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    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 12, 2018

    12 February 2018

    In response to reports that the Iranian authorities have said they will refuse to release the body of the Canadian-Iranian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami to his family unless there is an immediate burial and no attempt to conduct an independent autopsy, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty international’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa said:

    “The authorities’ refusal to allow an independent investigation into the extremely suspicious death of Dr Seyed-Emami smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up any evidence of torture and possible murder. He was detained in Evin prison where detainees are held under constant surveillance and stripped of all personal possessions. It would have been near impossible for him to commit suicide.

    February 12, 2018
    Amnesty International activists celebrate Nowruz in Toronto

    The Persian holiday Nowruz نوروز (“new day”) is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. This year, Nowruz is on March 21st, 2018. 

    This holiday presents an opportunity to remember courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran, write letters on their behalf, and send Nowruz greetings to them or to their families. You are invited to host a Nowruz event and send cards with simple Nowruz greetings such as “Nowruz mobarak” نوروز مبارک

    This is a great opportunity to join efforts with local diaspora groups and celebrate Nowruz with a human rights twist.

    To request a copy of the 2018 Nowruz Action file contact: IranCoordinator@amnesty.ca

    February 02, 2018

    Responding to reports that at least six young human rights defenders, including Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand have been detained in coordinated arrests across Iran on 1 February, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said:

    “These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

    “The coordinated nature of these arrests confirms our grave concerns about the grim reality for those defending human rights in Iran today, where peaceful activism is repressed and criminalized by the authorities. These people are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully defending human rights.

    January 30, 2018

    Amnesty International is outraged by reports that the Iranian authorities have executed a young man convicted of murder who was only 15 years old at the time of the crime.

    The organization learned that 22-year-old Ali Kazemi was hung earlier today in prison in Busher province. His execution was scheduled and carried out without any notice given to Ali Kazemi’s lawyer as required by Iranian law.

    “By carrying out this unlawful execution, Iran is effectively declaring that it wishes to maintain the country’s shameful status as one of the world’s leading executers of those who were children at the time of their crime,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    “This is nothing short of an all-out assault on children’s rights, as enshrined in international law, which absolutely bans the use of the death penalty against someone who was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime.”

    January 18, 2018

    Amnesty International is outraged by reports that Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a man convicted of theft. The amputation, which was conducted by guillotine, took place yesterday in the central prison in Mashhad city in north-eastern Razavi Khorasan province, according to the state-sponsored newspaper Khorasan News.

    According to Khorasan News, the 34-year-old man, referred to as A. Kh., was transferred to a medical centre immediately after the punishment was carried out. He was sentenced to hand amputation six years ago for stealing livestock and other valuables from several villages in the province. The sentence was then upheld by the Khorasan Criminal Court of Appeal.

    “Meting out such unspeakably cruel punishments is not justice and serves to highlight the Iranian authorities’ complete disregard for human dignity. There is no place for such brutality in a robust criminal justice system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    January 10, 2018

    Responding to news today that Iran will implement amended drugs laws and remove capital punishment for some drug trafficking offenses, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:

    “Iran’s deadly anti-drugs campaign has had an enormous human toll over the years, resulting in gross human rights violations in the name of ill-conceived crime prevention policies.”

    “The Iranian authorities have executed thousands of people for drugs offences in Iran, in blatant violation of international law which restricts the use of the death penalty to the most serious crimes involving intentional killing.”

    “If implemented properly this long-overdue reform will spare hundreds from the gallows, but that should be just the start. The Iranian authorities must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offences with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes.”

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    For media inquiries, contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    January 09, 2018

    The Iranian authorities must immediately investigate reports that at least five people have died in custody following a crackdown on anti-establishment protests, and take all necessary steps to protect detainees from torture and prevent any further deaths, Amnesty International said today.

    “The shroud of secrecy and lack of transparency over what happened to these detainees is alarming. Instead of rushing to the judgment that they committed suicide, the authorities must immediately launch an independent, impartial, and transparent investigation, including independent autopsies,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “We have long documented the nightmarish conditions in detention facilities in Iran, including the use of torture. Those suspected of having any responsibility for these deaths should be suspended from their positions and prosecuted in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.”

