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Posts Tagged ‘ Evin ’

  • 30 April 2014
  • Posted By Kaveh Eslampour
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2013

International Response to Abuse in Evin Prison

On April 17th, over 30 inmates in the 350 Ward of Iran’s Evin Prison were subjected to physical abuse and forcible head shavings, according to human rights groups outside of Iran. Victims included political prisoner Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, both of whom were imprisoned following the uprisings of the disputed 2009 presidential election. With no public response from President Rouhani, campaigns professing solidarity with the prisoners have led the international outcry to investigate the incident and improve human rights in Iran.

The crackdown was conducted by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Intelligence Ministry officers, and prison guards who claim to have been conducting a routine search for elicit items such as cell phones. Following the incident, 32 prisoners were put into solitary confinement with some yet to be released. Gholam Hossein Esmaili was removed from his post as head of Iran Prisons Organization following the incident. However, in a move to defy critics, he was elevated to director general of the Justice Department in Tehran Province. This assault is the latest in a series of egregious human rights violations committed by the conservative dominated judiciary and the IRGC, possibly aimed at undermining President Rouhani in the ongoing nuclear negotiations with the West.

421 activists inside of Iran have written a public letter to President Rouhani calling for him to investigate the assault and protect citizen’s rights. Rouhani has not responded publically to the incident, although he has met privately with several prisoners’ family members. One day after protests outside of the President’s office, Rouhani administration spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said that a team had been put together to investigate the attack. No new details about the team or their findings have emerged since the announcement a week ago. The constitutional powers of the president of Iran do not grant the authority to free political prisoners, although during his campaign Rouhani pledged to “improve the situation” of many prominent prisoners.

Rather than trying to appeal to President Rouhani, others have focused on supporting the victims of the assault. Thousands have viewed a group on Facebook (which is technically blocked inside Iran) dedicated to supporting those kept in Ward 350, with hundreds posting pictures of themselves with shaved heads to symbolize solidarity with the prisoners. More than 30 prisoners from inside of Evin Prison and six from the Rajaa Shar Prison have launched a hunger strike to call attention to their unlawful imprisonment and brutal treatment, according to human rights groups outside of Iran. In his latest report, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed reported at least 895 ‘prisoners of conscience’ and ‘political prisoners’ inside of Iran. Shaheed has still not been granted access to the country.

There has been increasing frustration with Rouhani for not pursuing campaign promises to improve human rights in Iran. Rouhani’s administration has appeared to focus instead on first resolving the nuclear issue with the West, under the belief that doing so can empower moderates and generate momentum on improving human rights in Iran. Former President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, has called for the release of political prisoners, including 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. On the opposite side, hardliners continue to criticize Rouhani for negotiating with the West. A new hour long documentary titled “I Am Rouhani”, reportedly funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, is critical of Rouhani’s dealing with Iran’s “enemies.”

  • 25 August 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Iran Factions Use Hikers for Own Political Games

If previous Iranian government behavior is any indication, the 8 year sentence handed down this past weekend against the two American hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, is by no means the final word.  The Iranian government has always sought more tactical flexibility and uses situations such as this to leverage its opponents.  But in addition to the continued U.S.-Iran standoff, the hikers have also fallen prey to political infighting in Tehran that creates the biggest obstacle to clarity.  Their sentence is the latest installment in a series of political football matches between the various factions inside of Iran.

Recall that it was last September when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attempting to score points for himself just weeks before coming to New York to address the UN General Assembly, announced an imminent release for the third hiker, Sara Shourd.  But Ahmadinejad’s political opponents in the Judiciary attempted to block the initiative and prevent any corresponding political capital Ahmadinejad hoped to gain.  They cancelled Shourd’s release and ultimately required her to post bail of $500,000 before she was finally released on September 14th.

In a case of déjà vu with Fattal and Bauer, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (appointed by Ahmadinejad) suggested the trial would lead to their freedom.  But this past weekend, we saw a completely different result.

Now, Fattal and Bauer will continue to languish in Evin Prison instead of being reunited with their families.  You can take action to send a letter calling for their release through Amnesty International’s website.

In a radio interview with, NIAC’s  Reza Marashi explained, “It’s a puzzle to me what Iran’s trying to achieve.”  But he also said there remains a glimmer of hope that the Supreme Leader would issue  an edict releasing the hikers.  It could be a way to save face, by showing leniency in the holy month of Ramadan.  This way they “won’t have to come up with a nonsensical justification for keeping them in prison,” Marashi said.

