Human Rights Activist and Political Prisoner Cases Supporting the Special Rapporteur’s March 2013 Report
This supplement provides documented cases of detained human rights activists and political prisoners that served as part of the basis of Dr. Shaheed’s March 2013 report presented to the UN Human Rights Council. The documentation is based on primary interviews and secondary research conducted for the March 2013 report (Click here for the full report supplement).
February 28, 2013
I. Human Rights Activists and Political Prisoners
1. Faegh Rourast reported that authorities arrested him and his father in connection with his human rights activities on 27 and 25 January 2009, respectively. He maintained his aunt was assaulted with pepper spray when she inquired about an arrest warrant, and that his father was detained and abused for 16 days. Prison officials reportedly threatened Mr. Rourast’s father with the rape of his wife and daughters. Mr. Rourast reported that he was charged with “propaganda against the regime”, organizing protests, and Dcontact with foreign organizations. He reported that he was tortured by prison officials during his 17 days in detention, including by being hung from the ceiling and being severely beaten. Mr. Rourast stated that he was transferred to Shahrchai Detention Center where he remained for 34 days. He maintained that prison officials tortured him with an electroshock weapon and allegedly threatened to amputate his leg, which had been injured during his interrogation. Faegh Rourast reported that he was sentenced to three years in prison and was eventually released after serving a full year. He asserted that he was harassed after his release, that his home was raided in July 2010, and that he was contacted and threatened with arrest again. His family was threatened as well. He has since left Iran.
2. Rozhin Mohammadi, a medical student at Manila Medical School of the Philippines, was arrested on 23 November 2011 after being detained and interrogated several times during a short visit to Iran to see her family. The source reported that Ms. Mohammadi had been involved in student and human rights activities in an effort to address issues such as stoning and executions in the country. The source stated that Ms. Mohammadi was placed in solitary confinement, insulted, interrogated, punched in the face and regularly beaten by one of her interrogators – breaking her nose – and that she did not have access to medical services for her injuries. It was reported that Ms. Mohammadi was asked about her personal relationships and questioned in detail about her sexual relations. It was maintained that Ms. Mohammadi was threatened with rape, with a defamation campaign, and with the arrest of her brother. Ms Mohammadi’s brother, Ramin Mohammadi, was reportedly arrested on 30 November in his home. He was allegedly blindfolded and beaten during his arrest, and threatened with being framed with a crime of his interrogators’ choosing at the onset of his interrogations. Reportedly unaware that his sister was in an adjacent room, Mr. Mohammadi was allegedly ordered to write a statement that implicated his sister in crimes, and severely beaten by several individuals with batons, damaging his inner ear, and fracturing his shinbone. It was further reported that Mr. Mohammadi was then hung from a ceiling for four hours. It was reported that Mr. Mohammadi’s torture was used to psychologically torture his sister in an effort to encourage her to cooperate with interrogators. He was released on $100,000 bail. On 1 December 2011, Ms. Mohammadi reportedly suffered from an epileptic episode, which the source speculated was as a result of being exposed to Mr. Mohammadi’s torture in the next room. She was reportedly released on $200,000 bail on 6 December 2011. It was alleged that the Mohammadi family was harassed and threatened by authorities in the days following Ms. Mohammadi’s release. The siblings were reportedly summoned to return for interrogation and threatened with rearrest if they did not cooperate. It was reported that the family’s home was raided in an effort to rearrest Mr. and Ms. Mohammadi. The whereabouts of both individuals are unknown.
3. An informed source stated that security forces arrested Maziar Ebrahimi at his home on 12 June 2012 for murder (“assassination”). It was reported that Maziar’s family’s communications were being monitored, and they were not free to talk about Maziar’s whereabouts. A member of Maziar’s family alleged that Maziar had been framed for a crime. On 6 August, Maziar “confessed” publicly on television. Lawyers are reportedly unable to gain access to Maziar’s case file. It was alleged that Mr. Ebrahimi’s arrest was connected to failed negotiations over a contract for a Press TV project. The source reported that authorities threatened Maziar during negotiations, and that visible signs of torture and abuse, along with significant weight loss, were noticeable during Mr. Ebrahimi’s televised “confession”. The source maintained that Maziar was out of the country when the crime he is accused of took place.
4. An anonymous women and children’s rights activist reported that s/he was arrested in February 2010 in Qazvin, by 10 plainclothes security force agents who reportedly told onlookers that s/he was a drug trafficker. S/he was taken to an unknown location and detained in strict solitary confinement for 10 days and then taken to Qazvin prison, where source’s family posted bail and s/he was released. S/he reported, however, that within 30 minutes s/he was rearrested and transferred back to the general prison. Source stated s/he learned that s/he had been under surveillance for an extended period of time. Source reported that s/he was always blindfolded during interrogations, was repeatedly and severely beaten during his interrogations, and that some of the interrogations would last up to 11 hours. Source was reportedly instructed to report his/her whereabouts to security forces upon source’s eventual release in 2011, and forces allegedly threatened to rape “one of the females closest” to source if s/he made the conditions of detention public. Source has since left the country.
5. Family members living abroad reported that Zahra Mansouri was arrested in June 2011, allegedly for her connection to Camp Ashraf (now Camp Liberty) in Iraq. She was reportedly held in solitary confinement for 90 days and was eventually released on bail. During her time in prison she underwent an operation for breast cancer. She was allegedly returned to solitary confinement without first being given adequate recovery time. Ms. Mansouri was released to be hospitalized for intestinal problems and epilepsy, and underwent another surgery on 27 September 2012. She was sentenced to five years in prison, which was eventually reduced to two, due to her health issues. She was also sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on 27 September 2012 for acting against national security, and is currently detained. Her family reported their grave concern over Ms. Mansouri’s inadequate access to requisite medications for her illness, and for her health.
6. Mohammed Yeganeh Tabrizi stated that on 29 December 2009, plainclothes police officers attacked a group of protesters and shot three in the head, including Mr. Tabrizi. He related that 150 bullet fragments entered his body, including two in the brain, and that the entire left side of his body is now paralyzed. He reportedly remained in the hospital for a month, and for 20 of those days he was in a comatose state. He reported that a member of the Intelligence Office and someone from the security police interrogated him on the first day he regained consciousness. He was told to report to the Intelligence Office after he was released from the hospital, where he was later interrogated. During this time, he was repeatedly intimidated and threatened with execution. He alleged that he was pushed off his chair to confirm if he was paralyzed. Security forces also allegedly kicked his wheelchair into the wall. He was eventually released without being charged. When he returned to work, he learned that he had lost his business license and the phone lines at his office had been disconnected; he was also told by authorities that he would never be able to run his company successfully again. Due to these prolonged medical issues and continued persecution, Mr. Tabrizi has since left Iran.
7. An interviewee reported that (s)he was arrested at his/her home in the summer of 2010 by several female and male plainclothes intelligence officers. Authorities reportedly videotaped him/her and his/her family during the arrest. S(he) was reportedly presented with a warrant from the Qom Special Clerics’ court, but was not informed of his/her charges upon request. The interviewee reported that his/her house was searched and property was seized; including books, CDs, documents, and notes. S(he) was blindfolded during transfer to a detention center where interrogations about his/her Facebook friends and alleged connection to a foreign reporter were conducted. S(he) was eventually charged with “acting against national security through email contact with the hypocrite [MEK] grouplet”. The interviewee was reportedly held for weeks in solitary confinement, denied access to a lawyer, denied contact with family until 10 days after arrest, and denied vi