The detainees were subjected to intense physical, mental and psychological torture. The detainees were held in prisons and detention centers for months without a warrant. Many students who were arrested during the uprising in November 2019 and January 2020, with heavy bail until the trial, and with this alibi practically held them captive.
Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, in his recent report (document A/74/188), said that he had held useful meetings with representatives from the Permanent Mission of Iran during visits to Geneva. However, he expressed regret that his requests to visit Iran have not been accepted. Over the past year, a number of distressing factors have negatively affected the overall human rights situation. Declining economic conditions have been made worse by the impact of sanctions, with serious consequences for enjoying economic and social rights. He expressed concern at the use of the death penalty, noting that while the number of executions in 2018 was significantly lower than in previous years, the rate remains among the highest in the world, with at least 253 people having been executed in 2018, compared with 507 in 2017. The reduction has been linked to an amendment to the anti‑narcotics law.
And about the criminal regime’s behavior against the detainees of the November 2019 uprising in Iran he said:
“According to reports, detainees are being tortured or are suffering other forms of ill-treatment, sometimes to extract forced confessions,” he said in his report published on February 19.
“There are also reports of denials of medical treatment, including for injuries caused by the excessive use of force by the security forces, with some other detainees being held incommunicado or being subjected to enforced disappearance.”
Sixty-sixth condemnation of the Iranian regime in the United Nations
On 18 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 66th resolution condemning the Iranian regime, which had already been approved by the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
In a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly, the international community expressed concern about the violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and the high number of executions, especially the execution of juveniles, as well as the torture and cruel treatment in prisons, and the rules of religious fascism in Iran.
The resolution particularly reiterated international concern about the high number of executions and enforcement by the regime, including the imposition of the death penalty on minors and the execution of persons on forced confessions which is the violation of international law.
Prisoners and Expansion of Prisons in 2019
In an article citing the high numbers and reasons for the increasing number of inmates in Iran, the state-run daily Hamdeli wrote: “Iran with 240,000 inmates has the ninth place in terms of the total number of prisoners in the world.”
Also, Seyyed Hassan Mousavi Chalak, president of the Social Workers Association at that time, declared: “In Iran, 50 people enter the prison every hour.” (state-run media Hamdeli, 9 July 2019 )
It should be noted, however, that the regime has not permitted any human rights representative to visit prisons in Iran for years, and the actual number of prisoners is higher than the figure stated by the regime.
According to reliable reports in some prisons of the country, including the central prison of Karaj, many prisoners do not have beds because of the large number of prisoners and have to spend the night in the narrow, long corridors where the rest of the prisoners pass.
“Now the situation is that prisoners are forced to sleep in the corridors and entrances of the toilets and to coexist peacefully with vicious animals such as mice, ticks and … So, the dense population, poor quality of food, and inadequate mobility have made the simplest diseases epidemic fast.” (Hamedli 9 July 2019)
Non-standard prisons filled 5 times more than their capacity
During the nationwide uprisings of the in 2018 and 2019, thousands of young people were arrested and sent to prison. Prisoners who have been arrested, interrogated and tried against all international standards and have been held in non-standard rooms.
“At present, there are about 17 standard prisons in terms of physically and environmentally and the rest of the country’s prisons are all nonstandard, and sometimes have five times more filled than their capacity for which they are defined, so that in a prison with the capacity of 200 there 1000 detainees.”
“Prisoners’ per capita nutrition is six thousand tomans while with these six thousand tomans you cannot even eat eggs and tomatoes and we have to serve three meals to the inmate … but the prison’s food cannot be ignored as a hungry prisoner may make noise and fuss.” (State-run daily Jahan-e Sanat, 3 July 2019)
Coronavirus spread in prisons
Despite the widespread of the coronavirus in Iranian cities as well as in prisons, the regime refused to release political prisoners. As a result, inmates in various prisons, including Greater Tehran (Fashafuyeh), Ghezel Hesar, Zahedan, Quchan, and Central Orumieh, contracted the disease.
Prisoners are facing severe health shortages. Prisoners are not provided with laundry detergent (laundry powder, whitewash, dishwashing liquid, etc.) and worse a doctor is not present in the ward.
As a result on 28 March 2020, more than 200 female prisoners in the Orumiyeh Central Prison went on a hunger strike to protest the lack of health facilities and services and the refusal of the regime’s authorities for their temporary release.
Rebellion in prison
The state-run Hamshahri daily wrote in an article titled ‘Prisoners’ Week of Rebellion’: “The prevalence of the coronavirus in the country and concerns about the entry of this fatal disease into prisons have motivated the remaining prisoners to escape. So, with the onset of Nowruz holidays, there have been four prison breaks in the country, the latest unrest in Hamedan prison.”
-Parsilon Khorramabad Prison: At 18 pm on Thursday, 19 March 2020, 23 prisoners escaped from the prison of Parsilon in Khorramabad by planning a plot.
Mahmoud Samini, Lorestan’s provincial political and security deputy said: “23 of the prisoners managed to escape from the prison due to the negligence of the guards. One inmate was killed as a result of the shooting of prison guards and another was injured and taken to hospital.” (ISNA, 19 March 2020)
– Prisoners of Aligodarz Prison on 20 March, protesting in fear of being infected with the coronavirus and attempted to disarm the prison guards and escaped.
– On 26 March, prisoners in Tabriz Prison Sections 7 and 9 who were exposed whit the coronavirus decide to riot. Insurgent prisoners disarm some guards, clashed with them.
