Monthly Archives: April 2012

New Details On Mousavi & Rahnavard’s Visit With Their Daughters During Norooz Holidays

During the few hours of visit granted to the incarcerated opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard with their daughters during the Norooz Hollidays (Iranian New Year), they spoke about prevalent poverty and people’s living conditions in the country.

They also spoke about international relations and voiced concern over the dangers and threats that the regional and trans-regional areas are facing.

According to reports published by Kalameh previously, in the early days of Iranian New Year, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Rahnavard were granted visitation with their daughters. Following are not previously published details regarding their visit.

Two days prior to this visit, other members of Mousavi’s family were contacted and were told that Mousavi and his wife would be granted visitation with their daughters.

In these discussions, they emphasized that the meeting should take place somewhere outside of Tehran. The agents asked family members to choose a location outside of Tehran for this visit.

Finally, after several consultations about the meeting place, and given that Mousavi and his daughters do not own any place outside of Tehran, a home of a relative in northern Iran was chosen as the meeting place.

Mr. Mousavi and Mrs. Rahnavard’s daughters spent the New Year on the road to go to meet their parents.

At 12:30 PM, Mousavi and his wife arrived at the meeting location, under tight security and accompanied by number of security agents and cars, for the three and a half hour visit with their children.

During their visit, not only were the security agents were stationed all around the house, but they were also inside the house.

The presence of such a number of security agents around the house, from days before the scheduled meeting, made the residents of the village concerned and surprised.

The agents were spread all around and inside the house, and were constantly talking on their cell phones, even though this area is outside of cell phone service coverage.

Other than the special communication devices that the agent were carrying, the occupants of the house noticed that the agents were secretly taking pictures of them and of Mousavi and his wife Rahnavard.

After they voiced objection to the agents taking pictures, the agents denied doing so.

Mousavi’s daughters and Mousavi himself have always doubted the purpose of agents taking pictures of them. They are always concerned about the misuse and publication of pictures of the family.

During their stay, Mousavi took a stroll in the yard of the house accompanied by a large number of agents. This was a great opportunity for him and his children after being imprisoned at the Akhtar location in Tehran, being isolated, and away from his daughters for such long time.

Along with voicing great empathy with the other political prisoners and their families, Mousavi hopes that this new year will bring the freedom and release of all political prisoners.

Although limited, and despite the presence of many agents, Mousavi and his wife were able to discuss current issues with their daughters.

Following are the more important and significant points during these discussions:

A – Reaffirming with persistence on their previous positions on solutions and criticism of their unjustified and illegal detention.

Mrs. Rahnavard mentioning the Mulberry tree that Mr. Mousavi had planted in their yard years ago and now is a very strong tall tree, said, “We have told them we still stand on our previous positions and our ideology. All the issues still remains.

Even if you hang us from this tree and bury us under this tree, nothing will change, we are not afraid for we believe we have spoken the truth. If we had spoken anything but the truth we would have not been in prison now and would have been free.”

B – Mir Hossein Mousavi recommended reading the book “The Right to Heresy: Castellio Against Calvin”, by Stefan Zweig. He had always made reading recommendations to his daughters and he continued to do so after incarceration. Previously he had recommended reading News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

C – During this visit, Mousavi’s main concern was the country’s economic problems, poverty and concerns for the people’s livelihood.

D – International relations and serious potential danger that the country faces from regional and trans-regional areas and solutions to these threats.

E – Mir Hossein, referring to the current political issues and the legitimacy, or illegitimacy, of those who are now in charge, said that ultimately the burden of seeking justice and the people’s civil rights is on the shoulders of the people themselves; The people who are not indebted to any group and seek real democracy and human rights, for they understand their own problems better than anyone or any power.

F – On the recent parliamentary election, Mousavi believes that even if the statistics on the voters’ participation given by the officials is accurate, or close to being accurate, the most important achievements of the past two years, until this election ,is that people have become informed and those who participated in the election did so with full knowledge of the political situation and their personal lives.

G– At the end of this visit, as they were going to transport Mousavi back to his Akhtar prison, in one of those special cars, while the car door was still open, Mousavi jokingly said, “If we had received the 100 Billion as Ayatollah Janati said we did, our situation would have been different now.”

It’s worth mentioning that before they left, the agent in charge said they had allocated 12 hours for this visit, eight of which was spent on the road.

Source: Jaras

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Political Prisoner Hamid Ghasemi Is In Imminent Danger Of Execution

The execution order of political prisoner Hamid Ghasemi has been sent to the sentence implementation division.

According to the Greene Voice of Freedom, the family of political prisoner Hamid Ghasemi have been informed by the Prosecution’s office that his death sentence has been sent to the sentence implementation division.

This action has been taken while Tehran’s Public Prosecutor had earlier promised Ghasemi’s family that his execution will be halted.

