Human Rights Watch Condemns Iran for Mass Arrests and Abuses

Human Rights Watch Condemns Iran for Mass Arrests and Abuses

Published by on January 28, 2019

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized Iran for “widespread arrests” of protesters and activists in its 2019 annual report into human rights violations around the world, citing specifically the thousands of arrests made during the nationwide anti-government protests in the winter of 2018, as well as the arrests of environmentalists and women who protested for Women Rights.

The report said: “Iranians participated in numerous protests across the country amid deteriorating economic conditions, perceptions of systematic government corruption, and popular frustration over lack of political and social freedoms. Security forces and the judiciary responded to these protests with arbitrary mass arrests and serious due process violations.”

Following these mass arrests of people, Iran’s judiciary handed down harsh sentences at “unfair trials”. They still fared better than the at least 50 protesters who were arbitrarily killed in the street or the 14 who were tortured to death before their trials; something the Government has refused to investigate.

HRW also condemned Iran for creating a list of Government -approved lawyers to deal with “national security” cases, which is how the mullahs often charge political activism. How can a person get a fair trial when the prosecution chooses their lawyer?

Another troubling issue is the arrest of dozens of environmentalists, whom the Government accused of spying despite the fact that they were monitoring an endangered species with the express permission of the Iranian Government. This included Canadian-Iranian Professor Kavous Seyed Emami, who died under suspicious circumstances in custody.

The HRW report read: “Since 2014, the [Iranian Revolutionary Guards] Intelligence Organization has arrested at least 14 dual and foreign nationals who authorities allegedly perceived to have links with western academic, economic, and cultural institutions. They remain behind bars on vague charges such as ‘cooperating with a hostile state,’ deprived of due process, and routinely subjected to pro-government media smear campaigns.”

The report also condemned Iran for executing at least five juvenile offenders. This report was published just days before Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri mourned that the Government had been forced to stop brutal punishments like amputations because of international pressure.


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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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