Amnesty International: Violations of human rights continue unabated in Iran
Amnesty International is greatly concerned by
continuing human rights violations in Iran, including new arrests of human
rights defenders and the high rate of executions, including the first execution
by stoning confirmed by the authorities since a moratorium on stonings was
announced in 2002
is again calling on the Iranian authorities to uphold their obligations under
international law and ensure that no one is detained for peacefully exercising
their rights to freedom of expression or association, and to impose an immediate
moratorium on all executions and take steps to remove the death penalty from
Kurdish journalists and human rights defenders were arrested earlier this month.
Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Chair of the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization
(RMMK), was taken from his workplace in Tehran by plain-clothed security
officers on 1 July. He was facing a one-year prison sentence because of articles
he had published in the now banned Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan (Message of
the People of Kurdistan), but it is not clear if this is the reason for his
Qavami, a member of the RMMK board and former journalist of Payam-e Mardom-e
Kurdestan and member of the editorial board of the bilingual weekly
Didgah (Viewpoint), was arrested on or around 9 July after being summoned
to the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj. He had previously been sentenced
to three years' imprisonment by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Sanadaj
for organizing a demonstration in July 2005 in protest at the killing of, Showan
Qaderi, a member of the Kurdish minority, by security forces. He had
appealed against this sentence but his appeal is reported to have been rejected,
although this outcome had not been communicated to either Ajlal Qavami or his
lawyer before Ajlal Qavami's arrest.
Sa'id Sa'edi, another Kurdish journalist who was sentenced to two and a
half years' imprisonment in the same case, may also now be at risk of
Students and others
arrested on anniversary of '18 Tir' student demonstrations
Sixteen people were arrested on 9 July --
18 Tir in the Iranian calendar -- the eighth anniversary of student
demonstrations in 1999 which were violently suppressed by security forces.
Behareh Hedayat, the head of
the Women's Commission of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity (Daftar-e
Tahkim-e Vahdat -- a student body), and five other members of the OCU's
Central Council -- Mohammad Hashemi, Ali Nikou Nesbati, Mehdi Arabshahi, Hanif
Yazdani and Ali Vafaqi -- were detained opposite Amir Kabir University of
Technology. At the time, they were holding a demonstration to protest against
the continued detention of eight other students arrested in May and June 2007 in
connection with the publication of articles regarded as insulting to Islam. The
eight deny any connection to the articles.
Ten other people were arrested on 9 July at the offices
of the Alumni Association of Iran (Sazman-e Danesh Amukhtegan-e Iran-e Eslami
[Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat]). Those held reportedly include members of the
association and the mother of Mohammad Hashemi, who had gone there to enquire
about her son. The arresting officials reportedly fired guns in the air,
and confiscated computers and documents before sealing the office.
The 16 arrests were confirmed by
Alireza Jamshidi, a spokesperson for Iran's Judiciary: "They are in prison and
the investigation is ongoing regarding their participation in illegal gatherings
and acting against security,"
Trades unionists targeted
Trade unionists are also being targeted. Mansour Ossanlu, head of
the unrecognized Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
(Sherkat-e Vahed), was reportedly pushed into a car at around 7pm on 10
July by men in plain clothes who beat him. On 12 July it was reported that he
was being held in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Mansour Ossanlu
spent eight months in detention between December 2005 and August 2006, and a
further month between November and December 2006 in connection with his trade
union activities. He had recently travelled to Europe in order to build
international support for an independent trades union movement in Iran.
Women human rights defenders
Women's rights activists also
continue to face reprisals for their activities demanding an end to laws which
discriminate against women. At least three more women have recently been
sentenced for participating in a June 2006 demonstration calling for reform of
Iran's discriminatory legislation.
Delaram Ali was sentenced to 34 months of imprisonment and 10 lashes
after being convicted on charges of "participating in an illegal gathering",
"propaganda against the system", and "disrupting public order and peace".
Aliyeh Aghdam Doust was reportedly sentenced to three years and four
months of imprisonment and 20 lashes. Both are currently believed to be at
liberty pending the outcome of appeals.
A third woman activist, Nasim Soltan Beigi, was sentenced on or around 7
July to two years' imprisonment, suspended for five years, for "participating in
an illegal demonstration".
imprisoned, Amnesty International would consider all three women to be
prisoners of conscience and call for their immediate, unconditional release.
Amnesty International is also calling for their flogging sentences to be
commuted immediately. Amnesty International believes that the use of
corporal punishment such as flogging constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment amounting to torture.
continues to have one of the highest rates of executions in the world. Amnesty
International has recorded at least 120 executions since the beginning of 2007,
suggesting that by the end of this year the total number of executions
could exceed the total of 177 executions that Amnesty International recorded in
Two recent victims of
the Iranian authorities' use of the death penalty were child offenders, whose
alleged crimes were committed before the age of 18, and a third was a man who
was stoned to death. The two child offenders -- Mohammad Mousavi and Sa'id
Qanbar Zahi -- were executed in April and May respectively, in direct
contravention of international law, which requires that no-one should be
executed for crimes committed while under the age of 18.
The stoning execution of Ja'far Kiani was carried out on
5 July in the village of Aghche-Kand, near Takestan in Qazvin province, despite
a 2002 moratorium on the use of stoning issued by the Head of the Judiciary, and
a stay of execution which had been ordered in his case. The stoning was
confirmed by Judiciary Spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi on 10 July, who said it had
been carried out because it was a final sentence, and judges in Iran are
independent. It was the first confirmed stoning since the moratorium, although a
woman and a man were reportedly stoned to death in Mashhad in May 2006.
There are grave concerns that Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, a woman sentenced in
the same case, will suffer the same fate unless Iran's Head of the Judiciary
intervenes immediately. On 11 July the Islamic Students News Agency
reported that a judiciary official had said that the actions of the judge in the
case were to be investigated by the Judges' Disciplinary Court.
The Judiciary Spokesperson said that a
further 20 executions would be carried out in the coming days of people
convicted of crimes such as "repeated rape, 'sodomy' and violent assault and
International recognizes the right of governments to bring to justice those
suspected of serious crimes, it opposes the death penalty in all cases as a
violation of the right to life and the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and
organization does not have any details of those whose executions the Judiciary
Spokesperson said were imminent, but is appealing to the Iranian authorities to
stay the executions and commute all the death sentences of all of them.
Amnesty International opposes the
criminalization of consensual adult sexual relations conducted in private and
urges the Iranian authorities to review legislation with a view to
decriminalising such acts, although there is no evidence available to Amnesty
International that any of these 20 individuals at risk of execution have been
sentenced solely for such consensual sexual
... Payvand News - 7/14/07 ... --