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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information: Iranian human rights activist sentenced: Navid Khanjani

Amnesty International
February 28, 2011
Appeal/Urgent Action

Further information on UA: 347/09

Index: MDE 13/022/2011

Navid Khanjani, a member of two Iranian human rights organizations, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment on 31 January 2011. He has appealed, but an appeal hearing date has not yet been set. If imprisoned, he would be a prisoner of conscience, held solely in connection with his peaceful human rights activities.

Navid Khanjani is a member of both the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) and the Association to Oppose Discrimination in Education (AODE). He was arrested in Esfahan, central Iran, on 2 March 2010. He faced an unfair trial on 20 December 2010 in Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. He was reportedly sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in connection with his work with the AODE; and five for his work with the CHRR. An additional three years were said to have been handed down for “creating unease in the public mind”, and “propaganda against the system”. Navid Khanjani was eventually sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after the court reportedly applied ‘Islamic mercy’.

During his detention, Navid Khanjani was held for between 23 and 25 days in solitary confinement; was beaten while interrogated, and was strangled while blindfolded by a prison official for refusing to “confess” on camera. The unfair trial was based on allegations which did not constitute internationally recognizable criminal offences, and he was not able to access legal advice of his choice until just prior to his trial. It was a closed hearing, with only plain clothed security officials and Navid Khanjani’s lawyer allowed to attend. He was eventually released on a US$100,000 bail on 3 May 2010.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English, Arabic, French, or your own language:

Calling on the Iranian authorities to review Navid Khanjani’s conviction immediately with a view to dropping the charges as he would be a prisoner of conscience charged solely for his peaceful human rights activities, if he were to be imprisoned; Expressing concern that the ill-treatment Navid Khanjani faced in custody as well as the procedural irregularities which marred his trial meant that he did not have a fair trial; and Specifically reminding the authorities that confessions extracted under duress are prohibited under Article 38 of the Constitution of Iran and that Article 14(g) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, guarantees the right not to testify against oneself or to confess guilt.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 11 APRIL 2011 TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info_leader@leader.ir

via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Provincial Judiciary in Tehran

Ali Reza Avaei

Karimkhan Zand Avenue

Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17, No. 152

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir

Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei

And copies to:

Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights

Mohammad Javad Larijani

High Council for Human Rights

[Care of] Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737,Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir (In subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Salutation: Dear Sir

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the eighth update of UA 347/09. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/090/2010/en

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Navid Khanjani, a member of the unrecognized Baha’i religious minority, is a co-founder of the Association to Oppose Discrimination in Education (AODE or Jami’iat-e Mobarzeh ba Taba’iz-e Tahsili). It is an independent organization created around October 2009 which opposes the denial of access to education on the ground of ethnic or religious identity. Most of its members are said to be Baha’i students who have been deprived of education usually after being expelled or suspended from universities. The organization campaigns for the right to education for those excluded for reason of religious or ethnic identity or on grounds of gender discrimination.

Navid Khanjani was banned from pursuing his university studies because of his Baha’i faith and has since spoken out for the right to education for all over the past few years. Other members of the CHRR, in contact with Amnesty International, have spoken with Navid Khanjani, who is now said to be well but remains shocked by the severity of the sentence he received for his human rights work.

Navid Khanjani protested his detention in solitary confinement in Ward 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison and the conditions of detention by undertaking a hunger strike.

The CHRR was founded in 2006 and campaigns against all kinds of human rights violations, including against women, children, prisoners, workers and others. It is banned by the Iranian authorities and its members have continued to face intense harassment and prosecution since the disputed presidential election in June 2009.

On 9 January 2011, CHRR member, journalist and human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, had a four-year prison sentence for “enmity against God” and “propaganda against the system” upheld on appeal. A further two-year prison sentence for “gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security” was overturned. She is currently at liberty but is expected to be summoned to start serving this final sentence soon. Several other CHRR members are also facing imprisonment or have fled the country for their own safety.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, also a CHRR member, was released in December 2010 after serving his one year prison sentence for “spreading propaganda against the system” and other charges violating his right to expression and association. An appeal was rejected in October 2010.

Members of the CHRR have told Amnesty International that Saeed Ha’eri has also received a two-year prison sentence, which was upheld by an appeal court but the details were not available at the time of writing.

Shiva Nazar Ahari was arrested on 20 December 2009 along with, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Haeri. They were taken from a bus while on their way to the funeral of a senior cleric critical of the authorities, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, which was to take place the following day. Facing persecution in Iran other CHRR members fled Iran and now reside outside the country.

Other organizations whose members have been arrested or sentenced include the Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners in Iran, Human Rights Activists in Iran and the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Student activists and leaders have also been targeted.