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Iran

    February 08, 2019

    Responding to reports that Iranian prison guards in riot gear beat prisoners and used tear gas, firearms and pepper spray during raids inside the women-only Shahr e-Rey prison (commonly known as Gharchak) in Varamin outside Tehran that began last night, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said: 

    “The reports of the Iranian prison guards’ reckless and heavy-handed response to protests at Shahr-e-Rey prison are deeply alarming. Many prisoners were reported to have received hospital treatment for the effects of tear gas.

    “Prison authorities must refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force against prisoners. Instead of carrying out violent raids against prisoners, they should be working to address the inhumane and squalid conditions at Shahr-e Rey prison.”

    Background:

    January 23, 2019

    The Iranian authorities carried out a shameless campaign of repression during 2018, crushing protests and arresting thousands in a wide-scale crackdown on dissent, said Amnesty International, a year after a wave of protests against poverty, corruption and authoritarianism erupted across the country.

    The organization has today revealed staggering new figures showing the extent of the Iranian authorities’ repression during 2018. Over the course of the year, more than 7,000 protesters, students, journalists, environmental activists, workers and human rights defenders, including lawyers, women’s rights activists, minority rights activists and trade unionists, were arrested, many arbitrarily. Hundreds were sentenced to prison terms or flogging and at least 26 protesters were killed. Nine people arrested in connection with protests died in custody under suspicious circumstances.

    January 22, 2019

    Two labour rights activists who were rearrested after speaking out about beatings and other abuse they suffered in detention last year are at grave risk of further torture, Amnesty International has warned. 

    Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian were violently arrested in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, on 20 January in apparent reprisal for talking publicly about the torture they have said they endured in detention during November and December 2018, provoking a public outcry.

    “There are real fears that Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian could be facing a second round of torture after their rearrest. The timing of their arrest strongly suggests it is part of a sinister attempt to silence and punish them for speaking out about the horrific abuse they suffered in custody. The authorities must release them immediately and unconditionally, ensure their allegations of torture are independently investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Philp Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    January 14, 2019

    Jailed UK charity worker set to begin three-day hunger strike with human rights defender Narges Mohammadi in protest at denial of medical care

    ‘It’s outrageous it’s had to come to this for Nazanin and Narges’ - Kate Allen

    Ahead of a planned hunger strike by jailed UK charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran this week, Amnesty International has described the move as a “desperate measure” and urged the Iranian authorities to “stop playing cruel games” with her life.

    Last week, Zaghari-Ratcliffe and another prisoner of conscience held in Tehran’s Evin prison - prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi - announced they would jointly stage a three-day hunger strike from Monday 14 January in protest at the Iranian authorities repeatedly denying them specialised medical care.

    December 04, 2018
    Thousands forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in prison in 1988 Ongoing campaign to deny, distort truth and abuse victims’ families UN must establish independent investigation into crimes against humanity High-profile figures accused of involvement in 1988 prison massacres named

    By concealing the fate and whereabouts of thousands of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and secretly executed in prison 30 years ago, Iranian authorities are continuing to commit crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International in a damning report published today.

    The report Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity calls on the UN to set up an independent investigation into the mass enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings which have gone unpunished for three decades.

    November 14, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Iranian authorities have executed Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi, two men convicted of financial crimes after a grossly unfair trial, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

    “With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life.

    “Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances but it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television. Under international human rights law, the death penalty is absolutely forbidden for non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.

    “The shocking manner in which their trial was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without allowing them the chance of a proper appeal is yet another example of the brazen disregard the Iranian authorities have for defendants’ basic due process rights.”

    Background

    November 13, 2018

    Iranian authorities must immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority being held without access to their families or lawyers, Amnesty International said following reports that some have been executed in secret.

    In the last few days, Ahwazi Arab activists outside Iran have told Amnesty International that 22 men, including civil society activist Mohammad Momeni Timas, have been killed in secret.

    Since 24 September, up to 600 Ahwazi Arabs have been detained incommunicado in a wave of arrests following a deadly armed attack that took place in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, two days earlier.

    “If confirmed, the secret executions of these men would be not only a crime under international law but also an abhorrent violation of their right to life and a complete mockery of justice, even by the shocking standards of Iran’s judicial system,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    November 01, 2018

    The Iranian authorities have waged a sweeping crackdown against the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, arresting hundreds of people in Khuzestan province, southern Iran, in recent weeks, said Amnesty International.

    The wave of detentions follows a deadly armed attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz last month, during which at least 24 people, including spectators, were killed and more than 60 injured.

    “The scale of arrests in recent weeks is deeply alarming. The timing suggests that the Iranian authorities are using the attack in Ahvaz as an excuse to lash out against members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, including civil society and political activists, in order to crush dissent in Khuzestan province,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “All those suspected of criminal responsibility for the horrific attack in Ahvaz must be brought to justice in fair trials, but carrying out arbitrary arrests is not the way to secure justice for victims.”

