Young Activist Sentenced to 12.5 Years in Prison for Facebook Posts

Atena Faraghdani

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced artist and civil rights activist Atena Faraghdani to a total of 12.5 years in prison for drawings and content critical of the government that the young activist posted on her Facebook page.

Faraghdani’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, stated in an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that under Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, the sentence should be reduced to 7.5 years imprisonment. This article stipulates that in the case of multiple charges, sentencing will be limited to the maximum punishment for the crime with the heaviest sentence.

Moghimi noted that the ruling issued by the judge stated that Article 134 should be “considered.” The lawyer added that a 7.5-year prison sentence was “the maximum punishment for the charge of ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’” one of the charges against her.

“The peaceful expression of dissent remains a red line in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Campaign, “Cross it and you risk prison time.”

Ghaemi added that the authorities particularly fear social media networks, which have become hugely popular in Iran, especially among the young, and have clamped down especially hard on any content deemed even remotely critical of state policies expressed on them.

“The court ruling was served to her and myself today [June 1, 2015]. We have 20 days to appeal, and we hope this ruling will be overturned by the Appeals Court,” said Moghimi, Faraghdani’s lawyer.

The activist’s charges are “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader, the President, Members of the Parliament, and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] Ward 2-A agents” who interrogated her.

Following five months inside Gharchak and Evin Prisons, Faraghdani was tried at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati, a notorious judge who is consistently handpicked to preside over “national security” cases that security and intelligence organizations bring against political and civil activists, because of the harsh and maximum sentences he imposes. Salavati is the judge presiding over the trial of the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Moghimi noted that one of the pieces of evidence used against his client was her sharing of a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian Parliament as animals on her Facebook page. Other evidence included Faraghdani’s critical writings on her Facebook page, and her visits with families of political prisoners and protesters who were killed at the Kharizak Police Detention Center in 2009, in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election.

“According to our laws, activities on social networks on the Internet are not recognized as crimes. In democratic countries, drawing cartoons to criticize those in power is an accepted practice. My client is an artist who expresses her thoughts through drawing cartoons, and she meant to criticize those in power,” Mohammad Moghimi told the Campaign.

“Additionally, Article 8 of the Iranian Constitution expresses that it is upon everyone to ‘prevent vice and promote virtue,’ and this is a two-way responsibility both the nation and the state have  vis-à-vis each other. Expressing criticism is also a part of freedom of opinion and expression,” Moghimi said.

Security agents arrested the painter and civil activist Atena Faraghdani on August 24, 2014, and transferred her to IRGC’s Ward 2-A inside Evin Prison. She was released on bail on November 2, 2014. She published a video of herself, in which she spoke about an incident of aggressive strip search by female prison guards inside a solitary cell at Evin Prison. She said in the video that she had been ordered to take off her clothes, which she had refused. The video was widely viewed and discussed on social networks.

After the video was published, she was summoned to Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court on January 10, 2015, arrested, and transferred to Gharchak Prison in Varamin, outside Tehran.

Atena Faraghdani embarked on a hunger strike to protest her transfer to the deplorable Gharchak Prison, where political prisoners are not separated from hardened criminals, in violation of the principle of the separation of prisoners.

After her health deteriorated severely and she was transferred to a hospital on February 26, 2015, judicial authorities ordered her transfer back to Evin Prison on March 2, where she has been ever since.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

A Daughter’s Plea: Free My Father from Iran’s Prisons

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

My father, an Iranian blogger, is being psychologically tortured and imprisoned—all for blogging about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At this very moment, my father, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, also known as Siamak Meher, is being detained in Karaj Prison in Iran.  He was arrested by security forces two months ago in Orumieh and was held in solitary confinement for 14 days by the Ministry of Intelligence.  He was subjected to harsh investigation and psychological torture. His interrogators repeatedly threatened him with the death.  Once transferred to Karaj Prison, he spent an additional 15 days in solitary confinement.

For a month after his arrest, my family had no idea where my father disappeared to.  We were terrified.  My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system, attempts to leave the country illegally, contacts with Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Iran, contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father is a blogger—not a criminal.  In March, my father, who suffers from cardiac arrest, diabetes and kidney stones, wrote, “When the intelligence agents of the Islamic regime first broke into my apartment they beat me to death and took me for interrogations. I was put in a solitary confinement completely cut off from the outside world without even enjoying basic prisoner rights. I was constantly threatened to death.”  He was taken into a room, blindfolded and led to believe he was going to be hanged.

