The New School for Social Research in New York City, where Kian served as a professor for many years, organized a conference on February 12 dedicated to Kian, entitled “Iran: Politics of Resistance.” The full conference proceedings are now available online here.
Posts tagged: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
New prison sentences: Tajbakhsh five years, Safaei Farahani six years, and Nabavi five years (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published an article summarizing recent appeal sentences of political prisoners passed down by Iran’s General and Revolutionary Courts, including Kian’s:
“An appeals court has reduced Iranian American researcher Kian Tajbakhsh’s sentence to five years. Behzad Nabavi’s sentence has also been reduced to five years. Earlier there was news about the six year prison sentence of Mohsen Safaee Farahani, 61. General and Revolutionary Courts have announced the verdicts of 35 individuals arrested after the elections. An appeals court has reviewed and finalized the rulings, sending the cases to the “Implementation Unit” of the Courts.
“Congregation and mutiny against national security,” “propagation against the regime,” “attacking police officers,” “vandalism,” and “arsen” are some of the charges for these individuals. Behzad Nabavi is a senior member of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, and Mohsen Safaee Farahani, is a member of the central council of Islamic Participation Front and a former Member of the Parliament. Safaee Farahani and Nabavi were arrested after the elections following Iranian security and military authorities’ naming the post-elections protests “a velvet revolution.” Subsequently, those arrested after the elections, among them several prominent reformist figures, were taken to televised show trials in which some of them such as Mohammad Ali Abtahi, former Iranian Vice President, confessed to activities and criticized the reformist leaders. The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, confirmed the validity of television confessions of the prisoners at a post-elections Friday Prayers’ sermon, criticizing the words of those who opposed use of such methods as “nonsense.”
In Addition to Mohsen Safaee Farahani, more than ten other members of the Participation Front are in prison now. Mohsen Mirdamadi, Abdollah Ramezan Zadeh, Azar Mansouri, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Mohsen Aminzadeh, Shabeddin Tabatabaee, Davood Soleimani, Hossein Nourani Nejad, Mehdi Mahmoudian, and Saeed Nourmohammadi are some of the party’s imprisoned members. Shahab Tabatabaee, one of the members, has been sentenced to five years in prison by Branch 15 of Revolutionary Courts. Abdollah Ramezan Zadeh has also received a six year imprisonment sentence on charges of “acting against national security.”
Iranian American researcher, Kian Tajbakhsh, who at first received a 15 year prison term, received a five year sentence from an Appeals Court. Charges against him are “actions against national security,” “espionage and contacts with foreign elements against the regime,” “accepting a consulting assignment from Soros Foundation in Iran toward a soft overthrow of Islamic Republic of Iran,” [never since 2007 -editors] “propagation activities against the regime,” “creating the illusion of fraud and falsification in elections results,” “compromising public trust toward the regime and official authorities of the country,” and “disruption in public order and creation of fear in society.”
Kian Tajbakhsh’s 15 year sentence will be overturned (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)
Prior to the verdict on Kian’s appeal, his lawyer explained that his sentence should be overturned:
“Replying to a question from International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the case of Kian Tajbakhsh, a post elections prisoner whose case is in an appeals court, Kian Tajbakhsh’s attorney said: “Regarding the appeals request I filed with the Revolutionary Courts after the initial court’s verdict, soon we expect an appeals verdict and God willing, through efforts and existing evidence, this ruling will be overturned.”
Massoud Shafiee told the Campaign that by reviewing Kian Tajbakhsh’s case, he has come to the conclusion that no crime has taken place and he has asked the Appeals Court to consider exonerating his client. “I have asked for an exoneration and I hope that the fair judge would consider the evidence in the case and rule for my client’s innocence.”
Referring to Tajbakhsh’s initial court, his attorney also said: “He had a court appointed lawyer in the initial court. In the beginning of his case he had bail orders. When I entered the case at appeals stage, I noticed that his bail orders had been converted to detention orders.” He emphasized that he has read the case and he is sure that the ruling will be overturned.
