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Iran – 2013: 660 executions, two thirds under Hassan Rouhani

Iran 2013: 660 executions, two thirds under Hassan Rouhani

Group executions in prisons and on city streets, torture and the tormenting to death of political prisoners continued throughout Iran in 2013. The ruling mullahs employed at least 60 different suppressive agencies, including the revolutionary guards, the anti-popular Basij force, plain-clothes and intelligence agents, district police, dormitory police, intangible police, metro police and women’s police in a year that saw not a single day go by without suppression and slaughter.

Details of this widespread barbarism include:

A. Executions

1. From January to December 2013, at least 660 prisoners were executed in Iran, with 430 of them put to death after the charade of the June 14 election – however many executions carried out inside prisons go unreported. The executions in 2013 included: 25 women, two men aged 20 and 23 were executed for stealing the equivalent of 35 euros. three teenagers who were 12, 15 and 17 years-old at the time of their arrests, a 28-year-old whose bleeding body was hanged after he had committed suicide, a 23-year-old in Zahedan who had already died a few hours earlier of a heart attack, a woman named as 34-year-old Geitei Marami, whose body was still bleeding due to 100 lashes she received prior to her execution and the execution of a prisoner who was found to be still alive in the mortuay after his hanging.

These represent only a tiny proportion of the crimes committed by the mullahs against their own population last year. On December 11, head of regime’s judiciary system Mullah SadeqLarijani branded reports by international bodies on the worsening state of human rights in Iran as ‘fabricated and prejudiced’ and said: “Opposing the death sentence is opposing Islam’s orders.”

2. Meanwhile thousands of prisoners remain on death row throughout Iran. In Ghezel-Hessar prison alone, there are 3000 prisoners who are sentenced to death. To facilitate group executions, the prison chiefs have constructed three platforms each capable of hanging 12 people at the same time. In protest at the executions, six political prisoners who are sentenced to death have been on hunger strike for two months in Ghezel-Hessar. In the last weeks of 2013, several thousand other prisoners also went on a 10-day hunger strike.

3. The staging horrific public group executions to intensify the atmosphere of terror throughout the regime also increased in 2013. Cities such as Noshahr, Babol, Ghemshahr, Tonkabon, Shiraz, Jahrom, Fasa, Ahvaz, Dehdasht, Hendijan, Shahrkord, Ilam and Karaj all witnessed these horrific scenes. The state-run media also published horrific pictures of these executions to deepen the atmosphere of terror. On many occasions, including in Lakan prison in Rasht, prisoners were forced by henchmen to participate in the hanging of their own inmates or friends, with those who refused to participate sent to solitary confinement.

B. Execution of political prisoners

4. The execution of political prisoners from ethnic and religious minorities also increased last year. On October 26, 16 Baluchi political prisoners were collectively hanged in Zahedan prison. Regime’ officials admitted that they had all been in prison for a long time and were executed in revenge for the killing of a number of revolutionary guards in Saravan. On the same day, another Baluchi political prisoner in prison in Hamedan, and Kurdish political prisoners Habibollah Golparipour, 29, and Reza Esmaeili (Mamedi), 34, were also hanged in the central prisons of Urumia and Salmas. The next day, a Baluchi political prisoner was executed in Barsilon prison in Khorramabad. On November 3, four Arab prisoners from Shadegan were executed. On November 4, Shirkoo Ma’arefi, a Kurdish political prisoner was executed in city of Saghez. There is no news on the number of political prisoners who in recent months have been transferred from their cells to unknown locations. Meanwhile, the routine execution of political prisoners for narcotics trafficking prisoners also continues across the regime. Amid fears of social unrest, the regime refrains from handing over bodies of political prisoners to their families and instead buries them in secret.

C. Murder, secret killing, and the tormenting to death of prisoners.

5. A number of prisoners have died during torture and been secretly disposed of. Amir Moussai was killed under torture in Borazjan prison on February 1. On June 24, Alireza Shahbakhsh, a Baluchi prisoner, suspiciously lost his life in ward one of Zahedan prison only one day before he was to be released, after spending seven years in prison and following his vindication in court. On June 20, Afshin Ossanlou, a 42 year-old labor activist, died suddenly died in Hall 12 of Ward 4 of Gohardasht prison. He too had only a few months remaining of his five-year prison term. On October 24, the body of Ali Marashi from Ahvaz was handed over to his family with broken ribs and a broken skull.

