Iran’s judicial and security bodies have waged a vicious crackdown against human rights defenders since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, demonizing and imprisoning activists who dare to stand up for people’s rights, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.
Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack details how scores of human rights activists – often labelled “foreign agents” and “traitors” by state media – have been prosecuted and jailed on spurious “national security” charges, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of human rights reform raised during President Hassan Rouhani’s first election campaign. Some activists have been sentenced to more than 10 years behind bars for simple acts such as being in contact with the UN, EU or human rights organizations including Amnesty International.
The group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for today’s suicide bombing and gun attack at parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, the first Leader of Islamic Republic, which killed a number of people and injured dozens in Tehran. In response, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:
“The coordinated attack today at parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum was a brutal and deliberate assault on civilians carried out in cold blood. There can never be a justification for targeting civilians. The group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has again displayed its utter contempt for human life and fundamental principles of humanity.
“The Iranian authorities must promptly carry out an impartial and independent investigation into this attack and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials, without violating the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment and without recourse to the death penalty as punishment.”
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By Vida Mehrannia
On March 8 Amnesty Internatonal members from Group 46 in Peterbourough hosted their annual fundraising and awareness dinner. This year their special guests were former Iranian-Canadian prisoner, Hamid Ghassemi Shall and his wife Antoella Mega. Amnesty International members across Canada campaigned for years for Hamid's release from prison and return to Canada. Hamid now campaigns for others, particularly Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada now detained in Iran.
Read about Group 46's event and their work to support human rights.
Human Rights’ Groups Play Vital Role, Says Former Iranian Prisoner
By: Nazila Nik (Iran Coordination Team)
I remember growing up in Iran in the 80s: revolution and war, the dramatic shift of political and social landscape, uncertainty and a sense of suffocation. Among the enormous changes forced upon my generation, was a massive cultural purge that followed the 1979 revolution and affected the whole artistic sphere. Music that was deemed to be non-revolutionary or influenced by the west was banned. History has shown us, however, that music and art usually rebound when faced with censorship. People always come up with ingenious ways to overcome repression, and that is exactly what happened in Iran.
By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada English Branch. Originally published in the Globe and Mail.
When Dr. Homa Hoodfar was arrested in Iran 100 days ago, the circumstances and motivation behind her unfounded and illegal imprisonment were far from clear. While much of that uncertainty remains, what is clear is that she has endured more than three months of grave human rights violations. Her plight resonates with wider concerns Amnesty International has recently documented in Iran, including a broad crackdown against perceived feminists and routine attacks on prisoners’ health.
It all adds up a grim human rights reality for Dr. Hoodfar. One hundred days into her nightmare, efforts to secure her immediate and unconditional release must be escalated even further.
By Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada's Campaigner for Iran
Where would you spend a Sunday in July?
On Sunday July 17, the members of Amnesty International’s TriCities Group in Coquitlam BC chose to stand in solidarity with Iranian prisoner of conscience, Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi is a human rights defender who received a 16-year prison sentence after she was convicted, following an unfair trial in April 2016, of the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She is already serving a six-year prison sentence from a previous case. Her convictions are based solely on her human rights work.
Narges is critically ill. She suffers from a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs) and a neurological disorder that has resulted in her experiencing seizures and temporary partial paralysis. She needs ongoing specialized medical care, which she cannot receive in prison, as well as daily medication.
On 1 August 2015 Mohammad Ali Taheri was sentenced to death in Iran for ‘spreading corruption on earth”
His family in Canada live in shock and fear that the life of their son and brother could be brutally taken from them for nothing more than the peaceful expression of his beliefs. The Taheri family in Canada have been cautious about making public statements. For years they have lived in the hope that Mohammad Ali Taheri would be set free from his nightmare of imprisonment, solitary confinement and interrogation. They don’t want to do anything to jeopardize his safety and well-being. Now a death sentence is threatening to take away their loved family member and they are beginning to speak publicly.
Five men on death row in Iran have been transferred from Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj near Tehran to the capital’s Evin Prison, sparking fears about their imminent execution, Amnesty International said.
At least one of the men, Hamid Gholamy, is due to be executed tomorrow morning, 7 November, after conviction of a drugs-related offence in June 2011, which may be the same alleged offence for which he was acquitted three months earlier due to a lack of evidence.
Gholamy was reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in detention and was awaiting a decision on his clemency request when he was suddenly transferred to Evin Prison.
“These men’s lives must be spared by the Iranian authorities, who regrettably seem bent on continuing their state killing spree,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.
“Of the more than 380 people we believe were put to death in Iranian prisons so far this year, the vast majority were convicted of drugs-related offences – which fall far short of the ‘most serious crimes’ threshold set by international human rights law.”