Kian Tajbakhsh’s initial bail was set at $500,000. According to Shafiee, he can meet with his family every Thursday and is currently in a house outside the prison with other post-elections prisoners. His detention location is under the custody of IRGC. Previously, he was kept in IRGC’s Ward 2.”
The Atlantic‘s high-profile blog has published an entry on Kian’s case:
The case against the Iranian-American social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh contains no evidence to support the allegations against him, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, following interviews with Masoud Shafie, Tajbakhsh’s lawyer. Tajbakhsh has been sentenced to a 15-year prison term for alleged espionage and actions against national security by a lower court and is currently in the appeals stage. The case has also been substantially invalidated by gross breaches of Iranian law and international standards for due process. [...] Espionage is closely defined under Iranian law, and guilt needs to be established by evidence that highly confidential documents were passed to foreign governments. There are no references to such documents in the file.
Tajbakhsh, a renowned scholar and urban planner, was the only US citizen included in the mass show trials that followed the post-election unrest. More information about the man here. A heartbreaking interview with his mother here.”
[Link to related entry "The "Other" Prisoner" in the British blog Enduring America (0935 and 1835 GMT entries)]
Iran: No Evidence of Espionage in Tajbakhsh’s File, Lawyer Says (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published a report detailing the lack of any evidence in Kian’s case file implicating him in a crime under Iranian law:
“The case against the Iranian-American social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh contains no evidence to support the allegations against him, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, following interviews with Masoud Shafie, Tajbakhsh’s lawyer.
Tajbakhsh has been sentenced to a 15-year prison term for alleged espionage and actions against national security by a lower court and is currently in the appeals stage. The case has also been substantially invalidated by gross breaches of Iranian law and international standards for due process.
Shafie recently studied the entire file compiled by prosecutors against Tajbakhsh. There is apparently no correlation between the evidence in his file and the conviction and sentencing of Tajbakhsh, while the file itself is evidence of the blatantly political and arbitrary nature of the case. Espionage is closely defined under Iranian law, and guilt needs to be established by evidence that highly confidential documents were passed to foreign governments. There are no references to such documents in the file.
The file, only recently seen by Shafie, contains video clips of public demonstrations that Tajbakhsh allegedly emailed which hardly qualify as confidential or classified government documents. Tajbakhsh had no access to such documents in any event.
Shafie has been continually prevented from seeing his client. After he reviewed the file, he received permission from the Revolutionary Court, branch 54, which is in charge of reviewing Tajbakhsh’s case as the court of appeal, to visit him in order to finalize the defense statement.
On 12 December, Evin prison authorities would not allow the visit. He was told to obtain permission from Judge Salavati of branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. But Judge Salavati, who presided over the lower court sentencing Tajbakhsh, has no role in the appeals stage, based on applicable regulations.
The authorities in ward 2 A of Evin Prison, under Revolutionary Guard management, did not permit the visit. The defense statement will need to be submitted without a prior meeting between lawyer and client, and their communications have been limited to sporadic telephone calls and messages transmitted by other visitors.
Some of the more egregious violations of due process standards in this case include maintaining the defendant in temporary detention, which violates both Article 182 and Article 37 of the Judicial Proceedings of Penal Courts [Aiin Dadrasi Keyfari]. Under Iranian law, Tajbakhsh had the right to be released on bail after the primary investigation of his case.
Moreover, in his file it is mentioned that Judge Salavati, had ordered his release on bail, stating that Tajbakhsh had refused the offer of bail, and accepted to go to prison, which is patently false.
The process also violated principle 139 of the Constitution and article 188 Judicial Proceedings of Penal Courts which stipulate that a defendant is to remain anonymous until charges against him are approved by the court. But charges against Tajbakhsh were publicized prior to their being approved by the court.