6. A large number of prisoners have also lost their lives due to lack of medical treatment. At the start of 2013, Abdolrahman Rahnavard, 30, was transferred from Roudan prison in Hormozgan province to Bandar Abbas central prison for medical treatment. However, the head of the prison prevented his hospitalization and he later died. On July 15, Ahmad Bajlani, 44, and suffering from hepatitis and tuberculosis, lost his life in the same prison after tolerating a week of excruciating pain in absence of any medical treatment. Political prisoner Alireza Karami, an employee of an oil company and who had acute heart problems, lost his life on April 6 because of lack of medical treatment. During his 16 years in prison, he contracted various diseases due to torture and the squalid prison conditions.

7. The condition of a great number of prisoners has deteriorated due to lack of medical treatment. In answer to protests from prisoners, many PMOI supporters jailed since the 1980s, regime agents only repeat: “You are Monafeq. The sentence for all of you is death.”

Four members of Daneshpour Moghaddam’s family are also in a critical condition. Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam, 72, is suffering from acute cardiac and digestive system ailments and his 41 year-old son Ahmad has an acute digestive system malady. Both Mohsen and Ahmad Daneshpour are condemned to death. Ms Motahareh Bahrami, 62, suffers from acute disc prolapse and Ms Rayhaneh Haj Ebrahim Dabbagh has severe leg and back pain plus acute problems of the digestive system. Ms Sedigeh Moradi has a neck and disc prolapse. Ali Moezi, 63, has cancer and severe renal problems. Mashallah Haeri, 62, has acute cardiac problems with a record of several cardiac arrests in prison as well as respiratory problems and a brain hemorrhage. Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi, 67, suffers from acute pain in his bones and recently experienced a cardiac arrest. Saleh Kohandel has acute blood problems. Meisaq Yazdan Nejad, a 27 year-old student, is in a critical condition due to torture and filthy prison conditions. Ali Asghar Mahmoudian has been sent into exile in Semnan prison and is being held in a ward for dangerous prisoners that was previously a stable and is known to be in a chronically unhygenic condition. Gholamreza Khossravi has acute pain of the vertebra. Dr AsgharQatan, 60, has numerous ailments such as hypertension, severe diabetes, high cholesterol, he has lost vision in one eye and suffered a cardiac arrest last month. Mohammad Saemi, 64, is suffering from various diseases, including cardiac and renal problems, arthritis, disc prolapse, and damage to the ear drum. Saeid Massouri is suffering from all kinds of diseases, including acute problems with his digestive system. Assadollah Hadi, Mohammad Davari and Mohammadali Mansouri are amongst prisoners who are in a critical condition because they are deprived of medical care. Zaniar Moradi, a Kurdish prisoner on death row, is suffering from an acute disc prolapsed. Khaled Hardani, has severe heart problems. Mehdi Sajedifar, 35, has cancer of the esophagus. Mohammadreza Pourshajari (SiamakMehr) is suffering from diabetes and heart problem. Reza Shahabi needs surgery on his neck vertebra, but he has not been allowed to have this operation. Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand is suffering of various diseases, but officials will not allow him to receive medical treatment outside prison.
KayvanSamimi, a journalist, is being kept in prison despite his old age and various ailments, including arthritis of the knees and back. Salaheddin Moradi, a Gonabadi Dervish, is suffering from renal pain and internal bleeding. Kassra Nouri has an acute proplapsed disc. Mostafa Daneshjou, a Dervish lawyer, has respiratory problems. Mohammad Saifzadeh, a 66 year-old lawyer, has had a brain stroke. He also has numbness of hands and feet, back and neck disc prolapse, and severe chest pains. Hassan Fatali Ashtiyani, Abdolfattah Soltani, Hamidreza Moradi, Ali Saedi, Iraj Mohammadi, Ayatollah Kazemi Boroujerdi, Argjang Davoudi, Shahram and Farhang Pourmansouri, Ebrahim Babadi, Nameq Mahmoudi, Adel Naimi, Mehdi Khodaii, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Assadollah Assadi, Farhad Rouhi Arash Sharifi and Mohammad Nazariare are among other patients whose ailments have intensified due to deprivation of medical treatment.