As Wednesday’s New York Times editorial put it, “There is no legitimate excuse not to (let them go). Mr. Bauer and Mr. Fattal should be freed immediately.”

But in addition the murky internal political dynamic, this situation is endemic to the conflict between the US and Iran.  As Marashi points out, “If relations had been halfway normal this would have been resolved far earlier.”  Without diplomatic relations, there are few levers for the U.S. to pull.

Unfortunately, due to a deeply seeded culture of mistrust on both sides, the US and Iran have framed their relationship as a zero-sum game. Thus, if one side gains then by nature the other side loses.  It’s easy to envision how a stalemate can develop as neither side is willing to bargain or negotiate.  So, situations like we see with the hikers become more “complex, even though (the solution) is straight forward.”

  • 21 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Attacks on Khomeini grandson grow as he reaches out to reformist camp

According to parlemannews, the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini visited the families of imprisoned reformist figures on the day marking the end of Ramadan.  Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, along with other members of his family, visited the families of the following jailed reformist leaders: Mirdamadi (Secretary General of the Participation Front), Tajzadeh, Nabavi, Tajerniya, Arabsorkhi and Tabatabaei. In this meeting, the families thanked him and provided him with the lastest news from Evin prison.

Meanwhile, local sources reported last week that Mehdi Mirdamadi was arrested, while his father has been in prison for more than 90 days.  Prior to this, Saeed Hajjarian’s son was arrested and interrogated. After that Atefe Imam, the 18-year old daughter of Javad Imam too was kidnapped and then released in the deserts around Tehran. The arrests of children of prominent reformists, entered a new phase with the arrest of children of members of Qom’s Theological Center Research centre and also ayatollah Montazeri’s grandchildren.

Hojatoleslam Hassan Khomeini, has been harshly criticized recently by the hardliner media, specifically Kayhan and IRNA for his support of the reformist camp, accusing him of colluding with the reformist leaders and activists.

Kayhan also explicitly attacked the institute’s head and the revolutionary founder’s grandson, Hassan Khomeini, accusing him of being “suspiciously” silent against the clear manipulation of ayatollah Khomeini’s ideas by ayatollah Yousef Sanei, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karoubi.  Kayhan noted that Hassan Khomeini’s silence cannot mean anything but cooperation with the “manipulators.” IRNA, which supports the Ahmadinejad administration, also attacked Khatami and Mousavi-Khoeiniha, who heads the Assembly of Combatant Clergy [Majma Rohaniyoon Mobarez], accusing them of falling in line with the “enemy’s plan to overthrow” the Islamic republic and attacked Hassan Khomeini’s “support” of these “elements” as unjustifiable, according to roozonline.

  • 9 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Shapour Kazemi still in Evin; pressure on Mousavi

shapour_kazemiThree hundred employees of Dr. Shapour Kazemi, Zahra Rahnavard’s brother, pleaded for his release from Evin prison today in an open letter to Sadegh Larijani, Iran’s Chief of Judiciary.

The letter emphasizes the high academic and scientific achievements of Dr. Kazemi for Iran’s electronic industry, while mentioning the fact that he has not been involved in political activities at any time in his life. The letter asks for Kazemi’s immediate release and for the restoration of his rights.

Shapour Kazemi, aged 62, a brother-in-law of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been imprisoned in Evin for about 60 days. The main reason for his arrest is presumably his relationship to Mousavi. He is being held without charge and does not have access to a lawyer.  He is reported to have had one meeting with his mother, which was filmed by prison guards. Amnesty International fears that he is not being given regular access to medication, which he needs for high blood pressure. Zahra Rahnavard has said that he was detained to put pressure on her and her husband to openly accept the outcome of the 12 June 2009 presidential election.

