Violation of Human rights and Women Rights Defenders in Iran

17 December 2020

International Liberty Association: In this report you will read about the human Rights violation in Iran and the defenders of women rights in Iran prisons.

The state agants and security forces carry out the violence against women in Iran, which is obviously supported strongly by the government. On the occasion of the World Human Rights Day, this article will briefly review arbitrary arrests, persecution of human rights defenders, civil rights activists and women rights defender prisoners as well as the execution of women in Iran.

ILA: The Situation of the Human Rights Defenders in Iran

A large group of Iranian women are defenders of Human rights inside country who constantly face violence by the state agents and security forces, which are strongly supported by the state. On Iran government view, the human rights defenders are threats to national security. So that, there is no national law or policy to protect human rights defenders, and no rights of the Declaration are respected.

According the news and reports from inside the country, the human rights defenders are subjected to torture, including mock executions, beatings, sleep deprivation and denial of access to adequate medical care; arbitrary arrest and detainment followed by unfair trials; violent dispersal of peaceful protests; travel bans and harassment of human rights defenders’ family members even their children.

It should be mentioned that, in February this year, 2020, that conservationists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani had been severly tortured mentally and physically and sexually harassed, because their interrogators tried to compel them to write false confessions against themselves.

In another case, Mary Mohammadi, a Christian convert, was arrested during the protests to the IRGC downing of the Ukrainian passenger aircraft in January 2020. She was tortured, and sexually and physically harassed during her interrogations. She was forced to take off all her clothes and do squats.

There are a significant number of arrests of human rights lawyers as part of an attempt by the authorities to prevent them from being able to defend their clients, who are often human rights defenders or individuals who face the death penalty, including for crimes committed as a child.

ILA: Arbitrary Arrests of Human Rights Defenders

The arrest and imprisonment of people for their political or religious beliefs is contrary to the international law. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

However, Iran has numerous agencies to clamp down on the public, each of which acts independently to arrest anyone who opposes the state. The State Security Force (SSF), the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the paramilitary Bassij, and even the disciplinary committees at the universities are components of a vast network that cracks down on the Iranian people’s freedom of thought, expression and gathering.

These agencies arrest women in public or at home, often without presenting legal warrants and by use of brute force and violence.
The state made a wave of arrests of civil rights activists over the past year in Iran, despite the pandemic plaguing Iranian prisons, despite lack of minimum hygienic equipment and detergents.

Some of the women arrested over the past year included Nazanin Tousi, Farzaneh Jalali, Jhaka Esma’ili, Gita Horr, Raha Ahmadi, Mojgan Eskandari, Samira Hadian, Maryam Alishahi, Melika Gharagozlou, Baran Behzad, Shahnaz Sadeghifar, Hajar Saeedi, Zahra Jamali, Maryam Khoshandam, Roghieh Hassanzadeh, Fariba Fereydouni, Somayyeh Namadmal, Saba Azarpake (journalist), Yalda Emamdoust, Zeinab Hamrang, Soghra Pour Eshragh, Sedigheh Morsali, Mehraban Keshavarzi, Zahra Rahimi, Kowsar Karimi (journalist), Touran Haml Zehi, Zeinab Alipour, Leila Akbari, Parizad Hamidi Shafaq, Zohreh Sarv, Khadijeh Mehdipour, Ashraf Nafarieh, Elham Samimi, Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, Shabnam Ashouri, Neda Pirkhezranian, Bahareh Soleimani Nahid Taghavi, Maryam Payab, Raheleh Ahmadi, Leila Tirandari, and Parisa Seifi.

Farangis Mazloum spent time in solitary confinement and under torture for defending her son, political prisoners Soheil Arabi. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran initially sentenced her to six years in prison but later commuted her sentence to 18 months in prison.

ILA: Women and Justice in Iran

Prisoners of Conscience, Human Rights Activists, and many ordinary prisoners in Iran are deprived of due process of law and do not have access to justice. Judicial proceedings do not conform to the Iran own laws, let alone international laws.

The prisoner is confined to a solitary cell after being arrested to be forced under pressure and torture to make confessions against themselves. During this period, the prisoner has no contact with the outside world to inform their family of their arrest and place of detention. Under such circumstances, it is totally impossible for the prisoner to have a defence attorney.

On numerous occasions, prisoners have resorted to hunger strike as a last resort and refused food and endangered their health in order to reach their rightful demands.

ILA: Treatment of Prisoners of Conscience and Civil Activists

Political prisoners and detained civil activists are systematically brutalized and mistreated to be forced into making false confessions, cooperating with the regime, or giving their information. When they do not succeed in doing so, they deprive them of medical treatment to bring about their gradual death or hire common criminals to kill them in prison.
The NCRI Women’s Committee and the Iranian Resistance issued several statements over the past year, warning for the lives of political prisoners detained in Qarchak Prison.

