DCSIMG

Faces of Iran: Citizens Unjustly Imprisoned



Iranian law criminalizes dissent, and the Iranian government has arrested or imprisoned many of its own citizens for their political activities or beliefs, as well as for their religious beliefs. While there are no exact statistics regarding the number of political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience in Iran, most human rights activists estimate there are about 500 Iranian political prisoners, but possibly more than 1,000. Many of these individuals were imprisoned for protesting the results of Iran’s 2009 presidential election or for their support of political opposition movements. Others were detained on the basis of their religion. Several were jailed after secret trials that did not adhere to basic principles of due process. Many were tried or sentenced to death for vague crimes such as “attempts against the security of the state,” “enmity towards God,” or “insulting government officials.” Below is a list of individuals the Iranian government has detained for political or religious reasons. The list will be updated to add or remove names as conditions warrant.

5 prisoners released September 2013.

17 more citizens, journalists and students added since April 2013.

The information provided here comes from multiple sources, including NGOs and activists inside and outside of Iran.

Faces of Iran: Iranians Added to this List June and July 2013
Khosro and Massoud Kordpour imprisoned since March 7, 2013 Name: Khosro and Massoud Kordpour – added July 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: March 7, 2013
Occupation: Journalists
Charge: “Propaganda against the regime”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Unannounced
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Khosro Kordpour served as director of the Mokerian News Agency, which focused primarily on news of Kurdistan Province. Massoud, his brother, was the founder of the Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights in Iranian Kurdistan, and a contributor to several Persian language newspapers. In March 2013, Intelligence Ministry officials reportedly arrested the brothers in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, and confiscated Khosro’s personal computer and several of his personal belongings. Khosro and Massoud Kordpour were reportedly held incommunicado in Orumiyeh until being granted a visit with family members on April 22, 45 days after their arrest. On June 26, they were reported to have been charged in the absence of a lawyer with “propaganda against the regime” as a result of their reporting on political prisoners. They were then transferred to the central Mahabad prison, where they remain.
Faran Hesami re-imprisoned since July 15, 2012 Name: Faran Hesami – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: July 15, 2012
Occupation: Teacher
Charge: Membership in the Baha’i community, “colluding to disturb national security”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Five years in prison
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Faran Hesami, a Baha’i, taught psychology at the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). After completing her undergraduate studies at BIHE, she obtained a master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Hesami was arrested on September 13, 2011, along with her husband, Kamran Rahimian, who was also a psychology instructor at BIHE and is serving a four-year sentence at Rejai Shahr prison. She was held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison for 77 days until being released on bail, while her husband remained incarcerated. In January 2012, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced the couple to four years in prison. After her sentence was upheld on appeal, Hesami was imprisoned on July 15, 2012. She is currently in Evin Prison. They have a four year old son, Artin.
Raheleh Zokayi imprisoned since 2009 Name: Raheleh Zokayi – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: Unavailable
Occupation: Unavailable
Charge: Propaganda against the regime
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: One year in prison
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During post-election protests in 2009, Zokayi was sentenced to death for helping fellow inmates bypass restrictions on phone calls, a sentence which was later commuted to one year in prison. Zokayi was among a group of female detainees at Evin prison who launched a hunger strike that began on October 31, 2012 in protest of their mistreatment at the facility. She became known as the ‘unknown prisoner’ when hers was the only frame without a picture on posters that circulated of the hunger striking female prisoners. On December 26, 2012, Zokayi was exiled from Evin to Gharchak and Ramin prison. When she realized that she was banned from receiving visitors in the new facility, she began a hunger strike on April 23, 2013, demanding to be transferred back to Evin Prison. She remains in Gharchak and Ramin prison.
Hakimeh Shokri re-imprisoned since October 22, 2012 Name: Hakimeh Shokri – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: October 22, 2012
Occupation: Human Rights Activist
Charge: “Acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 3 years in prison
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Hakimeh Shokri, a member of The Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers of Iran), a group of mostly women whose children were killed or detained in post-2009 election violence, was arrested on December 7, 2010 while attending a gathering at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. When her family visited her on January 11, 2011, Shokri reportedly had marks of physical abuse on her face. She was released from detention after securing bail on March 10, 2011. On April 11, 2012, a judge sentenced her to three years in prison. Shokri has been in Evin Prison since October 22, 2012, and went on a hunger strike on October 30, 2012 with eight other women to protest allegedly violent and invasive bodily searches by prison guards.