8. Along with the rocket attacks and the massacre of PMOI members in Camps Ashraf and Liberty, arbitrary arrests and increasing pressure on PMOI supporters and their families also continued on a larger scale in 2013, especially during the months before the election. Some of these people are still in prisons. On January 13, Mr Reza Akbari Monfared and his son Ali were apprehended. His sister, Maryam Akbari Monfared, mother of three small children, has been imprisoned for the last three years on the mullahs’ invented charge of Moharebeh. Four of the brothers and sisters of Mr Akbari have been executed by the clerical regime. Mr Hassan Sadeqi, his wife Fatema Mossana were arrested on charges of making arrangements for holding a memorial ceremony for Gholam Hossein Sadeqi, a PMOI member in Camp Liberty, Baghdad, who died of a heart attack because he was deprived of medical treatment.

9. The arbitrary arrest of prisoners and their conditional release on heavy bail is one of the methods used by the regime to impose pressure on political prisoners and their families.

D. Harsh prison conditions

10. As confessed by the regime’s head of the prisons’ organization, the official capacity of Ghezel-Hessar prison is 5000, but there are currently over 22,000 prisoners there. Prisoners even lack enough space to sit. They rest in turns and are compelled to use the space inside rest-rooms to rest. Sanitary conditions are deplorable, water is contaminated, and the lack of minimum facilities to bathe has given rise to dermal and epidemic diseases among inmates. Prison’s infirmary is void of minimum medical equipment and facilities; moreover, prison’ henchmen deprive prisoners of access to specialist physicians and medical services. The very limited food ration causes malnutrition and lack of heating devices in the cold season adds to prison’s catastrophic conditions.

11. Bandar Abbas prison can hold 400 prisoners, but it is now keeping 4,000 prisoners, with 300 of them condemned to death. Prisoners are deprived of all medical attention in this prison. The only medicine is methadone and hallucinatory pills, and despite an outbreak of hepatitis, nothing is being done to contain this disease and even medical treatment is withheld. Instead of isolating prisoners with hepatitis, prison guards intentionally distribute them in other wards. Breathing is difficult in the cells of this prison, especially during the hot season. The water is repugnant and contaminated. The prison’s shop sells expired-date food to prisoners at very high prices. Wards are contaminated with sewage and infected with insects. The mullahs’ regime sends political prisoners into exile in this prison and compels them to serve their sentences amongst ordinary prisoners. The condition of solitary cells in this prison is even deadlier. The cells are so small that one cannot rest. Prisoners are is kept in these cells with cement floors and walls without any blanket or floor covering. There is no natural light in these cells, food is just enough to keep the prisoner alive, and there is a total absence of hygiene or medical services.

12. Qerchak prison in Varaminthat, known as the second Kahrizak, is a women’s prison. To place added pressure on female political prisoners, the regime exiles them to this prison. This prison is composed of seven buildings to house 2,000 prisoners and dozens of children who are under two years old. These buildings are very old and have the appearance of rudimentary storage shelters. Gangs within the prison freely distribute drugs to addicted prisoners. The toilets are constantly contaminated due to lack of a sewage system. The water is contaminated and the food ration is adequate only for subsistence.

13. In Isfahan’s Dastgerd prison, with a capacity of 4,000, now houses over 10,000 prisoners. Because of the chronic lack of space, the corridors leading to toilets are full of prisoners.

14. In Mashhad’s Vakilabad prison, there are now over 25,000 prisoners, with 4,000 of those condemned to death.
On many occasions during 2013, the regime secretly hanged prisoners in large groups.

15. Broadcasting noise in Gohardasht is yet another method of torturing political prisoners. This inhumane punishment
has seriously endangered the health of prisoners, causing muscular pains, severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea and continuous numbness.

E. Medieval punishments

16. Barbaric punishments such as stoning, amputations, blinding, cutting off the ear all complete the cycle of atrocity and terror in the mullahs’ regime. In the past year, there have been four stoning sentences, including two women in city of Tabriz, the gouging out of the eye and cutting off the ear of an imprisoned worker in Tehran, and cutting off the hand of eight prisoners in Shiraz, Sari and Abadanwere. Assadollah Jafari, the regime’s deputy of the judiciary, called the amputation of hands and feet as ‘one of the honors of [mullahs’] judiciary system’ (regime’s news agencies – 30 January 2013). The public prosecutor of Shiraz said that amputation of hands is a ‘serious warning’ to all those that ‘create insecurity’. And the regime’s Guardian Council once again included the punishment of stoning in the mullahs’ ‘new penal code’ of 2013 (Spokesman for Majlis Judiciary Commission –21 January 2013).

