UN expert slams crackdown on journalists and activists in Iran

UN expert slams crackdown on journalists and activists in Iran

Published by on June 7, 2015

ahmedshaheedThe United Nations Special Rapportuer on Situation of Human Rights in Iran expressed concern about the arbitrary and unlawful arrest and prosecution of journalists and activists in Iran.

In a statement published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, he warned that persecution of jurnalists and human rights activists weakens the protection of human rights of all in Iran.

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on human rights situation in Iran said: “Silencing these critical voices is unacceptable – it undermines public debate and deprives Iranians and the rest of world of important information on the reality in the country.”

“The recurrent use of vague references to threats to national security, propaganda against the system and insult to authorities to prosecute and detain journalists or activists is in contradiction to both international norms relating to freedoms of expression and association and the principle of legality,” Mr. Shaheed stated referring to dubious charges against journalist Jason Rezaian and Human Rights activists Atena Farghdani and Nargis Mohammadi.

“Human rights defenders play a fundamental role in ensuring a democratic society which respects human rights,” the expert said.

Mr. Shaheed’s call has been endorsed by human rights expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as other UN Special Rapporteurs, Michel Forst (on human rights defenders); David Kaye (on freedom of expression); Gabriela Knaul (on independence of the judiciary); and Juan E. Méndez (on torture).

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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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