Iran human rights report: January 2019

By INU Staff

INU- Every month, the Iranian Human Rights Monitor releases its report into human right violations in the Gulf State and often it contains some of the most gruesome abuses that you could imagine. The January 2019 report is no different, with executions, corporal punishment, and denial of basic human rights throughout. Be aware that this makes for unpleasant, troubling, and frightening reading.

Executions
The use of the death penalty is not uncommon in Iran, even for non-violent crimes, so it should not surprise you to learn that 12 people were executed in Iran in January, with five of those executions taking place in public. This included one man who was forced into confessing to murder and is believed to be innocent by human rights activists and one man who is alleged to have violated the Regime's anti-gay laws.

Corporal punishment
Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri recently lamented not being able to carry out brutal punishments for fear of international reprisals, but evidently, the Regime still does use corporal punishment, as 23 flogging sentences were issued in January and seven were carried out, including one in public. These are also issued for non-violent crimes, like theft, financial crimes and even the vague-sounding “negligence”, something that Regime members have openly bragged about.

Crackdown on human rights defenders
Human rights attorney Mohammad Najafi had his sentence increased to 19 years and was fined roughly $950 on January 22, all for his work defending clients who had been abused by the Regime, while civil rights activists Reza Khandan and Farhad Meysami were given a six-year sentence and banned from using social media for two years.

Also, eight environmentalists who have been in prison for over a year finally heard the first half of their indictment and discovered that it was based entirely on the retracted forced “confessions” made by one defendant under torture.

Abuse of prisoners
• Political prisoners Sohail Arabi, Majid Asadi, and Saeed Shirzad have both been refused the medical treatment they urgently need, despite Arabi being in a life-threatening condition and Asadi suffering from multiple serious diseases
• Iran’s longest-serving political prisoner, Mohammad Nazari, has been denied a new trial, despite being eligible for release
• Jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been banned from visits
• Political prisoner Bahauddin Ghassemzadeh was placed in solitary confinement after he protested against the authorities insulting his family and went on hunger strike

Abuse of minorities
Iran’s abuse of religious and ethnic minorities has continued, with the arrests
• Eight members of the Baha’I religion were arrested
• Four Baha’i students were denied education
• One female Dervish prisoner arrested during a protest last February is suffering from declining health in prison
• One Sufi woman was sentenced to 148 lashes for revealing that the prison was denying medical treatment to her fellow prisoners
• 10 Arabs were arbitrarily arrested in Khuzestan province, as part of an ongoing crackdown
• State security forces killed one Baluch man and left two others wounded after opening fire on a vehicle suspected to be smuggling fuel
• 12 Baluchis were arrested in Zahedan
• Border guards shot and killed at least three Kurdish porters and injured 20 others.
• 36 Kurdish citizens were arrested, including nine environmental activists, two lawyers and two civic activists

This is a summary, but the full report can be read here.