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Iran

    April 28, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 29 April 2015

    Whereabouts of more than 75 held after protests unknown

    Iran’s intelligence and security forces have rounded up and detained scores of Ahwazi Arabs, including several children, in what appears to be an escalating crackdown in Iran’s Khuzestan province, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    According to activists and family members, many arrests took place in the lead-up to the tenth anniversary of mass anti-government demonstrations that gripped the Arab-populated province in April 2005. Family members said the arrests have been carried out without warrants by groups of armed masked men affiliated with Iran’s security and intelligence services, usually following home raids of Ahwazi Arab activists during the late evening or early morning hours. The human rights organizations expressed concern that people may have been arrested merely in connection with their perceived political opinions, for peacefully expressing dissent or for openly exhibiting their Arab identity and culture.

    April 01, 2015

    By Elise Auerbach, AIUSA

    As if it weren’t bad enough. Iranian women face persistent systemic discrimination in terms of family law. New legislation being considered by Iran’s parliament is intended to roll back many of the gains women have made in the past decades and consign them to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

    And on top of that, if they dare to protest about the inequities they suffer, they are sentenced to long prison terms, to be served in prisons where unsanitary conditions and medical neglect can quickly undermine their health.

    March 18, 2015

    The Iranian authorities must prove that their participation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is more than a mere PR exercise, by halting any plans to execute an alleged juvenile offender and ordering a judicial review of his case, said Amnesty International.

    The execution of Saman Naseem, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, following a grossly unfair trial that relied on ‘confessions’ extracted under torture, was scheduled to take place one month before the UN Human Rights Council session on 19 March. The execution was not carried out then and the authorities have refused to officially disclose his fate and whereabouts since.

    “We fear the Iranian authorities may have postponed Saman Naseem’s execution merely to avoid criticism and condemnation at the UN Human Rights Council session, leaving him at even graver risk of execution once the review ends,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    March 11, 2015

    Iran’s Parliament is in the process of adopting two bills—Bill 446 and Bill 315—that threaten to send Iran back several decades to a precarious time for women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights.

    Since 2012, Iran has eliminated funding for the state Family and Population Planning Program, which oversaw the delivery of family planning and reproductive health services, including free condoms and modern contraceptives across the country. These initiatives are part of a misguided plan to accelerate population growth and, if continued, they will leave women and girls in Iran with a future shaped by increased inequality, discrimination, poor health, limited choices, and restricted freedoms.

    March 11, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner

    Campaigning against laws in Iran which discriminate against women and girls has just gotten a whole lot harder for Bahareh Hedayat and other activists with the Campaign for Equality, as Iran moves to enact laws set to turn Iranian women and girls into baby-making machines. Bahareh is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison for her peaceful activism in support of gender equality.

    March 10, 2015

    Women in Iran could face significant restrictions on their use of contraceptives and be further excluded from the labour market unless they have had a child, if two proposed laws are approved, says a new report by Amnesty International published today.

    March 05, 2015

    The deliberate blinding of a man who was convicted of pouring acid on another man's face causing him to go blind is a gruesome example of Iran's brutal justice system in action, said Amnesty International.

    The man was forcibly blinded in his left eye on 3 March after being sentenced to “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) for throwing acid on the eyes of another man in the city of Qom in August 2009. The blinding of his right eye was postponed until a later date. In addition to this punishment he was ordered to pay "blood money" (diyah) and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  

    “Punishing someone by deliberately blinding them is an unspeakably cruel and shocking act," said Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International's Iran Researcher.

    March 02, 2015

    Iranian prisoner of conscience and artist, Atena Farghadani, could be on death’s door after being hospitalized following a hunger strike lasting three weeks. Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.

    According to her lawyer, the 28-year-old painter and activist was relocated from Gharchak Prison to a hospital on 26 February, after suffering a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness earlier this week. She stopped taking any food, sugar or salt on 9 February in protest at her continued detention and ill-treatment at Gharchak Prison in Varamin, 50 km south of Tehran, where she was being held with individuals convicted of serious crimes. In hospital she has refused an intravenous drip.
    “Atena should never have been imprisoned in the first place. Her repeated arbitrary arrest and detention for her artistic work is a flagrant assault on freedom of expression,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 19, 2015

    Iranian officials’ refusal to provide the family of Saman Naseem, a death row juvenile offender who was due to be executed this morning, with information about his fate and whereabouts has sparked fears that he is at risk of being tortured or secretly executed, said Amnesty International.