Adnan Hassanpour re-imprisoned since January 25, 2007 Name: Adnan Hassanpour – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: January 25, 2007
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: Espionage, “acting against national security,” and “enmity against God”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 15 years in prison
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Adnan Hassanpour is an Iranian-Kurdish journalist and former editor of the weekly paper Aso (Horizons), which reported on cultural rights before the government forced it to close in August 2005. Security forces arrested Hassanpour on January 25, 2007, and a Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on July 17, 2007. On September 3, 2008, Iran’s judiciary head reversed the decision, and a Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj commuted the death sentence to 15 years in prison. Hassanpour is currently the longest-serving prisoner among all Iranian journalists.
Alireza Roshan re-imprisoned since November 18, 2012 Name: Alireza Roshan – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: November 18, 2012
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: “Assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: One year in prison, with four additional years suspended
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Security forces arrested Roshan on September 7, 2011 after a confrontation in Kavar between plainclothes officers and Gonabadi Dervishes. Roshan, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Shargh, reportedly spent over a month in Evin Prison in solitary confinement before being released. Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to one year in prison for cooperating with the Majzooban-e Noor news website, which publishes news of Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish community. On October 15, 2012, Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld his sentence.
Nassour Naghipour re-imprisoned since July 9, 2012 Name: Nassour Naghipour – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: July 9, 2012
Occupation: Student, Website manager
Charge: “Propaganda against the regime”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Seven years in prison
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Naghipour, a university student in Information Technology, managed a website that archived articles written in Persian on subjects in the humanities. He was reportedly arrested on March 2, 2010 on charges of designing the website for the Human Rights Activists News Agency. He was held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for 110 days and released on bail on June 20, 2010. He was tried in Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court and convicted of membership in the Human Rights Activists News Agency and propaganda against the regime. He was summoned to prison to begin his seven year sentence in July 2012. In March 2013, activists reported that prison officials had refused to grant him a medical furlough.
Faces of Iran: Journalists Unjustly Imprisoned
Shiva Nazar Ahari imprisoned since September 8, 2012 Name: Shiva Nazar Ahari – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: September 8, 2012
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: “Enmity against God”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Four years in prison
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Shiva Nazar Ahari is a human rights activist and founder member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Ahari was arrested on December 21, 2009, with other activists while traveling to the funeral of dissident religious leader Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montezeri. During that time she spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement. She was sentenced in September 2010 to six years, subsequently reduced to four, in prison on charges of “enmity against God,” and released on bail shortly thereafter. She was summoned to begin serving her sentence on September 8, 2012. She participated in a November 2012 group hunger strike to protest the mistreatment of female political prisoners at Evin Prison.
Abdolfazl Abedini whose imprisonment date is unknown Name: Abdolfazl Abedini – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: Unavailable
Occupation: Journalist, activist
Charge: “Propaganda against the regime”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 12 years in prison
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Abdolfazl Abedini is a journalist for Bahar Ahvaz. He was arrested after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, charged with “propaganda against the regime” and given an 11-year sentence. Before being summoned to begin his sentence, Abedini was detained again and had his sentence extended one year. He has reportedly endured severe torture while in prison. He was temporarily transferred to a remote prison in November 2012 after providing information to others regarding the alleged death by torture of blogger Sattar Behehsti. In March 2012, authorities charged him with “propaganda against the regime” for reportedly providing testimony to a judge regarding Beheshti’s case.
Journalist Masoud Bastani imprisoned July 2009 Name: Masoud Bastani
Date of Imprisonment: July 5, 2009
Occupation: Reformist journalist
Charge: Propagating against the regime and congregating and collusion to create anarchy
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Six years
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Husband of jailed activist Mahsa Amrabadi, Bastani is an Iranian reformist journalist. Throughout his career, he was arrested several times, most recently on July 5, 2009. He has suffered torture and abuse while in custody, and there are serious concerns about his health.
Journalist and blogger Mehdi Mahmoudian imprisoned since September 2009 Name: Mehdi Mahmoudian
Date of Imprisonment: September 16, 2009
Occupation: Political journalist and blogger
Charge: Mutiny against the regime
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Five years
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Arrested on September 16, 2009, Mahmoudian, a political journalist and blogger, played a significant role in documenting complaints of rape and abuse of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Center, closed in July 2009 after Mahmoudian and revealed the abuses there. Held at Rajaee Shahr Prison, Mahmoudian is in poor health and suffers from kidney ailments.
Azerbaijani civil activist and journalist Saeed Matinpout imprisoned since May 2007 Name: Saeed Matinpour
Date of Imprisonment: May 25, 2007
Occupation: Civil activist and journalist
Charge: Connection with foreigners and propaganda against the regime
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Eight years
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Saeed Matinpour is an Azerbaijani civil activist and journalist. He was arrested on May 25, 2007 for having participated in a seminar in defense of the rights of Turkish-speaking people in Turkey. While in prison, he has developed acute spinal problems.
