Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Sunday, May 24, 2009
New York-based Human Rights Watch called yesterday for the immediate release from an Iranian interrogation center of Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, a human rights activist who was first arrested in 1999 and has been in and out of prison ever since.
Javid-Tehrani, 29, has been on a hunger strike for over two weeks and is believed to have various health problems resulting from years of torture.
"The prison wardens do not show any concern for the prisoners on hunger strikes, and we have been informed that the officials have tied [Javid-Tehrani]'s arms and legs from behind and severely beaten him up," Kianoosh Sanjari, a spokesperson for the Iranian Political Prisoners' Association, told The Media Line.
"He was in solitary confinement next to me," said Sanjari, a former fellow prison inmate who has received asylum in the U.S. "He has endured severe torture many times before... I could hear him screaming."
Sanjari described the torture methods used by Iranian prison authorities: "Round the clock interrogation without food or water; threatening family members and falsely informing [the prisoner] of their deaths; simultaneous beatings by seven torturers; forced standing for 48 hours; lashings with thick cables and rough wires to beat the flesh out; standing on parts of the body; banging the head against the wall, and forbidding any visit by doctors."
Javid-Tehrani's sister, contacted by phone by Ahmad Batebi, another former prisoner recently escaped from Iran, confirmed that prison officials have tortured Javid-Tehrani.
In a letter written by Javid-Tehrani and revealed by Sanjari, the prisoner wrote: "For some time now, no one in this prison has been following up my ill health... deteriorating due to torture inflicted by the ‘Ministry for Security.’ The prison clinic refuses to refer me to a civilian hospital, as I need an M.R.I. I have been suffering from the loss of 50 percent of my vision due to blows to the back of my head which has partially damaged the rear of my brain.
"I have been captive for over 10 years as a political prisoner," Javid-Tehrani concluded. "Have I any option other than starting a hunger strike?"
"Court and prison officials have no respect for the basic rights of political prisoners and deny them medical care," said Sanjari. "When a political prisoner does not receive any medical attention and loses all hope, a hunger strike is the only tool he has to publicize his case."
Javid-Tehrani was first sentenced to eight years in prison for “acting against national security” during non-violent student demonstrations in 1999.
His sentence was commuted in 2003 but he was detained twice for advocating for the rights of political prisoners in front of the United Nations offices in Tehran.
During one of these detentions he was sent to Evin prison in Tehran where he and Sanjari were tortured by a prison official, who was referred to as Saeed Sheikhan.
In 2005, Javid-Tehrani began documenting the cases of various political prisoners and protesting the lack of transparency in the Iranian presidential elections, eventually won by Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad.
As part of his activities, Javid-Tehrani interviewed Akbar Mohammadi, a political prisoner who had been temporarily released. Mohammadi died shortly thereafter under suspicious circumstances during a hunger strike in prison.
Javid-Tehrani was re-arrested, repeatedly interrogated about the interview, and sentenced to over seven years in prison for “acts against state security,” and 40 lashes for “insulting the leadership and the state” by the same judge who later sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison for espionage.
Javid-Tehrani, who is being held in the “doghouse” section of Gohar Dasht prison north of Tehran, has never had access to a lawyer.
Despite an independent medical examination, which confirmed he had been tortured while in prison, and the partial loss of his eyesight due to head injuries inflicted by prison authorities, requests for Javid-Tehrani to be given a medical release have been denied.
Beyond a series of suspicious prisoner deaths, Gohar Dasht was also the site of the mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Human Rights Watch raised Javid-Tehrani's case yesterday out of fear for his life.
“The Iranian government is legally bound to ensure safety and provide healthcare for all its prisoners,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, who is critically ill, is in prison for his peaceful political dissent and his human rights advocacy... He should never have been imprisoned in the first place and he should be released at once or he will likely die in prison.”
"It was in this prison that prisoners such as Amir Saran, Omid Reza Mirsayafii and a student named Akbar Mohammadi recently lost their lives under extremely suspicious circumstances," Sanjari added.
"The prison officials once told [Javid-Tehrani]: 'You counter revolutionary idiot, you will soon join your friend Saran.' At the time of Akbar Mohammadi's hunger strike, the wardens had also tied his arms and legs to a bed and taped his mouth [shut] so his voice would never be heard...
“Just before he lost his life, he was told by the wardens, 'Even if you die like a dog we have nothing to do with you.'"