F. Murdering people, especially in border areas

17. While thieves and smugglers with their several billion dollar embezzlements hold the highest state offices, suppressive forces, on a daily basis and on various pretexts, shot and killed, plundered the property, set fire to vehicles, or killed the animals of defenseless and deprived citizens and petty businessmen who are working in border areas or port cities such as Bandar Abbas to support their families’ livelihood.

G. Arbitrary detentions

18. Arbitrary and blind arrests were conducted in different cities under pretext of suppressive projects such as ‘increasing social security’. In Sanadaj alone, in just four days, 193 people were arrested. In Tehran on December 15, the arrestees numbered 123. In Bandar Abbas dozens were arrested in nightly assaults on the houses where young people lived.

19. Humiliating and insulting the arrestees, especially the young, by putting women’s dress on them and taking them around in city streets met with wide abhorrence on part of the Iranian people.

20. In the universities, suppressive measures aimed at thwarting student protests continued. Through issuing hundreds of suspension sentences, the regime deprived students on various pretexts from their right to education or sent them to its medieval prisons after protests or student activities. Karamatollah Zaerian, a 27 year-old student in Tehran University, was arrested three times and after his sudden disappearance was suspiciously found dead. Nonetheless, students shouted their rage and abhorrence with slogans such as ‘death to the dictator’ or ‘student dies, but refuses to be humiliated’ and on many occasions they disrupted speeches by regime’s agents.

21. Imposing pressure and prejudice against women which has become institutionalized continued in 2013 in various arenas. Suppressive patrols, using the mullahs’ fabricated excuse of ‘mal-veiling’ harassed women especially during the summer. In order to broaden the suppression of women, the clerical regime presented its ‘national plan for veiling in schools’ for children and girl students. Firouzabadi, Commander in Chief of regime’s Armed Forces, said: “To preserve veiling and sanctity elements of the security forces and mullahs’ judiciary system ought to confront women.” He added: “If mal-veiling and unchastity are used to mar the revolution, then they become a security matter and security organs ought to confront them.” (Tasnim news agency, affiliated with IRGC – 22 November 2013)

H. Suppression of followers of religions

22. In 2013, the clerical regime added a new dimension to the arrest and oppression of pastors and Christians. A number of them were arrested in Tehran, Fars, Isfahan and Azerbaijan on charges of ‘acting against national security’ or ‘evangelizing and propaganda in favor of Christianity’ and participation in religious rituals. The arrest of priest Robert Asserian, a leader of the Assemblies of God Church of Iran in Tehran, who was later released because of international pressures, the condemnation of pastor Verveer Avanessian to 3.5 years in prison and pastor Saeid Abedini to 8 years in prison, condemning four Christian compatriots who were arrested in a church-house to 80 lashes in November, imposing pressure on a number of Armenian pastors to end their activities or to leave the country. the closing down of many church-houses plus the principal church of the Armenians in Taleghani Street in Tehran is but part of regime’s crimes against Christians. In suppressive measure on December 15, as Christmas was nearing, the entry of Farsi-speaking members of the Saint Petrous Church in Tehran to their church was barred and the conducting sermons and religious rituals in Persian was declared prohibited.

23. Imposing pressure on and arrest of Zoroastrians, Gonabadi Dervishes, and followers of the Yarsan faith continued. In February, seven imprisoned Dervish lawyers in ward 350 of Evin prison refused to attend the regime’s court. Subsequently, they were tortured and transferred to solitary confinement in ward 209. Two Dervish prisoners in Adelabad prison in Shiraz staged a hunger strike for 90 days in protest at suppressive measures against Dervishes and their lawyers. Suppressive and insulting steps against the Dervishes of Yarsan met a with wave of protest from these compatriots.

24. The clerical regime continued the imposition of pressure and the arrest of Baha’i last year. On August 24, Ataollah Rezvani, a 52 year-old merchant, was finally assassinated in Bandar Abbas after he was variosly threatened by the intelligence ministry and the Office of the city’s Friday prayer Imam to stop selling water pumps. In Semnan prison’s women’s ward, a number of Baha’i women are living in harsh conditions beside ordinary criminals. Three of these women have their infants with them. On December 12, suppressive elements destroyed the Baha’i cemetery in Sanandaj. This is the third Baha’i cemetery destroyed by the mullahs.