The charges against Tajbakhsh are without merit because they do not refer to criminal acts. Under Article 2 of the Islamic Penal Code, any actions that have not been identified as criminal may not be considered as the basis for a criminal charge. This applies to the acts for which Tajbakhsh is charged, including for example, working as a consultant for the Open Society Institute (OSI) , which is not a crime, Shafie said.
The indictment against Tajbakhsh described his service as a consultant to the OSI, an international foundation, as de facto seditious. But the activities of the OSI in Iran had been agreed to with the government of the Islamic Republic under a memorandum that defined those activities, and no activities were performed by Tajbakhsh or by the OSI that were not agreed to by Iranian officials, Shafie said. Furthermore, Tajbakhsh’s consultancy with OSI ended in 2007, well before the recent elections.
Finally, the indictment is ridden with factual errors that invalidate it. Among its unreal claims, for example, is that the defendant participated in illegal demonstrations, and was arrested while committing this crime, while in fact he was arrested on 9 July, 2009, at 21:00 at his home while he was with his wife.
The Campaign reiterates its appeal to the Judiciary to examine the case against Kian Tajbakhsh in view of the numerous legal irregularities and politicized charges that invalidate it, and to drop the charges so that he may return to his family and scholarly career.”
An article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer mentions Kian’s case:
“…Iran’s opposition “green” movement – which started as a protest against election fraud – has grown into a much broader civil rights movement. Monday’s demonstrations – documented on YouTube despite the regime’s media ban – showed that Iranians both young and old are increasingly inflamed by the government’s brutality toward its own people.
So why is President Obama so quiet about Iran’s human rights abuses?
Yes, U.S. officials have raised the case of three American hikers imprisoned after straying across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan. And they have protested the jailing of Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh. But the White House has been noticeably reluctant to raise wider human rights concerns with Tehran.
The administration seems to fear that criticism of Tehran’s human rights violations would impede talks on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. But those talks have stalled since Iran backed off a promising compromise proposal. The impasse is linked to Iran’s repression of human rights.
Iran is going through an internal power struggle that is far from over and has paralyzed its domestic politics. This will make it extremely difficult to do a deal with Tehran in the near term.
The heart of the problem: The hard-line core of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard military force wants to consolidate power and crush any political opposition. The Revolutionary Guards, who are directing the crackdown in the country, resisted a compromise on the Iranian nuclear program (even though their man, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seemed to endorse it).
“They want to put the country on a war footing,” said Hadi Ghaemi, coordinator of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “because they see this as the easiest way for them to consolidate power inside Iran.” So, says Ghaemi, there is no point in our keeping mum on Iran’s crackdown on its growing civil rights movement: “The Obama administration has to recognize that the Iranian protest movement is an undeniable reality that is not going way.”
Ghaemi and other Iran experts stress that Obama should take an approach different from the Bush administration’s. The latter linked support for the Iranian opposition to calls for “regime change” and provided funds for regime opponents. This gave Tehran a handy excuse to brand all Iranian civil-society groups as spies.
Rather than offer material support, says Ghaemi, Obama should be a moral voice. He should hold Iran to account at the United Nations for international conventions it has signed calling for freedom of expression and assembly…”
“WASHINGTON – The mother of an Iranian-American scholar facing espionage charges in Tehran is urging the Iranian government to release her son.
Speaking by phone from Tehran, Farideh Gueramy (FAH’-rih-day GUHR’-ah-mee) said Tuesday that the government has not clarified the legal grounds on which her son, Kian Tajbakhsh (KEE’-ahn TAZH’-bahdzh), has been charged. She says he is innocent.
“The problem is that we really don’t have any clear information,” Gueramy said.
Gueramy said that the family recently hired prominent Iranian lawyer, Masoud Shafie, to represent Tajbakhsh. Family members, including Tajbakhsh’s wife and two-year-old daughter, have been able to visit him about once a week in prison.