Political prisoner Zahra Safaei was threatened on 3 June 2020 by several inmates hired by the Ministry of Intelligence. They threatened to attack and kill Ms. Safaei.

Then in August, there was another report that two inmates attacked Zahra Safaei, on 27 August 2020, by hitting them in the face and head. They only stopped when other prisoners mediated and stopped them. Zahra Safaei later complained to the Qarchak Prison authorities, saying: “We do not have any security here. We do not feel secure at nights in the room and not even when we intend to go to the bathroom.”

In the last week of October, Qarchak Prison authorities conspired against political prisoners to prevent them from going to the workshop and educating other inmates. They locked the door on them, which caused their protest. The political prisoners including Zahra Safaei, Parastoo Mo’ini, Forough Taghipour, Maryam Nassiri and Golrokh Iraee expressed their protest against the new restrictions by banging on the door and chanting “death to the dictator.”

The next day, Zahra Safaei suffered a heart stroke after being harassed and intimidated by prison authorities. But she was only given a few tablets and returned to the ward.

Zahra Safaei, her daughter Parastoo Mo’ini, and Forough Taghipour, are imprisoned in Qarchak for supporting the opposition and for disseminating propaganda against the state. They have been repeatedly attacked in this prison by ordinary inmates hired and incited by the warden of Qarchak. The lives of these prisoners are in serious danger.

Women activist prisoner Golrokh Ibrahimi Iraee is incarcerated in Qarchak Prison of Varamin. She is deprived of having visits with her imprisoned husband, civil activist prisoner Arash Sadeghi who suffers from cancer. Based on a new case filed against her, Golrokh Iraee has been imprisoned to serve her sentence of 3 years and 7 months. She has been summoned by the IRGC Intelligence to Ward 2A of Evin Prison to undergo interrogations.

ILA: Prisoners and Medical Treatment

Sentenced to life in prison, Zeinab Jalalian is serving her 13th year in prison. She suffers from various illnesses, including asthma, pterygium, an oral thrush condition, and GI complications. She was transferred four times between prisons within six months this year. She is presently deprived of all her rights as a prisoner, and in under pressure to express remorse and cooperate with the Intelligence Ministry.

She was abruptly transferred from the Prison of Khoy on April 29, 2020, to Qarchak Prison, where she contracted the coronavirus but was abandoned without medical treatment. Then she was brutalized and transferred to solitary confinement in the Prison of Kerman, next to the Prison of Kermanshah and again to the Prion of Yazd. Her wrists and ankles were hurt during transfer since she was dragged on the ground.

Political prisoner Fatemeh Mosanna is sentenced to 15 years in prison because she held a memorial ceremony for her deceased father-in-law who was a member of the opposition.

She has been suffering from intestinal infection and hemorrhage. The clinic of Evin Prison announced that they were not able to do anything for her treatment. But prison authorities refused to send her to hospital or even grant her medical leave. Finally, on August 19, she was transferred out to Tehran’s Taleghani Hospital where her limbs were cuffed to the bed throughout her stay. Fatemeh Mosanna was returned to prison despite opposition of her doctor, without completing her tests and completing her treatment.

She was detained in the quarantine cell despite her critical health conditions. She suffered from GI problems including diarrhea and vomiting, and she could not eat anything.

Then on 27 October this year when Fatemeh Mosanna suffered another heavy intestinal bleeding, the authorities agreed to send her to Taleghani Hospital. But again, returned her to prison without receiving treatment.
Political prisoner Massoumeh Senobari is sentenced to a total of eight years in prison, one year for “propaganda against the state,” 5 years for “membership in the People’s Mojahedin,” and 2 years for “insulting Khamenei.” She is being detained among ordinary prisoners in the women’s ward of Tabriz Prison and is under great pressure. She contracted the COVID-19. Ms. Senobari suffers from blurry vision, a broken right leg and other illnesses due to torture during her interrogation. But prison authorities have refused to grant her medical leave to receive treatment. Born in 1988, Ms. Senobari has one child and lives in Tabriz, capital of East Azerbaijan Province in north-western Iran.

In the women’s ward of Sepidar Prison of Ahvaz, political prisoner Nejat Anvar Hamidi suffers from poor eyesight, thyroid complications and chronic headaches. In addition, she has contracted the coronavirus.
The 62-year-old prisoner was arrested in March 2019 and detained in Sepidar Prison to serve her 5-year sentence. She is charged with membership in the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Authorities of Sepidar Prison have so far prevented her from receiving medical care.
Retired activist teacher, Nahid Fat’halian, remains in undetermined status in Evin Prison since her arrest on 14 April 2020. She actively assisted flood victims by taking them aid packages in spring 2019.

