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Iran

    October 28, 2013

    Two death row prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority are at imminent risk of being executed after the Iranian authorities carried out 20 death sentences over the weekend, Amnesty International warned today.

    “This surge in executions shows that behind words and promises, the Iranian authorities continue to rely on state-sponsored killing, sparking fears that Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi, two Kurdish minority prisoners on death row, could be next,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “These and all other executions must be halted immediately. While the Iranian authorities have a responsibility to bring those suspected of criminal offences to justice, the death penalty should never be used, as it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.” 

    Iranian prisoners are routinely sentenced to death after unfair trials, and despite allegations of torture being used to extract “confessions” in pre-trial detention.

    October 16, 2013

    Iran must stop the execution of man who was found alive at a morgue a day after being hanged, Amnesty International urged today after authorities said the prisoner would be hanged for a second time once his condition improves.

    The 37-year-old, identified as “Alireza M”, was hanged in Bojnourd prison in north-east Iran last week after being convicted of drug offences.

    According to official state media, a doctor declared him dead after the 12 minute-hanging, but when the prisoner’s family went to collect his body the following day he was found to still be breathing.

    He is currently in hospital, but a judge reportedly said he would be executed again “once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough”.

    “The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    October 10, 2013

    After five years in Iran’s Evin prison and with an execution order on his life, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall today returned to Canada a free man, and was greeted by his wife Antonella Mega.

    His long journey back from Tehran has been an incredible ordeal. Hamid was arrested on May 24, 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Iran. His older brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, had been arrested two weeks earlier.  Both brothers were held in solitary confinement without legal representation in Tehran’s Evin prison for 18 months. On December 29, 2008 both men were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death following an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court. In January 2010, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, who was suffering from stomach cancer, died in prison.

    October 10, 2013

    By Aubrey Harris, Coordinator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    Today, 10 October, is World Day Against the Death Penalty. This year abolitionist groups from around the world are focussed on efforts to abolish the death penalty in the Caribbean. Amnesty International released a report today also detailing one of the biggest myths of death penalty supporters - the claim of deterrence.

    In Canada though we have another special reason to celebrate this October 10th. It is the first October 10th in five years in which Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall is not facing possible execution.

    September 25, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the execution of six men on death row in Ghezel Hesar Prison near Tehran. Two of them have been transferred to solitary confinement today sparking fears they are at imminent risk of execution Amnesty International said.

    Hamed Ahmadi and Sedigh Mohammadi are among six Sunni Muslim men from Iran’s Kurdish minority who were sentenced to death after being convicted of vaguely-worded offences including “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth”.

    “The news of the transfer of two Iranian men to solitary confinement indicate the worst for the men. It is known as the execution waiting room for inmates sentenced to death,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment. For decades Iranian authorities have issued death sentences ruthlessly and on a regular basis.”

    September 24, 2013

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that Canadian-Iranian dual national Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was released from Evin prison in Iran on 23 September 2013.

    Ghassemi-Shall was arrested 24 May 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Iran. His older brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, had been arrested about two weeks earlier. Both brothers were held in solitary confinement without legal representation, in Tehran’s Evin prison for 18 months. On 29 December 2008 both men were sentenced to death following an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court. They were convicted of moharebeh (enmity against God) for espionage and cooperation with the proscribed People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). In November 2009 the brothers were transferred to a section of the prison holding other prisoners.

    September 24, 2013

    After more than five years in prison, and with an execution order on his life, Hamid has been released from prison in Iran!

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have worked together for this outcome, through tireless campaigning, personal letters of hope sent to Hamid, petitions, emails, talks in community centres, and simple word-of-mouth. Officials and government representatives in Canada added their voice, calling for Hamid's release in Parliament.

    Thank you to Amnesty International supporters in Canada and around the world for what you've helped accomplish.

    Hamid's Story:

    September 20, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the execution of four Sunni Muslim men from Iran’s Kurdish minority who could be executed within days, Amnesty International said.

    “The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment and represents a flagrant violation of human rights. The death sentences of these men must be immediately revoked and a re-trial in line with international standards must be ordered,” said Hassiba Hadj Saharoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    September 19, 2013

    An Amnesty International poster purporting to show the Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, incorrectly depicts an Iranian actress of the same name.