I. Suppression of freedom of expression

25. Reporters without Borders reported on December 18: Iran is one of the five largest prisons for reporters in the world. The number of Iranian reporters imprisoned in Iran until the June sham elections was 71. This organization announced that since Rouhani’s election, 42 more reporters or journalists have been arrested and 12 publications had to cease their activities.

26. Unable to confront the popularity of prohibited television channels, in particular Simaye Azadi (INTV) that is a dependable source for accessing information and news, the clerical regime acts with severity to limit the access of people to satellite channels. Mullah Mohammad Saeidi, Qom’s Friday prayer Imam, said on September 25: “Today, through a cultural assault, the enemy is targeting the core of our homes and our families.” Hossein Zolfaqari, commander of border patrols of regime’s security forces, reported a 99% increase in the discovery of satellite equipment (ISNA state news agency –September 26). In a suppressive act on September 26, the revolutionary guards crushed 800 satellite ‘antennas and receivers’ under the wheels of armored personnel carriers. The regime called this act ‘an act of value to confront the cultural assault of enemies of the revolution and the system’. In a span of six months in Hamedan, 32,000 satellite dishes were confiscated (Mehr news agency, affiliated with the Intelligence Ministry – 8 October 2013). Moreover, 5000 satellite receivers were confiscated at Bandar Abbas customs (state media – December 13).

J. Rigorous suppression of cyber space

26. In 2013, the clerical regime increased the extent of suppression of cyber space netizens. Filtering, control of the internet and sites and emails of netizens was implemented using at least 12 state organs of spying and suppression. In the first weeks of 2013, in order to intensify the suppression of the Internet, and on the orders from Khamenei, a new organ called ‘Base for Soft War’ was formed in the headquarters of the armed forces. Mohammad Ali Assoudi, cultural and propaganda deputy of IRGC, said: “20,000 forces of the revolutionary guards are active in different cultural areas to confront the Soft War.” He added that this measure ‘was taken to implement commands by the supreme leader regarding confronting the soft war’. (Bahar state-run newspaper –2 January 2013). In the last week of July, the security forces closed down and sealed off 67 Internet cafes in greater Tehran and issued warnings to more. Sajedinia, Commander of security forces in greater Tehran, stressed that offenders ‘would be punished without tolerance’ (ISNA news agency –July 27). Previously, the secretariat of regime’s Supreme Council of Cyber Space had branded getting around filtering to access social networks on the internet as a crime. Access to cyber space is solely possible through IPs registered by the communications company that belongs to IRGC. The suppressive FTA (Iran’s space for creation and exchange of information) Internet police conditioned any use of the internet on the presentation of one’s national code and password. For owners of Internet cafes, various restrictions and prohibitions were imposed that led to the closing down of a large number of these cafes in different cities because these restrictions were not observed. Similarly last year, a number of compatriots were arrested and tortured and underwent all kinds of oppression simply for writing articles on the Internet. The arrest of eight bloggers, including a woman in Rafsanjan, on a charge of ‘insulting the sanctities’ of the system, are among these arrests (20 November 2013).

27. This year, music studios were closed down under the pretext of ‘prohibited recording’ and some members of musical groups were arrested on charges of ‘un-cultural underground activities’, including the production of forbidden songs and music. What was covered in this report was but a small portion of the dreadful conditions that the Iranian people are enduring on a daily basis. Infants are raised in death camps for sins their mothers never committed, elderly fathers and mothers are taken hostage on fabricated-charges brought against their children and are deprived of the most rudimentary rights in the regime’s dungeons, and the Iranian youth and women are condemned to gradual death in torture centers and safe houses. 660 registered executions in 2013, with two thirds during Rouhani’s office, vividly shows that fanning the mirage of moderation in this regime is solely a means to deceive the international community and justify deals with and appeasement of the henchmen ruling Iran. Therefore, once again, the Iranian Resistance calls for referral of the dossier of barbaric and systematic violation of human rights in Iran to the UN Security Council and for leaders of this regime to be brought to justice. Moreover, it underscores that any continuation or expansion of economic and political relations with the mullahs should have as a requisite the improvement of human rights situation in Iran.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 4, 2014