Keyvan Rafiee

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Keyvan Rafiee
کیوان رفیعی
Keyvan Rafiee
ResidenceUnited States
TitleFounder and Director of Human Rights Activists in Iran

Keyvan Rafiee (Persian: کیوان رفیعی‎) is a former prisoner of conscience and was arrested six times for his activities starting in 2003. He is the founder of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI).

Activities and Detentions[edit]

Keyvan Rafiee was first arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for protesting the election process of the Assembly of Experts in Gorgan city in Golestan Province due to what believed to be questioning the authority of the Supreme Leader's representative and the President of Azad University. He was kept in detention for 13 days and when released, was denied the right to return to the university and continue his education. Rafiee continued his activities and in 2004 was arrested during the anniversary of student protests in July 9; for one month he was kept in temporary detention center, ward 209 of the MOIS in Evin Prison and before being released on bail. Keyvan Rafiee was once again arrested in May 23, 2005, less than a year later, charged with activities aimed at boycotting the ninth Presidential Elections, when the disputed elections brought Mahmood Ahmadinejad to power for the first term. He spends most of his detention in solitary confinement and then was incarcerated in ward 209 of the MOIS in Evin Prison, at the end he was released on bail until his trial. The accusations finally led to a year of imprisonment which was then suspended for three years. For the fourth time, this human right activist was arrested in front of Tehran University on the anniversary of December 7 [National Student's Day] only a few days after being released; this time he was kept in detention for a short while and was released on bail at the same night. In 2006, Keyvan Rafiee founded the Human Right Activists in Iran. However only a few months after starting this organization, he was arrested on May 1 by the security police as he was protesting among the workers of Tehran Bus Driver's Union on the International Workers' Day; he was beaten by police forces at the time of arrest but was released later on because he used an alias. Mr. Rafiee's last arrest was recorded on July 9, 2006 due to the latest policy of the MOIS for arresting individuals with detention records and under the pretext of crime prevention without providing any particular charge; since the Ministry was concerned about activists organizing and taking part in protests in front of Tehran University. He was then transferred to ward 209 of Evin Prison even though he had not been charged with a crime where he spent 183 days in solitary confinement. Following this period he was transferred to open prison and other wards of Evin Prison. After 15 months, this human right activist, charged with actions against national security, was put into trial and sentenced by Judge Salavati; considering the time he had already spent in prison, he was finally released on December 22, 2007. After gaining his freedom and as he was once again summoned to the revolutionary court, he left Iran and sought political asylum in the United States.

Activities in the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)[edit]

Keyvan Rafiee is the founder of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI). In the past decade, he has taken up various roles at HRAI, including the Spokesman and director, taking on a range of executive activities in this human rights organization. Mr. Rafiee is the author of a number of articles and books, including the following: • Article - “A Critical Review on the Report by Ahmed Shahid, United nation’s Human Rights Rapporteur” – published in Peace Mark Monthly – 2011 • Annual Listing of Iranian political prisoners – from 2009 to 2014 • Pamphlet titled “Behind the Curtains of Social Welfare” - 2009 • Book titled “An Autopsy of Human Rights” on human rights education– 2008 • Research Booklet titled “From Prison to Prison” about security and secret prisons in Iran – 2008 • Booklet titled “The Nest of Corruption” about widespread corruption in Iranian prisons – 2008 Additionally, Rafiee has established connections with various groups and reported on many issues concerning Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, workers, labor unionists, and political activists. He has trained staff, authored comprehensive reports and articles, established Committee for Opposing Censorship, established bilingual (Persian and English) websites, established coalitions with other non-profit and human rights organizations around the globe, Founded Peace Mark, a monthly publication dedicated to human rights and political analysis, established and conducted Annual Statistical Analysis of human rights violations in Iran, used by major organizations around the world. He has also worked with United Nations, U.S. State Department, U.S. Congress, and other non-governmental organizations to raise awareness about human rights violations in Iran.

Attacks by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)[edit]

As the impact of civil rights and human rights reporting became apparent and the HRAI’s activities became known, Keyvan Rafiee became a target for IRGC Intelligence Unit who sought to make such activities costly by destroying the reputation and livelihood of HRAI’s members. During the people’s uprising, in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential elections, HRAI was central in collecting and reporting vital evidence against widespread human rights violations in Iran. The IRGC Intelligence Unit broadcast videos and propaganda pieces, to try to establish that the group is related to “anti-revolutionary” groups and outside forces, which the group and Keyvan Rafiee have repeatedly denied, maintaining that it is non-political and non-partisan.

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