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Iran

    July 23, 2015

    Released 8AM BST Thursday 23 July 2015

    The Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July 2015, said Amnesty International today, in an unprecedented spike in executions in the country.

    This is equivalent to executing more than three people per day. At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International for the whole of last year.

    “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end.”

    July 13, 2015

    An Iranian juvenile offender whose fate and whereabouts had been unknown since he was due to be executed in February was able to call his relatives from prison over the weekend, ending five months of unbearable suffering by his loved ones, who did not know what had happened to him, Amnesty International revealed.

      SAMAN NASEEM:
    Not executed as feared, entitled to re-trial      

    Saman Naseem, 21, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a deeply flawed trial that relied on self-incriminating evidence extracted under torture. The day before he was due to be executed, he was transferred to an unknown location, which has now been confirmed to be Zanjan Prison, north-west of Tehran. Neither his family nor lawyers were given any concrete information about his whereabouts until now.

    June 19, 2015

    The Iranian authorities must urgently commute the death sentence of Ehsan Shah Ghasemi, a 24-year-old man who faces imminent execution amid a flawed trial that cast overwhelming doubts over his guilt, said Amnesty International.

    Ehsan Shah Ghasemi was sentenced to death for stabbing Ali Khalili in the neck in July 2011, causing injuries that allegedly led to his death almost three years later in April 2014. The Supreme Court approved Ehsan Shah Ghasemi’s execution despite the absence of any conclusive evidence that the stab wound caused Ali Khalili’s death. The Chief Justice of Iran is expected to endorse the death sentence in the next few days.

    June 02, 2015

    The sentencing of Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani to more than 12 years in prison – far in excess of the statutory maximum punishment for the charges she faced – is a terrible injustice, and a violation her rights to free expression and association, Amnesty International said.

    This case follows the sentencing last month of Atena Daemi, another Iranian woman, to more than a decade in prison – also on charges stemming from her peaceful activism. Both are prisoners of conscience and must be freed immediately.

    “Atena Farghadani has effectively been punished for her cartoons with a sentence that is itself a gross caricature of justice. No one should be in jail for their art or peaceful activism,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Such harsh and unjust sentences seem to be part of a disturbing trend in Iran, where the cost of voicing peaceful dissent is escalating, with punishments even worse than those issued in the post-2009 election crackdown.”

    May 14, 2015

    Released 00:01 BST 15 May 2015

    A 24-year-old man is at imminent risk of execution, for a crime which took place while he was below 18 years of age, despite the fact that his case is currently under judicial review, said Amnesty International, urging the Iranian authorities to halt all plans to implement the sentence.

    The organization has been warned that the execution of Hamid Ahmadi, who was convicted of fatally stabbing a man during a group fight that took place when he was 16 years old, could be imminent even though the Supreme Court has confirmed that an application for a review of his case is currently being processed.  

    May 08, 2015

    Iranian security forces must refrain from using excessive and unnecessary force in the policing of protests, Amnesty International urged after police in riot gear dispersed a demonstration in the Kurdish-populated city of Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province, on 7 May.

    Officials have today confirmed that at least 25 people, including seven police officers, were injured in the ensuing clashes last night.

    There are fears of a renewed police crackdown amid reports of arrests and after further demonstrations were called.

    “After last night’s violence, tensions are running high in Mahabad and other Kurdish-majority towns and cities. Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the safety of the public, but they must comply with international standards governing the use of force in their policing of any further protests,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.

    April 28, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 29 April 2015

    Whereabouts of more than 75 held after protests unknown

    Iran’s intelligence and security forces have rounded up and detained scores of Ahwazi Arabs, including several children, in what appears to be an escalating crackdown in Iran’s Khuzestan province, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    According to activists and family members, many arrests took place in the lead-up to the tenth anniversary of mass anti-government demonstrations that gripped the Arab-populated province in April 2005. Family members said the arrests have been carried out without warrants by groups of armed masked men affiliated with Iran’s security and intelligence services, usually following home raids of Ahwazi Arab activists during the late evening or early morning hours. The human rights organizations expressed concern that people may have been arrested merely in connection with their perceived political opinions, for peacefully expressing dissent or for openly exhibiting their Arab identity and culture.