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Written by The Media Line Staff
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 6:19 AM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
A student activist and leading defender of the rights of political prisoners and their families, Javid-Tehrani has spent the last 10 years in and out ofprison. He is currently held in the "doghouse" section of the infamous Gohar Dasht prison in Karaj city, north of Tehran, with his hands and feet cuffed.
"Behrooz Javid-Tehrani, who is critically ill, is in prison for his peaceful political dissent and his human rights advocacy," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "He should never have been imprisoned in the first place and he should be released at once or he will likely die in prison."
Javid-Tehrani, 29, has never had access to a lawyer, and has had limited access to his family since his 2005 arrest. Despite an independent medical examination in 2006 that confirmed he had been tortured while in prison, Javid-Tehrani has been refused release to obtain needed medical care. Amongst his current known ailments are fresh bruises and wounds to his body as well as the loss of 50 percent of his eyesight due to head injuries inflicted by his interrogators in prison. In addition, authorities have not provided adequate medical care during his 18-day hunger strike, according to his friend Kianoosh Sanjari, a human rights activist who was a fellow inmate during part of Javid-Tehrani's term inEvin prison in Tehran.
Iranian officials first detained Javid-Tehrani on July 9, 1999, when he was 19, as he participated in student demonstrations that spread across Iran. He was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of "acting against national security." Four years into his sentence, his sister phoned him to say their mother had passed away but the Iranian Judiciary refused to let him attend his mother's burial. His sentence was later commuted and he was released in late 2003.
In 2004, he was detained twice, both times for demonstrating for the rights of political prisoners and their families in front of the United Nations offices in Tehran. Prison officials interrogated and tortured him in Section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran, Kianoosh Sanjari told Human Rights Watch. Sanjari became aware of Javid-Tehrani's torture in Evin because of the close proximity of their cells and the fact that they shared the same interrogator, an official who goes by the name of Saeed Sheikhan.
In 2005, ahead of the presidential elections won by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Javid-Tehrani and others in an organization called Jebhe-ye Democratic-e Iran(the Iranian Democratic Front), organized activities such as putting up posters, distributing fliers, and writing political graffiti to protest the lack of transparency and lack of democracy in Iranian elections. The group also raised funds to help families of political prisoners and made short films interviewing the families.
After Javid-Tehrani interviewed political prisoner Akbar Mohammadi during the latter's temporary release and shortly before Mohammadi's death under suspicious circumstances during a hungerstrike in prison, he was again arrested in 2005. According to Sanjari, that interview was of special interest to prison officials, who raised it repeatedly during their interrogations of both friends.
The head judge at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, Judge Hasan Zare Dehnavi, known as Judge Hadad, sentenced Javid-Tehrani to four years in prison for membership in an "illegal" organization (the Iranian DemocraticFront) that "acts against state security," 40 lashes for "insulting the leadership and the state," and three-and-a-half years on charges of belonging to the Mojahedin'e Khalgh Organization (MKO). According to Sanjari, this charge was fabricated by the interrogator Sheikhan and furthered by a personal conflict with Judge Hadad, the judge who later sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years for espionage.
An appeals court reduced the sentence on the MKO charge by six months. Javid-Tehrani has now served more than half his 2005 sentence. Most prisoners in Iran are eligible for release after serving half of their sentence, but he has not been granted even one day of customary temporary release since 2005.
Human Rights Watch is concerned that Javid-Tehrani's life is in immediate danger, in light of the suspicious deaths of political prisoners at Gohar Dasht prison (also known as Rajayi Shahr), most recently that of Amir Heshmat Saran in March 2009. Gohar Dasht was one of the main sites of the 1988 mass summary executions of political prisoners which killed thousands.
"Amongst Iran's political prisoners, Gohar Dasht prison is known as the ‘doghouse' because prisoners are sent there to die," said Whitson. "The Iranian government is legally bound to ensure safety and provide healthcare for all its prisoners. But it has consistently failed to do so for political prisoners, with deadly results."
Human Rights Watch urged Iranian authorities to release Javid-Tehrani immediately and end its persecution of peaceful critics and dissidents.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 9:56 PM
Friday, May 15, 2009
According to Pegah Farajollahi, her mother Mrs.Mohseni and 15 other activists, who was arrested along with 100 workers during the 1st May International Workers' Day re-union in Tehran, have been kept in quarantine.
"I don't exactly know how many have been arrested, but I do know that she and others have been kept in a ward called "Motadun" (druggies) in which drug addicts are being detained' has sated Pegah.