My father continued, “All these sufferings only because I tried to share articles 17 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with my fellow citizens; all these because I tried to make my fellow citizens aware of the rights reserved for them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”  He rightly observed that, “My fate as a blogger and a prisoner of conscience is only one example of the thousands of the victims of human rights violations in Iran.”

What makes his current detainment even more heartbreaking this time is that he was recently released after serving four years in prison. He was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced prison for propaganda against the State, insulting the Supreme Leader and defamation of Islam.

During the first days of my father’s interrogation, security officials asked him to convince me to return back to Iran. They assured him that should this happen, many problems would be resolved. The majority of the questions they asked were related to my work and activities.

From prison, my father noted that he was jailed “as a result of voicing my criticism and concerns at the injustice and the violation of human rights and freedom violations in my country.”  He rotted in a 21-square-meter cell where he was kept with 40 other inmates “most of whom are murderers, rapists, child molesters, smugglers, robbers and psychotic patients.”

My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system … contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father’s voice has been silenced by a cruel regime and so I pass on his message to the world:  “The people of Iran are now ensnared in the hands of a religious, medieval and extremely backward regime that has no respect for the values the civilized world has been seeking out for the past four centuries,” he wrote.   “The totalitarian regime of the Islamic republic harshly represses the public so not even one single individual or the media can freely expresses their opinion on the conditions of the country and its people…”

The Iranian regime has refused to release any updated information about my father despite repeated requests.  My father and I always had a very close relationship.  He took care of me throughout my life.  I dream that one day he will be free.  He is always in my thoughts. is a crowdsourcing platform created by Advancing Human Rights which connects activists from dictatorships with people around the world with skills to help them.

Source: The Daily Beast

„Rosewater“: Peiniger hören zu, wenn sie Erotisches erfahren


Jon Stewart, legendärer Gastgeber der Fernsehsendung „The Daily Show“ in Amerika, hat einen Film gedreht. In „Rosewater“ erzählt er die wahre Geschichte des iranisch-kanadischen Journalisten Maziar Bahari, der 2009 von den Wahlen in Teheran berichten soll

Den einen Seitenhieb kann Jon Stewart sich nicht verkneifen. „Was?“, fragt er entgeistert zurück, mit theatralisch aufgerissenen Augen, als die Moderatorin im Newseum, dem Journalismusmuseum Washingtons, eine Frage stellt, mit der er nichts anfangen kann. Im Comedy-Studio sitze er ja immer vor der Kamera, bei seiner Premiere als Filmemacher sei er nun dahinter gestanden – „erfordert das nicht eine komplette Neuordnung in Ihrem Kopf?“ „Whaaat?“, antwortet Stewart und amüsiert sich über das Wort Neuordnung, so wie er Politiker zerpflückt, wenn sie eine Sprechblase an die andere reihen.

Der Kultsatiriker des liberalen Amerika, dessen bissige TheDaily Show manchem die eher seichten Abendnachrichten der Kabelsender ersetzt, hat einen Kinofilm gedreht, seinen ersten. Erzählt wird die wahre Geschichte Maziar Baharis, eines iranisch-kanadischen Journalisten, der im Juni 2009 nach Teheran fliegt, um über eine Wahl zu berichten, über das Duell zwischen dem Hardliner Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad und seinem flexibleren Herausforderer Mir Hossein Mussawi.

Die schwierige Arbeit eines westlichen Journalisten im Iran: Gael García Bernal spielt in "Rosewater" den kanadisch-iranischen Reporter Maziar Bahari, der als Spion verdächtigt und eingesperrt wird.

vergrößern (800×568foto: ap

Die schwierige Arbeit eines westlichen Journalisten im Iran: Gael García Bernal spielt in „Rosewater“ den kanadisch-iranischen Reporter Maziar Bahari, der als Spion verdächtigt und eingesperrt wird.

Als Ahmadi-Nejad zum Sieger erklärt wird, was den Verdacht massiver Fälschung aufkommen lässt, gehen in Teheran Zehntausende auf die Straße. Bahari ist dabei, er filmt, wie Demonstranten über die Mauern einer Kaserne der Revolutionswächter zu klettern versuchen, wie Schüsse fallen und der leblose Körper eines Getroffenen im Stacheldraht hängt. Bald darauf klingeln Geheimpolizisten an der Wohnungstür seiner Mutter, um ihn abzuholen. Bahari soll bekennen, dass er spioniert, für die Amerikaner, die Briten, die Israelis, für das Magazin Newsweek, für wen auch immer.

