The Coronavirus has reached Canada and the latest
victim is a 30 year Iranian woman who has recently come back from Iran. It is not clear yet where in Iran she was infected with the virus. In Iran meanwhile the Iranian regime has not put any measures in place to protect its citizens. Mostafa Eghlima a government expert, has told Sanat news news paper that because we do not have isolated equipment, two doctors died of coronavirous. We only have 50 kits to test the virus, so we should've to buy it in advance. The Ministry of Health is afraid to reveal the exact statistics of Coronavirus. A spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Health has confirmed that the number of people with coronavirus in Iran has risen to 43 and the number of dead has risen to 8. Due to lack of information in Iran and the regime's of history of lying it's not known exactly how many people are infected or dead.
Javaid Rehman has received reports of discrimination against women and minorities and has expressed concern about the lack of laws protecting vulnerable groups, including children.
He criticized the continued detention of women such as human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, protesters of forced veils such as Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arab-Shahi, Mojgan Keshavarz and Saba Kord Afshari.
Deprivation of women from attending sport stadiums
The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran highlighted the regime’s contradictions in its decision-making on entrance of women in sports stadiums. “The Vice President has said that there is no barrier for women to enter the stadium and hopes for progress in lifting the ban. At the same time, it was reported that the country’s Attorney General and high-level religious figures did not support lifting the ban. Other high-level religious figures have also said that the ban should continue.”
He further referred to the detention of women who attempted to watch football matches in stadiums and wrote about the self-immolation of Sahar Khodayari, also known as “Blue Girl”. After hearing that she would have to serve six months in prison, Sahar set herself on fire in front of the court on September 2, 2019.
Parisa Seifi has been on a hunger strike since February 8, 2020 in protest to the continued uncertainty about her situation and the pressure by security forces for force confessions. She was arrested on November 12, 2020, by security forces (IRGC) in Sanandaj. She is a graphic design graduate.
Regarding the arrests of civil activists, a report by Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran shows that half of the political prisoners detained on charges of acting against national security in Iran are Kurdish. According to this report, during the first eight months of 2019, more than 352 Kurdish citizens were detained by the regime’s security forces.
In another development, the Appeals Court in Tehran confirmed the sentence of civil activist Raha Ahmadi. Raha Ahmadi was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of assembly and collusion.
Maryam Irandoost, head coach of women’s national football team in Iran said the inexperienced referees judge the league this season and question the status of the Premier League. This is because experienced referees, because of their protests in November for not being paid, have been barred from judging in the Premier League and they have chosen referees to judge in matches that, according to the coaches, have not whistled once in the Premier League and are inexperienced. (The state-run IRNA news agency – February 19, 2020)
The head coach of the women’s futsal team in Kerman, Saedeh Iranmanesh said, “The lack of television broadcasts makes the mistakes of the refereeing not to be seen and said and because of not accepting criticism in women’s futsal we are denied the slightest word.” (The state-run IRNA news agency – February 18, 2020)
Saedeh Iranmanesh explained that all the head coaches of the teams are unhappy with the referees’ judgment this season. In 2 games we witnessed a referee who had never whistled in the Premier League! When men’s futsal is televised and has an audience it is sure to be on a higher level, the flaws are seen and told. There is no law and order and planning in the women’s futsal league. Lack of television broadcasting and criticism impede the growth of women’s futsal.
The Iranian women’s futsal team won the Asian Championship in 2018. The lack of television broadcasting of the team’s championship game has become a political challenge for the Iranian regime, and the process continues. This is something that is increasingly affecting the women’s futsal team.
Women’s entry to stadiums in Iran
In a new letter, FIFA stressed that the Football Federation of Iran should provide relevant facilities for women to attend three forthcoming major soccer events in the country. In the FIFA letter 3 sections are pointed out:
１. Women be allocated more seats in World Cup qualification games.
２. Women should be able to enter stadiums in matches played by Iranian teams in the AFC Champions League.
３. Provide conditions for women to watch their favorite team in the national league at stadiums from June.
Environmental activists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani were subjected to intense psychological torture and threats of physical torture and sexual abuse during 1200 hours of interrogation. In a letter written in February 2020, Niloufar Bayani described the interrogations and wrote, the agents forced her to “mimic sounds of wild animals” and threatened to inject her with “crippling ampoules and air ampoules. They threatened her to write forced confessions. Bayani also wrote a letter to Iranian regime's supreme leader Ali Khamenei on February 11, 2019, describing how she was treated by IRGC interrogators. She said seven armed men took her to a villa in Lavasan, north of Tehran, and forced her to “watch them engage in immoral and un-Islamic behavior in a private swimming pool.” In another letter to the head of IRGC’s Ward 2-A in Evin Prison, on January 16, 2019, Bayani wrote that “during long interrogations” agents “repeatedly made the most filthy sexual insults… in detailed, disgusting, imaginary situations and wanted [force me] me to complete their sexual fantasies.”