    October 23, 2018

    The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Farhad Meysami, a human rights defender campaigning for women’s rights, who is being held in the medical clinic at Evin prison in Tehran against his will to pressure him into ending his hunger strike, said Amnesty International.

    Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor, was detained in July for supporting a campaign against Iran’s laws imposing forced hijab (veiling) on women and girls. He has been on hunger strike since 1 August and his health has deteriorated drastically. On 26 September, he was forcibly transferred from section 4 of Evin prison to the medical clinic, where he is being held in isolation, and has been administered intravenous fluids against his will. Sources told Amnesty International he is being held there until he agrees to end his hunger strike.

    October 02, 2018

    Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand was executed early this morning in Urumieh central prison, West Azerbaijan province, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is a sickening demonstration of the Iranian authorities’ disregard for the principles of juvenile justice and international human rights law. Zeinab was just 17 years old at the time of her arrest. Her execution is profoundly unjust and shows the Iranian authorities’ contempt for the right of children to life. The fact that her death sentence followed a grossly unfair trial makes her execution even more outrageous.

    “Zeinab Sekaanvand said that, soon after she was married at 15, she sought help many times from the authorities about her violent husband and alleged that her brother-in-law had raped her repeatedly. Instead of investigating these allegations, however, the authorities consistently ignored her and failed to provide her with any support as a victim of domestic and sexual violence.

    October 01, 2018

    Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand is due to be executed on 2 October, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The Iranian authorities must urgently halt their plans to execute Zeinab Sekaanvand. She was arrested when she was just 17 years old and sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, whom she married at the age of 15. Not only was she a child at the time of the crime, she was subjected to a grossly unfair legal process.

    “She did not see a lawyer until her final trial session in 2014, when she retracted ‘confessions’ she had made when she had no access to legal representation. She also says that, following her arrest, she was tortured by male police officers through beatings all over her body.

    “The authorities must immediately quash Zeinab Sekaanvand’s conviction and grant her a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty, and in accordance with principles of juvenile justice.”

    September 26, 2018

    The Iranian authorities are torturing jailed human rights defender Arash Sadeghi, who has cancer, by deliberately depriving him of the specialist medical care health professionals have said he desperately requires, Amnesty International revealed today.

    Arash Sadeghi, whom Amnesty International considers a prisoner of conscience, having been sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2016 solely for his peaceful human rights work, was diagnosed with a cancerous bone tumour last month. However, authorities at Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, a city north-west of Tehran, have since repeatedly impeded his access to potentially life-saving medical care.

    “The Iranian authorities’ treatment of Arash Sadeghi’s is not only unspeakably cruel; in legal terms it is an act of torture. Every step of the way, the prison authorities, the prosecutor’s office and the Revolutionary Guards have done everything they can to hinder and limit access to the essential treatment that Arash requires in order to address his life-threatening cancer,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 08, 2018

    In response to the news that three Iranian Kurdish men, Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi, were executed this morning in Raja’i Shahr prison, Karaj, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s  Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “We are horrified by the news that the Iranian authorities have executed these men, despite widespread condemnation of their death sentences and calls from UN human rights experts and other bodies to halt their executions.

    “The trials of all three men were grossly unfair. All were denied access to their lawyers and families after their arrest, and all said they were tortured into making “confessions”. In sentencing them to death despite these massive failings in due process, the Iranian authorities have once again demonstrated their brazen disregard for the right to life.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the arrest in Iran this morning of Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:

    “First the authorities jail Nasrin Sotoudeh on bogus charges, then harass, intimidate and threaten her family and friends, and now arrest her husband. These callous actions illustrate the lengths to which Iranian authorities will go to silence human rights lawyers, even targeting their families.

    “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release both Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan. They must drop all charges against them and stop their harassment of this family once and for all.

    “The international community, including the EU given its ongoing dialogue with Iran, must condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest and detention of both Reza Khandan and Nasrin Sotoudeh, and do everything in their power to expedite the release of these two human rights defenders.”

    Background

    August 23, 2018

    Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz

    DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

    Iranian Christians Victor Bet-Tamraz, his wife Shamiram Issavi, Amin Afshar-Naderi and Hadi Asgari, have been sentenced to a combined total of 45 years in prison solely for practising their Christian faith. If imprisoned, they would be prisoners of conscience.

    Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz and Shamiram Issavi, ethnic Assyrian Christians, and Amin Afshar-Naderi and Hadi Asgari, Christian converts (pictured here in that order), have been sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison. They have been targeted solely for peacefully practising their Christian faith. The authorities have cited peaceful activities such as holding private Christmas gatherings, organizing and conducting house churches, and travelling outside Iran to attend Christian seminars, as “illegal church activities” which “threaten national security” in order justify their convictions. The individuals, who are all currently free on bail, are awaiting the verdict of the appeal court.

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