According to Pegah , her mother has been allowed only once to contact her. "It is now a week that she is suffering insomnia. I only know that her ear had swollen0up just like an egg and I just don't know the reason. She could not move her head. They have not even allowed her to use her medication" adds Pegah.
Despite the fact that it is now 11 days since Mrs.Mohseni and the rest have been arrested for attempting to assemble to commemorate the International Day for Workers, but they have not been allowed visits by lawyers and relatives.
According to Pegah, her mother and the rest have been accused of threatening National security and creating public disorder, despite the fact that there was no chance to venerate the day because of extreme suppressive measures.
More than 100 people were arrested in the congregation on May 1, 2009, in Laleh Park. Those arrested were Workers Union leaders, journalists and civil rights activists.
Since their arrest, each day, their families have been approaching the Revolutionary Courts and also the prisons demanding their release and an end to impossible heavy bail conditions.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 6:23 PM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: Seven Baha’i leaders detained in Evin prison, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm, should be immediately and unconditionally released, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. Six members of the group were arrested one year ago today; Mahvash Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008.
“The illegal and unjust detention of these seven Baha’i leaders, which again shows a policy of oppressing a religious minority, must be brought to an end,” said Aaron Rhodes, spokesperson for the Campaign. “The group is being denied basic civil rights by neither being allowed to visit with their lawyer, nor being formally charged with any crime.”
Family members of the detainees have reportedly been told that the charges against them will be Mofsed-e fel-Arz, or “spreading corruption on earth,” a charge that carries the death sentence. This same charge was used against Baha’i leaders immediately following the Islamic Revolution as justification for their executions.
Alireza Jamshidi, the Judiciary’s spokesperson, announced on 17 February 2009 that a court hearing for the group would be arranged within a week, but no hearing has been announced or held.
“These charges are extremely serious and the Iranian government should account for such accusations with verifiable evidence, or release the detainees” Rhodes said.
Members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran number approximately 300,000, making them the largest non-Muslim religious minority group. In recent years the persecution of Baha’is has intensified to include cemetery desecration, arbitrary detention, home raids, property confiscation, work expulsion and denial of basic civil rights. Iranian Baha’i youth continue to be denied the right to higher education, and any university found to have a Baha’i student is ordered to expel them. Baha’i professionals are denied government jobs and face discrimination from private businesses because of their faith. Harassment also occurs from ordinary citizens, for example the cars and homes of Baha’is reportedly being vandalized. Even those who come to their defense are targeted. Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has come under fire for taking up the case of the seven Baha’i leaders.
There are currently at least 40 Baha’is in detention throughout Iran. In the month of April alone, arrests were reported in six cities.
Baha’is released on bail have been ordered to pay exorbitant amounts. Aziz Samandari and Jinous Sobhani, a former secretary at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, were released on 11 March on bail of 700 million Rials (approximately $73,000). Didar Raoufi, Payam Aghsani and Nima Haghar were released on the same day and ordered to pay the same amount. Shahrokh Taef was released six days later on 17 March 2009 having paid the same amount in bail.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the government of Iran to comply with international human and civil rights standards and account for the detentions of all Baha’is in Iran. The Campaign urges Iranian leaders to investigate all discriminatory crimes against Baha’is and to allow Baha’i youth the opportunity to attend university.
“The continued persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran degrades all of the people of Iran,” Rhodes said. “The arbitrary detention and targeting of members of any single community should not be tolerated in any country, including Iran.”
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 8:16 PM
Friday, May 8, 2009
IPPA: One of the five captive Amirkabir students, released on 5 May 2009, in an interview with the Iranian Rooz Online site said all of the students in 209 Evin prison were under severe physical and psychological torture during their detention.
According to this report Kourosh Daneshyar's thumb has been broken under constant beatings, and other students were physically and mentally pressured to falsely admit that they are "Hypocrites" or "Anti-Martyrs".
This report says that they were told during interrogations that the site "Amirkabir" is propagating against the system. The aim of the torturers was to find more information on the source and system of organization of Amirkabir site.
Evidently the students each had at least 4 times interrogation during the day while at other times spent time in solitary confinement and were not allowed visits.
Nariman Mostafavi, Kourosh Daneshyar, Hossein Tarkashvand, Esmaiil Salmanpoor and Yasser Torkaman were all released on bails each of 200 to 300 million Tomans on 5 may 2009.
