Tag Archives: Iran

‘Maximum Psychological’ Pressure: Iranian Rights Lawyer Tortured, Drugged During Detention


Iranian human rights lawyer Payam Derafshan is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Payam Derafshan was confined in a dark, windowless room inside a safe house run by the feared intelligence branch of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The human rights lawyer was then transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he was drugged with unknown substances that triggered violent convulsions. During one seizure, Derafshan bit part of his tongue off.

Derafshan was then subjected to electric shocks after he was forcibly transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

These are the allegations made by Saeid Dehghan, an Iranian human rights lawyer who represents Derafshan, who is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Derafshan, who has represented several high-profile political prisoners, is the latest victim of Iran’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, activists say. Prominent lawyers who have defended dissidents, women’s rights defenders, and political activists have been subject to state harassment, imprisonment, and forced into exile in recent years, they say.

In many cases, the lawyers have faced the same charges that the authorities have brought against their clients. “The goal is to scare others and warn them not to be the voice of the voiceless,” Dehghan, who is currently based in Canada, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda in a telephone interview.

Derafshan was arrested in June 2020 and sentenced weeks later to 2 1/2 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state,” “spreading falsehoods,” and “unauthorized disclosure.” The sentence was upheld by an appeals court in July 2020.






https://www.radiofarda.com/a/payam-derafshan-iranian-human-rights-lawyer-was-tortured/31515270.html (FARSI)

Iran: Imprisoned Lawyers: Why We Planned to Sue the Supreme Leader


A group of detained Iranian lawyers have published an open letter declaring their intent to sue Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, former president Hassan Rouhani and ex-health minister Saeed Namaki, as well as all members of the National Coronavirus Taskforce and the Prosecutor-General.

Mustafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian were among six people detained in mid-August as they prepared to file a lawsuit against the Supreme Leader for gross mishandling of Covid-19 in Iran.

The news website Emtedad published their letter on Sunday, quoting it as follows: “As a group of Iranian citizens, we wanted to speak out about the unprofessional speeches, the simplifications, the carelessness and arrogance of the country’s officials during the coronavirus pandemic.

“From preventing the timely purchase of a coronavirus vaccine to delaying its import due to political motives; from the extrajudicial establishment of the National Coronavirus Taskforce to the deposit of billions of dollars in non-specialist corporations and selected institutions, instead of reputable ones; from the murder and painful deaths of tens of thousands of our compatriots, to the deaths of hundreds of health workers.”

Nili, Kaykhosravi and Mahmoudian wrote that they had decided to file the complaint against those officials who had “sent millions of our compatriots into mourning” by “recklessness, bigotry, inaction and prioritizing factional, political and economic interests over the health of the people. We file charges against them for involuntary manslaughter, amongst other things.”

Before they had a chance to file it, however, the three said 15 agents of the judiciary had raided their offices in Tehran “violently and without authorization… after three hours of useless quarrelling, they detained us to prevent us from filing a complaint.”

Since then, they said, they had been held in Ward 241 of Evin Prison, blocked from having visits or phone calls, and subjected to 23 days of solitary confinement. This, they said, would be added to their complaint as a “clear example of torture” and a violation of Iran’s own Constitution.






Iran rights lawyer on hunger strike due to harassment in prison


سهیلا حجاب

“Soheila Hejab has continued from inside prison to denounce the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and unmistakably call for overthrow. The fierce courage in her voice is chilling”

The Iranian civil rights lawyer Soheila Hejab started a hunger strike in prison over two weeks ago to protest the Islamic Republic’s harassment of her and her family members.  Hejab suffers from severe health problems and Iranians on social media are urging the regime to release the attorney. The National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI) tweeted “The Islamic Republic has kept #SoheilaHejab, an Iranian lawyer and activist, in jail without proper access to medical care for months. She has launched multiple hunger strikes and is in dire circumstances.”

