Some of Many Case Reports of Serious Violation presented to the side panel of the United Nations Human Rights Council
By Soheil Parhizi
The Islamic Republic of Iran has never responded to the public and human rights bodies allegations of the grave abuse of human rights in the country and instead, used the technique of responding the question by question. The Islamic Republic puts Iranian intellectuals alongside the terrorists who commit acts of terrorism by killing innocent civilians in the western countries for revenge or other purposes. Here, I am talking about those who are an integral part of the intellectual society of Iran in the realm of culture, art and science and who have used their ability in the intellectual development of the lives of Iranians through multimedia devices and have gained international recognition by winning various prizes. Distinguished persons such as Jafar Panahi who can only be compared with Michael Moore or Oliver Stone renowned US film-makers who can freely critize their governments.
The intellectuals in Iran who work hard within the limited framework provided by the law and who portray and highlight the social disarrays in the hope of finding solutions cannot in anyway be compared to terrorists who commit acts of terrorism although I believe that even those terrorists in the Guauntanamo Bay have human rights which have to be respected.
We have grave concerns and would like to draw the attention of human rights bodies to the imprisonment of intellectuals, depravation from work, ban on their travel and social activity and a life based on limitations which cause damages and hardship to their personal and family life and which have grave consequences for the cultural and scientific development of the country.
Recipient of the 2008 Human Rights International Award Bolzano & recipient of the 2011 PEN and many other awards.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights and women`s rights lawyer . She has defended many Iranian women’s rights activists and the prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors. Her clients include noted journalist Isa Saharkhiz and Heshmat Tabarzadi, the head of Iran's banned opposition group, the Democratic Front. Sotoudeh was arrested in September 2010. She was in solitary conferment for more than six months in Evin prison during which she went on 3 hunger strikes to protest against her condition in prison . She was charged with spreading propaganda and conspiracy to harm the state security.. In January 2011, Iranian authorities sentenced Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison in addition to disbarring her from practicing law and from prohibition to leave the country for 20 years. According to her husband, Reza Khandan, She has stated that she has withdrawn her appeals request. Now she is no longer in solitary confinement but in a section where the prisoners can not have any visitors.. During all these 9 and half months she could only visit her daughter of 12 and her son of 3 years only 3 times ,for 40 minutes in total. In all this period she was not even provided with paper to write any thing.
Nasrin Sotudeh Hugs her husband while handcuffed. Date : 30 May 2011
An Iranian filmmaker who is one of the most influential filmmakers in the Iranian New nave movement. He has gained recognition from film theorists and critics worldwide and received numerous awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
On 20 December 2010, Jafar Panahi was handed a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country.
On 30 July 2009, Panahi was arrested at a cemetery in Tehran where mourners had gathered near the grave of Neda Agha-Soltan. He was later released, but his passport was revoked and he was banned from leaving the country. On February 2010 his request to travel to the 60th Berlin Film Festival to participate in the panel discussion on "Iranian Cinema: Present and Future, expectations inside and outside of Iran" was denied.
On 1 March 2010, Panahi was arrested again. He was taken from his home along with his wife Tahereh Saidi, daughter Solmaz Panahi and 15 of his friends by plainclothes officers to Evin Prison. Most were released 48 hours later, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa on 17 March 2010, but Panahi remains in ward 209 inside Evin Prison. Panahi's arrest was confirmed by the government, but charges were not specified.
On May 18, 2010, Panahi sent a message to Abbas Baktiari, director of the Pouya Cultural Center, an Iranian-French cultural organization in Paris. Panahi wrote that he has been mistreated in prison and his family threatened, and as a result has begun a hunger strike.
On 25 May 2010, Panahi was released on $200,000 bail.
On 12 November 2010, Panahi was back in court for his hearing. In a lengthy statement he defended himself and told the court that "I am Iranian and I will remain in Iran."
On 20 December 2010 Panahi, after being prosecuted for “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” was handed a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country.
He is an Iranian journalist, academic, writer and political analyst and the secretary general of Office for Strengthening Unity. He is one of the notable figures of the Iranian reform movement.
