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Iran

    April 18, 2019

    Iranian authorities must stop harassing, arresting and imprisoning women’s rights defenders peacefully protesting against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws, and release those detained on this basis immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today. 

    The organization has confirmed that two women’s rights defenders, Yasmin Aryani and Monireh Arabshahi, have been detained in the past week and that a third activist, Vida Movahedi, who has been detained since October 2018, was sentenced to one year in prison last month for peacefully protesting against forced veiling.

    Iran’s intelligence and security bodies have also subjected several other women’s rights defenders to threatening telephone calls, warning them that they will be arrested if they continue to campaign against forced veiling. Some have been summoned for questioning and fear imminent arrest.

    March 15, 2019
    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 126/18 HERE

    Nasrin Sotoudeh ©Private

    Nasrin Sotoudeh, prominent human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender, has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after two grossly unfair trials. The charges against her stem solely from her peaceful human rights work, including defending women’s rights and her outspoken opposition to the death penalty. Amnesty International calls for her release as she is a prisoner of conscience. 

    March 11, 2019

    A series of videos shared on social media in recent weeks have shed light on the daily harassment and violent attacks women in Iran face at the hands of morality police and pro-government vigilantes seeking to enforce the country’s forced hijab (veiling) laws, said Amnesty International.

    The videos show members of the public or plain-clothes morality police aggressively confronting or attacking women for defying Iran’s degrading forced hijab laws, in the name of defending “public decency”. Perpetrators of such attacks appear to be getting bolder in their assaults in response to efforts by women to film the violence they face and share the videos on social media.

    “The video footage that has emerged in recent weeks demonstrates the shocking levels of abuse women in Iran face on a daily basis from morality police or pro-government thugs simply for daring to defy the country’s abusive forced hijab laws,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.  

    March 11, 2019

    The sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in a new case against her is an outrageous injustice, said Amnesty International today. 

    The sentence, reported on her husband Reza Khandan’s Facebook page, brings her total sentence after two grossly unfair trials to 38 years in prison. In September 2016, she had been sentenced in her absence to five years in prison in a separate case.

    “It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab (veiling) laws. Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

    February 22, 2019

    The Iranian authorities must immediately halt plans to execute three young men who are on death row for crimes that took place while they were under the age of 18, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has learned that Mohammad Kalhori, Barzan Nasrollahzadeh and Shayan Saeedpour, who were all convicted for separate crimes that took place while they were minors, are at risk of imminent execution.

    “The Iranian authorities must act quickly to save these young men’s lives. Failing to stop their execution would be another abhorrent assault on children’s rights by Iran. International human rights law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people who were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Its use is horrendous in all circumstances but is even more appalling when it is used as punishment against people who were under 18 when the crimes took place and within a judicial system that is blatantly unfair.”

    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.

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