Im Evin-Gefängnis, Teherans berüchtigtem Knast, wird er geschlagen und erniedrigt und zur Abwechslung mit Aprikosen gelockt von seinem Peiniger, der nach Rosenwasser duftet, weshalb er ihn Rosewater nennt. Es beginnt damit, dass der Mann seine Kontakte durchgeht. „Wer ist Anton Tschechow?“ „Anton Tschechow? Der Dramatiker?“ „Du sollst mir das sagen, deshalb frage ich dich. Schließlich bist du es, der sich bei diesem Facebook für ihn interessiert.“

Am Originalschauplatz konnte Stewart natürlich nicht arbeiten, sodass Amman als Alternative herhalten musste, die jordanische Hauptstadt, wo man ihn in einer Haftanstalt drehen ließ. Es war Sommer, vierzig Grad, obendrein Ramadan, Fastenmonat. „Idealbedingungen“, witzelt Stewart.

Vollständiger Artikel

Video Witness Statement of Majid Abedinzadeh Moghaddam: A Prisoner in Kahrizak during the 2009 Post-Election Protests

Majid Abedinzadeh Moghadam was imprisoned in Kahrizak Detention Center for participating in the protests following the 2009 elections. There, he and over a hundred other detainees were subjected to systematic physical and psychological torture, including beatings and imprisonment in a hot and crowded warehouse. Following several days of violent mistreatment, Moghaddam witnessed the death of one of his fellow detainees.

General Anzeiger| Demonstration für inhaftierte Journalisten

Das Wetter hatten sie auf ihrer Seite. Strahlender Sonnenschein begrüßte die rund 80 engagierten Läufer, die sich am Sonntag am Beueler Rheinufer zum „Lauf für die Menschenrechte“ versammelten. Mit dem von Amnesty International (AI) organisierten Lauf, der bereits zum 16. Mal in Bonn stattfand, wollten die Teilnehmer ein Zeichen setzen.
Rund 80 Läufer nahmen am Friedenslauf teil. Foto: Max Malsch
Sie joggten für die Rechte von Journalisten im Iran. Um den Körper trugen sie Schilder mit der Aufschrift „Freiheit für Abedini Nasr“. Der iranische Journalist wurde 2010 im Zuge einer Verhaftungswelle gegen Menschenrechtsaktivisten im Iran verhaftet und befindet sich seitdem in Gefangenschaft, wo er Berichten zufolge auch misshandelt wurde.

In Briefen an den iranischen Botschafter appelliert AI regelmäßig für die Freilassung des Journalisten. Durch den „Lauf für die Menschenrechte“ sollte die Öffentlichkeit für das Thema sensibilisiert werden. „Solche Aktionen sind für uns enorm wichtig. Denn die Öffentlichkeit ist unsere wichtigste Waffe“, erklärte Jamil Balga, der Gruppensprecher der AI-Bezirksgruppe Bonn-Mitte. „Und in 30 bis 40 Prozent der Fälle führen unsere Protestaktionen auch zum Erfolg.“

Vollständiger Artikel

Freedom of the Press? Not Under Rouhani.


Imagine a group of people. They look just like you. They have families, lives, interests, hobbies, everything you know from your own life. The only thing that is different in their lives than those of yours is the job they chose to do: They elected to be journalists in the Islamic Republic of Iran. So now they’re in jail, and no one knows when they will be set free again.

It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Upon his election, Hassan Rouhani was perceived as being a great hope in that aspect. In fact, as early as his first speech in office, Rouhani said “The government that takes its legitimacy from its people does not fear the free media; we will seek help from their constructive criticism.”

Well, apparently that’s over with; Washington post’s Tehran’s correspondent Jason Rezaian (along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi), has been arrested in July. Since then, there have been numerous calls for his release, but the president has remained silent, and has done nothing to aid in that cause, nor has his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Rezaian’s story is a sign of the perils of trying to become a reporter in today’s Iran: “The two have been held for more than eight weeks without explanation or charges. They have not been permitted to meet with their lawyer”, says Douglas Jehl, the Washington post’s foreign editor.

Rezaian is the face of an alarmingly growing epidemic in Iran, reports the committee to protect journalists, in an article that states that journalists have been arrested by the dozen in the country.

