Amnesty International releases report on Human Rights violations in Iran

Seen is video footage of police forces attacking ordinary citizens during a peaceful protest in Iran. Photo courtesy of Amnesty International

Travel to far away places has been an “adventure itinerary” for most Westerners. One of the spots has been Iran. Despite restrictions over the years many people have traveled there to experience unparalleled hospitality by the Iranian people. Yet, recently released reports say human rights violations have been occurring against ordinary Iranian citizens.

According to Amnesty International through a report released on Sept. 1, Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces along with prison officials have committed a catalogue of shocking human rights violations. This has been carried out with the complicity of judges and prosecutors using arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment tactics.

As many as 7,000 men, women and children have been arrested by the Iranian authorities and detained in connection with the nationwide protests of November 2019.

This report is released just as news of Iranian Courts announced the death penalty to one of Iran’s celebrated wresters, 27-year-old Navid Afkari. He was among the hundreds of people who took to the streets in anti-government demonstrations in several cities across Iran as early as August 2018.

Recent statistics say that 60 percent of the population of Iran is under 30. Over the past 40 years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the population has experienced the digital age through advanced technology. This according to some observers has been one of the reasons for the current unrest expressed among the people.

The many upbeat documentaries that highlight wonderful adventures by those in the West visiting Iran seldom cover the dangers ordinary Iranians must face being ruled by an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy.

“In the days following the mass protests, videos showing Iran’s security forces deliberately killing and injuring unarmed protesters and bystanders sent shockwaves around the world. Much less visible has been the catalogue of cruelty meted out to detainees and their families by Iranian officials away from the public eye,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Victims include children as young as 10 as well as injured protesters and bystanders arrested from hospitals while seeking medical care for gunshot wounds. Amnesty International also noted that human rights defenders including minority rights activists, journalists, and individuals who attended ceremonies to commemorate those killed during the protests have been arrested, detained, etc.

“Amnesty International is confirming with detail what has been known by many who followed events in Iran, said professor Abbas Milani, PhD. He is Director of Iranian Studies at the Hamid and Christina Moghadam program at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.

In reference to the situation of the young wrester Navid Afkari, professor Abbas said. “Dozens have been condemned to execution in the last two months. At least one already executed. Upwards, of at least a thousand have been killed,” he added.

Amnesty International has recorded the names and details of more than 500 protesters and others who have been subjected to unfair criminal proceedings in connection with the protests.

“Instead of investigating allegations of enforced disappearance, torture, ill-treatment and other crimes against detainees, Iranian prosecutors became complicit in the campaign of repression by bringing national security charges against hundreds of people, said Eltahawy. This has been done against the people solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Judges have doled out guilty verdicts on the basis of torture-tainted ‘confessions’. This litany of crimes and violations, she added has been committed with total impunity. It has been accompanied by a wave of forced televised ‘confessions’ in state propaganda videos and grotesque statements from top officials who have praised intelligence and security forces as heroes for their role in the brutal crackdown.”

Amnesty International’s research found that there was widespread use of torture and other ill treatment by police, intelligence, security agents and prison officials against men, women and children, both during arrests and later in detention.

Photo courtesy of Amnesty International

Amnesty International’s research involved in-depth interviews with 60 victims of arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill treatment. Amnesty also interviewed and got testimony of their relatives or close acquaintances, which includes two protesters who were in hiding and 14 other informed individuals. The information received was obtained through written messages from several hundred others inside Iran and extensive analysis of video footage, official statements and court documents.

Amnesty International is urging all United Nations member states to forcefully call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release anyone who continues to be imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in connection with the November 2019 protests.

Amnesty International hopes that diligent efforts by the UN and others will quash all convictions resulting from unfair trials. This includes trials that relied on statements obtained through torture or other ill treatment tactics. They and the Iranian communities outside of Iran are seeking justice to hold those responsible for such atrocities accountable.

To read full report visit Amnesty International web site.