Journalist/human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi imprisoned April 2012 Name: Nargess Mohammadi
Date of Imprisonment: April 21, 2012
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: Assembly and collusion against national security; membership in the Center for Human Rights Defenders; and propaganda against the regime
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Six years
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Mohammadi is a journalist and human rights activist who worked with the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC). She was sentenced on September 26, 2011, but remained free on bail until March 4, 2012, and was arrested at her home on April 21, 2012. She is currently imprisoned and has been experiencing abuse.
Name: Issa Saharkhiz
Date of Imprisonment: June 20, 2009
Occupation: Reporter; founded reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad, and monthly magazine Aftab.
Charge: Participation in riots; encouraging others to participate in riots; and insulting the Supreme Leader
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: One and a half years
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Saharkhiz worked for 15 years for IRNA, Iran’s official news agency. He returned to Iran in 1997 to work in Mohammad Khatami’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, in charge of domestic publications. As the regime took a more conservative bent, Saharkhiz was forced to leave the ministry and was eventually banned from government service. He founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad, and monthly magazine, Aftab, both of which were banned. He was arrested on June 20, 2009 and sentence to a term of three years. Upon completion of his three-year sentence, he was retried on old charges stemming from the original case. He is now serving an additional year and a half sentence (reduced from two years on appeal). During his time in prison, he was tortured, abused, and denied access to blood-pressure medications. As a result, he is in poor health. He waged a hunger strike in October 2011.
Faces of Iran: Citizens Unjustly Imprisoned
Kasra Nouri imprisoned since March 14, 2012 Name: Kasra Nouri – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: March 14, 2012
Occupation: Unavailable
Charge: “Propaganda against the regime”, “acting against national security”, “membership in a deviant group” and “interviews with foreign media”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Unavailable
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Kasra Nouri is a member of the Gonabadi Dervish order. He was arrested on March 14, 2012 on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” “acting against national security,” “deviant group membership,” and “interviews with foreign media.” He has not faced trial or received a sentence to date. In January 2013 he began a hunger strike to protest the transfer several imprisoned dervishes’ lawyers’ transfer to solitary confinement.
Mansoureh Behkish imprisoned December 2011 Name: Mansoureh Behkish
Date of Imprisonment: June 12, 2011
Occupation: Member of Mothers for Peace
Charge: Assembling and conspiring with the intent to harm national security; propaganda against the system
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Four and a half years
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Mansoureh Behkish is a member of Mothers for Peace, a group of Iranian women that campaigns for peace and stability in the region, and the Mourning Mothers, a group of women whose children have been killed, disappeared or detained by the Iranian authorities, and their supporters. She is also a signatory of a letter sent to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki -Moon dated October 30, 2009 which highlighted the violations of the rights of political prisoners in Iran and called on the United Nations to reestablish the office of the Special Representative for Iran and to save the lives of prisoners sentenced to death in Iran. On June 12, 2011 she was arrested and has been held since. She was sentenced in December 2011 to four and a half years in prison, with three and a half of those years suspended for five years.
Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeini Bouroujerdi arrested October 2006 Name: Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeini Bouroujerdi
Date of Imprisonment: October 7, 2006
Occupation: Ayatollah
Charge: Around 30, including moharebeh (“enmity towards God”); acts against national security; publicly calling political leadership by clergy unlawful; having links with anti-revolutionaries and spies; and using the term “religious dictatorship” instead of “Islamic Republic” in public discourse and radio interviews
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Eleven years
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Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeini Bouroujerdi is a Shia cleric who rejects the principle of political leadership by the clergy (Velayat-e Faqih), which is a central feature of Iran’s constitution. He advocates the removal of religion from the political basis of the state. He has summoned by the Special Clerical Court, which handles charges against the clergy, on several occasions, starting in 1994 when he began speaking out. In 2006, when he was last summoned by the Special Clerical Court, he refused to appear. A warrant was issued October 7, 2006 for his arrest and over a thousand of his supporters surrounded him to protect him. He was arrested the next day along with approximately 400 supporters. In June 2007, he was found guilty of many charges against him, including moharebeh (“enmity towards God”) and publicly calling political leadership by clergy unlawful and sentenced to eleven years in prison. During his time in prison, he has developed heart and kidney problems as a result of torture and abuse by the regime. He has also lost a significant amount of weight, possibly as much as 80 pounds, and 80 percent of his vision due to cataracts, torture or ill treatment.
Web developer Mehdi Alizadeh Fakhrabad imprisoned 2008, sentenced to death Name: Mehdi Alizadeh Fakhrabad
Date of Imprisonment: March 2011
Occupation: Web developer and humorist
Charge: Moharebeh (“enmity towards God”)
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Death; sentenced in January 2012
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Fakhrabad, a web developer and humorist, was sentenced to death in January 2012 on charges of moharebeh (“enmity towards God). He was first arrested summer of 2008. Released in the spring of 2009, he was rearrested in March 2011.
Teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari imprisoned December 2009, sentenced to death Name: Abdolreza Ghanbari
Date of Imprisonment: December 27, 2009
Occupation: Persian literature teacher
Charge: Moharebeh (“enmity towards God”) through participation in the street gatherings on Ashura Day and contact with enemy groups
Current Status: Imprisoned* Update as of May 2013 – Ghanbari’s death sentence has reportedly been “set aside”
Sentence: Death
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Abdolreza Ghanbari is a Persian literature teacher. He was arrested after participating in street protests December 27, 2009 and was tried January 30, 2010 without the knowledge of his family or access to a defense lawyer. Abdolreza Ghanbari is currently inside Evin Prison. He was reportedly beaten during his interrogations and was denied contact with his family and access to a defense lawyer. He has developed kidney disease in prison and has been denied treatment while on death row.
Name: Ahmed Reza Hashempour
Date of Imprisonment: 2007
Occupation: Website administrator
Charge: Membership in anti-religion and blasphemous websites
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Death; sentenced in January 2012
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A website administrator, Hashempour was arrested in 2007. During his detention, Hashempour has reportedly been tortured and abused, and forced to make televised confessions. In January 2012, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s imposition of the death sentence.
Omid Kokabi arrested February 2011, sentenced to 10 years Name: Omid Kokabi
Date of Imprisonment: February 2011
Occupation: Experimental laser physicist
Charge: Communicating with a hostile government and illegitimate/illegal earnings
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 10 years
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Omid Kokabee is an Iranian experimental laser physicist at the University of Texas at Austin who was arrested in Iran after returning from the United States to visit his family in February 2011. He was charged with “communicating with a hostile government” and “illegitimate/illegal earnings” and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has not been allowed to meet with his lawyer. Omid Kokabee says that he made fake confessions under pressure during interrogation. He also said that he had been approached several times by Iran’s nuclear program and agents of the IRGC to work with them, but that he had refused.
Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki re-arrested August 2012 Name: Hossein Ronaghi Maleki
Date of Imprisonment: December 2009
Occupation: Blogger
Charge: Membership in the Iran Proxy Network; insulting the leadership; and insulting the president
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 15 years
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Maleki, a blogger, was first arrested in December 2009 during the post-election protests. He spent more than 300 days in solitary confinement, and was severely beaten while in prison, suffering severe kidney damage. He was released in July 2012 on medical furlough, but re-arrested in August with 34 other earthquake aid workers in northwestern Iran. Despite his medical problems, officials have refused to release him for medical treatment. Maleki’s father has reported security officials have threatened his family if they continue to campaign on Maleki’s behalf. In late October 2012, Maleki was reportedly taken to a Tehran hospital, which refused to admit him.
Canadian permanent resident Saeed Malekpour imprisoned 2008, sentenced to death Name: Saeed Malekpour
Date of Imprisonment: 2008
Occupation: Software developer
Charge: Propaganda against the regime by designing pornographic sites; insulting sanctities; insulting the leader and the president; and corruption on earth
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Death
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Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, faces death for his alleged role in writing software used by others to upload pornographic photographs. Arrested in 2008, he has reportedly been tortured, abused, and forced to make a televised confession. Iranian officials first sentenced him to death in December 2010 for “insulting the sanctity of Islam,” among other charges. The Canadian government protested the verdict, leading to an annulment in June 2011, with the case being remanded to a lower court. The death sentence was imposed again, and the Supreme Court rejected Malekpour’s appeal in January 2012. In September 2012, Malekpour’s lawyer said his client had “expressed remorse and repented,” allowing him to apply for clemency.
Marzieh Vafamehr arrested June 2011, released October, cannot leave country Name: Marzieh Vafamehr
Date of Imprisonment: June 29, 2012
Occupation: Actress
Charge: Participation in production of a vulgar film and anti-Sharia conduct
Current Status: Freed, but unable to leave the country or allowed to do any form of cultural activities
Sentence: Three months in prison
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Marzieh Vafamehr is an Iranian actress. She was arrested June 29, 2011, reportedly due to her acting in the 2009 Iranian-Australian film My Tehran for Sale that is critical of the regime. She was released October 24, 2011 after posting bail. She was sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in prison for appearing in the movie as an actress whose work is banned by the Iranian authorities. Upon appeal, her prison sentence was reduced to three months and the flogging sentence overturned. Marzieh Vafamehr was released after 118 days, but she was banned from making or playing in films and any forms of cultural activities as well as from leaving Iran.
Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, Mahvash Sabet - Members of Yaran, the coordinating group for the Iranian Baha’i community Name: Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet
Date of Imprisonment: May 14, 2008 (Mahvash Sabet March 8, 2008)
Occupation: Members of Yaran, the coordinating group for the Iranian Baha’i community
Charge: Espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 20 Years
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All seven were members of Yaran, the coordinating group that handles the religious and social needs of Iran’s Baha’i community. Mahvash Sabet was arrested March 8, 2008 and the other leaders on May 14, 2008. They were not allowed to contact their legal advisors for more than a year. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on August 7, 2010. After the trial they were moved from Evin Prison in Tehran to Raja’i Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison in Karaj. Their sentence was reduced to ten years in September 2010, but in late March 2011 their twenty-year sentence was reinstated.
Faces of Iran: Lawyers Unjustly Imprisoned
Human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah imprisoned September 2012 Name: Mohammad Ali Dadkhah
Date of Imprisonment: September 2012
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Seeking the soft overthrow of the government and spreading propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign media
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Nine years, 10 year ban on teaching and practicing law
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Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer. He is a co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which the Iranian regime has sought to suppress. In the aftermath of Iran’s disputed June 2009 elections, Dadkhah represented jailed political and human rights activists. In July 2011, he was tried and sentenced to nine years in prison and banned from practicing law for 10 years. His sentence was upheld in April 2012, and on 29 September, he was called to prison to begin his sentence.
Human rights lawyer Afshin Karampour imprisoned September 2011 Name: Afshin Karampour
Date of Imprisonment: September 2011
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Has not been tried
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Has not been tried
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Karampour, a lawyer who has represented many Gonabadi Dervishes, was arrested in September 2011 with more than 60 others members of the Gonabadi community. He was reportedly charged in December 2011 with “insulting the Supreme Leader,” spreading lies,” and “membership in a deviant group.” His trial began in May 2012, but he refused to participate as he and the other defendants considered the trial procedures unfair. Karampour is currently being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. He reportedly broke his leg in custody, and prison officials have allegedly denied him adequate medical treatment.
Human rights lawyer Javid Houtan Kian imprisoned February 2012 Name: Javid Houtan Kian
Date of Imprisonment: October 2010
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Acting against national security
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 11 years
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Javid Houtan Kian is a human rights lawyer whose clients included Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman convicted of adultery who was sentenced to death by stoning. He was arrested in October 2010 and convicted in February 2012. According to reports from human rights organizations, he was tortured and forced to give televised confessions against himself.
Human rights lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh imprisoned April 2011 Name: Mohammad Seifzadeh
Date of Imprisonment: October 2010
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Collusion and assembly with intent to disrupt internal security; propagation activities against the regime; and establishing the Center for Human Rights Defenders
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Nine years in prison and banned from practicing law for 10 years
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Mohammad Seifzadeh is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge, human rights activist and a cofounder of Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. Seifzadeh was a member of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi’s legal team in 2004 when she represented the mother of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who had been murdered in an Iranian prison, allegedly by an Iranian security officer. In October 2010, Seifzadeh arrested and sentenced to 9 years of prison and 10 years of ban from the practice of law. While appealing the ruling, Seifzahed remained free. In April 2011, he visited Urumiyeh on the Turkish border and was arrested by Iranian officials on charges of attempting to leave the country illegally.
Name: Abdolfattah Soltani
Date of Imprisonment: September 2011
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Propagation activities against the regime; establishing the Center for Human Rights Defenders; and endangering national security
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 13 years imprisonment and 20 years ban from practice of the law
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Mr Soltani is a lawyer and human rights activist. He is spokesman and a cofounder, along with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, which offers legal aid and representation to those who could not afford it or found it difficult to access because of the risks involved, particularly members of religious minorities, journalists, women and student activists. He represented members of the Baha’I faith, academic Haleh Esfadiari, journalist Akbar Ganji, and the family of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who was killed in custody. He was arrested in September of 2011, when he was preparing to defend members of the Baha’i faith. He was sentenced initially to 18 years in 2012, which was reduced to 13 upon appeal.
Faces of Iran: Political Figures Unjustly Imprisoned
Ebrahim Yazdi imprisoned since April 16, 2012 Name: Ebrahim Yazdi – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: April 16, 2012
Occupation: Reformist politician
Charge: “Assembly against national security,” “propagating against the regime,” and establishing and leading the Iran Freedom movement
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Eight years in prison and a five year ban on social activities
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Ebrahim Yazdi is the Secretary General of the banned opposition party Iran Freedom Movement. Yazdi was reportedly arrested on October 1, 2010, for participating in an “illegal Friday prayer.” A court sentenced him to eight years in prison in December 20011 on charges of “assembly against national security,” “propagating against the regime,” and establishing and leading a banned political group.. He was summoned to begin his sentence on April 16, 2012, despite appeals based on his age (81 years) and poor health.