– 27 March, more than 70 prisoners in Saqqez prison escaped. As a result of the prisoners’ escape, the prisoners were able to leave the city with the help of the people.
– Adelabad prisoners in Shiraz riot on 29 March.
-Prisoners of a large Tehran prison on 27 March riot due to the outbreak of coronavirus and the death of a number of prisoners and the Revolutionary Guards cut off the contacts of them with their families in fear of the spread of this event.
– Prisoners in Mahabad Prison riot on 29 March. During the riot, which involved clashes with guards, parts of the prison were set on fire by inmates.
– Prisoners in Alvand prison in Hamedan also rioted in protest against the spread of the coronavirus and some of them managed to escape.
– 30 March, prisoners in Ahvaz protest against the bad prison conditions and the regime’s refusal of inmates’ release. The sound of gunshots and flames were seen from far raised concerns among families. An hour later, many families of prisoners gathered in front of Sepidar Prison, and families continued to protest until the next day.
– 31 March the Sheyban prisoners in Ahwaz riot to protest against the situation in the prison, and regime’s forces try to stop the prisoners’ by firing tear gas and live ammo.
Iran: Prisoners at Risk of COVID-19 Infection
Amnesty International issued a letter of urgency on 26 March 2020 to the regime’s judiciary demanding the release of all prisoners unconditionally and wrote: “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing pre-trial detainees and those who may be at particular risk of severe illness or death.”
Number of executions in 2019
There were 297 executions in 2019 in prisons or in the public. The statistics of executions are as follows:
263 men / 18 women / 6 men in public / 7 children offenders / 3 male political prisoners
Most executions took place in Gohardasht, central Orumieh, Adelabad, Shiraz, central Zahedan, and central Bandar Abbas prisons. Public executions have been carried out in the cities of Hamedan, Khandab, Babol, Kazerun, Rasht, Khomein.
Seven executions of child offenders were reported during the year. There are currently about 90 people awaiting execution, all of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. The execution of child criminals is absolutely forbidden and must end immediately. In 2019, the regime executed 18 women.
These statistics include only official and announced items. Explicit executions and secret examples are not included in the statistics.
Most of the arrests in 2019 are related to the youth who participated in the November uprising in various cities. Also, after the uprising, many were identified by camcorder checks, identified and arrested at their work or home. During the January 2020 uprising, a number of students and people who took to the streets to protest the shooting of the Ukrainian passenger plane by the IRGC were also arrested.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, some were arrested for spreading the news of the regime’s coronavirus secrecy, and some were arrested for enlightenment and links to opposition networks.
Also during the parliament election, a number of people were arrested in protest against the election process, inciting people not to vote.
Arbitrary murder in 2019
During 2019, the regime’s forces included law enforcement, border regiments, and naval agents, in towns near the borders and border crossings and other cities killed, 112 porters in Kurdish cities, in Sistan and Baluchestan cities and the fishermen in the southern cities of Iran.
Amnesty International wrote: “In November, security forces crushed nationwide protests, killing over 300people, including children, according to credible sources; many died from gunshot wounds to vital organs. Thousands of protesters were arbitrarily detained. Many were subjected to enforced disappearance, torture or other ill-treatment including being punched, kicked, flogged and beaten. Authorities implemented a near-total internet shutdown during the protests to prevent people from sharing images and videos of the lethal force used by security forces.” (Amnesty International Press Release, 16 December 2019)
The right of association freedom
In 2019, there was increased pressure from Iranian authorities on union members and other workers who were protesting for their labor rights.
Truck drivers, teachers, and factory workers were intimidated and arrested and charged with crimes such as ‘spreading propaganda against the country’ and ‘disturbing public order by participating in illegal gatherings’ that resulted in prison sentences and flogging.
Iran among the Top Ten Countries in ‘State Censorship of the Media’
The Committee to Protect Journalists wrote about the state censorship of the top 10 countries which the Iranian regime is one of them: “Under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek and receive news and express opinions. These 10 countries flout the international standard by banning or severely restricting independent media and intimidating journalists into silence with imprisonment, digital and physical surveillance, and other forms of harassment. Self-censorship is pervasive.”
About Iran, it reported: “Iran’s government jails journalists, blocks websites, and maintains a climate of fear with harassment and surveillance, including journalists’ families. Domestic media must adhere to tight government controls. All journalists working in Iran must receive official accreditation; those permissions are regularly suspended or revoked. Foreign bureaus are permitted but work under intense scrutiny; correspondents from international outlets have had their permission to work suspended for periods of time, and in some cases permanently. Authorities arrest and impose harsh prison sentences on journalists who cover topics deemed sensitive, including local corruption and protests. The government suppresses online expression by spying on domestic and international journalists, jamming satellite television broadcasts, and blocking millions of websites and key social media platforms, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran and U.S. Congress-funded Radio Farda. When nationwide anti-government protests took place in late 2017 and early 2018, authorities throttled and shut down the internet and mobile networks, according to Newsweek. They banned circumvention tools and used hacking and trolling campaigns targeted at domestic and international reporters, Radio Farda reported. The National Cyberspace Council has banned Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube–and the messaging apps Telegram and WhatsApp–but these are accessible via VPNs, according to Bloomberg.”
In its new report about the publishing of the coronavirus news, it blamed the regime and wrote on 30 March: “Yesterday, Iran’s Coronavirus Combat Taskforce issued a decree suspending all newspaper printing, delivery, and distribution, citing the need to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to news reports and the decree, which was reprinted by local outlets.”