As COVID-19 Toll Mounts in Iran’s Prisons, Why Do Authorities Call on Prisoners of Conscience to Serve Time?
Human Rights Day 2019: Dedicated to the Most Recent Victims of Iran's Intolerance of the Right to Peaceful Assembly
Imminent Execution Risk for Hossein Esmailpur, Young Man Sentenced to Death for Murder of Well-Known Cleric in Doubt-Filled Case
Saleh Shariati At Risk of Execution for Murder Allegedly Committed at 16: Juvenile Sentenced to Death on No Convincing Evidence
Rights Groups Condemn Recent Execution of Kurdish Prisoners, Urging For an Immediate Moratorium on the Death Penalty
Remembering One Anniversary and Celebrating Another: Twenty-five Years Ago, a Man Was Assassinated in Paris, but His Cause Lives On
Enforcing International Treaties Should Be the Norm Not the Exception : Iran Must Respect Rather than Undermine Universal Human Rights
ABF Executive director
Published in Huffington Post
This was President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's last chance to honor the World Human Rights Day, as his two-term presidency is coming to a close. Yet, no one celebrated. In fact, since his election in 2005, the human rights situation in Iran has steadily deteriorated. His second term started with peaceful protesters being shot in the streets or killed in detention centers. There is no cause for celebration...A cursory look at the Islamic Republic's list of human rights violations in the past seven and a half years brings up the executions as the top concern. From June 2005 to date, the Boroumand Foundation has collected more than 4,800 reports of executions, mostly from official and semi-official sources. Based on these reports, there were close to 2,600 executions during Mr. Ahmadinejad's first term, and more than 2,250 from July 2009 through November 2012. This represents a dramatic increase from 458 executions reported from June 2001 to June 2005. The killings, mostly in the form of hanging, are not limited to prisons and public squares.
'There Are Absolutely No Political Executions in Iran' -- A Statement by the Head of Iran's Judiciary That Should Not Go Unnoticed
October 22, 2012
Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
In an October 18 statement, the evidently irritated head of Iran's judiciary attacked the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Dr. Shaheed's sources and stressed that "there are absolutely no political executions in Iran." Clearly, the thorough report has gotten under the skin of those who run Iran's judicial system, underlining the importance of international support to human rights documentation and advocacy.
...For those of us who spend our days documenting executions in Iran, to hear a denial such as this from the top official in a court system where denial of due process is sanctioned by law and unfair trials are the norm, may bring a wry smile. For the thousands of Iranian families -- and mine is one of them -- whose hopes and often lives have been laid waste by the politically motivated killings of their loved ones, the denial is a sad reminder of a persistent culture of impunity.
Human Rights Watch: Scrap Policies That Ban Students From Studies on Basis of Gender.
The Iranian government should immediately reverse policies that place unnecessary restrictions on academic freedom for university students, in particular women. Some of these “Islamicization” measures are to be introduced for the new academic year, which begins on September 22, 2012. Others have been put in place in recent years and adopted by universities across the country.
The measures include bans on female and male enrollment in specific academic fields in many universities, but with the greatest number of restrictions on women. They also include quotas that limit the percentage of women students in certain fields of study, and segregation in classrooms and facilities.
(New York)– United Nations agencies and international donors should immediately freeze financial and other assistance to Iran’s drug control programs, Human Rights Watch and Harm Reduction International (HRI) said today. The funding contributes to abusive prosecutions of drug suspects, the groups said.
Declare an immediate moratorium on all executions with a view to the abolition of the death penalty in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149 and 63/168 on “moratorium on the use of the death penalty” and commute all death sentences, including for drug offenses; Abolish provisions within Iran’s penal code that allow for the death penalty for drug offenses; Prosecute drug-related cases in open and fair public trials in ordinary criminal courts, that meet international standards, including ensuring that defendants have proper access to a lawyer and the right to an appeal; and Publicize statistics on the death penalty and facts around the administration of justice in death penalty cases.
(2 July 2012) Concurrent with the execution of four Iranians in Saudi Arabia, and despite warnings by human rights activists and institutions, four Ahwazi Arab prisoners-- Taha Heidarian, Abdolrahman Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, and Ali Sharifi-- were secretly executed by the Iranian authorities. The prisoners- three of them brothers- were arrested following civil unrest and protests in April 2011 in Ahwaz (Capital of the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan). According to reliable reports, the Heidarian brothers and Ali Sharifi were charged and convicted of of Moharebeh (waging war against God) after they had given confessions under torture. They were denied fair trials or any other legal proceedings, and their most basic rights as political prisoner were violated. Furthermore, their bodies were not returned to their families and civil protests in objection to their executions were suppressed.