Name: Mir Hossein-Mousavi
Date of Imprisonment: February 2011
Occupation: Reformist politician
Charge: Not charged
Current Status: House arrest
Sentence: None
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Mir Hossein-Mousavi was the reform candidate for the 2009 presidential election and leader of the opposition in the unrest in the aftermath of the disputed election, which was marred by allegations of vote-rigging and manipulation. Early in the revolution, he was the Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister until 1989, when the post was abolished. He then went into semi-retirement for the next 20 years prior to the election. He was placed under house arrest along with fellow opposition candidate Mehdi Karroubi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard in February 2011. He has been held incommunicado since then, with no access to newspapers or media, or the ability to go outside. He has had no access to visitors, aside from close family members.
Name: Mehdi Karroubi
Date of Imprisonment: February 2011
Occupation: Reformist politician
Charge: Not charged
Current Status: House arrest
Sentence: None
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Since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Mehdi Karroubi held high government offices, including serving as Speaker of the Parliament and member of the Expediency Council. As Chairman of the Etemad-e Melli Party, he ran in both the 2005 and 2009 presidential elections in Iran. In the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election, Mehdi Karroubi and fellow candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi objected to election results and were subsequently put under house arrest in February 2011, following repeated physical attacks on his self and his property. His wife, Fatemeh Karroubi, was at first put under house arrest with her husband but she was released for medical treatment and is now forbidden to join him at the small apartment to which he’s been transferred. Karroubi’s family was forced to rent an apartment for Mehdi Karroubi and cover the cost of the government guards who hold him under constant surveillance. While never formally charged, both Mehdi Karroubi and Mr. Mousavi have been accused of sedition. Mehdi Karroubi has also been targeted by the regime for alleging that prisoners have been raped by guards. They are occasionally permitted a visit from their immediate family. Karroubi is reportedly being denied fresh air and the opportunity to leave the apartment for any physical activity. They are denied any access to newspapers or the media.
Name: Zahra Rahnavard
Date of Imprisonment: February 2011
Occupation: Reformist politician
Charge: Not charged
Current Status: House arrest
Sentence: None
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Zahra Rahnavard is a former advisor to President Mohammad Khatami, chancellor of Alzahra University, and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Sh was placed under house arrest along with opposition candidate Mehdi Karroubi and her husband in February 2011. She has been held incommunicado since then, with no access to newspapers or media, or the ability to go outside. She has had no access to visitors, aside from close family members.
Politician Mohammad Tavassoli arrested November 2011 Name: Mohammad Tavassoli
Date of Imprisonment: November 2011
Occupation: Reformist politician
Charge: Disrupting national security and propagation activities against the regime
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 11 years in prison and a five year ban on political and press-related activities
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Mohammad Tavassoli was the first mayor of Tehran after the 1979 Revolution and is the political director of the outlawed political party Freedom Movement of Iran. He was arrested in November 2011 after he and 142 other activists wrote a letter to Mohammad Khatami saying that there was little hope that the authorities would hold free and fair parliamentary elections in March 2012.
Faces of Iran: Students Unjustly Imprisoned
Student blogger Vahid Asghari imprisoned May 2008, sentenced to death Name: Vahid Asghari
Date of Imprisonment: May 2008
Occupation: Blogger and information technology student
Charge: Hosting “obscene and blasphemous websites”
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Death; sentenced in January 2012
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Asghari, an ethnic Kurd, is a blogger and information technology student who had hosted websites containing anti-government material. Authorities arrested him at Tehran Airport in May 2008 for possession of multiple credit cards. In October 2009, he wrote from prison that he had been tortured, forced to make a televised confession, and forced to make espionage allegations against fellow blogger Hossein Derakhshan. He was sentenced for allegedly hosting a pornography network.
Student activist Majid Dorri imprisoned July 2009 Name: Majid Dorri
Date of Imprisonment: July 9, 2009
Occupation: Student activist
Charge: Moharebeh (“enmity towards God”); acting against national security; disrupting public order; and relations with the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 6 and a half years
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Majid Dorri is a student activist who has been banned from continuing his education, sentenced to 6.5 years in prison, and exiled to Behbahan Prison. He was arrested on July 9, 2009 after holding protests during the 2009 elections. In Fall 2010 he was transferred to Behbahan Prison, where he has remained since. His family, residents of Karaj, have to travel 15 hours in each direction to visit him in prison. In January 2011, Majid Dorri’s parents were summoned to Karaj Intelligence Office and threatened not to disseminate information about their son’s case.