Tajbakhsh has already been sentenced to 15 years in prison on spying charges. But new espionage charges were brought this month raising the possibility of a harsher penalty.
Tajbakhsh was writing a book when he was arrested five months ago amid security forces’ crackdown following June’s disputed presidential election. He was among more than 100 people — most of them opposition activists and protesters — brought before a court in a mass trial criticized by the opposition and rights groups as ashow trial.
Last week, Tajbakhsh was brought before another branch of the Revolutionary Court that the elite Revolutionary Guard military corps has used to pursue dissidents, and he was charged with additional counts of espionage, the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said in a statement.
His family denies that he was involved in the postelection protests.
“He hasn’t done anything. He was at his home writing books,” Gueramy said. “I hope they realize that and let him go home to his two-year-old baby.”
The Irish Times has published a piece on appeals by Kian’s friends in Ireland – Chandana Mathur and Dermot Dix – to the Irish Government to help free him:
“IRELAND-BASED friends of an Iranian-American academic who faces fresh charges of spying on top of a 15-year sentence he received last month have appealed to the Irish Government to raise the issue with Tehran.
Kian Tajbakhsh (47) was arrested during the crackdown that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election in June. He was among more than 100 people tried in connection with protests sparked by the controversial ballot, which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
His family has denied that Mr Tajbakhsh was involved in the demonstrations.
The US-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said that earlier this week, Mr Tajbakhsh was told of the new charges when he was brought before a special court believed to have been set up by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to prosecute opposition figures…
The concerns of his family and friends were heightened by the case of a Kurdish activist who had been serving a 10-year sentence but was executed earlier this month after a prosecutor revisited the case and demanded a harsher penalty.
“It is our fear that something similar might happen to Kian,” said Chandana Mathur, an anthropologist at NUI Maynooth and friend of Mr Tajbakhsh. “The story just gets uglier and uglier by the day. It is breathtaking and very frightening.”
Ms Mathur’s husband, Dermot Dix, who is headmaster of Headfort School in Kells, Co Meath, called on the Irish Government to intervene. “I would like to urge the Irish Government to take a stand for human rights in Iran and speak out in defence of an innocent man,” he said.
“Ireland is justly proud of its history of neutrality; surely this is a chance to use our neutral status to reach out to the Iranian regime in order to prevent a gross injustice?
“The EU is Iran’s biggest trading partner and Ireland also has the opportunity in the context of EU membership to reach out to Iran to demand justice.”
The AP has published the following piece about the latest disturbing developments in Kian’s case:
“CAIRO — Iran brought new espionage charges against an Iranian-American scholar who was already convicted of spying and sentenced to 15 years in prison in the country’s crackdown following June’s disputed presidential election, a human rights group said Thursday.
The new charges raise the possibility of a harsher penalty against Kian Tajbakhsh, a 47-year-old scholar who was in Iran working on a book when he was arrested at his home nearly five months ago amid security forces’ postelection sweep against the opposition.
Tajbakhsh was among more than 100 people — most of them opposition activists and protesters — brought before a court in a mass trial criticized by the opposition and rights groups as a show trial.
He was sentenced by a branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Court last month to 15 years in prison after being convicted of espionage and endangering state security. It is the harshest prison term handed down so far by the court. His family has denied the charges against Tajbakhsh.
Earlier this week, Tajbakhsh was brought before another branch of the Revolutionary Court that the elite Revolutionary Guard military corps has used to pursue dissidents, and he was charged with additional counts of espionage, the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said in a statement.
The charges had been brought by the Guard, a member of Tajbakhsh’s family said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. The Guard has spearheaded the crackdown against pro-reform politicians, activists and protesters, accusing them of plotting a Western-backed “velvet revolution” against Iran’s clerical-led Islamic Republic.