    January 04, 2018
    Iranian authorities must ensure the right to peaceful protest, investigate reports that security forces have unlawfully used firearms against unarmed protesters and protect hundreds of detainees from torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty International said today amid concerns that the crackdown against demonstrations that have spread across Iran in the past week is intensifying.   Official statements have confirmed that at least 22 people, including two security officers, have been killed since 28 December, when thousands of Iranians began flocking to the streets to speak out against poverty, corruption, political repression and authoritarianism.   “Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves, and a duty to protect the safety of the public. However, reports of the use of firearms against unarmed protesters by security forces are deeply troubling and would contravene Iran’s human rights obligations under international law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  
    October 24, 2017

    · Amnesty team analysed satellite imagery, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies

    · Lootings, arson and house demolition targeted predominantly Kurdish areas

    · At least 11 civilians killed by indiscriminate attacks

    · Tens of thousands now displaced afraid to go back home

    Satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected by Amnesty International show that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017.

    Residents reported that at least 11 civilians were killed by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city.

    October 23, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must urgently quash the death sentence against Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine Ahmadreza Djalali, said Amnesty International today.

    The medical doctor and university lecturer had studied and taught in Sweden, Italy and Belgium. Since his arrest in April 2016, several European officials have called for his release.

    Zeynab Taheri, one of Ahmadreza Djalali’s lawyers, told Amnesty International that he was sentenced to death for the charge of “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz), and has been given a 200,000 euro fine. The court verdict, which was shown to one of the lawyers, states that Ahmadreza Djalali worked with the Israeli government, who subsequently helped him obtain his

    residency permit in Sweden.

    “Ahmadreza Djalali was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial that once again exposes not only the Iranian authorities’ steadfast commitment to use of the death penalty but their utter contempt for the rule of law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 13, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must urgently stop the execution of a 17-year-old boy who was convicted of murder and rape, and commute his death sentence to imprisonment, said Amnesty International.

    Amirhossein Pourjafar is scheduled to be executed in a prison in Tehran on 19 October 2017. He was detained in April 2016 and sentenced to death six months later after being convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, Setayesh Ghoreyshi, from Iran’s marginalized Afghan community.

    “There is no question that this was a horrific crime and the perpetrator should be held accountable. Amnesty International supports the demands for justice voiced by Setayesh’s bereaved family and the wider Afghan community in Iran, but executing a 17-year-old boy is not justice,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed while they were under 18 is absolutely prohibited by international human rights law. If Iran goes ahead with the execution next week it will be another appalling breach of its international obligations.”

    October 11, 2017

    Golrokh and Arash enjoy a walk under spring blossoms in happier times. Both are in Evin Prison just for their work to protect human rights. © Private

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    Amnesty International is very worried about a married couple in prison. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee [pronounced Goal-row-k Ebra-himee Ear-a-ee] is on the left in the photo. Arash Sadeghi [A-rash Sa-de-ghee] is on the right. 

    They were arrested in September 2014 just for promoting human rights in Iran. So the main reason for Amnesty’s concern is that neither Golrokh nor Arash should be in prison.

    After their arrests, they were threatened and beaten. Everyone has the right to be protected from harm. 

    Neither of them was allowed to have a lawyer’s help with their cases and their trial lasted just 15 minutes. 

    October 10, 2017

    ‘The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones’ - Kerry Moscogiuri

    Responding to news from Richard Ratcliffe that his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - a British-Iranian charity worker who has been unjustly jailed in Iran for the past year-and-a-half - may be facing additional criminal charges and a further prison sentence, Amnesty International UK’s Campaigns Director, Kerry Moscogiuri, said:

    “Coming against a backdrop of last year’s blatantly unfair trial and sentence, this is very depressing news and a really worrying development.

    “The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones, and once again criminalise this charity worker’s peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association through her work with Reuters and the BBC.

    “The Iranian authorities have a track record of bringing fresh criminal charges against prisoners of conscience who they wish to keep in jail.

    October 02, 2017

    By Olivia Ward, former bureau chief, correspondent and foreign affairs writer for the Toronto Star for more than two decades. She works as a documentary filmmaker with Shelley Saywell's Bishari film company.  

    Saeed Malekpour came to Canada in 2004, drawn by its promise of unspoiled nature, fresh air and open spaces to explore.  But on Oct. 4, 2008, he was arrested, beaten, tortured and cast into the airless, dungeon-like cells of Iran’s Evin prison. Today marks his ninth year behind bars.

    Malekpour was a Canadian permanent resident awaiting citizenship when an urgent call from his family brought him to Tehran to visit his dying father. A metallurgical engineer, he had been working in Victoria B.C.as a web programmer to put himself through a graduate degree he hoped would open up new employment opportunities. Instead, he was charged by the Iranian regime with managing a pornographic website at the instigation of western countries plotting to corrupt the morals of Iranians – a spurious charge that was supported by no evidence.

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