Friday, 9 December 2011

Bob Levinson Proof of Life Video

Thursday, 1 December 2011

IMHRO condemn terrorist attacks of Basij militia to British embassy in Tehran

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)

IMHRO strongly condemns the Iranian government’s terrorist act against the British embassy. This behaviour of the Iranian government continues the illegal process begun with the occupation of the Israeli and US embassies in 1980.

It is a disgrace to see that the Iranian government has no respect for international law.

“Minorities in Iran are suffering from the madness of the regime’s oppressive tactics which seem to have no limit”. Reza Vashahi, a researcher on minorities told IMHRO.

IMHRO calls on the international community to ensure that the Iranian Government fulfils its international obligations.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

RFERL: Azerbaijani Journalist Targeted By Fatwa Dies After Stabbing Attack

BAKU -- Azerbaijani writer and journalist Rafiq Tagi has died, four days after he was stabbed multiple times in a late-night attack in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.

Tagi, 61, a critic of the Azerbaijani government, Iran, and political Islam, died in the Baku hospital where he had been treated following the November 19 attack.

Rasim Karadzha, a friend of Tagi's and editor of the "Alatoran" literary journal, informed RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service that Tagi died about 3 p.m. on November 23.

Tagi underwent four hours of surgery after the attack and had his spleen removed, but he had been reported to be in satisfactory condition.

Tagi spoke with RFE/RL about an hour before his death and said that he was recovering well.

"My condition is difficult and stable," he said. "It's stable and difficult, but it's not worsening."

WATCH: Rafiq Tagi spoke to RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Maarif Chingizolgu just an hour before he died. 

Nizameddin Asgarov, one of the doctors who operated on Tagi, told RFE/RL it was likely Tagi choked.

"He was a normal patient. We assume he died of a vomit mass -- that he choked on this mass," he said. "When he had to vomit, the water went to his windpipe. We cannot find any other reason for his death."

Asgarov said that doctors checked on Tagi less than 10 minutes before he died and he was stable.

Earlier, some of the writer's friends had complained about a lack of security at the hospital and urged the government to take measures, but Tagi told RFE/RL that he did not feel in danger.

Iran Denies Role

Tagi was stabbed seven times outside his Baku home late on November 19 by two unidentified assailants.

In comments to RFE/RL on November 21, Tagi said the attack might have been linked to an article he published earlier this month on the website of RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service titled "Iran and the Inevitability of Globalization" (here in Azerbaijani).

In the article he sharply criticized the Iranian government and ridiculed Tehran's threats against Azerbaijan.

In 2007, a district court in Baku sentenced Tagi to three years in jail for an article published in 2006 that was deemed to be critical of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. He was granted a presidential pardon later that year.

That article prompted an Iranian cleric, Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani, to place a fatwa on Tagi, calling for his death.

The Iranian Embassy in Baku on November 22 issued a statement denying any Iranian involvement in the attack on Tagi.

"We refute the groundless claims, at odds with reality, spread by some persons and media outlets of the Azerbaijan Republic linking the attempt on Rafiq Tagi's life to the Islamic Republic of Iran," the statement read.

The Azerbaijan authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the attack on Tagi.

Azerbaijani blogger Ali Novruzov, speaking to RFE/RL at a conference in Brussels, said he was certain that Tagi was killed because of his writings and that it was crucial for the country that the case be investigated quickly and the perpetrators punished.

"There is one issue that I'm sure of -- he was stabbed to death because of his writing, of expressing his opinions, of his journalistic activities, of his criticisms," Novruzov said. "Just imagine that in the 21st century, in a country that aspires to be modern, a guy is stabbed for his opinions, for his thinking."

Novruzov said Tagi's passing was a major blow to critical thinking in his country. "Rafiq Tagi was a person that everybody in Azerbaijan knows -- for bad or for good -- but everybody is -- was -- aware of his existence, of his writings.

"It is not just an ordinary man stabbed in the street. It is somebody whose opinion was listened to."

based on RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service reports

Monday, 21 November 2011

Washingtonpost: Iranians traveling to Israel face 5 years in prison after parliament extends ban

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians traveling to Israel could go to prison for up to five years instead of only three months, after Iran’s parliament revised an existing ban for such trips.