Tajbakhsh, a social scientist and urban planner, was the only American detained in the crackdown that crushed giant street protests by hundreds of thousands of people after the June 12 election. The opposition claims the vote was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had called for his release. Initially, Tajbakhsh’s lawyer said he was sentenced to “at least 12 years” in the initial conviction, but it has since been confirmed to be 15 years…”
New Charges of Espionage Filed Against Iranian-American Sociologist (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has expressed serious concerns about new charges introduced by Revolutionary Guards commanders in the prosecution of Kian Tajbakhsh:
“It appears the Revolutionary Guards are seeking to justify their severe repression since the June elections by ratcheting up baseless espionage charges against Tajbakhsh in order to demonstrate foreign involvement and make him a scapegoat,” said Aaron Rhodes, a Campaign spokesperson.
Earlier this week, Tajbakhsh was brought in front of the Third Branch of the Security Court, which is a new court created and controlled apparently by the Revolutionary Guards to prosecute dissidents. He was charged with new allegations of spying based on emails he wrote to Middle East specialists on the Gulf 2000 list, which includes hundreds of experts, diplomats, and journalists. According to information received by the Campaign, high ranking Revolutionary Guards commanders initiated the new charges against Tajbakhsh. He is currently held in solitary confinement in Evin prison and denied release on bail.
Tajbakhsh has been already sentenced to 15 years in prison by a lower court, which charged him with multiple counts, including “acting against national security, by membership in the internet network related to Gary Sick, a CIA agent, and other foreign elements with the purpose of urging people to riot in presidential elections; spying and connections with foreign elements against the sacred system of the Islamic Republic; accepting a consultancy position with the Soros Foundation aimed at the soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran; propaganda activities against the sacred system of the Islamic Republic by participation in illegal assemblies and causing doubt and giving impression of fraud and cheating in election results; and causing lack of public trust towards the official national organs and the ruling system by instigating rioting, mayhem, fear and terror within the society.” No evidence was presented in Tajbakhsh’s trial to support these grave charges.
“If an innocent man’s freedom and well-being were not at stake, the espionage charges based on participation in Gulf 2000 would be nothing more than ludicrous attempts to smear a noted scholar who has assiduously steered clear of political entanglements,” Rhodes said.
The Campaign fears for the health and safety of Tajbakhsh in view of recent judicial proceedings in dissidents’ cases that have contravened Iranian law.
On 11 November, Ehsan Fattahian, a Kurdish activist, was executed even though a lower court had sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The appeals court added the charge of Moharebeh, or “enmity towards God,” and issued the death sentence for Fattahian. Iranian law explicitly forbids appeals courts from increasing a lower court’s sentence. New charges against Tajbakhsh signal that a similar extrajudicial process maybe underway.
Tajbakhsh has been denied access to an independent lawyer and the authorities have restricted his legal representation to a court appointed lawyer, Houshang Azhari.
The Campaign called on the Iranian judiciary to immediately release Tajbakhsh and all other dissidents and activists who have been unfairly persecuted and prosecuted. The Campaign also expressed serious concerns that the Revolutionary Guards appear to be taking over judicial organs and manipulating them to permit extrajudicial detentions and sentences.”
اتهامات جدید جاسوسی علیه کیان تاجبخش؛ جامعه شناس ایرانی – امریکایی
5 آذر ماه 1388- کمپین بین المللی حقوق بشر در ایران در باره اتهامات جدیدی که فرماندهان سپاه پاسدارن علیه کیان تاجبخش؛ جامعه شناس ایرانی – امریکایی وارد کرده اند، ابراز نگرانی جدی کرد.
ارون رودز سخنکوی کمپین در باره اتهامات جدید علیه تاحبخش گفت:” بنظر می رسد که سپاه پاسداران دنبال راهی است که سرکوب شدیدی را که از خرداد ماه شروع کرده با به راه انداختن اتهامات بی اساس جاسوسی علیه تاحبخش توجیه کند تا به این ترتیب مداخله خارجی ها را به نمایش بگذارد و تاجبخش را سپر کند.”
