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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
HRDs in Iran face serious risks because of their legitimate work documenting and denouncing abuses or pushing for reforms. Those facing sustained repression include journalists, human rights lawyers, women's and minority rights defenders, LGBTI rights defenders, trade unionists, as well as students, critical Islamic scholars, artists and writers who express criticism of the government or call for reforms.
HRDs are subjected to a wide range of violations of their rights to freedom of movement, expression, association and peaceful assembly and are often victims of death threats, harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, refusal of bail or exorbitant bail conditions, fabricated charges and unfair trials. They are subjected to systematic surveillance and their family members are also often targeted.
Judicial harassment is one of the most common tactic used to silence HRDs and independent voices. Vaguely-worded charges of “acting against national security", “propaganda against the regime” or “enmity against God” are often used. Many are convicted in the absence of their lawyers, on the basis of "confessions" extracted under torture. Detained HRDs have been ill-treated, subjected to solitary confinement, denied adequate medical treatment and visits by family members, and forced to confess their alleged crimes under duress. In November 2012, blogger Sattar Beheshti died several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit, after denouncing that he had been tortured while in custody.
Iran's ethnic and religious minorities have long suffered extensive discrimination in the enjoyment of their civil and human rights. Human rights defenders from these communities, including civic activists and journalists, are particularly vulnerable.
Freedom of association remains limited and independent human rights groups are unable to obtain registration. Public funding for critical rights groups is non-existent and funding from abroad is restricted. Vocal HRDs are routinely accused of working for foreign interests.
Civil society space has been further eroded since the crackdown following the disputed presidential election of 2009. Security forces arrested and imprisoned several thousand protesters including many HRDs. Official sources at the time acknowledged the deaths of 36 people, while unconfirmed reports put the figure at over 70 deaths. Since the post-election crackdown, hundreds of HRDs and other civil society activists have left the country and sought temporary refuge abroad.
A number of human rights lawyers providing legal assistance to detained HRDs have in turn been intimidated and imprisoned. Among those arrested are prominent lawyers Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and Nasrin Sotoudeh, who have represented many high-profile political activists and human rights defenders.
In March 2012, Abdolfattah Soltani, co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and banned from practising law for 20 years.
The work of journalists is also closely monitored. In January 2013, 16 journalists were arrested and detained. The following month, the Intelligence Ministry announced that more journalists were summoned and interrogated “for their contact with the BBC”. An estimated 150 to 400 journalists have left the country since 2009 due to fear of persecution. It has been reported that in 2011, Iran detained more journalists than any other country in the world. The authorities regularly close down independent news websites as well as human rights related websites.
In March 2011, the UN Human Rights Council created the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran and appointed a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, as mandate-holder. Iran however declared it would not collaborate with the mandate or allow country visits. Since his appointment, the Special Rapporteur has denounced “a pattern of systemic violations of […] fundamental human rights”.
12 December 2012
02 November 2012
20 June 2012
14 May 2012
27 April 2012
28 January 2013
14 October 2008
27 March 2007
18 October 2006
Iran: Human rights defender Mr Abdolfattah Soltani sentenced to 18 years in prison and banned from practising as a lawyer for 20 years
Iran: Arrest and ongoing detention of human rights defenders and journalists Ms Parastoo Dokouhaki and Ms Marzieh Rasouli
Iran: Unfair trial and sentencing of human rights defender Ms Narges Muhammadi to 11 years in prison
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'''Downloadable PDFs''' * [[path:files/en/2506_Report on Internet Access in Iran.pdf|Report on Internet Access in Iran.pdf (709 KB)]]