At the beginning of every new month, Iran Human Rights Monitor produces a report into the dire situation of human rights in Iran and we summarise it. As always, reading the full report is encouraged, but obviously, both the report and the summary can be distressing to read.
Overall, in November, Iranian authorities took many steps to suppress dissent ahead of the anniversary of the 2019 protests that shook the ayatollahs’ grip on power and saw a deadly crackdown.
This is most apparent in the pressure security forces put on the families of the November 2019 martyrs, in order to silence them and prevent them from holding memorial ceremonies. At the same time, the security forces began arresting former political prisoners and relatives of Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) members en-masse, while summoning others and warning them against marking the anniversary of the protests.
Iranian authorities have also weaponized the coronavirus to control the populace, not only with the hopes that the lack of control would prevent gatherings but also as an excuse for mass arrests.
This is far from the only method that the government is using to intimidate the public. Indeed, they’ve continued to issue death and corporeal punishment sentences, increase pressure on political prisoners and arrest dissidents. Let’s look at those now:
Executions in Iran—November 2020
At least eight people were executed in November, including at least one in prison for a non-violent offense – Fakhreddin Dastiyar arrested on drug charges. Meanwhile, Iranian-Swedish emergency medicine specialist Ahmadreza Djalali was moved to solitary confinement on November 24, ahead of his execution.
Arbitrary Murders in Iran—November 2020
At least 10 people were killed by security forces in the streets, many of them porters, who work long hours transporting heavy goods across mountainous terrain for little money. They are forced to do this because of poverty and the need to take care of their children, but the government sees them as a threat to their smuggling business, so they kill them.
Those killed, often without warning, include:
- Vasim Fardinzadeh
- Hakan Mohammadzadeh
- Kamal Alam Holavi
- Hassan Dallayi Milan
- Siavash Kore
- Mehdi Ali Zehi
- Abdollah Gorgij
- Taxi driver Khosrow Sharifi
- Shop owner Saadi Rostamzadeh
Torture in Iran—November 2020
At least two people died under torture in prison, including Mohammad Davaji, 19, who was arrested for getting into a fight and tortured in front of other prisoners to “teach them a lesson”, and Farhad Vosuqi, a 27-year-old father.
At least five floggings were carried out, even though it is banned by the United Nations. The victims include:
- Labour activist Davoud Rafie, who went to court to fight against being laid off from his job at the Pars Khodro automobile manufacturing company for taking part in a worker’s strike, was not sentenced by the court and was lashed 74 times without prior notice.
- Mehdi Khairi, who was tried in absentia in July for the crimes of “insulting” a judge, was flogged 35 times.
- Iranian Christian convert, Zaman (Saheb) Fadaei was flogged 80 times for drinking communion wine.
- Two men were lashed 74 times in public, as well as prison time, for robbery.
Additionally, at least 260 people were arrested arbitrarily, and the violation of religious freedom continued systematically with the raid on dozens of houses of Bahai citizens and the imprisonment of four Christian converts
Iran Human Rights Monitor called on the United Nations Secretary-General, Human Rights Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Rapporteurs, and all human rights organizations to secure the release of political prisoners, at least until the pandemic is over, to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. It also urged the formation of an international fact-finding commission to visit Iran’s prisons.