Archive for Human Rights

Hunger Strikes Across Iran’s Prisons Protest “State Murder as a Means of Repression”

Black Tuesday Campaign by Prisoners Builds in Desperate Effort to Halt Surging Executions
Lawyers in Iran Note Growing Pressure on Prisoners Who Join Hunger Strike

April 23, 2024 – As executions in the Islamic Republic mount to numbers not seen in many years, a growing number of prisoners across Iran have resorted to hunger strikes in a desperate effort to draw attention to the use of “state murder…as a means of repression and intimidation.”

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Gaza war and South African lawsuit against Israel

2024-01-18- Vienna– We welcome the initiative of the Republic of South Africa to indict the State of Israel for genocide, the ongoing destruction of human life and livelihoods in Gaza at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, while also naming and condemning the atrocious crimes of Hamas.

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Relentless Campaign of Repression Seeks to Quash “Woman, Life, Freedom” Movement

Jan 16, 2024 – Three women prisoners of conscience in Iran, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Narges Mohammadi and journalists Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, are confronting additional prison sentences on sham charges. The state persists in its attempts to coerce women into submission for the mere exercise of basic rights, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran.

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Toomaj Salehi Re-Arrested After Publicly Disclosing Plans to Sue State

Requires Medical Treatment for Injuries Sustained in Prison

December 5, 2023 – The arbitrary re-arrest of Toomaj Salehi, a musician and dissident rapper in Iran, after he publicly announced he was filing a lawsuit over being tortured while in state custody, demands strong condemnation from the international community. Artistic and freedom of speech advocates in particular should demand his permanent release, stated the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

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Peaceful Protesters’ Plight in Iran: Abductions and Forced Confessions

November 17, 2023 – An arbitrarily detained woman, facing unjust imprisonment in Iran, has provided a detailed account of her violent abduction amid mass arrests of peaceful protesters who were beaten and coerced into signing forced confessions, as per testimony obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

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Nasrin Sotoudeh Among Those Violently Arrested, Faces Grave Danger and Re-Imprisonment

Manzar Zarabi, Who Lost Family Members on Downed Airplane, and Teacher’s Rights Advocate Masoud Zeinalzadeh Detained

October 30, 2023 – Following the beating and arrest of peaceful activists detained at the funeral yesterday of Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old who died last week after a reported violent assault by the Iranian government’s forced-hijab enforcers, the international community must urgently demand the immediate release of all those detained, as well as accountability for this outrageous violence.

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Niloufar Hamedi Gets Seven Years Behind Bars and Elahe Mohammadi Six Years

Iranian Government Moves to Crush “Woman, Life, Freedom” Movement On All Fronts

October 23, 2023 — The sentencing of two women journalists in Iran, Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who have been detained in Iran for over a year, to long prison sentences for reporting on the death in state custody of Mahsa Jina Amini, underscores the use of the judiciary in Iran as nothing more than a tool of the state’s repressive apparatus, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

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Iranian Government Targeting Disability Rights Advocates

Nasser Saragaran

In Separate Case, Lawyer Representing Mahsa Jina Amini Sentenced to a Year in Prison

October 18, 2023 – A prominent and blind disability rights lawyer from Saqqez, the hometown of Mahsa Jina Amini, whose killing in Iranian state custody sparked months of anti-state protests, has gone missing after being unlawfully detained by Iranian state security forces, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.

“This is another example of the intensifying practice in the Islamic Republic of Iran of detaining and imprisoning individuals without due process, and then persecuting the lawyers who try to access justice and address these egregious rights violations,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.

“The lawyer Nasser Saragaran was detained in Iran because of the remarkable power of his voice,” Ghaemi added. “If he does not receive international calls for his release, the disability rights communities in Iran will endure a terrible loss.”

“Silence would also green-light the unlawful detainment of other disability rights advocates in Iran,” said Ghaemi.

CHRI emphasizes that given Sargaran’s visual impairment, he is particularly susceptible to potential mistreatment and abuse by Iranian authorities. He must be granted complete access to legal representation of his choice and ensured the ability to fully access all relevant documents.