In 2008, while the Iranian-Canadian citizen Hamid Ghasemi came to Iran to visit his family, his brother First Naval Captain Alborz Ghasemi was arrested on espionage charges.

Pursuing his brother’s case, Hamid went to the Military Intelligence’s office several times, eventually Hamid was arrested on the same charges as his brother.

In ,Hamid’s brother Alborz Ghasemi died in prison due to illness while under a death sentence.

After immigrating to Canada, Hamid Ghasemi had traveled to Iran eight times. The only evidence cited by the Military’s Intelligence to convict Hamid was a photo copy of an email they claimed was sent by Hamid to his brother Alborz.

While the Judiciary’s official expert had rejected the evidence due to technical issues and the original investigators also rejected the espionage charges, the Military Intelligence’s officers sent the case from the Military Court to the Revolutionary Court and requested and obtained the death sentence for both Hamid and his brother Alborz.

Source: GVF


Intelligence Ministry’s Agents Threatened Kurdish Prisoner Habibollah Golparipour With Execution

On Wednesday April 11, six Intelligence Ministry’s agents removed Habibollah Golparipour from his cell and took him to their office located in Semnan prison and threatened him with execution.

According to reports received by HRANA, on Wednesday at 11:30 AM six Intelligence Ministry’s agents suddenly and without any prior notice transferred Golparipour to their office in located Semnan prison and told him that he will be executed in upcoming days.

The action taken by the Intelligence Ministry’s agent was followed by the previous day’s attempt by Golparipour’s family to visit him in prison. The visit was prevented by the agents.

Habibollah Golparipours’s objection to the authorities preventing his family from visiting him caused the agent’s action of threatening him with execution.

Habibollah Golparipour, son of Naser from Sanandaj was arrested on 27 September 2009 while traveling between the north-western cities of Mahabad and Oroumieh.

After months of detention under physical and psychological torture in Mahabad, Orumieh and Sanandaj prisons, Golparipour was recently transferred from Orumieh prison to Semnan prison.

Golparipour was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court on Moharebeh charges (enmity against God). His death sentence has been upheld.

Source HRANA


Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki Returned to Prison In Dire Health

On Monday afternoon incarcerated blogger, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was taken to hospital outside of prison in dire health.

Against recommendations by physicians for Ronaghi to go under another surgery, Ronaghi and his family decided against their recommendations citing denial of medical furlough after surgery.

Ronaghi and his family believe returning Hossein back to prison after surgery will not allow him proper recovery after such major surgery and it will only be useless like his previous surgeries.

Despite his dire health situation Ronaghi’s refusal to under go yet another surgery led the security agents to take him back to Evin after only a few hours in hospital.

Source: Kalameh

– Read more about Ronaghi’s arrest and tortures that has caused his current health situation here


Interview With HR Activist Mansoureh Behkish, Sentenced To 4 1/2 Years In Prison

On April 3, 2012, human rights activist and Mourning Mothers (Laleh Park Mothers) supporter, Mansoureh Behkish, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, on charges of assembly and collusion against national security through propaganda against the establishment.

On her conviction, Mansoureh Behkish told Jaras, “On 3rd of April they informed me of my sentence, I am now waiting for the Court of Appeals ruling. As you know, they do not allow proper defense in court but I did speak in court and defended myself. The Prosecution’s representative was in court also, he was eating snacks and repeatedly asking for maximum penalty.”

Behkish adds, “They asked, what were you doing at Neda Agha Soltan’s grave site? I told them is it a crime to visit someone’s grave site? This is not something new for me, I have been visiting my loved ones graves for thirty years.

It is my civil right to be able to visit the grave site of my loved ones. These are all excuses, I am under a lot of pressure and harassment not to visit my brothers’ and sister’s grave sites. We are not even allowed to hold memorial ceremonies for our loved ones.”

Mansoureh Behkish was arrested twice, in November and December of 2009. She was again arrested June of 2011 at the intersection of Yousef Abbad and Fatemi in Tehran and was taken to Evin prison. She was released on bail July of 2011.

This supporter of the Mourning Mothers explains about her arrests, “I was arrested November 2099 at Laleh Park, there were thirty of us. I was arrested again in December of the same year. My next arrest was in 2011 when they arrested me on the street.

During one of my arrests, they came to my work place to arrest me. They treated me very harshly and handcuffed me as though they were arresting a thief. I lost my job after that incident.

I was interrogated during long sessions. Most of their interrogations were about my writings. My writings were only about human rights.

During interrogations, I spoke my mind and asked them questions. I told them about all the atrocities they had committed against us. I told them they had killed many of our loved ones, they had even killed two of my brothers.

My brothers had fought against the Shah’s regime but after the Revolution you arrested them and convicted them and after spending some years in prison you executed them in 1988……One of the interrogators said, “We made some mistakes then, why don’t you just let it go?”.”

