URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

Iran – April 11, 2012 – The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.
New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) of the judicial harassment faced by several members of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), including Mr. Kouhyar Goudarzi, Mr. Saeed Jalalifar, also a former member of the Association for Defence of Street and Working Children, Ms. Shiva Nazarahari, also a member of the “One Million Signatures” Campaign, and Mr. Navid Khanjani, who is considered as a significant figure in awareness on educational rights.

According to the information received, on February 26, 2012, Mr. Kouhyar Goudarzi was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court to five years of imprisonment to be served in internal exile in the remote south-eastern city of Zabul. He was convicted on charges of “propaganda against the regime” through an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, in which he spoke about his hunger strike in solidarity with prisoners and his former cellmates, and “assembly and collusion against the regime”. Although he lodged an appeal, he remains detained in Section 209 of Evin prison under control of the Ministry of Intelligence. Since his arrest in July 2011, he has spent more than two months in solitary confinement.

In addition, in the second half of December 2011, his mother Ms. Parvin Mokhtar’e, after spending nearly five months in Kerman prison, was sentenced to 23 months of imprisonment on charges of “assembly, collusion and spreading propaganda against the State” by the Kerman Islamic Revolution Court. On appeal, the sentence was reduced to 23 months of suspended imprisonment. She was also sentenced to cash fine for “insulting the martyrs”, which she paid, before being released on March 18, 2012. The Observatory welcomes Ms. Parvin Mokhtar’e’s release but calls on Iranian authorities to stop the judicial harassment against her as it is believed that her sentencing was directly related to her legitimate activities in defence of her son.

Furthermore, in February 2012, the three-year imprisonment sentence against Mr. Saeed Jalalifar on charge of “acting against national security” was upheld on appeal. As of issuing this urgent appeal, he remains detained in Evin prison, where he is serving his sentence.

Finally, Ms. Shiva Nazarahari and Mr. Navid Khanjani remain at risk of arbitrary arrest at any time since the confirmation of their imprisonment sentences on appeal in, respectively, January and August 2011(see background information).

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detentions and acts of judicial harassment against the above-mentioned CHRR members, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities, amid the continuing repression of the Iranian civil society.

Background information:

Mr. Kouhyar Goudarzi was arrested in December 2009 and subsequently sentenced to one year in prison on charges, among others, of “propaganda activity against the regime through effective collaboration with the Committee of Human Rights Reporters website”, “collection and publishing of biased news against the regime and transfer of this information to terrorist organisations based abroad” as well as “interviews with foreign media and publishing articles in websites,” pursuant to Islamic Penal Code of Iran. He served the sentence and was released on December 14, 2010. On July 30 or 31, 2011, Mr. Goudarzi was again arrested in Tehran and his whereabouts remained unknown during the first several few weeks in what was tantamount to enforced disappearance. A day after his arrest, in the morning of July 31 or August 1, 2011, his mother Ms. Parvin Mokhtar’e was also arbitrarily arrested at her home in Kerman, by four plainclothes agents, without a warrant. While in detention, she was informed that she had been accused of “insulting the Supreme leader”, “propaganda against the regime”, and “acting against national security”, whereas she had no political or human rights-related activities.

On November 20, 2009, Mr. Saeed Jalalifar was arrested for “engaging in propaganda activities against the regime” and released on bail of one billion rials on March 16, 2010. In relation to the same case, on July 31, 2011, Mr. Jalalifar was arrested again and transferred to the Evin prison. In late August 2011, Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court sentenced Mr. Jalalifar to a three-year imprisonment sentence on charge of “acting against national security”.

In March 2010, Mr. Navid Khanjani was arrested in Esfahan and was put under pressure to make self-incriminating interviews before a video camera. He spent 65 days in Evin prison before being released on a bail of one billion rials on May 3, 2010. On January 30, 2011, his lawyer was informed that his client had been sentenced by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court to 12 years imprisonment for “spreading lies”, “disturbing the public opinion and propaganda against the system by giving interviews to foreign media”, and “membership of CHRR”. Mr. Khanjani, who was previously banned from pursuing higher education for being a member of the Baha’i religious minority in Iran, was also charged with founding an organisation for people banned from pursuing higher education. He was also banned from travelling abroad in an earlier sentence. He appealed the sentence. In August 2011, his sentence was upheld by the Appeals Court, which added a monetary fine of four million rials. Since then, he has been at risk of arbitrary arrest at any time.

Ms. Shiva Nazarahari was arrested on June 14, 2009, before being released on a two-billion rial bail on September 23, 2009. She was re-arrested on December 21, 2009 by security forces and transferred to Evin prison. Following international pressure, she was released on September 12, 2010 on a bail of five billion rials. On September 18, 2010, she was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in internal exile in Izeh in south-west Iran and 74 whip lashes for “attempts to defame the Islamic system”, “assembly and collusion against the Islamic system”, “disturbing the public’s peace of mind” and “waging war against God”. On January 8, 2011, the Appeals Court reduced her sentence to four years of imprisonment in internal exile in Karaj prison and 74 lashes. Since then, she has remained free on bail, but stands a risk of arrest any time.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Shiva Nazarahari, Ms. Parvin Mokhtar’e and Messrs. Kouhyar Goudarzi, Saeed Jalalifar and Navid Khanjani as well as all human rights defenders and their families in Iran;

Release Messrs. Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Jalalifar immediately and unconditionally as their detention only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Ms. Shiva Nazarahari, Ms. Parvin Mokhtar’e and Messrs. Kouhyar Goudarzi, Saeed Jalalifar and Navid Khanjani and more generally against all human rights defenders in Iran;

Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
its article 5.b, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, (…) to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups”;
its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Addresses:

Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shahid Keshvardoost St., Jomhuri Eslami Ave., Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649, + 98 21 649 / 21 774 2228, E-Mail: info_leader@leader.ir
President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880. E-Mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Ministry of Justice, c/o Public relations Office, Number 4, 2 Azizi Street, Vali Asr Ave., above Pasteur Street intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Jayad Larijani, [Care of] Office of the Head of the Judicary, Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave, South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
H.E. Mr. Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: secretariat@iranembassy.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, April 11, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29