The Iranian-American expert on human rights in Iran, Mariam Memarsadegh, said that “Despite suffering torture and threats to her life, Soheila Hejab has continued from inside prison to denounce the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and unmistakably call for overthrow. The fierce courage in her voice is chilling.

“Memarsadeghi, who advocates for democracy in Iran and is a fellow for Macdonald-Laurier Institute, added that” Like many who have dissented from the Islamist totalitarian regime, she is an advocate for democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy and a supporter of Reza Pahlavi.”

The Center for Human Rights in Iran tweeted on Tuesday “Imprisoned rights lawyer Soheila Hejab was assaulted by prisoners convicted of ‘dangerous crimes’ in Iran’s Gharchak Prison, reports HRANA [Human Rights Activists News Agency]. The assault was instigated by a prison official. Hejab had ended a hunger strike on Oct. 3 after receiving pledges from the authorities.”



https://www.radiofarda.com/a/soheila-hejab-hunger-strike/31491785.html (FARSI)





Iran’s New Government Moves to Silence Dissent by Muzzling Leading Activists


The Iranian security establishment’s attempt to imprison four prominent human rights defenders, only a few months after the inauguration of the country’s new presidential administration, signals the beginning of a new and intensified era of repression.

“This is a clear attempt to enchain the country’s top rights defenders and create a climate of fear as this illegitimate government tightens its grip on power,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“Raisi’s government is assuming that Iran’s international negotiating partners will look the other way while it tramples human rights,” Ghaemi added. “Yet silence is complicity. Failing to condemn this outrageous behavior is a green light to the Iranian government’s most brutal actors.”

The internationally renowned human rights activist Narges Mohammadi announced this past weekend that she has received a new sentence of 80 lashes, 30 months of imprisonment, and two monetary fines—less than a year after she completed an 8.5-year sentence for engaging in peaceful activism.


Two prominent human rights lawyers, Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili, meanwhile remain detained in Evin Prison after being arrested last month with a group of lawyers and activists that included Mahmoudian as they were preparing to sue state officials over their ineffective and deadly response to the pandemic.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s ban on importing vaccines from major vaccine-producing countries including the U.S., UK and France was followed by surging infections and deaths throughout the country as the vast majority of Iranians were unable to access safe vaccines.

Khamenei lifted his ban eight months later, after hospitals and cemeteries were overflowing and more than 100,000 people had officially died from COVID-19, though the actual number is believed to be much higher.

Keykhosravi and Nili are among only a few defense attorneys willing to accept human rights cases in the country amid a state campaign to bar independent lawyers from being able to work. The charges against the two remain withheld from the public and they have been denied bail with no set trial date.

This latest campaign of repression is a harbinger of the state’s growing campaign to crush peaceful dissent, which has intensified since President Ebrahim Raisi and Judiciary Chief Mohseni Ejei—both major human rights violators—took power in Iran this past August.

“This is a test for the international community,” said Ghaemi. “To see if we will sit by silently and continue to carelessly treat Iran as only a nuclear file while this government tries to decapitate the country’s civil rights movement.”


https://ir.voanews.com/a/arash-kheikhosrawi-medi-mahmoudian-mostafa-nili-activist-lawyer-prisoner-iran-/6226427.html (FARSI)


Iran: Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Denied Phone Calls and Held in Solitary Confinement


Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian Denied Phone Calls and Held in Solitary Confinement

Three weeks after the arrest of lawyers Mostafa Nili and Arash Keykhosravi, and activist Mehdi Mahmoudian, they are still denied phone calls to their families and access to their lawyers. So far, their lawyer has not been granted access to the case.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian were arrested as part of a group of seven when they went to file a complaint against the National Task Force Against Coronavirus and the Supreme Leader at the Tehran Citizen’s Rights Protection Association on August 14. They have so far been denied phone calls to their families and access to their lawyers, and are being held in solitary confinement.

The other four detainees, lawyers Mohammad Hadi Erfanian, Mohammadreza Faghihi and Leila Heydari, and activist Maryam Afrafaraz were released days later.