Activist Bahareh Hedayat arrested December 2009 Name: Bahareh Hedayat
Date of Imprisonment: December 31, 2009
Occupation: Student and women’s rights activist, member of the Central Council and Spokesperson for the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student union, and an activist with the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Change of Discriminatory Laws Against Women
Charge: Insulting the Supreme Leader; insulting the President; actions against national security; propagation of falsehoods; and colluding for assembly
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Seven and a half years plus two years from a previously suspended sentence
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Bahareh Hedayat is a student and women’s rights activist, member of the Central Council and Spokesperson for the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student union, and an activist with the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Change of Discriminatory Laws Against Women. She was arrested by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for the fifth time in four years at midnight on 31 December 2009. While in prison, she has developed kidney disease and gastrointestinal disorders.
Student activist Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh imprisoned February 2011 Name: Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh
Date of Imprisonment: February 2011
Occupation: Student activist
Charge: Propagating against the state; assembly and collusion against the state; and disrupting public order
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Forty-five months
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Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh was secretary of Sharif University’s Islamic Students Association. He was arrested in February 2011 and has been severely tortured.
Student activist Abdollah Momeni arrested June 2009 Name: Abdollah Momeni
Date of Imprisonment: June 2009
Occupation: Student activist
Charge: Presence at post-election gatherings and activities against national security
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Eight years
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Abdollah Momeni is an Iranian student leader and pro-democracy activist. He became involved in activism in the July 1999 protests, when large numbers of students across the country protested the abolition of pro-reform newspaper Salam. He worked as a longtime spokesman of the Alumni Association of Iran (Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat) organization, which focuses on enforcement of democracy and human rights protection. He was arrested during protests after the election in June 2009 and later sentenced to eight years in prison for his presence at post-election gatherings and activities against national security. He has experienced abuse while in prison and has been denied medical treatment for heart and back problems.
Sayed Ziaoddin (Zia) Nabavi imprisoned June 2009 Name: Sayed Ziaoddin (Zia) Nabavi
Date of Imprisonment: June 2009
Occupation: Student
Charge: Moharebeh (“enmity towards God”)
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: 10 years
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Nabavi co-founded the Advocacy Council for the Right to Education, an organization of students barred from studying as a result of their political activities, in 2007. He was arrested shortly after Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election for attending a mass protest, and is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Karoun Prison in southwest Iran.
Student activist Majid Tavvakoli imprisoned December 2009 Name: Majid Tavvakoli
Date of Imprisonment: December 7, 2009
Occupation: Student activist
Charge: Participating in an illegal gathering; propaganda against the system; and insulting officials
Current Status: Imprisoned
Sentence: Eight and a half years
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Majid Tavvakoli is a student activist and member of the Islamic Students’ Association at Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology. He has been arrested at least three times, with the last on 7 December 2009, during student protests over the disputed 2009 Presidential Election. In 2010, he went on a hunger strike, during which time his mother joined him and he suffered from stomach hemorraging. He currently suffers from a respiratory disease, which has worsened while in custody.
Faces of Iran: Citizens On Furlough or Released
Name: Nasrin Sotoudeh
Date of Imprisonment: September 2010
Occupation: Human rights lawyer
Charge: Propagation activities against the regime; cooperating with the Center for Human Rights Defenders; and endangering national security
Current Status: On furlough
Sentence: Six years in prison and a ban from the practice of law for ten years
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Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights lawyer known for defending juveniles facing death penalty, prisoners of conscience, human rights activists and children victims of abuse and a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). She was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced to six years in prison and a ban from the practice of law for ten years after the end of her prison sentence in January 2011. Ms. Sotoudeh’s has been frequently deprived of visits with her family and banned from making telephone calls. She was been denied access to her lawyer suffered from torture and long periods of solitary confinement. Her family has been denied the right to travel abroad. Ms. Sotoudeh is on a hunger strike and has been since October 17th to protest her inability to have her family visit her without difficulties.
Maryam Jalili re-imprisoned since April 2011 Name: Maryam Jalili – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: April 2011
Occupation: Unavailable
Charge: Membership in an illegal group
Current Status: Released
Sentence: Two and a half years in prison
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Maryam Jalili is a convert to Christianity from Islam. On December 24, 2009, she was arrested in Pakdasht along with 14 others while celebrating Christmas at a house church. While 13 were released on January 4, 2010, Jalili, along with Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin, remained incarcerated until March 17, 2010. In April 2011, she was rearrested and spent several months in Ward 209 of Evin Prison before being transferred to the general ward. On December 5, 2011, they were sentenced to two and a half years in Evin Prison.
Mahboubeh Karami imprisoned since May 15, 2011 Name: Mahboubeh Karami – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: May 15, 2011
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: “Assembly with intent to harm the state” and “propagating against the regime”
Current Status: Released
Sentence: Three years in prison
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Mahboubeh Karami is a prominent women’s activist and member of the One Million Signature campaign for the repeal of Iran’s discriminatory laws against women. She was arrested for the fifth time in March 2010 and held in solitary confinement until her August 18, 2010, release. She began serving a three year prison sentence, imposed in May 2011, on May 15, 2011, despite reportedly suffering from depression, insomnia, and respiratory problems throughout her incarceration. In May 2012 she was granted a two month extended leave from prison to receive treatment, but authorities returned her to prison after seven days.