The measure reflects Tehran’s security concerns over archenemy Israel. Iran claims to have dismantled several purported Israeli spy rings in recent years and arrested Iranians with alleged links to Mossad.

Iranian state TV on Monday reported that parliament passed a new amendment, expanding the current prison term for travel to Israel to between two and five years.

Under a 1972 ban imposed by U.S.-backed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, offenders faced possible imprisonment of up to three months.

At the time, the law was designed to mostly avert travel to communist countries.

AFP: UN resolution on Iran rights gets record votes

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly on Monday passed an annual resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iran with a record number of votes in support.
The assembly also passed resolutions condemning human rights in North Korea and Myanmar. All received record high backing.
The Iran vote came only three days after the General Assembly condemned an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington -- a plot which the United States accuses Iran of masterminding.
The 193-member assembly passed the resolution condemning "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" by Iranian authorities with 86 votes in favor, six more than last year, 32 against, down eight from 2010, and 59 abstentions.
The resolution, proposed by Canada, condemned "flogging and amputations" carried out in Iran and deplored a "dramatic increase" in the use of the death penalty, particularly against minors. Many human rights groups say events have deteriorated in Iran over the past year.
Iranian government representative, Mohammad Javad Larijani, an advisor to the country's supreme leader, called the resolution "substantially unfounded and intentionally malicious" in a speech to the General Assembly's human rights committee.
Syria, which faces a special human rights vote on Tuesday over its deadly crackdown on opposition protests, spoke out strongly for its Iranian ally.
The North Korea vote was passed with 112 votes in favor, 16 against and 55 abstentions. On Myanmar the vote was 98 in favor, 25 against with 63 abstentions.
The assembly raised "very serious concern" over the "torture" and "inhuman conditions of detention, public executions, extra judicial and arbitrary detention" in North Korea.
It also condemned the "existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labor."
The Myanmar resolution welcomed recent talks between democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military-dominated government, the release of some political prisoners and other changes over the past year.
But the General Assembly said there were still "systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms."
It highlighted "arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." It also raised concerns about the treatment of ethnic minorities such as the Karen people.
Western nations, which have sanctions against Myanmar, have sought to encourage the tentative reforms started by the government. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to hold talks in Myanmar next month.
Myanmar's UN ambassador U Than Swe highlighted the government's efforts towards "building a flourishing, democratic society."
"We do deserve warm, welcome, kind understanding and sincere encouragements of the international community rather than unconstructive approach by adopting such resolutions," he told the assembly.
In a statement, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague acknowledged the changes in Myanmar, but said "human rights abuses continue, especially in ethnic areas, and the level of support for this resolution shows once again that the international community has not forgotten the people" of Myanmar.
"The UN General Assembly passed these three resolutions by a record majority today, and I welcome the strong signal that sends," Hague said.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

CFR: Human Rights in Iran

Women's rights: The Iranian constitution allows equal rights for men and women "in conformity with Islamic criteria." According to the World Economic Forum's 2010 Gender Gap report (PDF)--which compared disparity between men and women on economic participation, access to education, health, and political empowerment--Iran ranked 123 out of 134 countries. This was better than most countries in the region, ahead of Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even Turkey.  However, the UN report notes that the application of certain laws is a barrier to gender equality in Iran.  For instance, a woman's worth and testimony in a court of law is regarded as half that of a man's. Women do not have equitable inheritance rights, nor can they be granted guardianship rights for their children, even upon the death of their husbands. The report says female activists who try to address gender equality issues are often targeted.

Religious, ethnic, and other minorities: There are widespread abuses against members of recognized and unrecognized religious and ethnic minorities such as Arabs, Azeris, Baloch, Kurds, Namatullahi Sufi Muslims, Sunnis, Baha'is, and Christians. Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority, the Baha'i, has historically been discriminated against and continues to be denied jobs and educational opportunities, and face arbitrary detention and unfair trials. Human Rights Watch says Iran also engages in systematic discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. "Iran is one of only seven countries with laws allowing executions for consensual same-sex conduct," it says.

