyvan Ansari to 3.5years imprisonment, Saeed Derakhshandi to 3 years imprisonment and Pouya Jahandar to 2 years and 6 months imprisonment.

So far the Court of Appeal has been reluctant to clarify their situation.

A letter to the UN Secretary General

Leily Hassanpour, whose brother, Adnan Hassanpour and a colleague reporter called Hiwa Boutimar, have been condemned to death, has written a letter to the UN secretary General, informing him of the 40 day hunger strike of the journalists.

She has stated in her letter that it has been at least 9 months that her brother and his friend have been illegally kept captured by the “Revolutionary Court”. The courts have not yet reacted at all to the journalists 40 day hunger stile and their just demands, she has said in her letter.

At the end of her letter, Leyli Hassnpour indicated that her intention was to let the UN General Secretary know about the atrocities and ask “we question the role of the UN, and what can the UN do in this short period of time?”
The two journalists are now being held in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention centre in Sanandaj.