    April 01, 2015

    By Elise Auerbach, AIUSA

    As if it weren’t bad enough. Iranian women face persistent systemic discrimination in terms of family law. New legislation being considered by Iran’s parliament is intended to roll back many of the gains women have made in the past decades and consign them to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

    And on top of that, if they dare to protest about the inequities they suffer, they are sentenced to long prison terms, to be served in prisons where unsanitary conditions and medical neglect can quickly undermine their health.

    March 18, 2015

    The Iranian authorities must prove that their participation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is more than a mere PR exercise, by halting any plans to execute an alleged juvenile offender and ordering a judicial review of his case, said Amnesty International.

    The execution of Saman Naseem, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, following a grossly unfair trial that relied on ‘confessions’ extracted under torture, was scheduled to take place one month before the UN Human Rights Council session on 19 March. The execution was not carried out then and the authorities have refused to officially disclose his fate and whereabouts since.

    “We fear the Iranian authorities may have postponed Saman Naseem’s execution merely to avoid criticism and condemnation at the UN Human Rights Council session, leaving him at even graver risk of execution once the review ends,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    March 11, 2015

    Iran’s Parliament is in the process of adopting two bills—Bill 446 and Bill 315—that threaten to send Iran back several decades to a precarious time for women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights.

    Since 2012, Iran has eliminated funding for the state Family and Population Planning Program, which oversaw the delivery of family planning and reproductive health services, including free condoms and modern contraceptives across the country. These initiatives are part of a misguided plan to accelerate population growth and, if continued, they will leave women and girls in Iran with a future shaped by increased inequality, discrimination, poor health, limited choices, and restricted freedoms.

    March 11, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner

    Campaigning against laws in Iran which discriminate against women and girls has just gotten a whole lot harder for Bahareh Hedayat and other activists with the Campaign for Equality, as Iran moves to enact laws set to turn Iranian women and girls into baby-making machines. Bahareh is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for her peaceful activism in support of gender equality.

    March 10, 2015

    Women in Iran could face significant restrictions on their use of contraceptives and be further excluded from the labour market unless they have had a child, if two proposed laws are approved, says a new report by Amnesty International published today.

    March 05, 2015

    The deliberate blinding of a man who was convicted of pouring acid on another man's face causing him to go blind is a gruesome example of Iran's brutal justice system in action, said Amnesty International.

    The man was forcibly blinded in his left eye on 3 March after being sentenced to “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) for throwing acid on the eyes of another man in the city of Qom in August 2009. The blinding of his right eye was postponed until a later date. In addition to this punishment he was ordered to pay "blood money" (diyah) and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  

    “Punishing someone by deliberately blinding them is an unspeakably cruel and shocking act," said Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International's Iran Researcher.

    March 02, 2015

    Iranian prisoner of conscience and artist, Atena Farghadani, could be on death’s door after being hospitalized following a hunger strike lasting three weeks. Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.

    According to her lawyer, the 28-year-old painter and activist was relocated from Gharchak Prison to a hospital on 26 February, after suffering a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness earlier this week. She stopped taking any food, sugar or salt on 9 February in protest at her continued detention and ill-treatment at Gharchak Prison in Varamin, 50 km south of Tehran, where she was being held with individuals convicted of serious crimes. In hospital she has refused an intravenous drip.
    “Atena should never have been imprisoned in the first place. Her repeated arbitrary arrest and detention for her artistic work is a flagrant assault on freedom of expression,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 19, 2015

    Iranian officials’ refusal to provide the family of Saman Naseem, a death row juvenile offender who was due to be executed this morning, with information about his fate and whereabouts has sparked fears that he is at risk of being tortured or secretly executed, said Amnesty International.

    Saman Naseem was transferred from Oroumieh Central Prison to an unknown location on 18 February 2015. Prison officials told the family to collect his belongings on Saturday.

    “The lack of news about Saman Naseem’s fate or whereabouts with prison officers denying his family any information is cruel and inhuman,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

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