Iran Hackers May Target U.S. Energy, Defense Firms, FBI Warns

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2014-12-14 04:51

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Thu, December 4, 2014 Iranian Activist Sentenced to Death for Posts on Facebook

Sohail Arabi, the blogger sentenced to death for his posts on Facebook.

Sohail Arabi, the blogger sentenced to death for his posts on Facebook.

The Supreme Court in Iran has rejected an appeal by an Iranian blogger sentenced to death for 'insulting the prophet' to spare his life. Soheil Arabi, aged 30, was arrested alongside his wife in late 2013. Although his wife was later released, Soheil was sentenced to death for comments made on Facebook pages that he operated.

The case was heard by the Supreme Court on November 24. On December 1, deputy head of the judiciary gave a statement in response to a question about the case at a press conference. Gholam Ali Mohseni Ejei said "Currently, there is no pardon, and he’s been convicted of ‘corruption on Earth,’ but there has been a request for his case to be reviewed again."

Soheil Arabi's lawyer said that the 'corruption on Earth' charge, which also carries the death penalty, had been added by the Supreme Court when they heard the case. He told Human Rights Watch that even according to the Iranian penal code this was unlawful.

Human Rights Watch's Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Eric Goldstein, roundly condemned the slated execution. In a statement he said "It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting. Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalize peaceful, free expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death."

According to the original verdict: "Soheil had eight Facebook pages under different names, and he was charged with insulting the Imams and the Prophet because of the contents of those pages."  

Soheil confessed to the charges, but only after he was kept in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin Prison for two months and denied access to his lawyer. He later claimed that his confession was extracted under duress.

Islamic legal expert Mohammed Nayeri told The Independent that under the Iranian judicial system "the accused may be detained and denied any access to legal counsel until the interrogations are over which may take months. They may also experience unbearable pressure, in some cases torture, from their interrogators to confess to their crimes."

Since the Supreme Court's verdict, the case has now been moved forward and may be implemented soon. Soheil's wife, Nastaran Naimi told Human Rights Watch that she had not yet told their five year old daughter what was happening. Instead, she said, "We’ve told her that he’s gone away for work."

Since President Hassan Rouhani came to power in Iran the number of executions has skyrocketed. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center 773 people were executed in Rouhani's first year in office, compared to 530 people during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's last year in officer. Iran has the highest rate of executions in the world.

Several high profile executions have occurred this year. Reyhanneh Jabbari, aged 26, was hanged in late October despite an international outcry for killing her would-be-rapist when she was 19. Rights groups charged that her confession was extracted under torture.

In June the regime executed political activist Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani on charges of Moharabeh (enmity against god). He was killed for making a donation to an opposition run TV channel. On the night before the execution, Amnesty International issued a call for an immediate halt of sentence, to no avail.

The head of the Iranian Judiciary's Human Rights Council Javed Larijani said in March that instead of criticizing Iran's high rate of executions: "our expectation of international organizations and the world is to be grateful for this great service to humanity"

Watch the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran music video against executions in Iran:

See a chart of the Iranian regime's executions in 2014 from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.

For more information on the Iranian regime's persecution of its political enemies see Clarion Project's Factsheet: Human Rights in Iran

Ayatollah Khamenei Tells Iranian Armed Forces to Build Up 'Irrespective' of Diplomacy

Submitted by Emily on Tue, 2014-12-02 04:54

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Iran Leader's Call to 'Annihilate' Israel Sparks Fury as Nuclear Deadline Looms

Submitted by Emily on Tue, 2014-11-11 05:23

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Boeing Books First Sales to Iran Since 1979

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2014-11-09 11:13

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Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2014-11-09 05:35

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Sun, November 2, 2014 Iran: Activist Attempts to Watch Volleyball, Sent to Brutal Prison

British-Iranian citizen Ghoncheh Ghavami, aged 25

British-Iranian citizen Ghoncheh Ghavami, aged 25

Elliot Friedland

Ghoncheh Ghavami, the British-Iranian citizen arrested for attempting to view a volleyball game in Iran, has been sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Iranian authorities.

According to her lawyer, a court on Sunday found the 25 year old Ghoncheh Ghavami guilty of "propagating against the ruling system." She was originally detained in June along with a group of women who were protesting an Iranian law which forbids women from watching men play volleyball. A similar law banning women from watching male soccer matches was instituted after the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979. In 2012, the law was extended to include volleyball games.  

This sentence follows swiftly on the heels of the execution of Reyhanneh Jabbari (aged 26) who was hanged for murder last Saturday after stabbing her would-be-rapist. The Iranian regime refused to investigate claims that Jabbari had acted in self-defense, accusing her of fabricating the rape charge. The execution sparked widespread international condemnation. Amnesty International called the execution "a bloody stain on Iran's human rights record."

Ghoncheh Ghavami has been held in Iran's notorious Evin Prison for 126 days. A statement released by the British Foreign Office read "We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial, and Miss Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody." At the beginning of October she went on a 14 day hunger strike in a protest against her conditions.  

Other famous political dissidents and civil rights activists have been detained (and abused) at Evin Prison. In April a violent raid on section 350 of the prison, where the political inmates are kept, was carried out by the guards. The search was unscheduled, but when the prisoners objected, the police, equipped with full riot gear, responded with extreme violence.

At the time of the raid, Reporters Without Borders Iran-Afghanstan desk head Reza Moini said "The violence used against these prisoners was gratuitous and cowardly, and was clearly designed to punish heroes who have continued to resist despite having suffered years of oppression. This is also a warning to Iranian civil society, which keeps on demanding more freedom and democracy."

This is in keeping with the Iranian regime's policy on how to deal with dissent. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, during the 2009 Green Movement protests "rape was routinely practiced [by the police] as a matter of policy to intimidate young ordinary people from ever coming out to protest again."

The human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of President Rouhani's term in office. He was widely regarded as a moderate and is still seen a centrist who can command a consensus between conservatives and reformists, unlike his predecessor the divisive firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet executions have risen by 45% since he took office. The numbers of prisoners of conscience has soared, as minority rights and freedom of expression activists have been jailed.

The imprisonment of Ghoncheh Ghavami is the latest example of what appears to be the tightening of a totalitarian political and cultural system that will brook no opposition.

For more information on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran please see Clarion Project's Factsheet: Human Rights in Iran.

Iran: Execution Postponed for 10 Days For Woman Who Killed Attacker

Submitted by Emily on Thu, 2014-10-02 05:10

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