This raises the question about the connections between the Iranian president and those kidnaps, but Mr. Zarif’s recent admission, about not even knowing all of the charges that Rezaian was tagged with, brings to mind the question of control in Iran – and it seems that no one in the government really knows what’s going on inside those Journalists’ prisons cell.


Amnesty kritisiert Lage der Journalisten im Iran

Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Amnesty International hat einen deutlichen Anstieg von Festnahmen und Inhaftierungen unabhängiger Journalisten im Iran kritisiert. Die Behörden machten damit Hoffnungen zunichte, die der Amtsantritt des iranischen Präsidenten Hassan Rohani am 3. August 2013 geweckt habe, erklärte die Organisation.

Nach Angaben von Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, der stellvertretenden Direktorin der Amnesty-Abteilung für den Mittleren Osten und Nordafrika, gibt es zunehmend ein Klima der Einschüchterung und Furcht. Was der offiziellen Staatsideologie zuwiderlaufe, drohe mit Gefängnis bestraft zu werden.

In den vergangenen Monaten habe die Repression gegen die Medienschaffenden noch zugenommen. Betroffen seien unter anderen iranische Journalisten, ausländische Korrespondenten und Filmemacher. Festnahmen erfolgten vielfach gemäß der islamischen Strafgesetzgebung. Darin würden „Verbreitung von Lügen oder Propaganda“ sowie „Erzeugung von Unruhe in der öffentlichen Meinung“ als Verbrechen definiert. In Wirklichkeit werde damit eine große Zahl friedlicher Aktivitäten kriminalisiert. Kritische Journalisten würden mit verschiedenen Methoden drangsaliert und zur Selbstzensur gezwungen.

Der Verbleib des Korrespondenten der „Washington Post“ im Iran und dessen ebenfalls als Journalistin arbeitende Ehefrau sei nach wie vor nicht bekannt. Jason Rezaian und Yeganeh Salehi wurden am 22. Juli in Teheran festgenommen. Ebenfalls an einem unbekannten Ort festgehalten wurde die am 28. Mai festgenommene Saba Azarpeik. Erst am vergangenen Sonntag wurde der Journalist Serajeddin Mirdamadi wegen „regierungsfeindlicher Propaganda“ und „Verstoßes gegen die nationale Sicherheit“ zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt – laut Amnesty ein Beispiel von vielen.

Vollständiger Artikel

WP| Iran confirms arrest of Post correspondent

The Washington Post Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian, right, and his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, who works for the UAE newspaper National, during a foreign ministry spokeswoman weekly press conference in Tehran, Iran, 10 September 2013. (Stringer/EPA)
Iran confirmed Friday that The Washington Post’s correspondent in Tehran has been arrested on unspecified charges.

Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, director general of the Tehran Province Justice Department, told reporters that the “Washington Post journalist has been detained for some questions and after technical investigations, the judiciary will provide details on the issue,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

“Iranian security forces are vigilant towards all kind of enemies’ activities, the official added,” IRNA said without elaborating. The brief report did not mention The Post’s correspondent, Jason Rezaian, by name.

Rezaian, 38, a U.S.-Iranian dual national; his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi; and two other U.S. citizens whose identities have not been disclosed appeared to have been detained this week in Tehran, U.S. officials and The Post said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of annual “Quds Day” rallies, held to express solidarity with Palestinians and oppose Israeli control of Jerusalem, Esmaili shed no light on what prompted the arrests. He went on to denounce”the Zionist regime’s recent crimes in Gaza,” called for the trial of Israeli leaders in international courts and said that “the silence of certain international bodies and states towards Zionist crimes against Palestinians is shameful,” IRNA reported. It was unclear whether those grievances had anything to do with the arrests.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, at the newspaper in Washington. (Zoeann Murphy/AP)

Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl said the newspaper received “credible reports” that Rezaian and Salehi were detained Tuesday evening. It was unclear who detained them.

“We are deeply troubled by this news and are concerned for the welfare of Jason, Yeganeh and two others said to have been detained with them,” Jehl said in a statement.

Jehl said that Rezaian, who has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012, “is an experienced, knowledgeable reporter who deserves protection and whose work merits respect.”


A Baluchi woman killed by police forces

Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh

HRANA News Agency – Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh (Moradkhatoon), in Sarbaz town, was taken over by police when she was resisting against seizure of her nephew’s car and died in the way to hospital.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), police seized a Toyota car, in a checkpoint on Sarbaz town, the suburb of Ashar in Afshan village, which was carrying diesel fuel and belonged to the nephew of Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh, on Friday, July 18th at 12am.

