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    May 15, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 15 May 2014

    Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at Section 350 of Iran’s Evin prison were subjected to assault, beatings and other ill-treatment, with some of those injured denied access to adequate medical care, according to a new briefing published by Amnesty International about the events of 17 April, which has become known as “Black Thursday” by local activists.

    The briefing, “Justice is an Alien Word”: Ill-treatment of political prisoners in Evin prison, tells how dozens of prisoners were met with unwarranted use of force by security officials after they demanded to be present during a monthly search of their cells. Prisoners were blindfolded and handcuffed before being shoved through a ‘tunnel’ formed of security officials carrying batons, who repeatedly struck them on their backs, heads and faces.

    April 03, 2014
    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner

    “Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was in the bed to my right, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was in the bed to my left; Saeed Malekpour became my friend and Abdolfattah Soltani taught me about human rights.”

    With these words, human rights lawyer and former prisoner in Iran, Mohammad Olyaeifard brought to life four of the people whose pictures stood on the Amnesty International Haft Seen table.

    Nowruz is a celebration of the coming of the spring and beginning of the New Year, in the Persian calendar. At the heart of the celebration is the Haft Seen table with seven items which represent love, rebirth, affluence, medicine, beauty, sunrise and patience. The Amnesty International Haft Seen table includes seven prisoners in Iran who remind us that while this is a time of celebration there are many prisoners who remain in a dark winter.

    Over 80 people joined Amnesty International in Toronto at Beit Zatoun to stand in solidarity with these prisoners.

    March 03, 2014

    Iran’s authorities must quash the conviction of a 27-year-old student who received a seven year prison sentence because of her peaceful political activities, said Amnesty International.

    Maryam Shafi’ Pour had been a member of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s presidential campaign during the 2009 elections.

    “That a student could be jailed for seven years merely for peacefully expressing her views or supporting an opposition politician defies belief. Maryam Shafi’ Pour should be immediately and unconditionally released and allowed to continue her studies. She should not spend the next seven years languishing in Evin Prison,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    Earlier the student had been barred by the authorities from completing her university education because of her political activism at university. Many other students are still denied the right to pursue their education because of their peaceful human rights or political activism.

    February 27, 2014

    Omid Kokabee was arrested at the airport as he was leaving Iran on January 30, 2011.  He was returning to his PhD studies in physics at the University of Texas. He was held for 15 months in pre-trial detention, before his trial in May 2012 on charges of “contact with hostile countries” and "receiving illicit payments”. The payments referred to a stipend he received from the University of Texas for his studies. His televised trial, alongside 12 others, was unfair. 

    No evidence against him was presented in court and he was not allowed to speak with his lawyer beforehand. 

    Omid Kokabee was held in solitary confinement, interrogated for long periods and pressured to make “confessions”. He says he was made to write down details of people he had seen in embassies or at conferences; his interrogators then accused some of those people of being CIA operatives.

    January 16, 2014

    Iran has carried out a total of 40 executions since the beginning of 2014, with at least 33 carried out in the past week alone, said Amnesty International today.

    “The spike in the number of executions carried out so far this month in Iran is alarming. The Iranian authorities’ attempts to change their international image are meaningless if at the same time executions continue to increase”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    The death penalty is a violation of every human being’s right to life and is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

    “The Iranian authorities must urgently take steps to abolish the death penalty, which has been shown again and again not to have any special deterrent effect on crime,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.

    Since the beginning of 2014, Amnesty International has recorded 21 executions which were officially acknowledged by the Iranian authorities, as well as 19 additional executions reported through reliable sources.

    October 28, 2013

    Two death row prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority are at imminent risk of being executed after the Iranian authorities carried out 20 death sentences over the weekend, Amnesty International warned today.

    “This surge in executions shows that behind words and promises, the Iranian authorities continue to rely on state-sponsored killing, sparking fears that Zaniar Moradi and Loghman Moradi, two Kurdish minority prisoners on death row, could be next,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “These and all other executions must be halted immediately. While the Iranian authorities have a responsibility to bring those suspected of criminal offences to justice, the death penalty should never be used, as it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.” 

    Iranian prisoners are routinely sentenced to death after unfair trials, and despite allegations of torture being used to extract “confessions” in pre-trial detention.

    October 16, 2013

    Iran must stop the execution of man who was found alive at a morgue a day after being hanged, Amnesty International urged today after authorities said the prisoner would be hanged for a second time once his condition improves.