Imprisoned Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi is the laureate of this year’s UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. He was selected by an independent international jury of 12 media professionals. A former editor-in-chief of the Azad newspaper and contributor to the Tehran-based daily Hamshahari, the BBC Persian service, and the Persian/English news site Rooz, Ahmad Zeidabadi is also a member of the Association of Iranian Journalists, and the elected president of one of Iran's largest student organizations, the Iranian Alumni Association. He is also a professor of political science, and has lectured at numerous academic institutions.
Ahmad Zeidabadi is currently serving a six-year jail sentence following Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009. Announcing the decision, jury president Diana Senghor said: “ The final choice of Ahmad Zeidabadi pays a tribute to his exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression, democracy, human rights, tolerance, and humanity. Beyond him, also the Prize will award the numerous Iranian journalists who are currently jailed.”
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, endorsed the jury’s decision and called for Mr Zeidabadi’s release from prison. “Throughout his career Ahmad Zeidabadi has courageously and unceasingly spoken out for press freedom and freedom of expression, which is a fundamental human right that underpins all other civil liberties, a key ingredient of tolerant and open societies and vital for the rule of law and democratic governance,” said the Director-General.
“Ahead of World Press Freedom Day and in recognition of the concerns expressed by the international jury for his health and well-being, I call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr Zeidabadi from detention.”
§Born in 1966, Ahmad Zeidabadi was first arrested in 2000. His campaign for civil rights gained momentum at that time, with the publication and wide distribution of an open letter, written in prison, in which he denounced the treatment of jailed journalists. Less than a year after his release on bail in March 2001, he was imprisoned again, sentenced to serve 23 months in jail and banned for five years from “all public and social activity, including journalism.” Released in 2004, he found himself once more at odds with the Government during the presidential election of 2005, when he published numerous articles calling for a boycott of the national election. Mr Zeidabadi was among dozens of Iranian journalists detained following the 2009 election. Along with 40 other journalists and 100 prominent supporters of the country's pro-reform movement, he was tried on charges of plotting to overthrow the Government with a “soft revolution”. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment followed by five years internal exile, and banned for life from practicing his profession as a journalist. At least 26 other journalists are also still behind bars.
In 2010, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) gave Mr. Zeidabadi the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award that recognizes outstanding action, in writing and deed, in the cause of press freedom.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri
Internationally celebrated founder of two therapeutic approaches “Faradarmani” & “Psymentology” from Iran facing capital punishment in Iran
Dr. MA Taheri splendid achievements, honorary degrees, certificates and gold medals from Belgium, Romania, Russia and South Korea, among others, for founding the above-mentioned therapeutic approaches being genuinely Iranian, Islamic and spiritual.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri, an academic entity, also a spiritual master, is an internationally celebrated founder of two medical therapeutic approaches: “Faradarmani” & “Psymentology” from Iran (description page 4). His methodology and approach have been a source of awareness and realization to countless people seeking wisdom, i.e. Interuniversal Consciousness. After a couple of times and quite on groundless and forged accusations, he (and many of his fellow students nationwide) have been so far arrested and now imprisoned for another time! Contrary to what he has been advocating tirelessly ever since (supporting established religious beliefs and social moralities), according to the media & press some very serious accusations are now facing him, increasing in variety & severity, posing capital punishment on him, in this doomed land of thoughtlessness & lawlessness!
A young, an Iranian graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, failed to return from a visit to Iran during the winter break.
According to reports from Kaleme, Kokabee a Turkman and man of tradition, with no history of political activism, was arrested in February 2011 when he traveled to Iran to visit with his family. Upon his arrest, Kokabee was first transferred to ward 209 at Evin where he spent more than one month in solitary confinement and later moved to Evin's ward 350.
Kokabee is charged with "communicating with a hostile government" and "illegitimate/illegal earnings".
During his studies, Kokabee had traveled to Iran on numerous occasions in order to visit with his family.