Informed sources have told IHR that Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi and Mehdi Mahmoudian are being held in the solitary confinement cells of Ward 241 of Evin Prison and were only permitted to make a short phone call to their families once.

According to Shargh newspaper, their lawyer, Zahra Minouyi, has been going to the Prosecutor’s Office and Evin Prison every working day but has been denied access to their case.

Following their arrest, the Human Rights Commission of the Central Bar Association issued a statement calling for the immediate release of all detainees and for those responsible to be held accountable.



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Afghanistan’s female judges desperate to flee death threats and retaliation


Afghans, hoping to leave Afghanistan, walk through the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul on August 28, 2021, following the Taliban stunning military takeover of Afghanistan.

“It was the most horrible experience I could ever have in my life. I experienced things I would never imagine seeing in my life.” — Afghan judge on trying to flee Kabul

Afghanistan’s female judges did what is anathema to the Taliban: They dared sit in judgment of men, holding them accountable for their actions and often sentencing them to long prison terms.

Death threats were frequent and, in January, despite the American troops’ presence, two women on the Supreme Court were assassinated.

Now, these fearless judges are being hunted by the Taliban and their fates have fallen mainly to international colleagues to sort out.

“It was the most horrible experience I could ever have in my life,” said one judge in describing her a harrowing escape from Kabul only a few days ago. “I experienced things I would never imagine seeing in my life.”

Of the 270 female justices, she was one of the lucky 20 who the International Association of Women Judges has rescued since the Taliban took control of the country, opened the jails, closed the courts and warned women to stay at home.

“We had some food and water but we ended up wandering from this gate to another for three days and two nights without food,” the judge said.

“Through this mayhem, we had to deal with gunfire all the time and the tear gas. That (tear gas) was the hardest thing for everyone. We couldn’t breath, we couldn’t see anything then with all of this (we) go this gate, other and another still not knowing if could go through or not or whether we could make it. We just kept going through the gates.”

The judge spoke Monday through a translator on the condition that no name be used, not her own or a pseudonym. She’s in hiding in an undisclosed country, waiting to find out where she and her family might be resettled.







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Iran: Detained Rights Lawyers’ Homes Raided Without Warrant


Agents Confiscate Personal Security Cameras to Hide Evidence of Unlawful Raid

State security agents carried out search operations in the homes of two detained human rights lawyersArash Keykhosravi and Mohammad Reza Faghihi, in Tehran eleven days after the lawyers were unlawfully arrested along with colleagues and activists.

Keykhosravi and Faghihi along with Mehdi Mahmoudian (civil activist), Mostafa Nili (lawyer), Leila Heydari (lawyer), and Maryam Afrafaraz (civil activist) were arrested in Tehran on August 14, 2021, and their phones and other personal belongings were confiscated without a warrant. Heydari was released the following day.

Prior to being arrested, they were planning to file a lawsuit against Iranian authorities in accordance with Article 34 of the Constitution, accusing the government of “negligence in carrying out their duties and causing the deaths of thousands of Iranians” by failing to properly manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney Saeed Khalili tweeted on August 25, 2021: “This morning I went to the Evin [Prison] magistrate to declare my representation of my dear colleague Mr. Faghihi upon his family’s request and at the front gate I was told that no lawyers would be accepted and no one would be released on bail. On my way back I was informed that agents had raided his home and were carrying out a search.”

On the same day, human rights lawyer Saeid Dehghan tweeted: “Security agents raided the paternal home of Arash Keykhosravi today. They (went inside) his room, closed the door and didn’t allow his relatives inside for several minutes. It was a setup to ‘gain reason’ (for the raid) by planting evidence! They first detain you and then search for a reason! They also took away the closed-circuit cameras so that there would be no evidence of the raid.”

The agents’ confiscations of the detainees’ personal electronic devices, and the raids against their homes, indicate that the authorities were trying to collect or plant evidence to build a case against t.