New York) – Iranian authorities should immediately free dozens of university students currently behind bars solely for peacefully expressing political opinions, and end harassment of student activists on university campuses throughout the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued the call as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and international student and rights groups to highlight the government’s systematic crackdown against university students for their political activism.
A Call by Dr. Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Laureate and 29 civil society Organizations
At a time when the number of executions, which are frequently summary and at times performed in secret, is soaring in Iran and discrimination and violence against religious, ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people amongst other groups is ongoing, monitoring and reporting conducted by an impartial and independent investigator such as the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran is urgent and vital.
Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.
Posted: 02/ 2/2012 11:18 am
One year ago in one of the last days of January 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the execution of Zahra Bahrami, an Iranian-Dutch citizen visiting Iran. Bahrami is one of many Iranian expatriates punished following an unfair judicial process.
Over the years, several Iranians with dual citizenship who worked with the Iranian civil society, facilitated exchanges of ideas, or relayed news coming from Iran, have been arrested. Some have been released thanks to sustained international pressure. Others however, are still serving prison sentences, or are on death row, such as Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian-Canadian computer programmer. The government message is clear: communicating independently with Iranians or echoing their voices is not allowed. And it works.
Two Iranian Kurdish Political Prisoners on Death Row Appeal to Dr. Ahmad Shahid UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran
Dr. Ahmad Shahid
The honorable representative of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations
This letter is the expression of the pain and torment that we, Zanyar and Loqman Moradi, two innocent brothers, have suffered since we were detained in Iran’s Reja’i Shahr prison nearly a year ago. At the writing of this letter we stand condemned to be executed on the basis of false and trumped up charges. We implore international and human rights organizations to come to our help and save our lives.
In this letter, we will describe only some of the barbaric tortures and abusive treatments visited upon us by the security agents of the Islamic republic of Iran. The tortures included- but were not limited to – brutal beatings often aimed at sensitive parts of the body: face, knees, neck and back. We were also subjected to unbearable sexual tortures, including insertion of soda bottle in the anus. Furthermore, the interrogators constantly used obscene language and routinely threatened to torment and persecute our relatives. We were often kept blindfolded, and incommunicado, in horrendous solitary detention.
by Roya Boroumand
Yesterday, I froze in front of my laptop screen, staring at the news of the suicide of a young woman, Nahal Sahabi, in Tehran. Nahal is one of the many young Iranians who find the present unbearable and the future too uncertain to be worth living for. We know of her suicide because she was the girlfriend of the 22-year-old, Behnam Ganji, who committed suicide on Sept. 1, 2011.
“Our lives, well being, and tranquility depends on these executions”.
Ayatollah Mohseni Garakani, Head of the Supreme Court, (5 February 2011)
In the past few weeks, the imposition of the death penalty has skyrocketed in Iran. The escalation in the number of executions has lead to a wave of outrage among human rights groups. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) welcomes the launch of the International Campaign Against the Death Penalty in Iran, the call by the UN independent human rights experts for a moratorium on the death penalty, and the recent statement by six human rights organizations calling for an end to the imposition of the death penalty in Iran.
huffingtonpostToday, most of us working with human rights organizations or the media outside Iran are off from work, shopping for Christmas, or spending time with our families. In Iran, government offices are closed on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. Yet, for the Iranian government, Christmas and the weekend’s closure presented the ideal opportunity to announce the imminent execution a young Kurdish engineering student and environmentalist to his family.
Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, Iran's judicial authorities have surpassed their own cruelty and cynicism in an effort to distract public opinion from their dismal human rights record in particular when it comes to due process of law and the right to defense. Flouting rules and procedures (and common sense), they have dragged in front of the cameras a woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, they have held between life and death for years and whose son they hold hostage. The breaking news here is that she admits to her own guilt in an alleged crime for which she was tried and sentenced years ago and for which she was given the maximum punishment allowed in the law.
“In one case, the entire process -- the investigation, the issuance of the verdict, and implementation of the verdict took only 20 hours. This case demonstrates that cases about which the public is sensitive can be dealt with promptly and the judgment can be implemented without delay.”
Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Fazel, May 2007
Individuals accused of drug-related offenses are particularly at risk considering Iran’s heavy handed antinarcotics policies and the approach taken by judicial officials such as Hojatoleslam Fazel, the head of the Islamic Public Court and Revolutionary Tribunal in Shiraz.
The annals of the Islamic Republic are rife with official statements stressing the decisiveness of the police and courts and encouraging summary judicial proceedings plus the beating of suspects. The unleashing of such unconstrained state violence in the name of combating criminality has done little to eradicate addiction or trafficking, however.
