Thursday, January 29, 2009

Concern over elderly prisoners' situation

Relatives of over 18 families, including elderly men and women, who had been arrested in Tehran's International airport for trying to legally go to Iraq to visit their next of kin and relatives of Camp Ahsraf (where PMOI members reside) have been arrested and are in a dangerous situation.

Most of the arrested are elderly women aging between 60 to 80 years.

Soleiman Zahed, Zahra Javadi,Ferdows Mahboobi,Fateme Sadeghi, Kobra AMirkhizi, Mr.and Mrs. BoorEghbal, Parisa Pooreghbal,Azizeh Shafinia, Jamileh Mohammadzadeh, Kobra Badiroodi, Mr.Bahrami, Atifeh Bahrami, andmany members of the Rezaii Familly. ( Rezaii family has been famous in Iranian families for having 9 members of their family killed under the Shah and Khomeini)

No reasons have been given for their arrest, but that they had tempted to visit their family members (in Camp Ashraf).

It is said that some of these people are in a very bad physical condition. Considering the fact that these people are in a volatile situation and under heavy interrogation, families fear their health.

Prior to this incident, the Judiciary of the Intelligence Ministry had arrested a young student named Houd Yazerloo, who had been visiting his relatives in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

Mr. Yazerloo has been transferred to the public ward 7 of Evin after having been in solitary confinement.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

British film director Ken Loach: I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran

Ken LoachBritish
Film and television director

To: ; ; ; Cc:

Subject: protest letter

I have read the information about Labour activists imprisoned in your country. These words express exactly the outrage of many people at your government's callous disregard for civil liberties. From Ken Loach, Film Director, England.

I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran. According to the latest news, the current labour activists who are known to be in jails across Iran are as follows:

- Mr. Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company, sentenced to five years imprisonment, incarcerated since July 2007. Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Osanloo has been beaten numerous times by security forces. He has some serious health problems.

- Mr. Afshin Shams, a member of "Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' organizations", a member of the "Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi" and a member of "Caricaturists. He was arrested at his work in city of Aligoodarz on July on July 3, 2008 and later was transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan. On November 1, 2008, he was November 1, 2008. Afshan Shams received his verdict from the court according which he has been sentenced to one year imprisonment. The verdict was given without the presence of Afshin's lawyer.

- Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a 33 year old teacher and union and human rights activist from Kurdistan province. He has been sentenced to death by the Iranian government and has been severely tortured. He has been transferred to Rajayee Shahr Prison since December 25, 2008 and he is kept in Infectious Diseases section of the prison. His lawyer has expressed surprise with this transfer. Despite legal efforts in Iran and international protests, Farzad's execution sentence has not been revoked. For more info please refer o the

- Mr. Mohsen Hakimi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organization and a member of the Iranian Writers' Association, was arrested by the plain-clothes security agents near midnight on December 22, 2008 in Tehran. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.

- Mr. Bijan Amiri, who is an auto worker and a member of workers' mountain-climbing board, was arrested by the Iran Khodro Company's security forces on December 22, 2008 in the factory. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.
- Mr. Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Mr. Madadi has been arrested a number of times before. The latest arrest took place in the North Branch of the Employment office in Tehran on December 27, 2008. Mr. Molayee, Maddi's lawyer, has told the BBC Persian that Mr. Madadi has been arrested according to a court order issued by division 14 of the Islamic Revolution Court according to which he has been sentenced to three and half years of imprisonment for "acting against the national security" and "propaganda against the system" . However, Mr. Molayee reports that the court order was never given to him or Mr. Madadi, thus they did not have a chance to appeal it. The court claims that they had verbally informed Mr. Madadi about it when he was detained for another case previously. Mr. Madadi had spent about 4 months in prison last year. Mr. Madadi is currently detained in Evin prison.

- Mr. Pedram Nasrolahi, who is a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations in Kurdistan, arrested on December 24, 2008.

- Mr. Bakhtiar Rahimi, a labour activist in Kurdistan was arrested on December 23, 2008. Mr. Rahimi had been previously incarcerated and released after a few months.

In addition, many labour activists in Iran are under suspended sentences or await trials and are suspended or expelled from their workplace as the result of their labour activities, including many member of the Vahed Syndicate in Tehran as well as five leaders of the Syndicate of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers' Syndicate who were put on trial on December 20, 2008 and are now awaiting their verdict.

Therefore, I condemn all these arrests and repression of labour activists and organizations in Iran and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all incarcerated workers. I also ask the Iranian government to respect workers' rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers' organizations.

Save the life of Farzad Kamangar

Please join with the thousands of trade unionists and human rights defenders around the world who are mobilising in defence of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher and trade unionist who is at risk of execution.

Education International received information from reliable sources that on 26 November Kamangar was taken from his cell 121 in ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison in preparation for execution by hanging. However, the latest information is that he is still alive and was able to meet with his lawyer on 27 November for the first time in over two months. His situation remains precarious nonetheless.

Kamangar, aged 33, was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on 25 February 2008 after a trial which took place in secret, lasted only minutes, and failed to meet Iranian and international standards of fairness. His lawyer, Kahlil Bahramian, said: "Nothing in Kamangar's judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him." Indeed, Kamangar was initially cleared of all charges during the investigation process.

Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Transport Workers Federation, Amnesty International and LabourStart are appealing to the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentence and ensure his case is reviewed fairly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alaei brothers given 9 year prison term

Iranian revolution Court has sentenced Dr. Arash Alaei and his brother Kamyar Alaei , specialists in research and curbing AIDS, to altogether 9 years imprisonment. They are charged with participating in "soft toppling".

On Monday 19 January the head of the anti espionage section of the Intelligence Ministry had referred to the brothers as those who had participated in" toppling the regime softly".

Mr.Shafiee, their attorney, has said that the terms given are not final and they still have time to appeal!

According to article 508 of the Islamic penal code, the brothers have been sentenced to 9 years. The code indicates " Any person or organization in touch with a foreign government for any activities against the Islamic Republic, if not sentences to be untouchables, will be sentenced to one to ten years of prison". The attorney sees this reference inapplicable for his clients because the brothers have declined any relation with any US institution or foreign institutions. They have solely been active on scientific research to combat AIDS.

The anti espionage section has prior to this announced that they will release some of the confessions received of the convicted persons in a TV channel.

TV confessions have been used against political prisoners as long ago as 29 years and is a tactic well known to cover political motives.

Political prisoners whose "Confessions" have been released in the TV later have revealed the amount of torture inflicted on them for these confessions.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trials of those involved in "peaceful toppling" of Tehran

According to ISNA-17 January, the 25th branch of Tehran's Revolution Court has convicted those involved in "soft toppling" of the regime in Iran to life imprisonment .

The court has not clarified their names and whereabouts or even the prison in which they are being detained. According to a statement released by three Human Rights NGOs; Doctors defending Human Rights, Human Right Watch (Iran), and "International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: The Alaei brothers are amongst those accused of trying to topple the regime.

According to the Court , these people had been "in contact with US Intelligence", under the pretext of working in governmental and non governmental institutions while being supported by the US Ministry of State and financed by the Senate". According to the accusations, they have been trying to instigate a "soft toppling" and were arrested by Iranian Intelligence.

Prior to this Alireza Jamshidi, spokesman of the Judiciary, had referred to the trial of four members of a network formed for a "soft toppling of Tehran", which was "financed by the US", on 13 January 2009.

He had declared their crimes to be in context with article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code: "Cooperating with Hostile governments to the Islamic Republic", which could result in a ten year prison term for the accused.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Many Arrested; Bahai affiliates and Dervish members

14 January 2009, in a coordinated operation, ten families affiliated with the Bahai faith were harassed by Iranian regime security agents, their belongings searched, confiscated and their members arrested and taken away to Evin prison.

According to reports released by Bahai students; Jinus Sobhani, Shahrokh Taeff, Azizollah Samandari, Payam Aghsani, Didar Raoof, Nima Haghar have been arrested.

Junis Sobahani had been secretary of the society of "Defenders of Human Rights" until it was banned in December 2008. She was also a member in the "Society of participating mine detectors".

A spokesman from the Society of Defenders of Human Rights said Sobhani was arrested at 6.30 in the morning of the day her house was searched, along with her husband. She had recently written legal articles on Human Rights in local media.

Iranian officials have not yet clarified the reason for their arrest. Dian Alaei, representative of the Bahai Community in the UN has declared the arrest to be related with their affiliation to the Bahai faith.

Other members of the Bahai faith, arrested previously on 14 May 2008 are still in detention without legal clarifications.

Gonabad Dervishes

Six members of the Dervish community of Gonabad, have been arrested in an attack by security agents in Kish (Island in the South of Iran)

According to these reports, Mohammad Jafar Entezami, Abdolreza Goodarzi, Ahmad Goodarzi, Amin Goodarzi, Omid Hassan Zadeh, Mehran Assadpoor,TOoraj Yeganeh have been among those arrested.

These people have been arrested during a violent attack on Mr. Jafarpoor's house by intelligence agents. Their location at the moment is reported to be in the Security Detention centre of Kish.
This attack follows the forced closure of the "Hosseinieh" (prayers sanctuary) of the Gonabad Dervishes in Kish.

They have been arrested for their religious beliefs.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Alaei brother's trial ahead

On 30 December 2008, Alireza Jamshidi, spokesman for the judiciary confirmed the awaiting trials of Arash and Kamiar Alaei. He stated the brother's crime to be "acting against National security by collaborating with the USA, carrying out media campaigns against the state and also being a member of outlawed political groups".

Kamiar and Arash Alaei have been vanguards in combating Aids in Iran. They were both arrested on 23 June 2008 by security agents and are believed to be kept in the notorious 209 section of Evin Prison.

+ Hossein Derakhashan's arrest confirmed

Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian- Canadian citizen, was arrested as he returned to Iran on November 1 2008.

His relatives have indicated that he has been accused of traveling to Israel, which is not allowed in the Islamic constitution.

Mr.Derakhsahn who has been one of the leading Iranian blogger, was invited to participate in a seminar in Israel in 2006. The seminar was titled: "Reforms, opposition and disputes in the Middle East" and also " Blogging, a true way to oppose in the Middle East".