Iran: Conviction of 12 labour rights defenders and arbitrary detention of two of them

20/12/2019
Urgent Appeal
en fa

IRN 008 / 1219 / OBS 109
Sentencing /
Arbitrary detention
Iran
December 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the conviction of 12 labour rights defenders and the arbitrary detention of two of them in connection with peaceful demonstrations in April and May 2019.

According to the information received, on December 14, 2019, the Court of Appeals of Tehran sentenced Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, a researcher, and Ms. Marzieh Amiri, a journalist, to five years in prison each on charges of “gathering and collusion against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code). Both had been arrested on May 1, 2019, during a Labour Day gathering in Tehran and then released on bail in late October 2019. In the first instance trial in late August 2019, Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court had sentenced Ms. Rangriz to 11 years and six months in prison and 74 lashes, and Ms. Amiri to 10 years and six months in prison and 148 lashes. Both appealed their conviction and prison sentence. They remain free but may be arrested at any time.

On December 12, 2019, Mr. Ali Nejati, a member of the Workers Syndicate of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company, also arrested on May 1, 2019, during the Labour Day gathering, was sentenced to five years in prison under Article 610 by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court. His trial took place on November 13, 2019. He remains free and has appealed the sentence.

On December 7, 2019, Ms. Parvin Mohammadi, Deputy President of the independent Free Union of Iranian Workers, was summoned by the Verdicts Enforcement Department of Karaj District 1 and sent to Kachuee prison in Karaj, Alborz Province, to serve a one-year prison sentence, and has remained detained since then. Ms. Mohammadi had been arrested, together with Ms. Haleh Safarzadeh and Mr. Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, both labour rights defenders and members of Writers Association of Iran, on April 26, 2019 at a gathering of workers in a park in Karaj and released on bail 15 days after their arrest. On August 24, 2019, the Islamic Revolution Court of Karaj tried the three and sentenced them to one year in prison each on charge of “propaganda against the system” (Article 500) on August 30, 2019 – a conviction and prison sentence that the Court of Appeals upheld in early October 2019. Ms. Safarzadeh and Mr. Saghafi Khorassani remain free but have been summoned to serve their prison sentence and may be arrested at any time.

Six other human rights defenders, all arrested on May 1, 2019 during the above-mentioned Labour Day gathering in Tehran, were also sentenced to prison terms:

On December 4, 2019, Ms. Neda Naji, a civil and labour rights defender, was sentenced by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court to six months in prison on charges of “insulting government agents” (Article 609) and five years in prison under Article 610. Her trial took place on November 10, 2019. If her conviction is upheld on appeal, she will have to serve five years. After her arrest, Ms. Naji was held in solitary confinement in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Ward 209 in Tehran’s Evin prison until June 15, then transferred to Qarchak prison south of Tehran, and back to Evin prison on July 7. She remains detained in Evin prison and will appeal the sentence.

In late November 2019, Ms. Anisha Assadollahi, an engineer and teacher, was also tried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court on charges of “disrupting public order” (Article 618) and sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes. Ms. Assadollahi was released four days after her initial arrest, re-arrested on June 18, and released on bail on August 6. She appealed her conviction and sentence and remains free awaiting the outcome.

On October 2, 2019, Ms. Nahid Khodajou, a board member of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, was tried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court under Articles 610 and 618. On October 10, she was sentenced to six years in prison for the first charge and one year in prison for the second charge, in addition to 74 lashes, a two-year ban on membership of political and social groups, and scribing two “specific books”. Ms. Khodajou was released on bail 33 days after her arrest. She has appealed against her conviction and sentence. She remains free awaiting the outcome.

Messrs. Hassan Saeedi and Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, two members of the independent Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, who were released on bail after more than a month, were tried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court. Mr. Saeedi was charged under Articles 610 and 618 and Mr. Taleb-Moghaddam under Articles 500 and 618. In late August 2019, Mr. Saeedi was sentenced to five years in prison, a two-year ban on membership of political groups, and a ban on the use of smartphones. Mr. Taleb-Moghaddam was sentenced to two years in prison, two years of internal exile in South Khorassan Province, 74 lashes, a two-year ban on membership of political groups, and a ban on the use of smartphones. They both appealed their conviction and sentence and they remain free awaiting the outcome.

At least 16 members of the Syndicate were summoned by the security authorities during the first 10 days of December 2019.

In late August 2019, Ms. A’zam Khezri-Javadi (a.k.a. Nasrin Javadi), a member of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, was also tried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court under Articles 610, 500 and 618. Ms. Javadi was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison, 74 lashes, a two-year ban on membership of political groups, and a ban on the use of smartphones.Ms. Javadi was released on bail 29 days after her arrest. She appealed her conviction and sentence and remains free awaiting the outcome.

The Observatory expresses its concerns over the prison sentences against, and arbitrary detention of Ms. Parvin Mohammadi and Ms. Neda Naji, as well as the prison sentences against Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, Mr. Ali Nejati, Ms. Haleh Safarzadeh, Mr Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, Mr. Hassan Saeedi, Mr. Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, Ms. A’zam Khezri-Javadi, Ms. Anisha Assadollahi and Ms. Nahid Khodajou. Such actions seem to be aimed only at punishing them for their legitimate defence of workers’ rights. The Observatory calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to any acts of harassment against them, as well as all other human rights defenders in Iran.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i. Drop all charges and put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Parvin Mohammadi, Ms. Neda Naji, Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, Mr. Ali Nejati, Ms. Haleh Safarzadeh, Mr Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, Mr. Hassan Saeedi, Mr. Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, Ms. A’zam Khezri-Javadi (Nasrin Javadi), Ms. Anisha Assadollahi and Ms. Nahid Khodajou, and all other human rights defenders, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Parvin Mohammadi and Ms. Neda Naji, and all human rights defenders detained in the country, as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Parvin Mohammadi, Ms. Neda Naji,Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, Mr. Ali Nejati, Ms. Haleh Safarzadeh, Mr Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, Mr. Hassan Saeedi, Mr. Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, Ms. A’zam Khezri-Javadi, Ms. Anisha Assadollahi and Ms. Nahid Khodajou, as well as all human rights defenders in Iran;

iv. Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Addresses:

• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email: info_leader@leader.ir; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email: media@rouhani.ir; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Hojattolislam Ebrahim Ra’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: info@dadiran.ir / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir / info@bia-judiciary.ir
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; matbuat@mfa.gov.ir
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
• H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: secreteriat@iranembassy.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 20, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
•E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

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