    The 37-year-old, identified as “Alireza M”, was hanged in Bojnourd prison in north-east Iran last week after being convicted of drug offences.

    According to official state media, a doctor declared him dead after the 12 minute-hanging, but when the prisoner’s family went to collect his body the following day he was found to still be breathing.

    He is currently in hospital, but a judge reportedly said he would be executed again “once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough”.

    “The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    October 10, 2013

    After five years in Iran’s Evin prison and with an execution order on his life, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall today returned to Canada a free man, and was greeted by his wife Antonella Mega.

    His long journey back from Tehran has been an incredible ordeal. Hamid was arrested on May 24, 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Iran. His older brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, had been arrested two weeks earlier.  Both brothers were held in solitary confinement without legal representation in Tehran’s Evin prison for 18 months. On December 29, 2008 both men were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death following an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court. In January 2010, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, who was suffering from stomach cancer, died in prison.

    October 10, 2013

    By Aubrey Harris, Coordinator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    Today, 10 October, is World Day Against the Death Penalty. This year abolitionist groups from around the world are focussed on efforts to abolish the death penalty in the Caribbean. Amnesty International released a report today also detailing one of the biggest myths of death penalty supporters - the claim of deterrence.

    In Canada though we have another special reason to celebrate this October 10th. It is the first October 10th in five years in which Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall is not facing possible execution.

    September 25, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the execution of six men on death row in Ghezel Hesar Prison near Tehran. Two of them have been transferred to solitary confinement today sparking fears they are at imminent risk of execution Amnesty International said.

    Hamed Ahmadi and Sedigh Mohammadi are among six Sunni Muslim men from Iran’s Kurdish minority who were sentenced to death after being convicted of vaguely-worded offences including “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth”.

    “The news of the transfer of two Iranian men to solitary confinement indicate the worst for the men. It is known as the execution waiting room for inmates sentenced to death,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment. For decades Iranian authorities have issued death sentences ruthlessly and on a regular basis.”

    September 24, 2013

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that Canadian-Iranian dual national Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was released from Evin prison in Iran on 23 September 2013.

    Ghassemi-Shall was arrested 24 May 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Iran. His older brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, had been arrested about two weeks earlier. Both brothers were held in solitary confinement without legal representation, in Tehran’s Evin prison for 18 months. On 29 December 2008 both men were sentenced to death following an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court. They were convicted of moharebeh (enmity against God) for espionage and cooperation with the proscribed People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). In November 2009 the brothers were transferred to a section of the prison holding other prisoners.

    September 24, 2013

    After more than five years in prison, and with an execution order on his life, Hamid has been released from prison in Iran!

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have worked together for this outcome, through tireless campaigning, personal letters of hope sent to Hamid, petitions, emails, talks in community centres, and simple word-of-mouth. Officials and government representatives in Canada added their voice, calling for Hamid's release in Parliament.

    Thank you to Amnesty International supporters in Canada and around the world for what you've helped accomplish.

    Hamid's Story:

    September 20, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the execution of four Sunni Muslim men from Iran’s Kurdish minority who could be executed within days, Amnesty International said.

    “The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment and represents a flagrant violation of human rights. The death sentences of these men must be immediately revoked and a re-trial in line with international standards must be ordered,” said Hassiba Hadj Saharoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    September 19, 2013

    An Amnesty International poster purporting to show the Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, incorrectly depicts an Iranian actress of the same name.

    The incorrect image was intended to be used at an exhibition about female human rights activists in Iran held near Munich, Germany in November 2012.

    As soon as Amnesty International became aware of the mistake, the image was withdrawn and labelled a ‘misprint’.

    This month the incorrect image has been circulated on social media.

    Amnesty International apologizes for the mistake and any offence caused.

    The organization has campaigned on her behalf of Narges Mohammadi, the Executive chairperson of Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) who was convicted in 2011 for “propaganda against the system”, and membership of a group “whose object is to disturb the security of the country.”

    She was granted temporary medical leave from prison in July 2012.


    September 18, 2013

    Amnesty International welcomes the release of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and at least 11 political activists. 

    A year after Nasrin's release from prison, the Disciplinary Tribunal for Lawyers ruled that Nasrin could continue practicing law, which had been her wish upon release. She has received a full pardon from the authorities and is able to resume her work!

    “While the releases are a positive development, they must be a first step that paves the way for the release of all prisoners of conscience held solely because they peacefully exercised their rights,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced, in September 2010, to six years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security”, including membership of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).


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