This is while another five students are still under interrogation namely; Abass Hakimzade, Mehdi mashayekhi, Majid Tavakoli, Ahmad ghassaban, and Masoud Dehgan.
These students have been charged with being in touch with the US, Israel, PMOI, different political figures and even drinking wine and seduction.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 9:02 AM
Thursday, May 7, 2009
(6 May 2009) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed serious concerns regarding the secrecy and continued lack of transparency surrounding the prosecution of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, and asked the Iranian Judiciary to adhere to international standards of due process and allow independent observers in the courtroom at her appeals trial.
The Campaign called upon the Judiciary to allow representatives of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), a group led by Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, to observe the trial, which will take place next week.
“In the absence of independent observers, Saberi’s prosecution will continue to lack legitimacy and will further deprive her of due process,” said Campaign spokesperson Hadi Ghaemi.
“Here’s a chance for the Iranian justice system to demonstrate its impartiality and independence from the Intelligence Ministry. But the planned secret appeals trial can be manipulated by the intelligence apparatus, and will not serve justice,” he added.
On 5 May 2009, Alireza Jamshidi, the Judiciary’s spokesperson, told a press conference that Saberi’s appeals trial will take place next week at Branch 14 of Tehran’s Appeals Court. He said the trial will be closed to the public and will include representatives of the Intelligence Ministry, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Iranian Bar Association.
While the presence of an intelligence official and prosecutor is routine in cases brought against defendants by the Intelligence Ministry, the addition of a member of the Bar Association appears to be a ploy to deflect attention from the fact that authorities have denied Saberi the right to independent counsel by refusing her to employ Shirin Ebadi and her team of lawyers to represent her.
After Saberi’s conviction to eight years in prison on espionage charges on 18 April by a lower court, her family asked Shirin Ebadi and her colleagues from DHRC to represent her. However, after five attempts by Ebadi and her colleagues to meet with Saberi and prepare for her defense, the authorities refused to allow her to choose her legal representation.
The Campaign noted that the Iranian Bar Association lacks independence and is controlled by the Judiciary, which has previously prevented Bar Association members to elect independent lawyers on its board.
The continued secrecy regarding the evidence against Saberi is a violation of Iranian laws and international standards for fair trials. The authorities have failed to even disclose under what article of the law Saberi has been indicted. Her father has publicly announced that Saberi’s conviction is based on confessions extracted under duress and false promises made by her interrogators.
Although Iranian officials, including President Ahmadinejad and head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, have called for a fair appeals process, legal proceedings continue to demonstrate a lack of conformity to due process standards. Those calls for fairness and justice now seem insincere or are possibly being disregarded.
In light of the Judiciary’s failure to disclose convincing evidence against Saberi, the Campaign called on the Iranian authorities to acquit and release Saberi during the appeals process.
“Any other outcome from the appeals process, given absolute lack of evidence, would be unacceptable and should be strongly condemned by the international community,” Ghaemi said.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 9:12 AM
Reporters Without Borders is extremely relieved to learn that Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist who is in a Tehran jail on a spying charge, has ended her hunger strike. The press freedom organisation continues to call for the appeal against her conviction to be given a fair hearing and not any sham proceedings.
When Saberi’s parents visited her in Tehran’s Evin prison on 4 May, she agreed to begin eating again at her father’s insistence and took two spoonfuls of yoghurt. Yesterday evening, she confirmed to her parents during a phone call that she had decided to end the hunger strike she began on 21 April.
She also expressed her gratitude for the international campaign of solidarity that has been waged on her behalf.
In accordance with Iranian law, Saberi’s lawyers yesterday filed a request for her release on bail before the judge of the 28th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court.
“The Iranian authorities should respect Roxana Saberi’s rights by granting her lawyers’ request and releasing her on bail pending the appeal hearing,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Iranian judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi announced yesterday that the appeal would be heard behind closed doors “in the course of next week” with representatives of the prosecutor’s office, the intelligence ministry and lawyers association in attendance.
“This is a travesty of justice,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Leading independent figures should be present at this appeal hearing. We call for Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi of the Human Rights Defenders Centre to be allowed to attend.”
Timeline of Saberi case
31 January: Roxana Saberi is arrested.
1 March: The US public radio network NPR breaks the news of her arrest (after getting a call from her father on 10 February).
2 March: Foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi says Saberi was working “illegally” in Iran.
3 March: Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi says she has been “arrested on the order of the Tehran revolutionary court and is being held in Evin prison.”