VOA: Sexual Minorities Persecuted In Iran

The Iranian government has a deplorable record of persecuting members of Iran's gay, lesbian and transgender, community.

International observers were recently alarmed by reports that three men were hanged in the Iranian city of Ahvaz for a series of crimes that included  engaging in sodomy.

According to the Norway–based NGO Iran Human Rights, the Iranian Student News Agency said that on September 4 three men were convicted of 'unlawful acts' and acts against Sharia, based on articles 108 and 110 of the Islamic penal code.  Iran Human Rights noted that "Articles 108 and 110 of the Iranian Islamic Penal code are part of the chapter covering 'Hadd' for sodomy. . . .Article 110 says punishment for sodomy is killing."

The three men, identified only by initials, were also charged with kidnapping and theft.  Because of the variety of charges and the lack of due process in Iran – summary trials, the disregard for the right to defense counsel, and the practice of accusing political prisoners of criminal activity -- there is no way to know why these men were hanged.

The Iranian government has a deplorable record of persecuting members of Iran's gay, lesbian and transgender, community -- the size of which remains unknown, since many individuals fear identifying themselves.

The State Department's most recent human rights report on Iran notes that the law "prohibits and punishes homosexual conduct; sodomy between consenting adults is a capital crime."  It says that those accused of sodomy often faced summary trials, and noted that "human rights activists and NGOs reported that some members of the gay and bi-sexual community were pressured to undergo gender reassignment surgery to avoid legal and social persecutions in the country."

In his most recent address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama defended the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered -- or LGBT -- individuals around the world:  "No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion; but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere."

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says, it is "hateful" to suggest that LGBT people "are somehow exempt from human rights protections. . . .All people's rights and dignity must be protected whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

IMHRO: Four Ahwazi Arab arrested for converting to Christianity

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)


IMHRO sources from al- Ahwaz in south west of Iran reported that four Ahwazi Arabs men arrested by Iranian security service because they converted from Islam to Christianity. They all reported below 30 years old. Ali Jabber, Karim Naderi, Rahim Asakerh and Rahman Jafari all arrested while worshiping secretly in the house in city of Ahwaz.

After they arrested, security services raided their houses in city of Ahwaz, looking for Bible and Christian literature.

IMHRO condemns the persecution of Muslims who converts into Christianity in Iran. Iran should respect freedom of religions, including conversion from Islam to other religions.

Iranian security service monitors Christians in Iran. Christian Worship is banned, churches destroyed and those who converted from Islam to Christianity charged with apostasy and would face the death penalty.  Many Christians in last thirty years tortured and murdered by Iranian security service, there is no freedom of religion in Iran and Christians like Baha’i, Sunni and Sufi dervishes are heavily persecuted. 

Underground church is wide spread in Iran, as people are fed up with Islamic theocracy in Iran. It is estimated that in last 10 years thousands had converted to Christianity in Iran.

Iranian Kurds at risk of imminent execution

UA: 307/11 Index: MDE 13/094/2011 Iran Date: 19 October 2011 Date: 19 October 2011
iranian kurds at risk of imminent execution
The death sentence s against Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi, two members of Iran’s Kurdish minority have been up held by the Supreme Court . They could now be executed at any time.
Zaniar (or Zanyar) Moradi and Loghman (or Loqman) Moradi were sentenced to public hanging on 22 
December 2010 by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. They have been convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” for allegedly murdering the son of a senior cleric in Marivan, Kordestan province, north-eastern Iran, on 4 July 2009. They have also been convicted of participating in armed activities with Komala, a Kurdish opposition group. The trial reportedly lasted 20 minutes but the two men appealed the sentences. A 12 October 2011report stated that the Supreme Court had upheld the verdicts. According to information, Loghman and Zaniar Moradi have been verbally notified of the Supreme Court’s decision. Amnesty International is investigating reports suggesting that Zaniar Moradi was 17 at the time of his arrest.

Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi were arrested respectively on 1 August 2009 and 17 October 2009 in Marivan. They were held by the Ministry of Intelligence for the first nine months of their detention, when no charges of murder were brought against them. They were moved several times between detention facilities and, at or around the beginning of December 2010, were finally transferred to Section 4 of Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, northwest of Tehran. Loghman and Zaniar Moradi then wrote a letter in which they stated that during their interrogation session by the Ministry of Intelligence they were forced to “confess” to the allegations of murder after being tortured for a period of 25 days and threatened with rape. Both men were denied access to adequate medical treatment.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English or your own language :
Urging the Iranian authorities not to carry out the executions of Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi;
Calling on them to commute the death sentences of Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi and anyone else on death row, including other Kurdish political prisoners;
Expressing concern that neither Loghman Moradi nor Zaniar Moradi had a fair trial, and urging the Iranian authorities to investigate the allegations that they were tortured and to bring to justice anyone found responsible for abuses and to disregard as evidence in courts “confessions” which may have been coerced.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: "Call on #Iran leader @khamenei_ir to halt the execution of Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi” Salutation: Your Excellency
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
[care of] Public relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street
Vali Asr Ave., above Pasteur Street intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran Email: (In subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
High Council for Human Rights
[Care of] Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
(subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
iranian kurds at risk of imminent execution

ADditional Information

Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi’s letter from prison also stated that during interrogations by the Ministry of Intelligence, Zaniar Moradi was repeatedly asked about his father, Eghbal Moradi, who lives in Iraq’s Kurdistan province. The letter further describes that Zaniar Moradi was tied to a bed, lashed and subsequently threatened with rape prior to his “confession”.
Kurds, who are one of Iran’s many minorities, live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in the province of Kordestan and neighbouring provinces bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. They experience discrimination in the enjoyment of their religious, economic and cultural rights (see: Iran: Human rights abuses against the Kurdish minority, (Index: MDE 13/088/2008), 30 July 2008 available at: For many years, Kurdish organizations such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Marxist group Komala conducted armed struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran, although neither currently does so. The Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), was formed in 2004, and carried out armed attacks against Iranian security forces, but declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2009, although it still engages in armed clashes with security forces in what it terms “self-defence”. Since April 2011 there has been an escalation of clashes between Kurdish armed groups and the security forces. From August until the first week of October 2011, the Iranian and Turkish governments shelled border areas where armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and PJAK bases were thought to be located. In the first week of September, Iran reportedly rejected a full ceasefire request by PJAK.
Amnesty International condemns without reservation attacks on civilians, which includes judges, clerics, and locally or nationally-elected officials, as attacking civilians violates fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. These principles prohibit absolutely attacks on civilians as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such attacks cannot be justified under any circumstances.
At least 13 other Kurdish men and one Kurdish woman are believed to be on death row in connection with their alleged membership of and activities for proscribed Kurdish organizations. Some have had initial prison sentences increased to death sentences. At least 10 Kurds have reportedly been executed for political offences in recent years.
Since 1990, Iran is believed to have executed at least 51 people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18 years old. Up to four of these executions were in 2011. For example, 17-year-old Alireza Molla-Soltani was publicly hanged in the city of Karaj, near Tehran on 21 September 2011 (See: Iran executes teenager accused of killing “Iran’s strongest man” , 21 September 2011, Amnesty International has compiled a list of more than 144 juvenile offenders on death row in Iran, although it has proved difficult to monitor their subsequent fate in all cases.
The execution of juvenile offenders is prohibited under international law, including Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Iran is a state party. In Iran a person convicted of murder has no right to seek pardon or commutation from the state, in violation of Article 6(4) of the ICCPR. The family of a murder victim have the right either to insist on execution, or to pardon the killer and receive financial compensation (diyeh). For more information about executions of juveniles in Iran, please see Iran: The last executioner of children (MDE 13/059/2007),
Name: Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi
Gender m/f: m
UA: 307/11 Index: MDE 13/094/2011 Issue Date: 19 October 2011

Friday, 21 October 2011

UN: the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights: The situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran

Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the
General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, submitted in accordance with
Human Rights Council resolution 16/9.

