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Iran

    June 09, 2016

    Canadian-Iranian citizen Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who was arrested in Iran on June 6 in relation to her peaceful professional work, must be immediately and unconditionally released. Amnesty International considers her to be a prisoner of conscience. The organization calls on the Government of Canada to take all possible diplomatic measures to ensure her immediate release and safe return to Canada.

    June 02, 2016

    The life of a wrongfully imprisoned Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist rests in the Iranian authorities’ hands, said Amnesty International. He is gravely ill in hospital nearly a month into an ongoing hunger strike.

    The 54-year old prisoner of conscience Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, who is approaching the end of a decade-long prison sentence on fabricated charges, has been on hunger strike since 8 May. He is protesting against the authorities’ efforts to condemn him to a further prison sentence on a spurious charge of ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ from inside the prison.

    “Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has already spent close to a decade in prison simply for doing his legitimate human rights work and journalism. The fact that the authorities are building a fresh case against him so close to his release date suggests they are plumbing new depths in their efforts to keep this resolute defender of human rights behind bars,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    June 01, 2016

    To mark 1 June – International Children’s Day – Raha Bahreini from our Iran team describes how Amnesty has managed to raise awareness about the death penalty and save juvenile offenders from the gallows in Iran.

    It starts with a panicked phone call.

    Our contact tells us that a juvenile offender (a person aged below 18 at the time of their crime) has just been transferred to solitary confinement – the final step before execution.

    This is often our first glimpse of this young person and the desperate situation they are in. Why? Because the families of those on death row often fear reprisals if they publicize the plight of their loved ones. They sometimes believe that international lobbying and public campaigning will only complicate the situation and hasten the execution. At times, the authorities themselves give families false assurances, claiming that if the family does not publicize the case, their loved ones might be spared.

    The moment we are prompted to intervene is often the moment when the authorities’ promises are exposed as hollow and the young person is just days or hours away from execution. 

    May 19, 2016

    The shocking 16-year prison sentence against prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who has several serious, chronic illnesses, represents an all-out attack on human rights defenders in Iran, and demonstrates how Iran’s abusive criminal justice system is used as a tool of repression, said Amnesty International.

    Narges Mohammadi, a distinguished human rights defender, a supporter of the anti-death penalty campaign Legam (Step by Step to Abolish the Death Penalty) and vice president of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Iran, was sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran which convicted her of several trumped-up national security related offences in connection with her human rights work. The verdict was communicated to her lawyer on 17 May.

    May 12, 2016

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the scheduled execution this Sunday of a teenager who was just 15 years old at the time of his arrest, said Amnesty International.

    Alireza Tajiki, now 19 years old, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a criminal court in Fars Province, southern Iran, convicted him of murder and rape primarily on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture which he repeatedly retracted in court. His execution is due to take place on Sunday 15 May in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in Fars Province.

    “Imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of the crime flies in the face of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18. It is particularly horrendous that the Iranian authorities are adamant to proceed with the execution when this case was marked by serious fair trial concerns and primarily relied on torture-tainted evidence,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 09, 2016

    By Ezat Taheri, Canada, 4 May 2016, 11:16 UTC

    May 04, 2016

    The release of Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani yesterday is a long-overdue step towards righting the injustice against her and must be followed by the immediate and unconditional release of other peaceful artists and activists who remain behind bars, Amnesty International said today.

    “Atena Farghadani’s release represents a legal and moral victory for her and encourages the efforts of activists worldwide to campaign for the release of other prisoners of conscience in Iran, as well as for reforms to the unjust laws used to put them behind bars in the first place,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “While this is a time for celebration, it is vital that the world doesn’t forget that Atena Farghadani should never have been imprisoned in the first place and that many others like her continue to languish in cells or have the threat of prison hanging over their head for peacefully exercising their rights.”

    May 04, 2016
    GREAT NEWS! Iranian artist & activist Atena Farghadani is free!

    Amnesty International considered her a Prisoner of Conscience, detained for her human rights work, and campaigned globally to secure her release. Thousands of Amnesty International supporters, including more than 10,000 people in Canada alone, have spoken out for her freedom since she was arrested. Thank you to all who wrote letters and signed petitions urging her release!

    Atena had been serving a prison sentence of 12 years and nine months after being found guilty at an unfair trial in June last year of charges including ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings'. But on May 3, 2016 she was released after an appeal court in Tehran revised her sentence to 18 months, most of which Atena had already served.