Zahra Jamali is presently serving her sentence of 3 years and six months in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison. She has an ovarian cyst and a tumor in the sole of her foot and is experiencing a lot of pain but prison authorities refuse to send her to any medical center. The only reason for imprisonment of Ms. Jamali is that she made a speech during the funeral ceremony of political prisoner Alireza Shir Mohammadi, murdered by inmates incited by the authorities of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
Fabricating cases against political prisoners

The Iran’s Judiciary fabricates cases against resistant political prisoners as a systematic practice to extend their prison terms and increase pressure on them.

Political prisoners Maryam Akbari Monfared and Atena Daemi were targeted by the IRGC Intelligence that fabricated new cases against them. Their court convened on August 31. The charge brought against the two political prisoners is “disruption of order in prison” through chanting slogans against the state.

Maryam Akbari Monfared is sentenced to 15 years in prison for contacting her siblings who are members of the opposition. She has served 11 years of her sentences without being granted a single day of leave.

Atena Daemi, a children’s rights activist, was about to complete serving her sentence, when she was sentenced to another 3 years and 7 months after a new case fabricated against her. Then in yet another trumped up case by the Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Atena Daemi was condemned, for the third time in a row, to an additional sentence of two years’ imprisonment and 74 lashes. Her prison sentence has thus reached a total of 10 years.

ILA: Execution of Women Activists in Iran

Iran is the only country in the world that executes so many women. 109 women have been executed during Rouhani’s tenure since August 2013.
Most of the women executed are themselves victims of domestic violence and discriminatory family laws. Many act in self-defense against mistreatment by their husbands and a system that miserably fails to protect them.

The death sentences are issued at the end of unfair, closed-door trials coupled with torture to force prisoners into making confessions.
In a letter published on 27 July 2019, political prisoner Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, addressed the issue of women convicted of murder and sentenced to death:
“In meeting women convicted of murder, I learned that a large percentage of them had murdered their husbands —instantly or based on a pre-meditated plan—after years of being humiliated, insulted, battered and even tortured by them and because of being deprived of their right to divorce. Although, they consider themselves criminals but are convinced that if any of their repeated appeals for divorce had been granted, they would not have committed such a crime.”

Women situation in Iran

24 November 2020

International Liberty Association: In this report you will read about the Women situation in Iran in details.

Violence Against Women in Iran state-sponsored and institutionalized
State-sponsored violence against women in Iran is on the rise, despite the 24-hour news cycle, the prevalence of social media, and ongoing protests and activism. In fact, the clerical regime perpetuates and systematically promotes physical, mental, economic, and political violence against women and girls.

Enforcement of the Mandatory Hijab

The Iranian Constitution, co-opted by the Government, perpetuates a perverse and archaic interpretation of Islam as a means of subjugating women. The most prevalent and immediately apparent form of state-sponsored violence against women in Iran is the compulsory veil (Hijab). It is enforced through 27 repressive agencies including the State Security Force and the “guidance patrols” that severely punish Iranian women who refuse to wear the Hijab or who are deemed to be “improperly” veiled.

More than 2000, That’s the number of women arrested per day in 2016, according to Hussain Ashtari, Commander of State Security Forces (SSF) in Iran, for improper veiling.

In a 2018 report, the Iranian Majlis (parliament) acknowledged that 70% of Iranian women do not believe in the compulsory veil and are considered “improperly veiled.” More than 85% of the “improperly veiled” do not approve of government intervention to enforce the veil. Despite the data, 27 government agencies are empowered to enforce the compulsory veil, even using violent enforcement tactics.

As witnessed in Iran in October 2014, Hijab enforcement has extended to organized acid attacks and instances of women being stabbed by members of extra-judicial groups. The regime’s failure to prosecute these criminals has only emboldened them, and acid attacks against women have become common.

Sentences are harsh: In one example, three anti-hijab women activists were sentenced to 55 years and 6 months for failing to wear the Hijab. On July 31, 2019, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced YasamanAryani, MonirehArabshahi, and MojganKeshavarz – none of whom had legal representation – to 5 years in prison for “association and collusion against national security;” one year for “disseminating propaganda against the state;” and 10 years for “encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption and prostitution.” MojganKeshavarz received an additional 7.5 years for “insulting the sanctities.”

Forced Early or Child Marriages

Girls in Iran may be married at the age of 13; fathers are permitted to marry off their daughters at the age of 9 with a judge’s approval. In 2018, the Majlis rejected a proposed bill to increase the age of marriage for girls to 16, under the pretext that it contained “religious and social deficiencies” and for contradicting “the teachings of Islam.” This form of violence against women in Iran capitalizes on children’s vulnerability and reinforces the fact that, even female children lack adequate protection.