How ever on his last trip, upon leaving Iran in February of 2011, he was arrested at Khomeini International Airport and transferred to Evin prison's ward 209, a ward under the supervision of the Ministry of Intelligence, where he endured long hours of interrogation. To date, Kokabee has spent more than one month in solitary confinement and another month in prison cells with several cellmates.
During his interrogation process Kokabee was asked why the U.S. government granted him a visa and he responded that he was given a visa because he was a student.
The lawyer of Sakineh Ashtiani, sentenced to 11 years in prison. Houtan Kian, the defence lawyer who was best known by the media through his defence of Mrs Sakineh Ashtiani’s (the woman sentenced to death by stoning) case, has been incarcerated since last September.
He was arrested alongside with two German citizens and Mrs Ashtiani’s son. A little while after their arrest, he showed up in a program of the national television and spoke about his misdeeds. The difficult situation in which he was held and his isolation has been an obstacle to understand his condition.
§The following report has been provided by HRANA reporters and is based on the information gathered through reliable sources; it is meant to clarify the conditions of one the victims of a blatant case of human Rights abuse who has been abused in a horrifying way. Houtan Kian, the report of his arrest, the tortures and his accusations:
Mr Kian was arrested on October 10th, 2010 in his office, while he was being interviewed by the two German journalists; Mrs Ashtiani’s son was also present. They were all arrested by the security forces of the eastern Azerbaijan. It should be noted that a day before his arrest, Mr Kian had gone to the 19th office of the Supreme Court of Justice, in order to follow up some of the cases he was working on, including Mrs Ashtiani’s case and had prepared a paper in which he was contesting the stoning (against the ruling of Ayatollah Khomeini, the previous religious leader of IRI) and a strong confrontation had occurred between him and Mr Mohseni Ejehei about the length of the court cases he was responsible for.
Those who were arrested on that day were then brought, handcuffed and shackled to the 4th office of the special investigator of the countries North-West security, Mr Hashemzadeh. They were all kept in confinement, after all the belongings of Mr Kian were seized, including his laptop, and journalism utilities. After confiscating his passport, all his accounts were also blocked and he was sent to the infamous 209 Evin prison with the 22:30 Aseman (the air company’s name) flight to Tehran.
The security officers, after many physical and psychological tortures on Mr Kian, retrieved from his files that he was thrown out of the university in 1993, his role in the case of Mr Shahram Jazayeri and the fact that his father had been executed in 1981 by the order of the then minister of Justice, seyed Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi. All these information was used to put more pressure on him.
Dr. Kamiar Alaei and his brother Dr. Arash Alaei
Dr. Kamiar Alaei was formerly the executive director of the Iranian NGO Pars Institute working on the prevention, care, and support for carriers of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. He received a Master's of Science in Population and International Health from Harvard University in 2007 and was scheduled to resume his studies as a PhD candidate at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health in the fall of 2008.
Dr. Arash Alaei is the former Director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. With his guidance, Iran instituted a nationwide needle-exchange program; instituted condom distribution in health-care clinics across the country, and methadone treatment centers sprouted in every province. He was scheduled to speak at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City in August, 2008.
For years, Dr. Kamiar Alaei and his brother, Dr. Arash Alaei, fought the spread of AIDS in Iran. The clinics and anonymous needle exchanges they set up became a model for prevention around the world.
But in 2008, the Iranian government arrested the Alaei brothers and subjected them to months of solitary confinement. In a one-day trial, they were convicted of “communicating with an enemy government’’ an apparent reference to their participation in international public health conferences supported by the United States.
Kamiar Alaei was released from prison in October after a relentless campaign for the brothers’ freedom spearheaded by the Cambridge-based Physicians for Human Rights. Arash Alaei remains imprisoned.
Amnesty International and the ICJ condemn the increasing number of lawyers who face or who have been convicted of vaguely worded charges stemming from their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association and their work as lawyers.
These lawyers are:
Ghasem Sholeh Saadi
Houtan Javid Kiyan
From Left to right: Khalil Bahramian, Mohammad Oliyaeifard , Ghasem Sholeh Saadi, Mohammad Seyfzadeh