Mansoureh Behkish has lost six family members to the mass executions of the 80’s.

She continues, “Why should we just let it go? They have killed six members of my family and no one is accountable. They should at least admit that they have made a mistake. This is the least they can do for a bereaved sister.

Give us the reason why they were killed. They not only did not return their bodies to us, they didn’t even tell us where they were buried nor did they give us their wills…..you still won’t leave Khavaran alone (Translators note: The cemetery where victims of mass executions of the 80’s were buried in mass graves), you bulldozed Khavaran. In 2007 you again bulldozed Khavaran and planted trees there.

This year before the New Year I took my mother to Khavaran to visit the place her children are buried. Every year you closed the road entering Khavaran. This year the road was open but many security forces were stationed inside.

My mother is 91 years old and walks with difficulty. We took her hand and helped her trying to go inside, but they didn’t allow us to enter the cemetery.

They are even afraid of us placing flowers on the burial site. We tell them these are only flowers. They tell us your flowers are even more dangerous than hand grenades and guns.”

Mansoureh Behkish, stating that her mother is aware of her sentence, says, “She is very dependent on me and is very worried. They are putting pressure on me in a thousand ways. I am banned from leaving the country….they arrested me at my work place, and for what? Only because I want to go to the grave sites of my sister and brothers. I want to know why they were executed? How they were killed? Where are they buried?

We didn’t find about Khavaran that easy. My mother went to Evin for one year. They would refer her to Behesht-e-Zahra (Tehran cemetery). From there, they would refer her back to Evin. Finally someone gave us Khavaran’s address.

We found my sister’s grave with much difficulty. They have broken my brother’s tomb stone three times. They have harassed us so much that these are only but a sliver of their harassments.

All the families do is to place few flowers on the graves and then leave. What are all these pressures they placed on us for.”

She stresses that she will continue with her human rights activism and says, “Through out these years they have put so much pressure on me that it was worse then being imprisoned. But I will continue with the pursuit of my human rights work. These verdicts will not make me retreat from my path.

I believe that these harsh sentences will only cause those who sit on the sidelines as spectators to break their silence. How much can people endure? When people care no longer able to endure and lose patience, it can result in serious consequences.

I have told them many times that their conduct will only harm themselves. You have even made enemies of your supporters.

Therefore, this is not the right way, those who are under pressure will not stay silent and by then it will be too late.”

It should be noted that the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) issued a statement condemning the sentencing of Mansoureh Behkish and called for an end to her judicial harassment.

The Observatory believes that Mansoureh Behkish’s stiff sentence is only to frighten her to not continue with her human rights activism. Furthermore, the purpose of this harsh sentence is to intimidate all human rights defenders in Iran.

source: Jaras


Abdolreza Ghanbari, A Teacher Sentenced To Death Based On False Accusations And Testimony

In an interview with Roozonline, the family of death row prisoner Abdolreza Ghanbari said their request for clemency has been rejected by the Amnesty and Clemency Commission, putting Ghanbari in imminent danger of execution.

Ghanbari’s wife, Sakineh Habibi said they had hoped to receive clemency in her husband’s case, but that request has been denied and her husband has officially been notified of the denial of his clemency request.

Abdolreza Ghanbari a high school teacher in Pakdasht and on the faculty of Payamnour university, was arrested on January 4, 2010 at the high school where he teaches.

He was charged and convicted of Moharebeh (enmity against God) and affiliation with the Mojahedin Khalgh Ornanization (MEK/MKO) by Judge Salavati, the presiding judge at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.

According to Judiciary law, an Appeals Court does not have the authority to review Moharebeh cases, and the case must be sent to the Supreme Court. Mr. Ghanbari’s case however was sent to Branch 36 of the Appeals Court presided by Judge Zargar instead of being sent to the Supreme Court. Judge Zargar upheld the death sentence of Mr. Ghanbari.

The Supreme Court rejected Ghanbari’s request for an appeal to review his case. He then requested clemency from the Amnesty and Clemency Commission.

Ghanbari’s wife Sakineh Habibi tells Rooze that her husband’s case file was in the Amnesty and Clemency Commission, but, since their rejection of clemency, she doesn’t know where the case has now been sent.

We asked Mrs. Ghanbari to comment on the reports that her husband’s case has been sent to the sentence implementation division. Mrs. Ghanbari said, “We have no news on that, and we don’t know where my husband’s case is now. We could not find any information due to government offices being closed for the Norooz holidays (Iranian New Year). Now that the holidays are over, we will pursue the case.”

She adds, “They have officially informed my husband that his request for clemency has been denied. We were very hopeful that the Clemency and Amnesty Commission would grant my husband clemency because all the charges and accusations against him were completely baseless.

We had hoped that the Commission would grant him his life back, but unfortunately his clemency request was denied. However, I still am hopeful; I will hold on to my hope to the end.

