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Eskandar Lotfi transferred to Evin Prison

Status: 
Transferred
About the situation

On 8 June 2022, the human rights defender Eskandar Lotfi was transferred to the 2A Ward of Evin prison run by the Iranian intelligence service. The defender informed his family about his whereabouts in a 60 second phone conversation, which he carried out in Farsi and not his mother tongue, Kurdish, signifying that the conversation was being monitored by the prison's authorities, and he was forced to speak a language they understand. Therefore, the defender could not speak freely about his situation. There has been no information about the health condition of Eskandar Lotfi after he went on hunger strike on 30 May 2022 in protest against the continuation of his solitary confinement, with no access to his lawyer, and pressure to give a televised confession.

On 30 May 2022, human rights defender, Eskandar Lotfi started a hunger strike in protest against the continuation of his detention in solitary confinement, without access to his lawyer, and pressure to give a televised confession. The detention warrant issued for the human rights defender on 1 May 2022 was terminated on 30 May 2022 and the human rights defender is reportedly being pressured to give a televised confession to charges of espionage.

On 11 May 2022, human rights defenders and members of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (ITTA) Marivan Branch, Masoud Nikkhah and Shaban Mohammadi were re-arrested in Marivan, Kurdistan province in Iran. The arrest of Masoud Nikkhah occurred in his house shortly after he was released after eleven days of detention. Shaban Mohammadi was arrested on his way to Masould Nikkhah’s house. Previously, on 1 May 2022 Masoud Nikkhah was arrested together with human rights defender and the spokesperson of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA), Eskandar Lotfi.

About Eskandar Lotfi

Eskandar Lotfi is the spokesperson of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) and an active member of the of ITTA.

20 June 2022
Eskandar Lotfi, Shaban Mohammadi and Masoud Nikkhah transferred to Evin prison

On 8 June 2022, the human rights defender Eskandar Lotfi was transferred to the 2A Ward of Evin prison run by the Iranian intelligence service. The defender informed his family about his whereabouts in a 60 second phone conversation, which he carried out in Farsi and not his mother tongue, Kurdish, signifying that the conversation was being monitored by the prison's authorities, and he was forced to speak a language they understand. Therefore, the defender could not speak freely about his situation. There has been no information about the health condition of Eskandar Lotfi after he went on hunger strike on 30 May 2022 in protest against the continuation of his solitary confinement, with no access to his lawyer, and pressure to give a televised confession.

Shaban Mohammadi and Masoud Nikkhah, two other human rights defenders and members of the Iranian Teacher’s Trade Association (ITTA) Marivan branch, had also been transferred to Evin prison on 5 June 2022. The transfer of the human rights defenders from detention centers in Kurdistan province to Evin in Tehran appears to be aimed at increasing pressure on them to give a televised confession.

The three human rights defenders were arrested in early May 2022 in the context of nationwide calls for peaceful protests by the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA). They have been denied access to their lawyer and therefore, the charges against them are yet to be known.

7 June 2022
Eskandar Lotfi on a hunger strike

On 30 May 2022, human rights defender, Eskanadar Lotfi started a hunger strike in protest against the continuation of his detention in solitary confinement, without access to his lawyer, and pressure to give a televised confession. The detention warrant issued for the human rights defender on 1 May 2022 was terminated on 30 May 2022 and the human rights defender is reportedly being pressured to give a televised confession to charges of espionage.

On 17 May 2022, Iran’s state TV confirmed the arrest of two French citizens, Cecile Kohler and Chuck Paris, saying that they met with teachers on protest and took part in an anti-government rally. While the Iranian state TV report said the two French citizens were “organizing a protest” to create “unrest” in Iran, France had earlier identified the pair as a teachers’ union official and her partner on vacation in Iran. The TV broadcast showed footage of their meetings with Iranian teachers, including Eskandar Lotfi, Shaban Mohammadi, Masoud Nikkhah, and Rasoul Bodaghi, who have all been arbitrarily detained since the beginning of May 2022. On 10 May 2022, the Intelligence Ministry in Tehran confirmed that it had detained two Europeans, who are reportedly facing charges of espiongae.

Since Eskandar Lotfi’s arrest on 1 May 2022, the human rights defender has been denied access to his lawyer and therefore, the charges against him are yet to be known. However, on a telephone call on 30 May 2022, the human rights defender announced that he is being pressured to confess to committing crimes related to espionage in conjuction with meeting the two French citizens. He added that he is therefore going to refrain from consuming food and water in protest against what the human rights defender described as being illegally detained in solitary confinment for more than a month in Shahramfar detention center. The detention centre is run by the intelligence service of the Iranian revelotionary guard in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province.

13 May 2022
Arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and members of ITTA Marivan Branch

On 11 May 2022, human rights defenders and members of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (ITTA) Marivan Branch, Masoud Nikkhah and Shaban Mohammadi were re-arrested in Marivan, Kurdistan province in Iran. The arrest of Masoud Nikkhah occurred in his house shortly after he was released after eleven days of detention. Shaban Mohammadi was arrested on his way to Masould Nikkhah’s house. Previously, on 1 May 2022 Masoud Nikkhah was arrested together with human rights defender and the spokesperson of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA), Eskandar Lotfi.

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Eskandar Lotfi is the spokesperson of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) and an active member of the of ITTA, Marivan-Kurdistan Branch. Shaban Mohammadi and Masoud Nikkhah are human rights defenders and active members of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations, Marivan- Kurdistan Branch who have advocated for the rights of children to free education, a proper classification of teachers and harmonization of retirees’ pensions.

On 30 March 2022, Eskandar Lotfi, Masoud Nikkhah and Shaban Mohmmadi were arrested in advance of the teachers’ peaceful gathering on Iranian Teachers’ Day. The human rights defenders had been threatened not to take part in the teachers’ gathering of 1 May 2022. Eskandar Lotfi and Masoud Nikkhah were first transferred to Marivan prison and then to the security ward of Sanandaj prison, run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) intelligence services. While Shaban Mohammadi was released the following day, the other two human rights remained detained. During the teachers’ peaceful gathering of 1 May 2022, Shaban Mohammadi was forcefully taken into a shop, physically assaulted by security forces and detained again from noon until 7pm the same day.

The arrests of the human rights defenders occurred in the context of nationwide calls for peaceful protests by the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) on the occasion of the Iranian Teacher’s day on 1 May 2022. This is not the first time that these human rights defenders have been targeted by the security forces. Since Eskandar Lotfi’s arrest, the human rights defender has been denied access to his lawyer and therefore, the charges against him are yet to be known. On 28 February 2022, Shaban Mohammadi was released on bail after being arbitrarily detained since 30 January 2022, after taking part in a teachers’ sit-in peaceful protest in Marivan.

Previously, on 8 February 2020, Eskandar Lotfi had been sentenced to two years in prison on the charges of “propaganda activities against state” and “spreading misinformation” based on his trade union activities by Branch 104 of Sanandaj Criminal Court II. However, Branch 4 of Sanandaj Court acquitted the human rights defender of the two aforementioned charges in July 2020.

Front Line Defenders has previously expressed serious concerns about the arrests, judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and the other members of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association since the beginning on May 2022. Front Line Defenders reiterates its grave concerns about the arbitrary detention of especially Eskandar Lotfi, Shaban M ohammadi and Masoud Nikkhah and believes that they are being detained as a result of their legitimate and peaceful human rights work in defence of teachers’ rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association in Iran.