600,000 and counting. That’s the number of underage girls who enter into marriage every year in Iran. In 2017 alone, there were 234,000 registered marriages of girls under the age of 15. Meanwhile, the Iranian Constitution and laws stipulates that girls as young as 6 years old must cover their hair, and that they are criminally accountable as early as 9 years of age.

Cruel Punishments: Executions, Flogging, and Others

Under the Iran dictatorship, violence against women in Iran means women live under the chokehold of a government where even the suspicion of female adultery can lead to a death sentence. Susan, a university student, was working on a project with her professor at home. Susan’s husband, who filmed the interaction, complained to legal authorities. A judge, seemingly unconcerned about the husband’s motives or actual facts, sentenced both Susan and her professor to death. The sentences were reduced to 99 lashes after an appeal.

In another instance of flogging, at least 10 female students in a southern Iranian village, were sentenced to eight lashes each. Their “crime”? Their parents were unable to pay the school fees demanded by the principal. In other examples, young women have been sentenced to as many as 99 lashes for participating in protests, birthday parties, or graduation ceremonies.

Mistreatment of Human Rights Defenders and Political Prisoners

Continuing its theme of misogynistic behaviour, Iran state and authorities systematically engages in political violence against women in Iran. Female political prisoners are routinely sentenced to long solitary confinements during which they are interrogated and tortured.

With little to no access to legal representation or medical attention, female prisoners deal both with the injustice of torture and exposure to the Coronavirus. Apart from the threat of COVID infection, female prisoners also contend with pre-existing conditions that go untreated.

Iranian security forces are also known to use sexual violence against women. During the January 2020 protests in Iran, Amnesty International received credible reports that at least one woman had been arrested and forced to perform oral sex on her interrogator, who attempted to rape her.

Domestic Violence and Honour Killings

77,059 and counting. That’s the official number declared by the Iranian Chief Coroner and published by the state-owned IRNA news agency in 2018, of women who experienced domestic abuse and sought medical support in one year. However, in a nation where the security forces silence women, the numbers are surely higher.

Domestic violence complaints have doubled in one year. Ali Hadizadegan, Director of the Coroner’s Office in Mashhad, reported that the most widely reported victims of domestic violence are 20-35-year-old women and acknowledged that the numbers do not reflect the women who do not come forward.

With the increase of violence against women in Iran, the narratives of abuse have been amplified around the world. Romina Ashrafi, one of many examples, recently made headlines globally when her story was uncovered.

The 14-year-old girl, systematically and violently abused by her father, had repeatedly contacted the authorities for help – but her pleas went unanswered. Young Romina, lacking the proper support, devised what she thought was a good plan to escape the violence: elope with the man she loved. She was arrested and returned to her father’s house despite warning the presiding judge that her father would kill her. On May 21, 2020, Romina Ashrafi’s father beheaded her while she lay sleeping in what was labelled an “honour killing.”

The Iranian Constitution, which considers fathers and paternal grandfathers the “owners” of their children’s blood, inherently condones honour killings.

Child Abuse and Incest

5,200 and counting. That’s the number of incest cases filed with the Justice Ministry in 2016, according to the state-run Young Journalists Club, whose report confirms that published numbers do not include cases of rape by other family members; namely, uncles or fathers-in-law. While it is virtually impossible to accurately document the number of child incest and sexual exploitation cases, statistics from a 2003 ISNA report indicate that the average age of girls raped by their fathers is 10-12; the average age of girls raped by their brothers is 15-16.

Women and girls cannot feel safe is their own homes, let alone in Iran’s justice system.

VAW bill doing little to prevent violence against women in Iran

In a theatrics measure to silence widespread outcry over such institutionalized misogyny and violence against women in Iran, the Iranian Judiciary after 8 years of foot-dragging, finally announced on September 17, 2019, that it had approved a VAW bill and passed it on to the government.
Before forwarding the bill to the government, the Judiciary changed the bill’s title to “securing, dignifying, and protecting women from violence”, while completely changing the purpose of the bill and stripping it of any possible effectiveness.

A member of the Iran parliament compared the changes to a “toothless lion” which will not solve any of the problems faced by women. “If the bill is passed, the situation for women will be significantly worse,” Parvaneh Salahshori said. “The current bill eliminates the word violence against women and the parts that had addressed women’s security have either been omitted or changed somehow. As a result, the nature of the bill is totally lost.“

The current bill does not initially provide any definitions or frameworks for violence against women that would criminalize and establish a deterrent mechanism and then a punishment. Instead, it has mostly repeated some of the criminal provisions of the Penal Code.

The bill does not contain any executive guarantees, and no credible audit authority. There is also no financial investment to prevent or organize violence and to shelter victims of violence.

After more than one year, however, the Rouhani government has not yet passed the bill to the parliament for final adoption.