IRAN: Tortured protestors sentenced to death

Download a copy of the 1st UA 9/23 below

Young protesters Javad Rouhi, 31, Mehdi Mohammadifard, 19, and Arshia Takdastan, 18, are at risk of execution in Iran following grossly unfair trials in connection with protests in Noshahr, Mazandaran province. The Revolutionary Court stated that they “incited riots” by dancing, clapping, chanting or throwing headscarves into bonfires. Authorities subjected them to beatings, floggings, electric shocks, suspension, death threats and sexual violence to extract “confessions”.

Amnesty International learned that they were forcibly disappeared, tortured and otherwise ill-treated to “confess”, including through solitary confinement, suspension, floggings, electric shocks, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and death threats at gunpoint. As a result, Javad Rouhi suffered rotator cuff injuries, urinary incontinence, digestive complications and mobility and speech impairment while Arshia Takdastan sustained a broken toe and experienced memory loss. According to information gathered by the organization, Mehdi Mohammadifard sustained a broken nose and rectal bleeding as a result of rape. They were denied access to a lawyer during the investigation phase and access to a lawyer of their choosing at trial, consisting of a session lasting under an hour for each. Their appeal is before the Supreme Court.   

Write to the Head of Judiciary urging him to:

  • immediately quash the convictions and death sentences of the three men
  • drop all charges related to their peaceful participation in protests
  • conduct independent investigations into their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment
  • grant the three, specialist healthcare for their torture-related injuries.

Write to:

Head of judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei

c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union,

Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No. 15,

1050 Bruxelles, Belgium


Salutation: Dear Mr Gholamhossein Mohseni Eje


Revolutionary Guards agents arrested Javad Rouhi in a violent manner from the street in Noshahr, Mazandaran province, on September 22, 2022, after he was identified in a video that showed him dancing during protests in Noshahr a day earlier. For the next six weeks, the authorities concealed his fate and whereabouts from his family, which amounts to enforced disappearance, a crime under international law. In late October 2022, he was allowed to briefly call his family informing them that he was at an unidentified medical centre. The authorities disconnected the call after a few seconds. In the following weeks, his family continued to desperately search for him including by referring to the central prison in Noshahr. Eventually, in early November 2022, the authorities confirmed that he was held there and in mid-November 2022, they granted a family visit. For the next six weeks and until after the authorities informed him of his death sentence in late December 2022, he was denied contact with his family. It subsequently transpired that following his arrest, he had been held for more than 40 days in solitary confinement at a Revolutionary Guards detention center known as Shahid Kazemi, which is located within Tir Kola prison in Sari.

According to information obtained by Amnesty International, during this period, he was subjected to severe beatings and floggings, including on the soles of his feet and while being tied to a pole, electrically shocked with tasers, exposed to freezing temperatures, and sexually assaulted by having ice put on his testicles for 48 hours. Revolutionary Guards agents also repeatedly pointed a gun to his head and threatened to shoot him if he does not “confess” and “disclose” the name of the “grouplet” (a derogatory term used by the authorities in reference to outlawed opposition groups) with which he had “colluded”.

Amnesty International learned that following his torture, Javad Rouhi developed urinary incontinence, digestive complications, mobility issues and speech impairment and was transferred on an emergency basis to a medical center where he was hospitalized for 48 hours. He also sustained a retear in his rotator cuff, which had been surgically repaired several years earlier. He continues to suffer from severe pain in his back and hips and numbness in his right leg, which have been left untreated and require specialist medical care. His trial took place behind closed doors before Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Sari on December 13 and lasted for less than an hour. During the trial, he told the judge that he had been tortured to give false “confessions”. Despite this, the court relied on his forced “confessions” and refused to order an investigation. In apparent reprisal for speaking out about his treatment in court, immediately after his trial, he was transferred to a Revolutionary Guards detention center in Sari, Mazandaran province, and held there in solitary confinement for around two weeks. In late December 2022, he was returned to the central prison in Noshahr, where he remains.

Revolutionary Guards agents arrested Arshia Takdastan in Noshahr on September 24, 2022 and transferred him the next day to Shahid Kazemi detention center in Sari. According to information obtained by Amnesty International, there, he was held in solitary confinement for 28 days and repeatedly subjected to beatings and death threats, including through having a gun pointed at his head and being told that he would be shot dead if he did not “confess” in front of a video camera. The interrogators also threatened to detain and torture his father if he did not “cooperate”. The authorities concealed his fate and whereabouts from his family for 18 days, which amounts to enforced disappearance. In its verdict, which has been reviewed by Amnesty International, the Revolutionary Court cited as evidence of “enmity against God” a text message sent by Arshia Takdastan to Iran International, a media outlet outside Iran, wherein, according to the verdict, he expressed appreciation to the media outlet for “standing behind the people” and asked them to “keep encouraging the people so that the Islamic Republic is suppressed”.

Mehdi Mohammadifard went into hiding on October 1, 2022, after being summoned for interrogations by Revolutionary Guards. He was located and arrested in the early hours of the morning on October 2, 2022. According to information obtained by Amnesty International, his arrest was carried out in a violent manner involving severe beatings and pushing him to the ground, as a result of which he sustained a broken nose. The organization learned that following his arrest, he was held for a week in solitary confinement in a cell infested with mice and cockroaches, and during this period, he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment to “confess” including through severe beatings and suspension upside down. He was also subjected to rape as defined in international criminal law, namely: non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature of the body of another person with any bodily part or object. The organization learned that as a result of rape, he suffered anal injuries and rectal bleeding and was transferred on an emergency basis to a hospital outside prison. He was returned to detention the next day and before he had recovered. Amnesty International was not able to ascertain the location of the detention facility where he was held during the investigation period. He is currently held in the central prison in Noshahr. He was not allowed any visits from his family until after he was sentenced to death in December 2022.

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