Mrs. Ghanbari describes her husband’s spirits as high and says, “We have visits, his spirits are high and he is still hopeful. For now there is nothing we can do but wait, and this wait is very difficult both for him and for us. God only knows what we are going through now.”

Mrs. Ghanbari continues, “I have been screaming for two years that my husband has no affiliation with the Mojahedin Khalgh. I say again, my husband is a teacher and a civil activist who has served his country for years.

I don’t know on what grounds, based on what guilt, he should be sacrificed. On one hand they (the Judiciary) accuse him of affiliation with Mojahedin ,and on the other hand the Mojahedin are exploiting his situation. All of this, while they (MEK) and the authorities, know very well that my husband absolutely has no affiliation with this organization, and that all his charges are false and baseless.”

She adds, “Even with all the pain that we have suffered during this, and despite the fact that his clemency has been denied, we are still hopeful that my husband is granted his life back so he can continue to serve the children of this country.”

Previously, in an interview conducted by Rooz with Mrs. Ghanbari, she said, “My husband is an educator who has served in this capacity for 15 years. God will take care of us. From day one, we have denied all of charges against him. My husband is apolitical, and has no affiliation with any political group, party or organization. He is a teacher who’s work is to educate children.

He may have had some cultural demands, but never was a political activist. Reviewing his activities, the officials can simply see that his charges are totally baseless. If he had any political activities in the last 15 years, someone should have noticed it before. How is it that only in the last two years they are making such accusations?”

Responding to the question whether an email and a phone call from the Mojahedin Khalgh Organization was used as evidence to convict her husband and issue a death sentence for him, she said, “Yes, we all know that an email account is like a mail box; any one can write anything and drop it in the box.

Just because an email is sent to someone or to my husband, does it mean that my husband or that person is guilty and should they be punished just for having received an email? Is this concrete evidence?

Regarding the phone call, I questioned my husband, he said, on Ashura day when he had gone out with our daughter he received a phone call asking him about the protests and clashes on the streets. But my husband disconnected the call and even removed the SIM card out of his phone so they couldn’t call him back. Would he have done such thing if he was affiliated with them?

If my husband wanted to cooperate with them, he would have not hung up on them nor would he have removed his SIM card. He had gone out with our daughter who was eight years old at the time. This is his only crime that may end up costing him his life.”

Mr. Ghanbari had a court appointed defense attorney at his initial trial. One of his former cellmates told Rooz about Ghanbari’s court procedure and said, “Mr. Ghanbari was arrested at the high school in Pakdasht where he was a teacher.

He agreed with their request to cooperate with them, participate in an open court, and give false testimony and exaggerated allegations against himself.

On February 28, 2010, they took him to court along with others, including Morteza Simyari and Payam Fanaian. They presented them with the questions that the judge was going to ask the next day during their trial. They also provided them with the answers they should give, telling them this would reduce their penalties.

They were also told not to hire their own attorneys and to accept the court appointed attorney, saying that this would also have an impact on the penalties issued and reduce the sentences. They were video taped during this session.

The next day they were put on trial in the courtroom of Judge Salavati and all the defendants gave testimony as agreed upon before.”

Mr. Ghanbari is currently incarcerated in Ward 350 of Evin prison.

Source: Rooz


Poor Healthcare In Evin Prison: From Prevalent Contagious Diseases, To 7 Month Wait To See A Specialist

The already poor healthcare system in Evin prison deteriorated during the Norooz holidays. Contagious Flu was prevalent among the prisoners and treatment was not provided.

According to reports by Kalameh, based on a survey conducted among Ward 350 prisoners, in the last two weeks prior to the Iranian New Year, lack of physicians and lack of medicine practically made treatment at Evin’s clinic impossible.

These conditions, added to the general poor health care system in Evin, have created additional problems for prisoners in need of care, particularly those in need of specialists.

Currently there are number of prisoners that have been waiting to see an ophthalmologist for over seven months.

Usually, after a long period of waiting to see an specialist, the number of patients from the different Evin wards are so high that the specialist is unable to provide enough necessary care, therefore effective treatment is not provided to the patients.

In many cases, prisoners are forced to personally pay the costs of specialized medical procedures and treatment.

In the case of Ward 350 prisoners, treatment can only be provided under the direct order of the Public Prosecutor. This is usually only possible for the more well known detainees and the rest of the prisoners are deprived of such care.

Especially in the case of dental services the situation is even worse. The dental care services provided are sub-standard and the patients are faced with very high cost for receiving dental care.

For this reason, many of the detainees suffer with dental problems and toothaches for months but do not seek dental care.

To avoid further risks and more dental problems, many of the detainees eventually have to have tooth removed by intern dentists.

In Ward 209, all the dental care, such as fillings and root canals, are provided by intern dentists.

Source: Kalameh