“Beset by a whole host of economic, social, and political crises, the Iranian regime has been trying to rein in simmering social discontent by use of brute force,” says a leading Iranian human rights group.
Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) said June 2020 “saw tighter clampdown on political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and mistreatment of human rights advocates.”
“There have been reports on death sentenced issued against young men for taking part in street protests, hand amputation sentences issued contrary to international law, lashing dissidents and prisoners being brutalized in Iran’s prisons. On the other hand, the continued horrendous executions, including of political prisoners, to tighten up the general social atmosphere,” read the report.
According to Iran HRM, the Iranian regime executed 22 people in June 2020, and there were also political prisoners among the victims.
“Hedayat Abdollahpour, a Kurdish political prisoner and father of two who was on death row based on false charges since 2018, was among those executed. His family were informed on June 10 that their son had been secretly executed a few weeks ago in western Iran. Judicial and security officials still refuse to hand over the body of the 27-year-old political prisoner to the grieved family or provide information about his burial place. The execution was carried out even though one of the judges in the case had earlier told Hedayat’s attorney that he was innocent, and that the death sentence was a result of pressure from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” read the report.
Riddled with crises, the regime has increased human rights violations in order to intimidate the public and quell the restive Iranian society. In this regard, Iran HRM wrote: “Meanwhile, upholding death sentences against peaceful protesters has been considered as a crisis point in the situation of human rights in Iran and an attempt on the part of the ruling regime to silence any voice of dissent.”
“The Iranian regime’s Supreme Court has upheld death sentences issued for Amir Hossein Moradi, Saied Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, three political prisoners arrested during Iran’s November 2019 nationwide uprising, according to a report published on Wednesday, June 24, on the Hrana website. Amir Hossein Moradi, Saied Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi were sentenced to death after unfair trials headed by Abolghasem Salavati in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts in Tehran. Salavati is known for his long history of issuing death sentences for political prisoners and other regime dissidents,” read the report.
The report further adds: “Elsewhere in Isfahan Province, the Head of the Justice Department said eight individuals were sentenced for ‘corruption on earth’, a charge carrying the death sentence according to Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.
“Mohammed Reza Habibi announced the sentences during a speech before Friday prayers sermon on June 29 in Isfahan without naming the protesters. He also warned Iranians that if major protesters such as in 2009, January 2018 and November 2019 erupt again, we will ‘deal decisively with rioter.’“
Iran HRM dedicated another part of its monthly report of June to the ongoing use of force and torture by the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime flogged five political prisoners and dissidents in June.
“The flogging sentence for Mohamamd Bagher Souri, detained during the nationwide November 2019 protests was carried out on June 8 in the Great Tehran Penitentiary, also known as Fashafuyeh Prison. On June 8, two men were flogged for taking part in the November 2019 protests in the city of Urmia, northwestern Iran. Azerbaijani rights activists Ali Azizi and Eliar Hosseinzadeh, were lashed 20 times for ‘disturbing public order’. On June 5, a man in southwestern Iran was flogged 55 times for criticizing and “refusing to apologize” to the local representative of the regime’s Supreme Leader. Ruhollah Barzein, who works in a bakery in Charam, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province was flogged due to complaints from Seyed Nourallah Afshar, Charam’s head of Friday prayers. On June 1, a Tehran bus driver and labor activist, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, was lashed 74 times for taking part in a peaceful Labor Day gathering last year outside the regime’s Parliament,” read the report.
“A Revolutionary Court in southwestern Iran also sentenced a student to eight years in prison and 74 lashes for protesting Iran’s downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane. According to the sentence issued by the 1st Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, Siavosh Nourozi Jafarlou was sentenced to seven years of prison for “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting internal security” and ‘insulting the leader Ali Khamenei,’“ Iran HRM added.
While referring to the inhumane sentences and tortures by the Iranian regime, Iran HRM wrote: “At the same time, three individuals were sentenced to amputation on charges of petty crimes. There were reports of at least two prisoners being tortured to death.”
Iran HRM dedicated a large part of its monthly report to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, which has so far claimed the lives of over 63,000 people due to the regime’s inaction and cover-up. The situation of Iranian prisoners is even more deplorable. “In several prisons and jails with rapidly escalating outbreaks, basic protocols to prevent the virus from spreading were ignored. Some prisoners sick with coronavirus complained that they were not getting enough food and water while quarantined, and that they did not have access to doctors, temperature checks, basic medicine, regular showers, or sanitary supplies,” read the report.
Iran HRM said in its report that since prisons in Iran are dangerously overcrowded and lack minimum hygienic facilities, the virus rapidly spreads among inmates and will result in a catastrophe.
According to Iran HRM, at Zahedan Prison, the “second COVID-19 wave has engulfed the central prison of Zahedan in southeast Iran and dozens of inmates in wards 2, 7 and 8 have contracted the illness. Seventeen inmates held in one cell of ward 7 have all now contracted COVID-19.”
Instead of helping prisoners in Zahedan Central Prison of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, according to Iran HRM, the regime’s authorities “cut off water to these inmates for a week in June, leaving the prisoners in atrocious hygiene conditions. Signs of coronavirus have already been witnessed in various wards and left a number of the inmates dead. The number of inmates in these wards is many times above the capacity and there are reports of prisoners suffering from malnutrition.”
“The situation is even worse in other prisons across Iran. Reports from the city of Isfahan indicate COVID-19 is spreading in the city’s Dastgerd prison and. Many patients in just one ward have contracted the novel coronavirus, reports indicate. They are ill with fevers and severe coughing. New Covid-19 case has created greater risk of infection for political prisoners in Rajaei Shahr Prison, Karaj. Political prisoner Iraj Hatami who suffered symptoms like the Covid-19 disease, was sent to a civic hospital on June 16. Other political prisoners with serious illnesses are detained in the same ward with Mr. Hatami and were in greater danger of contracting the disease. many prisoners in all wards of Urmia Central Prison are showing coronavirus symptoms such as fever, sore throat, loss of smell and taste senses, and body aches. The lack of attention by prison authorities has resulted in the spread of the disease among prisoners. After repeated protests by prisoners, a few critical patients were tested, and they were diagnosed with COVID-19,” read the report.
Iran HRM’s monthly report of June 2020 once again underlined the need for the international community to intervene and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe from happening in Iran. As the Iranian Resistance has repeatedly said, the United Nations should immediately send a fact-finding mission to Iranian prisons and investigate the regime’s human rights abuses.