The following is a roundup of the human rights situation in Iran for the month of April 2021, based on information from activists and state media, collated by Iran News Update.
1. Executions in Iran—April 2021:
In April 2021, at least 25 prisoners were hanged in various Iran’s prisons on charges of murder and drug-related charges. The executed inmates were all men.
All known executions took place in the prisons of Urmia, Zanjan, Sabzevar, Taybad, Babol, Isfahan, Karaj, Birjand, Adilabad, Qazvin, Gonbad Kavous in 11 provinces.
According to human rights activists, almost 72 percent of executions are carried out silently meaning that the actual number of the executed inmates is far higher.
2. Arrests in Iran—April 2021:
In April 2021, some 700 people were arrested for various charges. The detainees include members of religious and ethnic minorities, peaceful protesters, dissidents, and political and civil activists.
At least 393 citizens were arrested during street crackdowns and 47 were detained for attending private parties.
In the first week of April 2021, security forces impounded a bus belonged to families of the Ukrainian airliner’s victims in Isfahan. Authorities transferred 22 occupants to Isfahan’s prison.
In the second week of April 2021, authorities summoned or detained around 20 Baha’i citizens in the cities of Shiraz, Mashhad, Andisheh, and Karaj in two days. Furthermore, Mehdi Mohammadi, the attorney general of Mahshahr city in Khuzestan province, declared that the security forces have arrested 31 individuals for attending in night parties.
In the third week of April 2021, several people, who had protested authorities’ crimes against fuel porters, were detained by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Intelligence Department in Zahedan.
3. Torture in Iran—April 2021:
According to various reports obtained through formal and informal prisons and detention centers, here is a small part of torture and ill-treatment exercised on prisoners under the ayatollahs’ rule:
Flogging Sentences in April 2021
In April 2021, judiciary officials practiced at least 15 flogging sentences against student activists, ethnic minorities, and two female inmates.
Jailed online activist Zohreh Sarv, 35, was lashed 74 times, despite the lashing sentence having been altered to a fine which she had paid. She was told she could go on leave only on the condition that her flogging sentence was carried out.
“Two student activists were sentenced to a total of 72 lashes by the Shahroud Criminal Court in northern Iran. The two men were identified as 25-year-old Milad Nazeri and 26-year-old Seyed Shabir Hosseini Nik. Both are students at Shahroud University of Technology Central Campus,” Iran Human Rights Monitor reported on April 24.
Humiliating Parading of Youths
“The State Security Forces paraded 34 young men in the streets of Mashhad to punish them for marking the traditional festival of fire on March 16,” the official IRNA news agency reported on April 22.
Humiliating action by parading detainees on the streets is one of the known psychological tortures applied by the SSF in Iran. Such performances are contradicting all human rights conventions and violate human dignity, dissidents say.
4. Arbitrary Murder in Iran—April 2021:
In April 2021, borders guards, SSF, and intelligence agents targeted and murdered at least five citizens in the Kurdish region and bordering areas of Sistan and Baluchestan province.
On April 12, Mohsen Moradzehi, a fuel porter, was gunned down in Khash city, Sistan and Baluchestan province. Two days later, border guards shot and killed Ahmad Rasan, 40, in Maku, West Azarbaijan.
On April 16, the guards fatally shot Khaled Rassouli, 35, in the Sardasht region, West Azarbaijan. One day later, Hiva Ghaderi was killed by Security Forces in Baneh, Kurdistan. And on April 20, the guards targeted and murdered another fuel porter in Sistan and Baluchestan.
5. The Conditions of Iran’s Prisons—April 2021:
In April 2021, inmates, particularly political prisoners, were subjected to overwhelming harsh conditions in addition to regular torture and ill-treatment. In this respect, despite the outbreak of the coronavirus inside prisons, detention centers, and penitentiaries, authorities do not act significantly to spare prisoners’ lives and health.
Coronavirus Outbreak Inside Prisons of Iran—April 2021
According to reports, the coronavirus has expanded in Karaj Central Prison, Alborz province, and at least 35 inmates are in critical conditions. In Urmia, inmates face the spread of HIV in various wards in addition to the coronavirus outbreak.
In North Khorasan province, prisoners who are held in Shirvan Central Prison face the fast spread of Covid-19. On the other hand, prison officials have done nothing to contain the virus, quarantine patients, or give furlough to prisoners. Some sources reported that more than 20 inmates with acute symptoms of coronavirus refer to the medical center.
Pressure on Political Prisoners—April 2021
In April 2021, authorities still applied further pressure on political activists and prisoners.
Ali Younesi and Amir-Hossein Moradi
A year after agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry arrested and tortured them, university students Ali Younesi and Amir-Hossein Moradi remain in Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, controlled by the ministry, while being denied access to lawyers and their relatives.
The Sharif University of Technology honor students were due to go on trial on trumped-up national security charges on April 11, 2021, but the session was canceled for unknown reasons, according to their lawyer Mostafa Nili.
Reza Younesi, Ali’s brother, pointed out that Ali Younesi has been tortured and held in prolonged solitary confinement, according to comments made by former cellmate Mojtaba Hosseini. Hosseini, who had been arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents for posting humorous tweets criticizing the government, said he saw one of Ali’s eyes was badly swollen, for which the prison physician had prescribed antibiotics.
Maryam Akbari Monfared
Political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared has been under an additional pressure since she was exiled from Evin Prison to the Prison of Semnan on March 9, 2021. Prison authorities monitor all contacts she makes with her family and children.
Akbari Monfared is presently detained in the general ward of the Semnan Prison where she does not have access to her personal belongings. Her detention in the general ward is in violation of the principle of separation of crimes.
6. Destruction of Mass Graves of 1988 Massacre Victims—April 2021
To remove their footprints and evidence linked to the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988, Iranian authorities began destroying the renowned mass grave of victims in the Khavaran district in Tehran.
In this respect, victims’ families and international human rights individuals and entities like Amnesty International condemned the destruction of the Khavaran mass grave.
Furthermore, more than 1100 families issued a letter addressing the UN secretary-general, U.S. President and relevant officials, as well as EU leaders to prevent the Iranian government from further damages.
“While international human rights organizations and experts have described the massacre as a crime against humanity… the Iranian regime has embarked on erasing the traces of the evidence on the massacre by destroying the mass graves where they are buried … These actions constitute the collective torture of thousands of survivors and families of martyrs. It is another manifest case of crime against humanity,” wrote the family members.
UN Experts Call on OHCHR Commission of Inquiry into 1988 Massacre in Iran