    The incorrect image was intended to be used at an exhibition about female human rights activists in Iran held near Munich, Germany in November 2012.

    As soon as Amnesty International became aware of the mistake, the image was withdrawn and labelled a ‘misprint’.

    This month the incorrect image has been circulated on social media.

    Amnesty International apologizes for the mistake and any offence caused.

    The organization has campaigned on her behalf of Narges Mohammadi, the Executive chairperson of Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) who was convicted in 2011 for “propaganda against the system”, and membership of a group “whose object is to disturb the security of the country.”

    She was granted temporary medical leave from prison in July 2012.

     

    September 18, 2013

    Amnesty International welcomes the release of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and at least 11 political activists. 
     

    UPDATE: OCTOBER, 2014
    A year after Nasrin's release from prison, the Disciplinary Tribunal for Lawyers ruled that Nasrin could continue practicing law, which had been her wish upon release. She has received a full pardon from the authorities and is able to resume her work!

    “While the releases are a positive development, they must be a first step that paves the way for the release of all prisoners of conscience held solely because they peacefully exercised their rights,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced, in September 2010, to six years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security”, including membership of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

    September 18, 2013

    Amnesty International welcomes the release of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and at least 11 political activists.  

    “While the releases are a positive development, they must be a first step that paves the way for the release of all prisoners of conscience held solely because they peacefully exercised their rights,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced, in September 2010, to six years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security”, including membership of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

    Amnesty International adopted her as a prisoner of conscience and has campaigned for her immediate and unconditional release.

    August 30, 2013

    An Iranian prisoner of conscience and blogger on hunger strike to protest his unfair detention must be released immediately and unconditionally to receive treatment as his health deteriorates, Amnesty International said.

    Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, 28, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for “membership of the [illegal] internet group ‘Iran Proxy’”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the Leader and the President”, among other charges.

    “Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s worsening health is extremely worrying and despite repeated requests by his parents, the Iranian authorities are refusing to release him or even grant him temporary leave,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
    .
    “Not only have the authorities unfairly put him behind bars simply for expressing his views on his blog but they are now also jeopardizing his health and ultimately his life by not allowing him to receive the medical care he urgently needs”

    August 02, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must seize the opportunity presented by a change of leadership to fulfil the aspirations of many Iranians and undertake a complete overhaul of human rights in the country, said Amnesty International ahead of the inauguration of the new President this weekend.  
     
    Hassan Rouhani, the 64-year old cleric who has been described as a moderate, will be sworn in as President on Sunday 4 August 2013. Amnesty International has published a set of recommendations to the Iranian authorities, setting out a road map to address the abysmal human rights situation in the country.

    "For too long Iran has failed to live up to its human rights obligations under domestic and international law. After years of repression and international isolation, the Iranian authorities must stop posturing and acknowledge the severity of human rights violations in the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    June 17, 2013

    The victory of Hassan Rouhani, a 64-year-old cleric, in Iran’s presidential election, presents a new opportunity to address human rights abuses in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Hassan Rouhani, described as a moderate and a pragmatist, made a number of pledges to improve Iran’s dire human rights record during his electoral campaign, for which he must be held accountable in the coming months.

    He plans to issue a “civil rights charter” which calls for equality for all citizens without discrimination based on race, religion or sex. It also calls for greater freedom for political parties and minorities, as well as ensuring the right to fair trial, freedom of assembly and legal protection for all.  

    “The proposed charter – if delivered and implemented - presents the potential for a decisive first step forward for human rights in Iran,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director.

    June 12, 2013

    Iran’s authorities have intensified the clampdown on dissidents ahead of the country’s presidential election on 14 June, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, Iran: Repression of dissent intensifies in run-up to presidential elections, documents dozens of arbitrary arrests and other human rights abuses in the run-up to election day, targeting journalists, political activists, trade unionists, advocates of greater rights for Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities, and students.

    “The escalation in repression is an outrageous attempt by the Iranian authorities to silence critics ahead of the presidential election,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The surge in recent violations underlines Iran’s continued and brazen flouting of human rights standards through its persecution of political dissidents and betrays the glaring absence of a meaningful human rights discourse in the election campaign.”

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