The Special Rapporteur officially assumed responsibility for the mandate on
1 August 2011 and has since notified the Secretariat that, owing to his late
appointment, he would not be in a position to present a substantive report, but would
focus instead on presenting his proposed methodology and cataloguing the most
recent trends in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This would emphasize the need for greater transparency and cooperation from
the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Religious and ethnic minorities

59. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned by reports of targeted violence and
discrimination against minority groups. Members of recognized and unrecognized
religious and ethnic minorities such Arabs, Azeris, Balochs, Kurds, Nematullahi
Sufi Muslims, Sunnis, Baha’is and Christians are reportedly facing a wide range of
human and civil rights violations. These include encroachment on their rights to
freedom of assembly, association, expression, movement and liberty.

60. The Special Rapporteur is concerned about reports of violations against the
Baha’i community, which, despite being the largest non-Muslim religious minority,
does not enjoy recognition as such by the Government. Its members have
historically suffered multifaceted discrimination, including denial of jobs, pensions
and educational opportunities, as well as confiscation and destruction of property.
According to information received by the Special Rapporteur, at least 100 members
of the Baha’i community, including seven community leaders2 are currently

imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The majority of those detained allegedly
face national security-related charges and have undergone judicial proceedings that
lacked due process and fair trial standards.

61. In addition, recognized religious minorities reportedly face serious constraints
in the enjoyment of their rights and are subjected to severe limitations and
restrictions on the freedom of religion and belief. For instance, the Special
Rapporteur notes that conversion from Islam is still punishable. Articles 13 and 26
of the Constitution recognize Christianity, granting Christians the right to worship
freely and to form religious societies. Article 14 obligates the Government to uphold
the equality and human rights of Christians. However, Christians in the Islamic
Republic of Iran are reportedly subjected to limitations on their freedom of religion
and various forms of religious discrimination. This is said to be particularly true of
Protestant Christians, most of whom are newly converted. The Intelligence Ministry
is reported to closely monitor Protestant congregations and to routinely summon or
detain members of Protestant groups for interrogations, during which individuals are
questioned about their beliefs, church activities and other church members and are
often urged to return to Islam. In this regard, some Protestants reported having been
threatened by intelligence officials with arrest and apostasy charges if they did not
return to Islam. This pattern of harassment has reportedly resulted in the operations
of most Protestant churches going underground, where church services and Bible
studies are conducted in private homes.

62. The Special Rapporteur was particularly disturbed by a recent ruling of the
Supreme Court that upheld a death sentence for Yousef Nadarkhani, a Protestant
pastor, who was reportedly born to Muslim parents but converted to Christianity
when he was 19 years old. The verdict reads that, unless he decides to renounce his
Christianity, Mr. Nadarkhani will be executed by hanging. This is an emblematic
case of religious intolerance and State-sanctioned violations of the right to freedom
of religion and belief, a fundamental freedom guaranteed by international
instruments. Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, pastor for the Church of Iran in the city of
Shiraz, was also detained, in June 2010, and was reportedly held incommunicado in
solitary confinement for approximately two months. Authorities originally charged
him with apostasy, but later dropped that charge and charged him with “blasphemy”
instead. He is currently awaiting trial under this charge.

63. Sufi Muslims in the Islamic Republic of Iran are also subjected to limitations
on their freedom of religion and various forms of religious discrimination. This is
particularly true of members of the Shia Sufi order, Nematollahi Gonabadi.

Authorities sentenced Gholam-Abbas Zare-Haqiqi, a Gonabadi leader, to four years
in prison in October 2009, for allowing a burial at Sufi cemeteries, a banned
practice. On 13 April 2011, authorities arrested eight Gonabadi dervishes by the
names of Abdolreza Kashani, Shokrollah Hosseini, Alireza Abbasi, Ali Kashanifar,
Mohammad Marvi, Nazarali Marvi, Ramin Soltankhah and Zafarali Moghimi. The
men had been part of a group of dervishes previously sentenced to five months in
prison, 50 lashes and one year’s exile on charges of “disrupting public order”,
mainly for assembling in front of the Gonabad Justice Department and prison to
protest the detainment of a leader of the order.

2 Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saied Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet are the seven members of the Baha’i faith who had been detained since 14 May 2008 and who went on trial on 12 January 2010 for charges including “acting against national security, espionage and spreading corruption on Earth. They have each been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.