9 April: Saberi is charged with spying by deputy prosecutor Hassan Zare Dehnavi. This charge is often used by the Iranian authorities to arrest journalists and tighten the muzzle on freedom of expression.
13 April: Saberi is tried in a closed-door hearing on a charge of spying for the United States.
18 April: Saberi is sentenced to eight years in prison.
20 April: Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi announces that she will join the Saberi defence team.
21 April: Saberi begins her hunger strike.
25 April: Her lawyer files an appeal against her conviction.
28 April: Reporters Without Borders begins a hunger strike in Paris.
1 May: Saberi is hospitalised for a few hours after ceasing to take liquids.
2 May: Shirin Ebadi voices her support for Saberi and Reporters Without Borders.
3 May: The Reporters Without Borders hunger strike continues outside UN headquarters in New York.
5 May: Saberi confirms that she had decided to end the hunger strike.
5 May: Saberi’s lawyers file a request for her release on bail.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 8:49 AM
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrests of three journalists in Tehran on 1 May, as May Day demonstrations were taking place. “The authorities continue to crack down on journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “These arrests, which were made without a warrant and without good reason, were illegal.” Journalists Alireza Saghafi and Kaveh Mozafari were arrested in the centre of Tehran in the morning, about an hour before the start of the May Day demonstration. Their arrests were witnessed by Saghafi’s wife, who said the authorities used violence to arrest them. The two journalists were transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison the next day. Saghafi, who edited the magazine Rah Ayandeh (Way of the Future) until the authorities closed it in May 2008, is a member of the Iranian Writers Association. Mozafari is an online journalist who writes for FeministSchool (http://www.feministschool.com/) and Wechange (http://www.4equality.info/), two websites that defend women’s rights. He has been summoned for questioning by the authorities several times in the past. At around midnight on 1 May, intelligence ministry agents went with Mozafari to his home to conduct a search and while there they arrested his wife, Jelveh Javaheri, who also defends women’s rights online and contributes to the FeministSchool website. Javaheri was previously arrested on 1 December 2007 because of the articles she had posted online and spent a month in detention before being freed on payment of 50 million toman (40,000 euros) in bail. “The arrests of Mozafari and Javaheri and the search of their home were illegal because of the lack of a warrant and the time at which the ministry’s agents went to the couple’s home,” their lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, said, announcing her intention to file a complaint against the agents concerned. On 3 May, Javaheri was taken before a judge, who said she could be released if she paid 100 million toman (80,000 euros) in bail. Her lawyer said she refused to sign the bail release form on the ground that she had “committed no crime.” Saghafi’s lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan, also insisted that his client had been arrested illegally. “As a journalist, he had the right to be near the demonstration’s point of departure,” he said, adding “demonstrating is not a crime in Iran.”
Journalists Alireza Saghafi and Kaveh Mozafari were arrested in the centre of Tehran in the morning, about an hour before the start of the May Day demonstration. Their arrests were witnessed by Saghafi’s wife, who said the authorities used violence to arrest them. The two journalists were transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison the next day.
Saghafi, who edited the magazine Rah Ayandeh (Way of the Future) until the authorities closed it in May 2008, is a member of the Iranian Writers Association. Mozafari is an online journalist who writes for FeministSchool (http://www.feministschool.com/) and Wechange (http://www.4equality.info/), two websites that defend women’s rights. He has been summoned for questioning by the authorities several times in the past.
At around midnight on 1 May, intelligence ministry agents went with Mozafari to his home to conduct a search and while there they arrested his wife, Jelveh Javaheri, who also defends women’s rights online and contributes to the FeministSchool website. Javaheri was previously arrested on 1 December 2007 because of the articles she had posted online and spent a month in detention before being freed on payment of 50 million toman (40,000 euros) in bail.
“The arrests of Mozafari and Javaheri and the search of their home were illegal because of the lack of a warrant and the time at which the ministry’s agents went to the couple’s home,” their lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, said, announcing her intention to file a complaint against the agents concerned.
On 3 May, Javaheri was taken before a judge, who said she could be released if she paid 100 million toman (80,000 euros) in bail. Her lawyer said she refused to sign the bail release form on the ground that she had “committed no crime.”
Saghafi’s lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan, also insisted that his client had been arrested illegally. “As a journalist, he had the right to be near the demonstration’s point of departure,” he said, adding “demonstrating is not a crime in Iran.”
