Monthly Report May 2022, Iran Human Rights Monitor
In May 2022, the Iranian regime intensified social repression in step with growing discontent and the spread of popular protests.
Iranian authorities have stepped up their crackdown on the company amid protests over rising prices.
Security forces arrested dozens of teachers in the four days leading up to International Workers’ Day, between April 28 and May 1, 2022.
Peaceful rallies took place in many Iranian cities on May Day, which coincides with International Workers’ Day and Teachers’ Day in Iran. The regime has imposed strict security measures in several cities to prevent the protests from spreading.
In some cities, rallies have turned violent, with police and security forces attacking and beating protesters. Dozens of teachers and educators have been beaten and detained.
May was also marked by widespread protests in various provinces, including Khuzestan, Lorestan, Fars and Tehran.
A new round of protests in Iran began on May 5, after the government removed subsidies on basic food items that sent prices skyrocketing, including the price of non-traditional bread, flour, produce dairy products, cooking oil, poultry and eggs.
Reports say protests have spread to at least 31 cities.
Authorities used violence to quell the protests. At least six protesters have been killed by security forces in a violent state crackdown on protests, while authorities have blocked internet access in unrest towns.
The protesters killed are Pish Ali Ghalebi, Omid Soltani, Hamid Ghasempour, Saadat Hadipour, Jamshid Mokhtari Junghani and Behrooz Eslami.
Security forces have resorted to numerous arrests to counter the protests. Hundreds of arrests were reported in the city of Izeh (Khuzestan province) alone and 50 in the city of Shahr-e Kord (Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari provinces).
Many trade union, civil and political rights activists have been arbitrarily arrested.
Among the detainees are sociologist Saeed Madani, who predicted further protests would be inevitable, as well as prominent labor activists Reza Shahabi and Reyhaneh Ansari. Three documentarians were also arrested: Mina Keshavarz, Firouzeh Khosravani and Shilan Sa’di, as well as photographer Reyhaneh Taravati.
Security forces in Abadan and other towns used tear gas and fire into the air to disperse peaceful protesters who were mourning the lives lost and demanding justice for the perpetrators of the incident.
Iranians blame the regime official’s negligence and corruption for the tragedy.
The authorities severely disrupted Internet access. Security forces have also forced shops to close, arresting their owners and moving them to unknown locations.
In other cities, including Tehran and Isfahan, authorities dispatched riot squads to prevent residents from holding a vigil in solidarity with residents of Abadan.
The Iranian regime has a documented history of using lethal force to crush protests while cutting off internet access to prevent the world from seeing state violence.
At least 52 prisoners were executed in various prisons across the country in May 2022.
Of these, 31 were convicted of murder and 21 were convicted of drug-related offences.
In one case, a prisoner was charged with moharebeh. Three women are among those executed. Two victims were executed for charges they committed when they were minors. The absence of official statistics and the lack of transparency around executions means that the actual number of executions in Iran is higher.
May 2022 saw the harassment and abuse of prisoners. Denial of treatment and family visits are among the measures taken by the judicial authorities to put pressure on detainees.
In several cases, the prisoners found no other way to claim their rights than to go on a hunger strike.
Hunger strikes in prison
Ismail Abdi, incarcerated in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, has announced a hunger strike to protest against the disastrous living conditions of the workers, on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day.
Barzan Mohammadi, a civil activist incarcerated in Marivan prison, started a hunger strike on 16 May. Prison authorities had placed Mr Mohammadi in quarantine for failing to attend religious services in prison. He started a hunger strike to protest against his transfer.
Political prisoner Vahid Bagheri began a hunger strike on 7 May to protest the authorities’ refusal to grant him conditional release. He was taken to a prison clinic on the 12th day of his hunger strike, in a wheelchair, due to extreme weakness.
Eskandar Lotfi, a board member of the Professional Association of Iranian Teachers in Marivan, went on a hunger strike on May 29 to protest his illegal detention. He was pressured by the authorities to make a forced confession.
Javad Hosseini Nejad, who was imprisoned in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad for participating in the November 2019 protests, has started a hunger strike.
Fereydoun Zakeri, a Sunni prisoner held at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, has gone on a hunger strike to protest the authorities’ failure to process his case.
Refusal of medical treatment
Prison authorities did not allow political prisoner Fariba Assadi to seek treatment at a hospital outside the prison because she refused handcuffs during the transfer.
Political prisoner Mohammad Ali Mansouri, detained in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, was denied medical attention despite the need for treatment. He is serving the 15th year of his prison.
Kasra Bani Amerian, a political prisoner in Evin prison, is in a precarious physical condition because the prison authorities have denied him access to adequate medical treatment and a hospital. He is suffering from cancer and his treatment has been suspended.
Persecution of religious minorities
The trial of 26 Baha’i citizens was held in Shiraz on May 18. These citizens were arrested in October 2016, and over the past six years the judge handling the case has repeatedly ordered that they be acquitted of their alleged charges.
However, investigators declared crimes against these citizens and referred their case to the first branch of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz.
Charges against these Baha’i citizens include spreading propaganda against the regime, belonging to splinter groups, forming a splinter group, and contact with hostile states.
In another case of pressure on members of the Baha’i Faith being prosecuted in Iran, Yazd resident Amin Zolfaghari was taken to jail on May 24 to begin serving his sentence. He was sentenced by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Yazd to 3 years and 4 months in prison, a sentence reduced to 8 months on appeal.
On May 8, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Ayub Pourrazazadeh and Ahmad Sarparast, Christian converts living in Rasht, were arrested by IRGC intelligence agents at their homes and taken to an unknown location.
A fourth Christian convert, Morteza Hajeb, was arrested by intelligence agents and transferred to Lakan prison in Rasht.
Repression of women
Over the past month, the Iranian regime has intensified its repressive measures and launched a new round of violence against women. In addition to increasing the arrests and summons of female activists and sentencing them to prison terms, the mullahs’ regime took specific social measures during the month of May.
The official ILNA news agency said on May 22 that a comprehensive plan to control malice had been drawn up in 11 areas.
ILNA quoted the headquarters secretary for prohibiting good and prohibiting evil as saying a “comprehensive hijab control plan” had been drawn up in 11 areas.
Hashemi Golpayegani said announcing “hijab indicators” to 120 government agencies as the first step in this plan. He indicated that with the establishment of the bases “21 Tir” and “Jahad Tabeen”, the necessary preparations will be made for the implementation of this plan.
The first task of various government bodies in Iran is to suppress women in the form of clothing.
The issue of compulsory veiling has taken on political and national security significance over the past 40 years and has become one of the regime’s top priorities. The misogynist regime in Iran has developed various mechanisms to enforce the compulsory hijab, and the organization set up for this task has largely grown over the years.