    April 08, 2016

    Releaed 08:00 BST 8 April 2016

    The scheduled execution of a 36-year-old man convicted on drug offences tomorrow, Saturday 9 April, demonstrates the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for the right to life and their determination to continue with a staggering execution spree that saw nearly 1000 people put to death last year, said Amnesty International.

    Family members of Rashid Kouhi received a call from prison authorities yesterday informing them that they should go to Rasht’s Lakan Prison in Gilan Province, Northern Iran, to have a final meeting with him today before his execution tomorrow.

    March 01, 2016

    Musicians and filmmakers around the world are being asked to join forces with Amnesty International activists to call on the Iranian authorities to quash the torture-tainted convictions of filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, his brother Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, both musicians, ahead of Music Freedom Day on Thursday.

    The three men are at risk of imminent arrest after an appeal court upheld their prison sentences for ludicrous charges related to their artistic work, Amnesty International warned today amid an ongoing crackdown on artists and freedom of expression in Iran.

    “These sentences lay bare the absurdity of Iran’s criminal justice system, which brands individuals as criminals merely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression through making music and films. These young men should never have been arrested, let alone brought to trial,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    January 25, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT Tuesday 26 January 2016

    Scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today. The report debunks recent attempts by Iran’s authorities to whitewash their continuing violations of children’s rights and deflect criticism of their appalling record as one of the world’s last executioners of juvenile offenders.

    December 08, 2015

    Iran cemented its shameful status as the world’s top official executioner of juvenile offenders after two young men were re-sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old, Amnesty International said today.

    Sajad Sanjari and Hamid Ahmadi, who had been granted retrials because of their young age when the crimes occurred, will face execution after trial courts presiding over their separate cases concluded they had reached “mental maturity” at the time of the crime.  

    “This ruling lays bare the Iranian authorities’ contempt for the human rights of children, coupled with their appetite for the death penalty – a toxic combination that leaves numerous juvenile offenders facing execution,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    November 23, 2015

    The execution of a 25-year-old man who has been sentenced to death after an unfair trial lacking basic safeguards would be both cruel and an aberration of justice, said Amnesty International today following an announcement that he will be hanged at Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, near Tehran at dawn tomorrow.

    Alireza Shahi was sentenced to death in June 2012 under the Islamic legal principle of qesas (retribution-in-kind) for involvement in a fatal stabbing which took place during a fight among several young men in December 2008 when he was 18 years old. After his arrest he was placed in detention for two weeks where he says he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated to confess. He was also denied access to both a lawyer and his family.

    “It is always cruel and inhumane to take away an individual’s life by hanging but the cruelty is compounded when the execution follows an unfair trial which has relied on coerced confessions, and ignored allegations of torture and other ill-treatment,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    October 14, 2015

    Reports have emerged of a second execution of a juvenile offender in Iran in just a few days Amnesty International said today, which reveal the full horror of the country’s deeply flawed juvenile justice system.

    Fatemeh Salbehi, a 23-year-old woman, was hanged yesterday for a crime she allegedly committed when she was 17, only a week after another juvenile offender, Samad Zahabi, was hanged for a crime he also allegedly committed at 17.

    Fatemeh Salbehi was hanged in Shiraz’s prison in Fars Province despite Iran being bound by an absolute international legal ban on juvenile executions, and severe flaws in her trial and appeal. She had been sentenced to death in May 2010 for the murder of her 30- year- old husband, Hamed Sadeghi, whom she had been forced to marry at the age of 16.  

    An expert opinion from the State Medicine Organization provided at the trial had found she had had severe depression and suicidal thoughts around the time of her husband’s death. However the death sentence was upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court later that year.

    October 09, 2015

    A recent revelation by satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani that she was forced to undergo a “virginity and pregnancy test”, prior to her trial for a charge of “illegitimate sexual relations” for shaking hands with her lawyer, has added another stain on Iran’s shameful record of violence against women, Amnesty International said today.

    In a note written by Atena Farghadani leaked from prison, which has been seen by Amnesty International, she says the judicial authorities took her to a medical centre outside the prison on 12 August 2015 and forced her to submit to the tests, purportedly with the purpose of investigating the charge against her.

    “It is shocking that on top of imposing a ludicrous charge on Atena Farghadani for the ‘crime’ of shaking hands with her lawyer, the Irania

    The authorities have forced her to undergo a ‘virginity and pregnancy test’,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

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