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 10:17 PM
Saturday, May 2, 2009
IPPA: Mrs. Sedighe Falahatzade, 40, has been condemned to 8 years prison sentences for having visited her brother in the PMOI base (Ashraf Camp) -Iraq, by the 28th Branch of the Revolution Court.
According to reports by Human right activists, Judge Mohammad Mogheisei, a torturer responsible for the 1980 massacres of Political prisoners, has been personaly reponsible for passing the sentence for Mrs. Falahatzade.
Mrs. Falahatzade was arrested in an organized attack by Intelligence ministry agencies at home, on 14 February 2009 in Tehran and transfered to the notorious Evin prison.
According to reports she has been harassed and tortured in detention and denied contacts with her relatives or attorney.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 10:46 PM
International Campaign for Human Rights is Iran: (1 May 2009) Security and police forces violently attacked Iranian workers as they gathered in Laleh Park in Tehran to observe International Workers’ Day on May 1st, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. The demonstration had been called by ten independent labor organizations. According to information received by the Campaign more than 100 persons were arrested, and citizens not participating in the attempted May Day observance were among those beaten.
“These brutal and deplorable attacks are emblematic of the Iranian government’s utter contempt for workers and for the state’s international obligations to protect worker’s rights,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
An eyewitness to the events in Tehran told the Campaign that she saw five police vans full of arrested people. She described the attack as follows:
“It was about 5 pm. Many people were in the Park. Usually on Fridays the park is crowded. Many people were walking around the fountain where the gathering was supposed to be held at 6pm. Without warning, two vans parked and plain-clothes agents came out of them and started to arrest people. Suddenly, I heard the call, “Long live the labor movement!” Two more vans came, and agents attacked and arrested people. As people resisted, they were beaten with batons and punched and kicked. The attack took 15 minutes after which people walked away because the park was full of security agents who would arrest anyone near the fountain.”
One of the detainees reported by cell phone from the police station in Vesal that more than 100 persons had been arrested.
Citizens detained in the incident have been transferred to different police stations and detention centers. According to the Iran Free Trade Union website, some of the well-known labor activists detained include Jafar Azimzadeh, Shahpour Ehsanirad, Maryam Mohseni and Behrouz Khabazzadeh. Other sources and eyewitnesses reported that seven members of the Association to Defend Child Workers are among detainees.
According to the Iran Free Trade Union website, another May Day gathering was scheduled to take place at 5pm in Sanandaj in Amirieh, the main square. On the morning of May 1st, five labor rights activists were summoned to the Intelligence Office in Sanandaj and arrested in an attempt to prevent the gathering: Sedigh Karimi, Sharif Saedpanah, Majid Mohammadi, Seyed Khaled Hosseini and Zhyan Sobhani. As activists formed a group in the square, plain-clothes agents and police forces tried to collect their placards, meeting resistance from the demonstrators. The crowed started to chant, “Long live workers” and “Political prisoners should be released.” They were attacked and severely beaten by the security forces, and at least 10 were arrested. Ghayegh Key Khosravi is also among the detainees.
Other assaults on labor activists have taken place in Kurdistan in recent days. On 29 April, Karim Fateh, Ali (Omar) Minaie, and Hadi Tanoumand, members of the Coordinating Committee to Help to Establish Workers Organizations, were summoned to the Intelligence Department of the police station in Bukan. On the same day, Zhiyan Sobhani and Kourosh Bakhshandeh, members of the Committee, and Amaj Nikdel (14) were summoned to police station number 12 in Sanandaj. Sobhani, Bakhshandeh and Nikdel were previously arrested and released in Sanandaj on 17 April when they went to visit Ghaleb Hosseini, a prisoner sentenced for his May Day activists last year.
On 27 April, Yousef Bokhrabad and Vahed Resideh were questioned about May Day observances in the Intelligence Office in Mahabad. On the same day, Hassan Rasoulnejad and Ahmad Eski Baghdadi were summoned and questioned in Bukan. All these 4 workers activists are members of the Coordinating Committee to Help to Establish Workers Organizations.
The International Campaign for Human Rights is Iran appeals for the immediate release of labor activists detained as they sought to peacefully demonstrate their commitment to fair labor practices. The Campaign also notes the urgent need to release and drop charges against unfairly incarcerated Iranian labor activists, including Mansour Osanloo, Ebrahim Maddadi, Farzad Kamangar and Ghaleb Hosseini.
Posted by Iranian Political Prisoners Association - انجمن زندانیان سیاسی at 3:17 AM