Niloufari Bayani wrote in the letter, ” Shockingly, every time I exposed this behavior and sought help from the authorities, the pressures, threats and acts of torture increased, and they repeatedly told me… not to do anything to irritate the regime.”
in her never-published final defense presented to the court in August 2019, Bayani wrote, “Video recordings are a witness to how I was treated by the main interrogator… ‘Hamid Rezaie,’ whose name still makes me shudder. He was so shameful that whenever interrogations dragged on into the darkness [of the night], I would shake all over in fear of being seriously assaulted.” She continued: “I was increasingly terrified that if I didn’t write whatever he wanted, he would violently sexually assault me. Because of his inexplicable sudden appearances and disgusting behavior in various places like dark passages and in the detention yard, I didn’t feel safe anywhere. Intolerable anxiety never ceased.”
In September 2018, Niloufar Bayani had told the former Tehran Prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi that her confessions were under pressure, torture and intimidation, and that it was completely false, but the prosecutor insisted that she was not allowed to retract her confessions.
She cited examples of the treatment she endured, ” threatened with execution on a daily basis, endured eight months of total isolation in solitary confinement with long interrogations lasting 9-12 hours day and night, interrogated blindfolded while standing, spinning or sit-and-standing.”
On the verdicts of environmental activists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, the appeals court confirmed their verdict on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. Niloufar Bayani was sentenced to 10 years and Sepideh Kashani to 8 years in prison.
Sepideh Kashani also wrote in a letter describing her situation that the IRGC Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp interrogators subjected her to the most severe mental and psychological torture as well as physical and sexual threats during at least 1,200 hours of interrogation.
A new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran said, “Concerns over unfair trials and convictions of individuals and human rights activists based on coerced confessions are heightened.”
The report referenced the Iranian regime’s continued crackdown on civil activists and journalists, including torture and arbitrary detention.
The report also noted the status of a number of female political activists, including Atena Daemi, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Saba Kord Afshari, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Neda Naji, Atefeh Rangriz, Anisha Assadollahi, and Marzieh Amiri. Narges Mohammadi is reported to have been relocated to Zanjan Prison recently and deprived of medical treatment and hospitalization, despite being ill.
According to the Secretary-General’s report, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also confirmed that it had received reports of torture and arbitrary detention, as well as discrimination, against women, young girls, and minorities.
The UN Secretary-General also reported that detainees, including civil activists, are denied the right to a fair trial and lack of access to legal representation.
The report notes that in most Iranian prisons and detention centers, torture and flogging have become commonplace as means of extracting information from accused persons. The report also addresses the regime’s continued practice of issuing death sentences against children, as well as long-term prison sentences based on security charges against human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers, labor rights activists, artists, and environmentalists.
In a previous report, the UN Secretary-General had called on the Iranian regime to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The decision to deny Maryam Akbari any visits was announced and executed on Sunday, February 16, 2020. The political prisoner was deprived of family visitations only because she objected to the bad treatment of a newcomer female prisoner. The political prisoner was denied family visitations for three weeks without a disciplinary committee meeting and during administrative proceedings.
She had previously been deprived of family visits for three weeks with a verbal order of the head of the women’s ward of Evin Prison, along with political prisoners Golrokh Ebrahimi and Atena Daemi, in October 2018. The political prisoners were deprived of visits because they had protested and chanted slogans following the execution of Ramin Hossein Panahi.
Maryam Akbari Monfared has been in prison for 10 years in Evin Prison without even a day of prison furlough.
In another development, Gita Horr, one of the protesters arrested in November 2019 uprising who is currently being kept in Qarchak prison in Varamin, has been sentenced to six years in prison. The trial of this political prisoner was held at Branch 24 of Tehran Court on January 18, 2020, presided by Judge Mohammad-Reza Amouzadeh.
Gita Horr was arrested by security forces during the uprising on November 21, 2019. After her interrogations, she was transferred from one of the security agency detention centers in Tehran to Qarchak Prison in Varamin on December 1, 2019. Born in 1989, Gita Horr is currently incarcerated in the newly established ward known as the “Club” in Qarachak Prison.
In 2017, Marjan Davari’s case was referred to the Supreme Court after receiving the death sentence. Ms. Davari is accused of translating books on mysticism and metaphysics, as well as teaching at the Institute of Rahe Marefat (The Way of Knowledge), on corruption on earth, and on assembly and collusion against the system. Marjan Davari was arrested on September 24, 2015 at her father’s home in Mehrshahr, Karaj, and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. She was held in solitary confinement for more than three months and was interrogated without access to a lawyer. Following the interrogation, Ms. Davari was transferred to the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison on January 3, 2016 and transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin on February 2017.
On Saturday, February 15, 2020, Raheleh Ahmadi, a civil rights activist and mother of Saba Kord Afshari, was arrested and taken to Evin Prison after being tried at Branch 3 of the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran. Ms. Ahmadi was previously sentenced to 4 years and two months in prison by the Tehran court.
Saba Kord Afshari, a civil rights activist and daughter of Raheleh Ahmadi, has also been held in Evin Prison since June 2019 and is serving her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison.
In other news, journalist and civil activist Sareh Mihmani was arrested by security forces. Sareh Mihmani and her son were arrested at their house and then transferred to Evin Prison. Sareh Mihmani has been teaching English in Gorgan for the past 30 years. Her husband was also sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment in 2010, after the 2009 protests.