    Saman Naseem was transferred from Oroumieh Central Prison to an unknown location on 18 February 2015. Prison officials told the family to collect his belongings on Saturday.

    “The lack of news about Saman Naseem’s fate or whereabouts with prison officers denying his family any information is cruel and inhuman,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 17, 2015

    On 15 February, Saman Naseem, a young Iranian man set to be executed on Thursday, was once again brutally beaten up by men believed to be intelligence officials in a bid to make him “confess” again in front of a camera, which he refused to do, Amnesty International said.

    “Time is running out for Saman Naseem. The fact that Iran is willing to execute a man who was tortured to confess to a crime he is accused of having committed when he was a child shows the state of injustice in the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “These wrongs can never be undone but it is not too late to immediately stop Saman Naseem’s execution and initiate a thorough judicial review of his case.”

    December 16, 2014

    The Iranian authorities’ threat to expedite the execution of 10 men on death row in retaliation for going on hunger strike is deplorable, said Amnesty International as it called for the death sentences to be commuted immediately.

    One of the 10, Saman Naseem, was sentenced to death in 2013 for engaging in armed activities against the state after he allegedly participated in a gun battle while he was a child during which a member of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was killed. The 10 men are among 24 prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority who have been on hunger strike since 20 November 2014 in protest at the conditions of Ward 12 of Oroumieh Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, where political prisoners are held.

    “It is truly deplorable that the Iranian authorities are playing games with the lives of these men in such a manner. Resorting to death threats and other punitive measures to quell prisoners’ hunger strikes only serves to underscore how rotten Iran’s criminal justice system is,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    November 25, 2014

    On November 19, Iran freed Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan after six years in prison. Amnesty International supporters had called for his release since his unfair trial.

    Five plain-clothed officers arrested Hossein Derakhshan at his family home in November 2008 during a visit to Iran. Although a dual Canadian-Iranian national, Derakhshan was not permitted to receive  help from Canadian embassy officials in Iran.

    He was detained before his trial for approximately  19 months. The authorities stopped him from having regular contact with family or legal representation during this time. His trial began in June 2010, and in September 2010, he was sentenced to 19 and a half years’ imprisonment on vaguely worded charges relating to national security.

    Amnesty International believed that Hossein Derakhshan was likely targeted for the peaceful expression of his views in relation to his blogging. Amnesty International called for his immediate and unconditional release if he had been prosecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    November 02, 2014

    Amnesty International UK Press Release

    ‘It’s an outrage that a young woman is being locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran’ - Kate Allen

    Responding to reports that the British “volleyball protester” Ghoncheh Ghavami has been jailed for a year for “spreading propaganda against the system” by a court in Iran today, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

    “This is an appalling verdict."

    “It’s an outrage that a young woman is being locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran."

    “Ghoncheh is a prisoner of conscience and the Iranian authorities should quash the sentence and release her immediately and unconditionally."

    “The authorities should also investigate allegations that Ghoncheh was subjected to death threats by her interrogators and provide compensation for her arbitrary detention and her prolonged solitary confinement.”

    October 25, 2014

    The execution of Iranian Reyhaneh Jabbari who was convicted after a deeply flawed investigation and trial is an affront to justice, said Amnesty International today.

    Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was executed in a Tehran prison this morning. She had been convicted of killing of a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her.

    “The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “Tragically, this case is far from uncommon. Once again Iran has insisted on applying the death penalty despite serious concerns over the fairness of the trial.”

    Amnesty International believes that the death penalty is an abhorrent form of punishment and should never be used under any circumstances.

    More information

    October 24, 2014

    The Iranian authorities must stop the execution of a woman due to be hanged tomorrow morning after being convicted for the killing of a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her, said Amnesty International.

    Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009 after a deeply flawed investigation and trial. Her execution was due to be carried out on 30 September but was postponed for 10 days.

    “Time is running out for Reyhaneh Jabbari, the authorities must act now to stop her execution,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “The death penalty is a despicable punishment that is both cruel and inhumane. Applying such a punishment in any circumstances is an affront to justice, but doing so after a flawed trial that leaves huge questions hanging over the case only makes it more tragic.”

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