  • 5 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Caspian Makan, fiancé of Neda Agha Soltan in Evin

According to Amnesty International:

Caspian Makan, the fiancé of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman killed in the recent protests in Iran, has been held in detention since 26 June, after he made a statement linking her murder to the pro-government Basij militia. Currently held in Evin Prison in Tehran, Caspian Makan is reported to have told his family that if he signs a “confession” saying that the People’s Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI-[MKO]), a political body banned in Iran since 1981, killed her, then he may be released. Amnesty International said it fears he may be forced to sign such a “confession” under torture or other ill-treatment, given the pattern of human rights violations in Iran following the election. The organization said that he may be a prisoner of conscience, held for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Neda Agha Soltan, 27, was killed on 20 June in Tehran. She was shot as she and three companions, including Caspian Makan, were leaving one of many demonstrations that took place following Iran’s disputed presidential election on 12 June. While other demonstrators were trying to help her, a man with a mobile phone camera filmed her dying moments. The video footage was widely circulated on the internet and became a symbol of the unrest that developed in Iran. In an interview with BBC Persian TV on 22 June, Caspian Makan said that “Eyewitnesses and video footage […] clearly show that probably Basij paramilitaries […] deliberately targeted her”. It later emerged that a member of the Basij militia, a state security body under the command of the Revolutionary Guard, incriminated himself by exclaiming after her shooting that he did not mean to kill her. Caspian Makan was arrested at his home in Tehran four days later. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported to have described Neda Agha Soltan’s death as “suspicious”. On 29 June he wrote to the Head of the Judiciary requesting that an investigation be undertaken into it. However, in the days following her killing, a number of government officials made statements denying that the state security forces were involved in her death and, in some cases, blamed others. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a representative of the Supreme Leader, stated in Friday prayers at Tehran University on 26 June that the evidence showed that the protesters themselves killed her and did so as a way of making “propaganda” against the system. The authorities have since intimidated Iranians who have spoken out about the killing. Chief of Police, Brigadier General Ahmadi-Moghaddam, is reported to have told a press conference on 30 June that the Iranian police and Ministry of Intelligence had issued an international arrest warrant via Interpol for the arrest of Dr Arash Hejazi, a doctor who tried to save Neda Agha Soltan’s life at the scene and who spoke publicly about what he witnessed to international news media. The warrant accused Dr Arash Hejazi of spreading misinformation about the killing and thereby “poisoning the international atmosphere” against the Iranian government. Dr Arash Hejazi, as well as the TV journalist who interviewed Caspian Makan, have both left Iran, fearing for their safety.

The Iranian authorities are reported to have harassed and intimidated Neda Agha Soltan’s family and other mourners after her death. Before burying her in Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery, in a section apparently set aside by the authorities for those killed in the unrest, her family were said to have been told by the authorities to ensure that no mourners other than family members attend the burial. They were threatened with unspecified punishment if they did not comply. The authorities were also reported to have issued a ban on collective prayers for Neda Agha Soltan in mosques. When Agha Soltan’s family and other mourners tried to hold a commemoration service for her at Niloufar mosque in Abbas Abad, they were interrupted after 10 minutes by about 20 Basij paramilitaries, who entered the mosque and dispersed the attendees. Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to take immediate steps to protect Caspian Makan from torture or other ill-treatment while in detention and, in particular, to ensure that he is not forced to sign any “confessions” under such treatment. The organization has urged that Caspian Makan be given immediate access to his lawyer, family and any medical treatment he may need. It has also called for his immediate and unconditional release unless he is to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence.

  • 28 July 2009
  • Posted By Ali Delforoush
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Another detainee dies in Evin Prison

According to BBC Persian, Amir Javadi Far has died in Evin Prison after being arrested on the 18th of Tir (July 9th). Javadi Far, who was getting his industrial administrative degree from the University of Qazvin, suffered a broken arm and nose during the 18th of Tir demonstrations. He was immediately placed under arrest and transferred to Evin after treatment for his wounds at the hospital.

His parents were informed of the death of their son on Sunday and went to the prison in order to collect the body of their son. A funeral was held on Monday. The cause of death are unknown.

The demonstrations held on the 18th of Tir were to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the student demonstrations of 1999. There has been an over whelming sense of concern for the treatment of political prisoners.  A number of prominent members of the Iranian Parliament have recently voiced their concerns about the treatment of prisoners. Mohammad Reza Bahonar, first deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament, has said, “I am worried about the fate of the prisoners. All arrests and prison deaths must be investigated.”

  • 24 October 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iranian American activism

Updated: Iranian American student imprisoned in Tehran

A graduate student from California State University-Northridge has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a week, with calls for her release going unheeded by Iranian authorities, according to rights groups and media reports.

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More information here, here, and here.

Personal blog calling for Esha’s release:

update: See NIAC’s article, Iranian-American student arrested in Iran, groups call for release.

Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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