Iran: Lawyers, Activists Arrested as they Attempt to Sue State for Failed COVID Response


The unlawful arrests of six prominent lawyers and civil rights activists in Tehran as they were preparing to file a lawsuit against state officials for their gross mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic is an indication of the worsening human rights situation under the newly inaugurated President Ebrahim Raisi and new Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei.

“Instead of addressing the skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths amid the lack of safe vaccines, the state focuses on crushing attempts to hold officials responsible for their calamitous pandemic response,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“The Iranian government should be focused on immediately importing as many vaccines as possible,” said Ghaemi. “And the international community should urgently condemn these latest arrests and call on the government to stop trying to muzzle criticism of its policies.”

The arrests took place against a backdrop of the judiciary’s escalating campaign to prevent independent lawyers from seeking justice within the judicial system, which has included dismantling the Iranian Bar Association as well as imprisoning independent lawyers on trumped-up charges.

Arash Keykhosravi (lawyer), Mehdi Mahmoudian (civil activist), Mostafa Nili (lawyer), Leila Heydari (lawyer), Mohammad Reza Faghihi (lawyer), and Maryam Afrafaraz (civil activist) were arrested in Tehran on August 14, 2021, and their phones and other personal belongings were confiscated without a warrant. Heydari was released the following day.

CHRI calls for the immediate release of the lawyers and activists, whose detention is a violation of Article 34 of the Constitution, which states that it is an “indisputable right of every citizen to seek justice by recourse to competent courts. All citizens have right of access to such courts, and no one can be barred from courts to which he has a legal right of recourse.”




Click to access EN_HRL_20210809_Iran_Concerns-over-the-detention-and-sentencing-of-lawyers-in-Iran.pdf

**Iran URGENT**: 6 lawyers and activists arrested


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Three More Iranian Rights Attorneys Slapped with Unjust Prison Sentences


Three more human rights attorneys in Iran were handed unjust prison sentences in July 2021 amid an ongoing campaignto eliminate due process for activists and dissidents by intimidating the lawyers who defend them, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.

At least four defense lawyers were imprisoned in the country on trumped-up charges as of August 2021 (Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mohammad Najafi, Soheila Hejab, and Giti Pourfazel), and at least two additional lawyers (Farzaneh Zilabi and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian-Kaseb) were prosecuted on false charges in June 2021.

Javad Alikordi, a defense attorney and law professor, was taken to Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, on July 15, 2021, to begin serving a two-year prison sentence for running a Telegram messaging app social media channel.

Any peaceful action, including appearing in public without your headscarf if you are a woman, or promoting human rights as a defense attorney can be prosecuted as a national security crime in Iran, where the state is not only trying to eliminate all forms of dissent and criticism of its policies but also imprisons the lawyers who try to defend activists.

Alikordi, a former member of the City Council in Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province, was arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents in Mashhad on April 22, 2020, and held in solitary confinement for more than a month.

He was tried at Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad presided by Judge Mansouri [first name unknown] at an unknown date and convicted of “creating and managing a channel on Telegram (messaging app) with the intention of overthrowing the state” (6.5 years in prison), “insulting the supreme leader” (1.5 years), and “propaganda against the state” (eight months).

Upon appeal, his 6.5-year prison sentence for “creating and managing a channel on Telegram (messaging app) with the intention of overthrowing the state” was reduced to two years in prison, the length of time he must remain behind bars according to Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Branch 37 of the Appeals Court in Khorasan Razavi Province meanwhile upheld other punishments against Alikordi, including a two-year ban on teaching, a two-year ban on traveling abroad, and a two-year ban on membership in political and social groups.  

Amirsalar Davoudianother defense attorney who was imprisoned for running a Telegram channel, learned that the Tehran Revolutionary Court re-issued a sentence of 30 years in prison and 111 lashes that was initially revoked by the Supreme Court.






https://www.dw.com/fa-ir/%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%85-%DB%B3%DB%B0-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%B2%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%88%DA%A9%DB%8C%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%A3%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%B4%D8%AF/a-58723888 (FARSI)