Monthly Report for May 2018 by Iran Human Rights Monitor
By Staff Writer
According to Iran Human Rights Monitor Monthly Report for May, there were many cases of human rights abuse, including 16 executions, five flogging sentences, 17 cases of arbitrary murders, increased pressure on prisoners, beatings of street vendors, destruction of people’s homes, the cutting an elementary girl’s hair for mal-veiling, and suppression of nationwide peaceful protests.
The most shocking incident in May occurred in the southern city of Kazerun, when protests turned deadly as the Iranian regime’s security forces opened fire on protesters. Iran Human Rights Monitor reports that at least four protesters were killed, several injured, and many arrested. Video clips from inside Kazerun show plainclothes agents shooting protesters from the judiciary building rooftop. Other videos depict security forces dispatched by authorities from nearby cities such as Shiraz and Tehran, to quell the protests.
Iran Human Rights Monitor has registered 16 executions in the month of May. Three were carried out in public. As well, the names of 57 inmates awaiting execution were announced to the court in Rajaie Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison, in Karaj.
Seventeen arbitrary murders were also recorded by Iran Human Rights Monitor, including 9 porters who were shot and killed by the Iran’s Border Guards. Also reported were at least four individuals who were shot dead during the protests in Kazerun, southern Iran.
While in custody, two prisoners committed suicide due to harsh prison conditions. At least one inmate has died after being denied access to adequate medical treatment.
According to Iran Human Rights Monitor, there were 410 registered arrests across Iran, including 148 politically motivated arrests, 7 arrests on religious and ethnic grounds, and 255 social arrests.
Some 16 prisoners went on hunger strikes to have their rights recognized. Arrested during the protests over a state TV insult, 8 Ahvazi Arab detainees staged a hunger strike to protest the high bail bonds set for them.
One of the consequences of the 40 years of this regime, is the high number of prisoners. On May 16th, state-run Jamaran Website reported that 52 persons are imprisoned every hour, citing Hassan Moussavi Chelak, the head of Iran Social Aids Association, who recently said that 459,660 inmates were added to the prisons’ population in 2017, “This means that 52 persons have been entering prisons every hour.” He said that the increase in number of prisoners is a sign of “deteriorating moral values,” and “15 million judicial files show weakness of social morale in Iran.” Due to lack of transparency of official sources providing the information on the arrests, this figure must be considered as minimum.
As reported by state- run IRNA news agency, At’hareh Nejadi, President Rouhani’s deputy in programing and coordinating women and family affairs said, “Based on visits we had from country’s prison(s), women are not under proper conditions in jails. Unfortunately, mothers who have committed unintentional crimes are in jail with their small children. Children who only remember life as inside the prison walls…” Regarding the average age of women, she added, “By the existing information, the average age was between 17 and 37. Of course there were also elderly women too.”
According to state-run ISNA news agency, Asqar Jahangir, the head of Prisons Organization said, “We have about 18,000 prisoners related to financial crimes who are jailed for unintentional crimes. These inmates have financial convictions like they have written promissory notes or have been a surety and not being able to pay the money.” He added, “Also there are inmates who have had accidents in their workshops, written a NSF check, and not paid the alimony or dowry. The number of dowry cases are very high… We have 3000 prisoners because of dowry from which 466 cases can be freed by paying less than 10 gold coins but because they cannot pay it, they are still in jail.” Jahangir pointed out the result of a questionnaire, saying, “73% of prisoners have said that poverty is the reason for their imprisonment. 43% of prisoners are illiterate and suffer from cultural poverty. 17% of them are jailed for dangerous behaviors,” according to state-run Mehr news agency.
The head justice for Ardebil Province in northwest Iran, Mohammad Ali Qhasedi said, “Currently the province’s jails confine 770 prisoners sentenced for financial crimes. From this number 245 are there for not paying dowry, 78 for not paying alimony and 436 for other issues.” State-run ILNA news agency cited him as saying, “Unfortunately the number of financial convicts are more and there are 35,000 of them whose files are under scrutiny in different judicial systems.”
Persecution of religious minorities continues, as recently published reports from Iran say that Yaresan women are held in deplorable conditions in the Qarchak Prison in Varamin. One of them suffered injuries in the hand, elbow and fingers while being arrested during the Yaresan protest in Tehran. Her legs were burned by tear gas, but she has been denied medical care. Allegedly, the women are under pressure for their weekly visitations.
Two members of parliament have warned of food shortages in four of the country’s provinces. Seventy-five percent of Sistan and Baluchistan provinces in southeast Iran are living in poverty, and are subject to food shortages. Mohammad Amini Fard, who represents Sistan and Baluchistan in the regime’s parliament, said that “Sistan and Baluchistan Province ranks very low regarding development and unjust wealth distribution, and unfortunately due to the lack of natural resources and an 18-year drought, the province is facing an enormous food shortage. This is why villagers have migrated to the outskirts of cities such as Zabol, Zahedan and Chabahar.”
Parliament member from Zahedan, Alim Yar Mohammadi, discussed the grave circumstances of 75 percent of the province’s population dealing with food poverty. “The people of this province’s villages don’t have adequate drinking water or even bread. By any standards they are living in very poor conditions,” he said, and added, “This province is home to all kinds of illnesses and this cannot be denied. Even in the city of Zahedan more than 350,000 people lack adequate running water and water trucks provide for many parts of the city.”