Summonses, Arrests, and Heavy Sentences In Tehran
In the weeks leading up to the first anniversary of the June 2009 presidential election, dozens of journalists and political, student, and civil society activists were arrested or summoned and interrogated by security forces. Heavy prison sentences continued to be handed down in the past several months. Intelligence authorities have been unrestrained in intimidating, threatening, and imposing a security environment on Iranian activists.
Several families whose loved ones were killed during post-election unrest spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the threats and intimidation security agents have put them under to prevent them from holding memorial services. Political figures told the Campaign that security agents contacted them on 11 and 12 June, asking them not to leave their homes. In at least two cases, plainclothes forces waited outside prominent political figures’ homes. A political activist told the Campaign, “We don’t even feel safe inside our homes. It is a sad state of affairs when plainclothes officers, who are able to do whatever they want, are constantly standing on your street corner, ready to follow you the minute you step out to arrest you in case you participate in a gathering. Indeed we have not seen such a security environment since the Islamic Revolution.”
Various sources have reported hundreds of arrests during scattered protests on 12 June in Tehran and other cities, though no exact information is available. While the website of Kaleme reported of the arrest of 400 individuals and their transfer to Evin prison’s quarantine ward, other sources reported the number of arrested protesters at 900. Most arrests were made by police, though Basij forces have also made several arrests.
A woman who was arrested on 12 June told the Campaign, “After they arrested me, I was moved to a Basij base near Azadi Square. There were more than 300 other detained women there, but some were released towards the end of the night. Detainees were transferred to other locations, too. The number of arrested women was a lot higher than reported.” Another eyewitness told the Campaign, “They arrested people in groups. I saw at least 40 police vans full of detainees exiting the Meghdad Basij base on Azadi Avenue. That same night more than 500 detainees were transferred to the Prevention Unit of Tehran Police.”
According to a report from the radical pro-government Fars News Agency, Morteza Tamaddon, Tehran’s Governor and head of the Tehran Security Council announced, “Several hypocrites (Mojahedin-e Khalgh members) were among those arrested on 12 June.” It is not yet clear whether these claims are accurate. In the past year, however, judicial and security authorities have used accusations such as “relations with foreigners and foreign opposition groups” against citizens who peacefully participated in 12 June protests. Several individuals received long prison sentences based on these accusations, and a few received the death sentence.
Despite the fact that several different reformist groups and parties had applied to the Iranian Interior Ministry for permits in order to have a gathering on 12 June, the Governor of Tehran called them “seditionists.” The Governor said, “According to Article 27 of the [Iranian] Constitution, those who intend to demonstrate should not disrupt public order or bear arms. The application letter sent to us did not include any of these specifications, nor who was going to participate in the demonstrations and what the reason for it was.
Since late May, several Revolutionary Courts branches including Branches 26 and 28, headed by Judge Pir Abbasi and Judge Moghisseh, have issued more than 100 years of prison sentences and hundreds of lashes, cash fines, and “deprivation from social activities and engagement in the media” verdicts for post-election prisoners. Judge Pir Abbasi issued Jila Baniyaghoob, a women’s rights activist and journalist, the strange sentence of 30 years’ deprivation from media activities.
Since the arrest of Narges Mohammadi, Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), the following individuals have also been arrested and sent to Evin prison: Abdolreza Tajik, journalist and member of the DHRC; Reza Shahabi, Member of the Board of Directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company; Davood Roshani, member of the Participation Front Party; Salman Sima, student at Azad University; Kourosh Jannati, student at Allameh University; Behzad Heydari, student at Amirkabir University; Abtin Pegah and Babak Ghiassi, student activists at Kermanshah University; Reza and Amin Farid Yahyaee, student activists at Tabriz University; Younes Rostami, member of the National Front Organization; and Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour, a reformist activist.
The following are the names other political and civil activists arrested recently:
27 May – Azad Kamangar, a student from Yazdanpanah Technical and Engineering College in Sanandaj, has been missing since 27 May and his family has no news of his whereabouts. Azad is the nephew of Farzad Kamangar, the executed Kurdish teacher and journalist.
28 May – Akbar Azad, an Azerbaijani writer, has been under house arrest in Tehran since 25 May.
29 May – Javad Alikhani, a final-year veterinary student and activist at Chamran University in Ahvaz, was arrested and transferred to Ahvaz Prison to serve his three-year prison term.
30 May – Two Kurdish students at Tehran University named Amjad (Hajir) Kurdnezhad and Jamal Amati were arrested. Kurdnezhad was released on bail after a few days and Rahmati was transferred to a prison in Tehran.
31 May – Farhad Fathi, Secretary of the International University of Qazvin, a reformist organization, was arrested and transferred to an unknown location.
31 May – Aazam Vesmeh and Mahboubeh Khonsari, two journalists working for reformist news outlets, were arrested late at night and transferred to Evin Prison after their homes were searched.
31 May – Kamran Asa, brother of Kianoosh Asa, was arrested at midnight on 31 May at his home in Kermanshah and released on bail after two weeks.
2 June – Ahmad Mohammadnia, a student activist in Babol, and Ashkan Masibian, a student activist in Kermanshah, were arrested and released on bail after two weeks.
4 June – Alireza Akhavan, member of the Council for Defense of Labor Rights, was arrested by security forces and transferred to Evin Prison’s Ward 209.
4 June – Shirko Sibili, a resident of the city of Mehabad, was arrested on Monday 4 June by security forces in that city.
5 June – After failing to arrest Saba Vasefi, human rights activist and active member of the Iranian women’s movement, and soon after searching her home, Vasefi was struck by a motorcycle while in the city of Shahryar to pursue a death sentence case. She remained in a coma for a few days and is currently in critical condition.
9 June – Gholamabbas Zare Haghighi, a Gonabadi Dervish and a caretaker at the Sufi cemetery was arrested in Gonabad and sent to prison.
9 June – Ali Tari, head of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign in Babolsar was arrested.
10 June – Family members of Kiarash Kamrani, one of those arrested during Ashura (27 December 2009) events, were arrested at Evin Prison during their weekly visit with him.