اوایل این هفته، تابحبخش به شعبه سه بازپرسی امنیت برده شد که یک دادگاه جدیدی است و ظاهرا سپاه پاسداران از آن برای محاکمه افراد دگراندیش استفاده می کند. تاجبخش با اتهامات جدید جاسوسی بر اساس ایمیل هایی که او به متخصصین خاورمیانه در ایمیل لیست گلف 2000 می فرستاده، روبرو شده است که صدها متخصص و روزنامه نگار از اقصی نقاط جهان در این ایمیل لیست هستند. بر اساس اطلاعات رسیده به کمپین بین المللی حقوق بشر در ایران، فرماندهان عالی رتبه سپاه پاسداران این اتهامات جدید را علیه تاجبخش به جریان انداخته اند. تاجبخش در حال حاضر در سلول انفرادی در زندان اوین است و از آزادی او به قید وثیقه خودداری می شود.
کیان تاجبخش توسط دادگاه بدوی به اتهامات متعددی به 15 سال زندان محکوم شده است. این اتهامات عبارتند از “اقدام علیه امنیت ملی با عضویت در شبکه اینترنتی مرتبط به گری سیک؛ عامل سیا، و سایر عوامل خارجی با هدف تحریک مردم به شورش در انتخابات، جاسوسی و ارتباط با عوامل خارجی علیه نظام مقدس جمهوری اسلامی ایران، پذیرش پست مشاوره در بنیاد سورس با هدف به راه انداختن انقلاب مخملین برای براندازی جمهوری اسلامی ایران، فعالیت های تبلیغی علیه نظام مقدس جمهوری اسلامی ایران با شرکت در تجمعات غیر قانونی و عامل ایجاد شک و شبهه و تصور تقلب در انتخابات، و باعث از بین رفتن اعتماد عمومی نسبت به نهادهای رسمی ملی و نظام حاکم با به راه انداخت شورش، جار و جنجال و ترس و وحشت در جامعه.” در دادگاه هیچ مستندی که این اتهامات را ثابت کند ارائه نشده است.
ارون رودز در مورد این اتهامات گفت :”اگر سلامتی و آزادی یک انسان بی گناه در معرض خطر نبود، اتهام جاسوسی بر اساس مشارکت در بحث ایمیل گلف 2000 چیزی بیش از تلاش های مضحک برای تخریب یک متفکری نیست که از فعالیت سیاسی پرهیز کرده است.”
کمپین بین المللی حقوق بشر در ایران بخاطر دادرسی های اخیر در پرونده دگراندیشان که قانون کشور را در آنها نقض می کنند، نگران سلامتی و امنیت جانی تاجبخش است.
در روز 20 آبان ماه احسان فتاحی؛ فعال کرد علیرغم اینکه دادگاه بدوی او را به 10 سال زندان محکوم کرده بود، به دار آویخته شد. دادگاه تجدید نظر اتهام محاربه را به اتهامات او اضافه کرد و حکم اعدام برای فتاحیان صادر کرد. قانون در ایران به صراحت دادگاه های تجدید نظر را از افزایش احکام دادگاه های بدوی منع کرده است. اتهامات جدید علیه تاجبخش نشانه یک روند فراقانونی است که احتمالا به جریان افتاده است.
کیان تاجبخش از دسترسی به وکیل مستقل محروم است و مسئولین، هوشنگ ازهاری؛ وکیل تسخیری را به او تحمیل کرده اند.
کمپین بین المللی حقوق بشر در ایران از قوه قضائیه می خواهد که فورا تاحبخش و همه دگراندیشان و فعالانی را که ناعادلانه تحت آزار و اذیت و محاکمه هستند، آزاد کند. کمپین بین المللی حقوق بشر همچنین از اینکه سپاه پاسداران نهادهای قضایی را غصب می کند و آنها را