In late September, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in New York asserting his government’s respect for human rights, several young students in Iran were receiving lengthy prison sentences for their efforts to speak out in defense of those rights. Indeed—as a small photography exhibition about student repression in Iran at Georgetown Law School this month powerfully reminded us—hundreds of Iranian students, journalists, and bloggers have been jailed, many of them in deplorable conditions, since the disputed elections of June 2009. And though the matter has received little attention in the press, many more continue to be arrested and sentenced.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recent presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, and a number of sitting and retired judges and officials, including former head of the Supreme Court, Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, are all liable to arrest under international law for complicity in the murder of thousands of political prisoners at the end of the Iran/Iraq War. This is the conclusion of a 145-page report by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who urges the Security Council to set up a special court, along the lines of the International Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to try these men “for one of the worst single human rights atrocities since the Second World War”.
The report concludes that the leaders were guilty of implementing a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in July 1988, which sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death without a trial. At Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and twenty other prisons throughout Iran, dissidents who had previously been sentenced to various prison terms and had refused to recant their religious beliefs were blindfolded and paraded before judges who directed thousands to the gallows. “They were hung from cranes, four at a time, or in groups of six from ropes hanging from the stage of the prison assembly hall. Their bodies were doused with disinfectant, packed in refrigerated trucks, and buried by night in mass graves, the locations of which are still withheld from their families.”
On September 29, 2009, Ladan and Roya Boroumand, historians and founders of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, and Shadi Sadr, a lawyer, journalist, and human rights activist, received awards from the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation. The Lech Walesa Prize honored their work to promote human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy in Iran.
Mr. Lech Walesa, who founded the Foundation, is the former president of Poland, leader of the Polish trade union, Solidarity (Solidarnosc), and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. The Lech Walesa Prize, established in 2008, honors “people who stand for understanding and international cooperation in solidarity, freedom, and for promotion of the fundamental values of Solidarity Movement.
Paola Sara Czyzewski, a 21-year-old law student, and 23-year-old Diego de Pirro, who studied economics, will never know the reasons for the heinous crime that shattered their hopes and took their lives at approximately 9:05 on the morning of July 18th, 1994. Paola and Diego were both killed when a van containing 275 kilograms of explosives turned a seven-story building into rubble on Pastor Street in Buenos Aires that day. The target of the bombing was AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina), a mutual aid society. , a center of The explosion, which took the lives of 85 citizens and injured 150 more, mostly of Jewish heritage, was neither an accident nor a mistake. In 2006, Argentina’s investigation determined that the order for the bombing had come from a special committee composed of the highest ranking Iranian leaders.
2009: “In the most savage attack, which occurred on the evening of Sunday, June 13, the forces of Ansar, plainclothes militia, and the guards began a widespread and well-coordinated attack on the Tehran University campus...”.
-Statement by one of the Iran's Student Unions, June 16, 2009.
Following the June 12, 2009, presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a new episode of massive human rights violations unfolded before the world.
Students were among the first to protest these election results. They were also the first to be targeted by government forces.
This is not the first time students have been punished for expressing their views or for protesting in public. Ten years ago today (July 9th, 2009)...
“To we who administer the presidential elections, it makes absolutely no difference who wins. As far as we’re concerned, anyone whom the esteemed Guardian Council allows to run is an insider.”
- Kamran Daneshju, Political Deputy to the Minister of Interior, 20 April 2009
Once again, the Islamic Republic of Iran has held a nationwide election (this time for president) and once again the campaigning and the voting have been become occasions for media accounts that focus on the colorful rallies, the candidates’ personality, and the speeches—while failing to reckon seriously with just how restricted, controlled, and opaque the entire process really is....
“Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. Break the poisonous pens of all those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.”
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Qom, 13 March, 1979
Three decades ago, while he was founding the new political regime of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini clearly stated that criticism and dissent would not be tolerated. From the very moment of its inception, when it was still enjoying the support of a vast majority of the people and faced no other challenge than that of reorganizing the country, the Islamic regime engaged in systematic abuse of human rights as a matter of ideological necessity.
“We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. … These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.”
Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families (2008)
Those who have signed this call for justice are the children and relatives of four peaceful dissidents and intellectuals slain in Iran in the fall of 1998. Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar were outspoken critics of the Islamic Republic. Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were actively engaged in reviving the independent Iranian writers association. All four had received threats and warnings regarding their activities.
On the occasion of the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation is pleased to announce its electronic publication of the Persian translation of Hannah Arendt's essay, Individual Responsibility Under Dictatorship.