Iranian Human Rights Activists Under Attack; New Precedents Set
Kaveh Kermanshahi’s temporary detention extended; informed of “propaganda against the regime” charge
Temporary detention orders of Kaveh Kermanshahi, human rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, have been extended for another month. Kermanshahi’s trial court began on 5 April 2010. In Kaveh Kermanshahi’s absence, the judge announced his charge as “propagation against the regime.” A source close to Kermanshahi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “Kermanshahi’s attorney and family asked the judge his reason for extending his detention. The judge replied that he has determined the case needs further investigation.” Farangees Davoodi, Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi’s mother, has been able to meet with her son only once, on March 2, 2010. Her requests for visitation with her son have been denied otherwise.
Mostafa Ahmadian, one of Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi’s attorneys, said the extension of his client’s temporary detention is illegal. He added that his client has been informed of his charge of propagation against the regime, but that he does not know how Kaveh was detained and that he is in a complete information blackout about his client’s case.
The human rights activist was arrested on February 3, 2010 after security forces stormed his home. Since then, he has been under interrogations while in temporary detention, deprived of any contact with his attorneys or family. Kaveh Kermanshahi, 25, has a law degree. He is well-known for his detailed and deep attention to political prisoners and their families. Kermanshahi is also a member of Advar Alumni Association and One Million Signatures Campaign for changing discriminatory laws in Iran.
Kaveh Rezaee’s18-month sentence upheld
Kaveh Rezaee, a student activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign reported that his sentence has been upheld in an appeals court. He wrote in her personal blogs that Branch 56 of Tehran Province Appeals Court, has upheld Branch One of Karaj Revolutionary Courts’ initial sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment in his case. Rezaee’s charges are “actions against national security through propagation against the Islamic Republic of Iran regime,” and “insulting the founder of Islamic Republic of Iran.” Some of the court’s supporting evidence for those charges are “belief in feminism,” “activities in the human rights area,” and “membership in organizations such as Islamic Students Association of Hamadan University and One Million Signatures Campaign, as well as cooperation with Hamadan University News Web site, Bou Ali Sina News Bulletin, and publishing some items in Amir Kabir University News Web site.
Kaveh Riazi Shirazi is one of the expelled Hamadan University students who was arrested in 2008. Following repeated contacts by Ministry of Information, Rezaee turned up at News Headquarters of Hashtgerd, a suburb of Karaj, where he was arrested and after spending nine days in detention, he was freed on a $53,000 bail.
Abolfazl Abedini’s 11-year sentence
Branch One of Ahvaz Revolutionary Courts has sentenced journalist Abolfazl Abedini Nasr to 11 years in prison. According to HRANA, the freelance journalist who formerly worked with the Human Rights Activists News Agency, was found guilty on charges of “relations with enemy states” (5 years), “Membership in the Human Rights Activists News Agency” (5 years), and “propagation against the regime through interviewing with foreign media” (1 year).
According to HRANA Web site, one of the pieces of evidence suporting the charges of “Membership in the Human Rights Activists news Agency” was Abedini’s business card which showed him as “Public Relations Manager, Human Rights Activists News Agency.” This is the first time membership in this human rights organization has faced with a five year prison sentence and this increases concern that more such heavy sentences for other human rights activists currently in prison will follow.
The sentence was served to Mohammad Oliaeefar, Abedini’s attorney, on March 29, 2010, though it was issued in mid-March 2010. This charge is related to Abedini’s previous case file which started upon his June arrest and subsequent release on bail of $300,000.
Abolfazl Abedini was arrested again on March 2, 2010 in Ramhormoz in Khuzestan Province, he was transferred to solitary confinement at Evin Prison’s IRGC Ward 2-A, and after more than a month, his attorney has not been informed of his new charges.
Information blackout on Mehdi Khodaee, human rights activist
Despite continuous follow-ups, there is no news about the fate of Mehdi Khodaee, a former member of the Iran Human Rights Activists News Agency, who was arrested along with other HRANA activists on March 2, 2010. Charges against the student activist who was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of Revolutionary Courts are “actions against national security through organizing gatherings.” According to HRANA, Khodaee has spent at least three days after his arrest at Ministry of Information’s Ghamar Bani Hashem Hospital, due to torture and injuries. Mehdi Khodaee’s court was convened on January 21, 2009, but his sentence was served with one year’s delay against Article 212 of Iranian Penal Code.
Khodaee was arrested following the widespread arrests of human rights activists last March and transferred to prison. Over the past few months, more than 41 human rights activists have been arrested.