Human Rights Watch Issues Statement to Iran: Free People Jailed for Peaceful Protests

Iran Focus

London, 1 Sep - December 2017 through January 2018 saw a mass uprising in Iran that began in the holy city of Mashhad and quickly spread across some 140 cities in the country. Some 30 people were killed in the protests, but officials have still not conducted impartial investigations into their deaths, nor has law enforcement’s excessive use of force to repress protests been addressed.

Demonstrations and protests continue in the country, and since August 2, 2018, authorities have detained more than 50 people during protests in Tehran.

In a statement Human Rights Watch issued on August 31st, the group said that Iranian authorities should drop all charges brought against protesters for peaceful assembly and release those detained on that basis.

Parisa Rafei

Iran Focus

London, 30 August - According to her lawyer and Iranian media, 21-year-old Parisa Rafei, a student of fine arts at the University of Tehran, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for taking part in university protests.

On Monday, it was reported by the reformist newspaper Shargh, that she was convicted of “assembly with the intention of acting against national security, propaganda against the system and disrupting public order.”

In a post on Twitter, her lawyer, Saeed Khalili, described the sentencing as “unfair and unreasonable”. He was also quoted by Shargh as saying, “In my view, none of these charges are logical or a legally sufficient reason to indicate that she has committed a crime.”


Iran Focus

London, 16 August - Following the June arrest of Iran's award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, she was told she had already been found guilty "in absentia" on spying charges by Tehran's Revolutionary Court.

On Wednesday, her lawyers said that her five-year sentence on spying charges was unlawful as she was never charged or given the chance to appear in court.

Payam Derafshan, one of her lawyers, told the press that the trial took place some time ago, but the sentence was not implemented until after she represented several women arrested for protesting the mandatory wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public. These women were arrested for removing their hijabs in public areas — a controversial issue since it was made mandatory in Iran after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

International Assembly Marking 30th Anniversary of 1988 Massacre in Iran

Iran Focus

London, 27 August - On Saturday 25th October, an international assembly marking the 30th anniversary of the 1988 massacre in Iran was held in dozens of cities across the world. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Iranian Resistance, spoke about the crime against humanity that saw more than 30,000 political prisoners executed during the summer of 1988.

Mrs. Rajavi spoke about the PMOI prisoners that were “ruthlessly sentenced to death” by Supreme Leader Khomenei for standing up for freedom and against the destruction of Iran. They were killed for their beliefs and described it as a catastrophe. This is what the regime is all about, she emphasised. Mrs. Rajavi pointed out that this has not changed and regime officials are still trying to cover up the massacre to this day. Three decades later the Resistance and the “forces of overthrow” in Iran are still working against the regime’s ideology.

Imprisoned Human Rights Attorney Soltani Pledges to “Serve the People” While Mourning Daughter

Iran Focus

London, 8 August - Abdolfattah Soltani is one of Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyers. He spent most of his legal career defending political prisoners before becoming one himself.

After representing many detainees held on politically motivated charges, this fearless defense attorney has been imprisoned since 2011, serving a 13-year prison sentence for “being awarded the [2009] Nuremberg International Human Rights Award,” “interviewing with media about his clients’ cases,” and “co-founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center.”

victims of 1988 massacre on its 30th anniversary

Iran Focus

London, 2 August - Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), paid tribute to the tens of thousands of political prisoners that lost their lives during the 1988 massacre.

During the summer of 1988, on the orders of the Supreme Leader at that time - Ruhollah Khomeini – a special commission was set up to execute members of opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).

The members of the special commission, often referred to as the “death committee”, ordered the execution of all the opposition members they came up against. The prisoners were “tried” and the death commission decided their fate. If there was any link to the PMOI, no matter how far removed, the prisoner would be executed.

Critically ill Iranian refugee finally flown to Australia

Iran Focus

London, 21 August - A critically ill Iranian refugee child has finally been flown from Nauru to Australia with his family, after extreme delays by the Australian Border Force (ABF) that experts are calling ‘inhumane and unnecessary’.

For over 20 days, a 12-year-old refugee has refused all food and medical treatment despite being critically ill, as the ABF initially tried to split up the family when taking the boy, known only as M, for treatment. This could, of course, result in the family never being reunited.

Despite being gravely ill, M refused to leave without his family and, after several failed attempts to move him on commercial flights and by air ambulance, the ABF finally allowed M to be medivacced, along with his mother, stepfather, and sister, on Tuesday afternoon (local time).

In Ahvaz, All Evidence of Political Prisoners’ Graves has been Razed

Iran Focus

London, 27 July - Human rights activist Shadi Sadr has reported that in the city of Ahvaz, southwestern Iran, mass graves of political prisoners including inmates who were executed in the late 1980s have been razed.

The Justice for Iran website published a photo on July 25th captioned, “This is a mass grave site in Ahvaz, Iran. At least 44 political prisoners executed in 1988 were secretly buried here. In the following years, the authorities turned the site into a rubbish dump. Now, the site is at imminent risk due to a road-widening project. There are fears that it will be destroyed for a ‘green space’ or commercial development.”


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