Lawyer Arrested Amid State Campaign to Silence Disability Rights Group

Sargaran, 36, a university lecturer and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, was unlawfully detained at his family home in the city of Saqqez, Kurdistan province, on October 11, 2023, by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. He was then transferred to the ministry’s detention center in the provincial capital, Sanandaj. It should be noted that he was arrested at his home without the presentation of a warrant.

Sargaran, an ethnic Kurd, is widely recognized in Saqqez as a prominent lawyer who has represented numerous detainees in connection with last year’s protests. Aged 36, he was blinded by a leftover landmine from the Iran-Iraq War and is known as a powerful voice for landmine victims in his community.

He has also been a fervent advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, actively contributing as a board member of the Institute for the Welfare of the Blind in Saqqez.

In recent weeks, there has been a notable surge in security and judicial pressures on activists advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in Iran. This has been especially the case regarding the Campaign to Pursue the Rights of People with Disabilities, a grassroots organization based in Tehran. Founded in 2007, the group champions the rights of individuals with disabilities, and Sargaran engaged with it to continue his work.

Two prominent activists, Behrouz Morovati, the national director of the Campaign to Pursue the Rights of People With Disabilities in Tehran, and Leila Mirkhoshhal, the group’s online administrator in the city of Qazvin, were summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence on October 11, the same day Sargaran was unlawfully detained. Information received by CHRI indicates that intelligence agents seized some of Morovati’s personal items, including a mobile phone.

The group, in a series of tweets, connected these summons to state investigations concerning an online school for people with disabilities. The Iranian government has a documented history of using scare tactics, as well as unlawful detainments and prosecutions on trumped-up charges, to silence advocacy groups that criticize state policies.

Lawyer of Mahsa Jina Amini Sentenced to a Year in Prison

In another case of a human rights lawyer being unjustly persecuted to silence his work, Saleh Nikbakht, who represented the family of a Mahsa Jina Amini, the 22-year-old who was killed in Iranian state custody in September 2022, just three days after she was arrested for her alleged inappropriate hijab, was sentenced to one year in prison. Amini’s death sparked months of anti-state protests that eventually culminated into the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.

Nibakht was sentenced to prison for speaking about the case in general terms with journalists.

“Unfortunately, the court, without considering the defense presented by me and my client, sentenced him to the maximum penalty for [‘propaganda against the state’]… As a person knowledgeable in law, I emphasize that there is not a single sentence in [Saleh Nikbakht’s] interviews that would constitute ‘propaganda against the state,'” said his lawyer, Ali Rezaie, in an interview with Ensaf News.

“This conviction has been issued due to unlawful interpretations of the interviews,” he added.

Nibakht has not spoken about the sentence, which is eligible for appeal. As of this writing, he remained at home.

“It isn’t suprising that Nibakht was sentenced to prison, given that journalists who reported on Amini’s case have been jailed for more than year now simply for reporting facts about the case,” said Ghaemi.

“The international legal community must speak out more forcefully against the Iranian government’s decades-long crusade to eliminate independent lawyers in Iran,” he added. “Bar associations, international human rights lawyers, and rights organizations should all speak up for their besieged colleagues in the Islamic Republic.”

Special Report: Sunni Clerics in the Crosshairs of Islamic Republic Repression

Religious Leaders of Minority Communities Are Arrested, Imprisoned, Defrocked for Supporting Protesters

August 15, 2023 – Religious leaders of the Sunni Muslim communities in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province and in the Kurdish provinces of the country are being increasingly targeted by Islamic Republic authorities for persecution, arrest, and imprisonment because of their peaceful criticism of the state’s violent repression.

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Saman Yasin: Latest Victim of Iran’s Use of Forced Psychiatric Care to Punish Political Prisoners

July 24, 2023 – The forced psychiatric hospitalization of jailed rapper Saman Yasin in Iran shortly after he demanded due process and justice for his case highlights the Iranian government’s continued weaponization of medical treatment in order to suppress dissent, in flagrant violation of international and Iranian law.

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