Journalist Mahsa Amrabadi imprisoned May 2012 Name: Mahsa Amrabadi
Date of Imprisonment: June 2009
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: Propaganda against the regime
Current Status: Released
Sentence: Five years, four suspended
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Wife of jailed journalist Masoud Bastani, Amrabadi began a year in prison in May 2012, after she was arrested in June 2009 and imprisoned for two months. Amrabadi’s activities such as participating in Qur’an reading gatherings with families of political prisoners, interviews, and writing reports for newspapers, visits with independent Grand Ayatollahs, and defending her imprisoned husband were cited as evidence of her charges.
Zhila Karamzadeh Makvandi re-imprisoned since December 27, 2011 Name: Zhila Karamzadeh Makvandi – added June 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: December 27, 2011
Occupation: Activist
Charge: “Founding an illegal organization” and “acting against national security”
Current Status: Released
Sentence: 2 years in prison and a 2 year suspended sentence
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Zhila Karamzadeh Makvandi was arrested on February 8, 2010 for her role as a founding member of The Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers of Iran), a group of mostly women whose children were killed or detained in post-2009 election violence. After spending 34 days in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, she was released on bail of 50 million tomans (then approximately $50,000). On April 9, 2010, a Tehran court sentenced Makvandi to four years in prison for founding an illegal organization and taking action against national security. The sentence was reduced on appeal to two years in prison with a two-year suspended sentence. Makvandi has been in Evin Prison since December 27, 2011. She went on a hunger strike on October 30, 2012 with eight other female prisoners to protest allegedly violent and invasive body searches by prison guards. She was granted temporary furlough in May 2013 and was subsequently recalled one week later to prison to continue serving her sentence.
Zhila Bani Yaghoub imprisoned since September 2, 2012 Name: Zhila Bani-Yaghoub – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: September 2, 2012
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: “Insulting the Islamic Republic”
Current Status: Released
Sentence: One year in prison and a 30 year ban on journalist activity
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Zhila Bani-Yaghoub is the editor-in-Chief of Iranian Women’s Club, a news website focused on women’s rights. She was arrested along with her husband, fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi-Amoui, in June 2009 in connection to articles she wrote following the contested Iranian election. In 2010, an Iranian court sentenced her to one year in prison and a 30 year ban on journalist activity. She was summoned in September 2012 to Evin Prison to begin serving her sentence.
Journalist Abdolreza Tajik resentenced to six years in prison March 14, 2011 Name: Abdolreza Tajik
Date of Imprisonment: March 14, 2011
Occupation: Journalist
Charge: Propagation activities against the regime and cooperating with the Center for Human Rights Defenders
Current Status: Released
Sentence: Six years
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Tajik is a journalist who prepared reports for the Center for Human Rights Defenders. He has been arrested three times since the 2009 election. He was last arrested on June 12, 2010, released on bail on December 22, 2010, and sentenced to six years in prison on March 14, 2011. According to his sister, on his first night in detention, he was “violated” in the presence of senior judiciary officials.
Ebrahim Firouzi imprisoned since March 7, 2013 Name: Ebrahim Firouzi – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: Unavailable
Occupation: Unavailable
Charge: “Propaganda against the system”, “publishing lies” and “disturbing public opinion”
Current Status: Released
Sentence: Suspended three year prison sentence
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Ebrahim Firouzi is a convert to Christianity from Islam. He was reportedly released after being arrested on December 27, 2012, but plainclothes security forces allegedly rearrested him on March 7, 2013. He is believed to still be in detention. In 2011, Firouzi was imprisoned and convicted on charges of propaganda against the regime, insulting Islam, and acting against national security, and released after 10 months.
Mehdi Khazali imprisoned since October 30, 2012 Name: Mehdi Khazali – added April 24, 2013.
Date of Imprisonment: October 30, 2012
Occupation: Blogger and reformist politician
Charge: “Propaganda against the system”, “publishing lies” and “disturbing public opinion”
Current Status: Released
Sentence: 14 years in prison and 10 years in exile
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Mehdi Khazali is the son of Ayatollah Khazali, a conservative cleric. Mehdi Khazali is an outspoken critic of the Iranian government, and has written several articles on his blog criticizing Iranian leaders. He was first arrested after the June 2009 presidential election for his association with the Green movement. He was convicted of “propaganda against the system,” “publishing lies,” and “disturbing public opinion” in October 2010, and most recently arrested on October 30, 2012. In January 2013, Khazali began a hunger strike to protest his and other prisoner’s poor treatment.
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