When this 40 years old woman tried to prevent seizure of the car she was taken over by the police officer who was driving and died on the way to hospital due to the injuries.

An informed source told HRANA’s reporter, “when police officers were trying to transfer the car to station, they confronted with her. Moradkhatoon insisted that they should not seize her nephew’s car. But, the officer who was driving had taken over her”.

This source also said that officer was a conscript and he even did not stop for transferring her to hospital.

This incident caused anger of the community and some had attacked the station and broken the door.

Poverty and unemployment have caused the young people tending to smuggling the fuel to neighbor countries.


News from Iran – Week 26 – 2014

by lissnup

Prisoners’ News


  • Hamed Ahmadi, death row prisoner on hunger strike, transferred to hospital for stomach bleeding.
  • Mansour Arvand, death row prisoner, transferred from Urmiah prison to an unknown location.
  • Dr. Kamran Ayazi transferred from Evin to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Shahram Chinian-Miandoab transferred to solitary in Rejaei Shahr.
  • Dr. Latif Hasani, on hunger strike since May 10th, transferred to hospital and then to Evin.
  • Behnam Irani, Christian priest recently converted, transferred from Alborz Intelligence detention center to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Mehdi Khazali moved from Evin to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Kasra Nouri transferred back from Adel Abad prison to Nezam prison.


  • Sivan Hosseinpour, Kurdish photographer and cartoonist, arrested at home in Mahabad.
  • Bahman Khaleghi, Azeri activist, begins serving his 6 months sentence in Tabriz.
  • Majid Moghadam arrested during 5th memorial at Neda Agha-Soltan grave and released the day after.
  • Hojatoleslam Seyed Hamid Mahdavi-Eghdam begins serving his sentence in Tabriz prison.
  • Mamousta Abdol-Salam Golnavaz, Kurdish cleric, summoned to clerical court in Tabriz and arrested ; released the day after because of protests
  • Behnam Mousivand arrested during 5th memorial at Neda Agha-Soltan’s grave and released the day after.
  • Afshin Nadimi, Kurdish rights activist, begins serving his 6 years sentence in Sanandaj prison.
  • Reyhaneh Tabatabaei, journalist, begins serving her 6 months sentence in Evin.
  • Female football fans arrested and released after president’s intervention.


  • Leva Khanjani freed at the end of her sentence.
  • Amir Khorram released on furlough.

D-Other News

  • Reza Akbari-Monfared on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Mohammad Banazadeh-Amirkhizi on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to supportReza Shahabi.
  • Dr. Asghar Ghotan on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Afshin Heiratian on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Khaled Herdani on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Saleh Kohandel on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Mohammad-Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to supportReza Shahabi.
  • Ali Moezi banned from all visits.
  • Ali Salanpour on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Shahrokh Zamani on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.

News of injustice in Iran

  • Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, journalist, banned from leaving the country.
  • 5 hangings in Birjand prison.
  • 8 hangings in Rasht on Monday.
  • 2 hangings Rejaei Shahr on Wednesday.
  • 11 hangings in Ghezel-Hesar on Thursday.

University – Culture

  • Shahr e Sokhteh inscribed in Unesco World Heritage list.
  • Two paintings by Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri sold for over $1 million in Tehran auction.
  • Iranian students blocked from UK Stem courses by Kaplan due to US sanctions.
  • Islamic Association of Shiraz University of Technology reopens after 4 years


  • Tehranis celebrate great match of Team Melli against Argentina on the street.
  • Retired steel workers protest withheld pension payments.
  • Reporters strike at national broadcaster in Ardebil for unpaid wages.
  • Miners protest to keep company private and they stop privatisation.

Iran abroad

  • Zarif meets Sudanese minister of development in Tehran.
  • French parliamentary delegation visits Iranian Majlis.
  • Iran operates drones from former American base in Iraq.

Iran Economics

  • Turkey sells 200 tons of secret gold to Iran.
  • India makes $550m oil payment to Iran.

Iran Politics

  • Iranian police launches new campaign to seize satellite dishes.
  • Gholamali Jafarzadeh, a member of Iran’s planning and Budget Commission calls for Ahmadinejad’s prosecution.
  • 75% of provincial governors replaced last year.
  • Vasectomy punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison.
  • Health Minister challenges law against birth control.


  • Iran is getting ready for its best year of tourism in a generation.
  • Iranian pilgrims captured by ISIS released, back to country.
  • Iran has the highest cancer rate because of contaminated gasoline.


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