December 20, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, 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 HumanRights in Iran (LDDHI) about the conviction of 12 labour rights defenders andthe arbitrary detention of two of them in connection with peacefuldemonstrations in April and May 2019.
According tothe information received, on December 14, 2019, the Court of Appeals of Tehransentenced Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, a researcher, and Ms. Marzieh Amiri,a journalist, to five years in prison each on charges of “gathering andcollusion against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code).Both had been arrested on May 1, 2019, during a Labour Day gathering in Tehranand then released on bail in late October 2019. In the first instance trial inlate 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 10years and six months in prison and 148 lashes. Both appealed their convictionand prison sentence. They remain free but may be arrested at any time.
On December12, 2019, Mr. Ali Nejati, a member of the Workers Syndicate of HaftTappeh Sugar Cane Company, also arrested on May 1, 2019, during the Labour Daygathering, was sentenced to five years in prison under Article 610 by Branch 28of the Islamic Revolution Court. His trial took place on November 13, 2019. Heremains free and has appealed the sentence.
On December7, 2019, Ms. Parvin Mohammadi, Deputy President of the independent FreeUnion of Iranian Workers, was summoned by the Verdicts Enforcement Departmentof Karaj District 1 and sent to Kachuee prison in Karaj, Alborz Province, toserve a one-year prison sentence, and has remained detained since then. Ms.Mohammadi had been arrested, togetherwith Ms. Haleh Safari and Mr. Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, bothlabour 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 onbail 15 days after their arrest. On August 24, 2019, the Islamic RevolutionCourt of Karaj tried the three and sentenced them to one year in prison each oncharge of “propaganda against the system” (Article 500) on August 30, 2019 – aconviction and prison sentence that the Court of Appeals upheld in earlyOctober 2019. Ms. Safari and Mr. Saghafi Khorassani remain free but have beensummoned to serve their prison sentence and may be arrested at any time.
Six other humanrights defenders, all arrested on May 1, 2019 during the above-mentioned LabourDay gathering in Tehran, were also sentenced to prison terms:
On December4, 2019, Ms. Neda Naji, a civil and labour rights defender, wassentenced by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court to six months in prisonon charges of “insulting government agents” (Article 609) and five years inprison under Article 610. Her trial took place on November 10, 2019. If herconviction 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’sWard 209 in Tehran’s Evin prison until June 15, then transferred to Qarchakprison south of Tehran, and back to Evin prison on July 7. She remains detainedin Evin prison and will appeal the sentence.
In lateNovember 2019, Ms. Anisha Assadollahi, an engineer and teacher, was alsotried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court on charges of “disruptingpublic 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 onJune 18, and released on bail on August 6. She appealed her conviction and sentenceand remains free awaiting the outcome.
On October2, 2019, Ms. Nahid Khodajou, a board member of the Free Union of IranianWorkers, was tried by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court under Articles610 and 618. On October 10, she was sentenced to six years in prison for thefirst charge and one year in prison for the second charge, in addition to 74lashes, a two-year ban on membership of political and social groups, andscribing two “specific books”. Ms. Khodajou was released on bail 33 days afterher arrest. She has appealed against her conviction and sentence. She remainsfree awaiting the outcome.
Messrs. HassanSaeedi and Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, two membersof the independent Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, whowere released on bail after more than a month, were tried by Branch 26 of theIslamic Revolution Court. Mr. Saeedi was charged under Articles 610 and 618 and Mr. Taleb-Moghaddamunder Articles 500 and 618. In late August 2019, Mr. Saeedi was sentenced tofive years in prison, a two-year ban on membership of political groups, and a banon the use of smartphones. Mr. Taleb-Moghaddam was sentenced to two years inprison, two years of internal exile in South Khorassan Province, 74 lashes, atwo-year ban on membership of political groups, and a ban on the use ofsmartphones. They both appealed their conviction and sentence and they remainfree awaiting the outcome.
At least 16 members of the Syndicate were summoned bythe 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 ofthe Free Union of Iranian Workers, was also tried by Branch 26 of theIslamic Revolution Court under Articles 610, 500 and 618. Ms. Javadi was sentenced to a total ofseven years in prison, 74 lashes, a two-year ban on membership of politicalgroups, and a ban on the use of smartphones. Ms. Javadi was released on bail 29 daysafter her arrest. She appealed her conviction and sentence and remains free awaiting theoutcome.
TheObservatory expresses its concerns over the prison sentences against, andarbitrary detention of Ms. Parvin Mohammadi and Ms. Neda Naji, as well as theprison sentences against Ms. AtefehRangriz, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, Mr. Ali Nejati, Ms. Haleh Safari, Mr AlirezaSaghafi Khorassani, Mr. Hassan Saeedi, Mr. Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, Ms. A’zamKhezri-Javadi, Ms. Anisha Assadollahi and Ms. Nahid Khodajou. Such actions seemto be aimed only at punishing them for their legitimate defence of workers’rights. The Observatory calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately andunconditionally put an end to any acts of harassment against them, as well as all other human rights defenders in Iran.
Please write to the authorities of Iran asking themto:
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. MarziehAmiri, Mr. Ali Nejati, Ms. Haleh Safari, Mr Alireza Saghafi Khorassani, Mr.Hassan Saeedi, Mr. Rassoul Taleb-Moghaddam, Ms. A’zam Khezri-Javadi (NasrinJavadi), Ms. Anisha Assadollahi and Ms. Nahid Khodajou, and all otherhuman rights defenders, and ensure they are able to carry out their activitieswithout 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 isarbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing them for their human rightsactivities;
iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrityand psychological well-being of Ms.Parvin Mohammadi, Ms. Neda Naji, Ms. Atefeh Rangriz, Ms. Marzieh Amiri, Mr. AliNejati, Ms. Haleh Safari, 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 NationsDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly onDecember 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rightsand fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsstandards and international instruments ratified by Iran.
• Leader ofthe Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030,Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran,Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @HassanRouhani(English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Hojattolislam EbrahimRa’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567,Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, IslamicRepublic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; email@example.com
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights,Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Ambassador,Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations inGeneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: email@example.com
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy ofIran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic representations ofIran in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, December 20, 2019
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are bothmembers of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.