Iran Human RightsUN special rapporteur concerned over human rights violations in...

UN special rapporteur concerned over human rights violations in Iran

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On Thursday, the United Nations special rapporteur on Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaeed, revealed that no less than 753 people were executed in Iran last year, which is the highest number since 2002. This news is especially concerning as it points towards the reality of Iran under Rouhani’ presidency, who some still consider a moderate in Western countries while the evidence proves otherwise.

On Thursday, the United Nations special rapporteur on Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaeed, revealed that no less than 753 people were executed in Iran last year, which is the highest number since 2002. This news is especially concerning as it points towards the reality of Iran under Rouhani’ presidency, who some still consider a moderate in Western countries while the evidence proves otherwise.

 Dr. Shaheed called on Tehran to revoke medieval laws that exist for the sole purpose of restricting freedoms of speech, expression and press, release 30 journalists and bloggers unjustly detained and put an end to satellite jamming and Internet censorship.

According to the UN special rapporteur, Rouhani has been unable to create a more open society since assuming power in 2013. He called on the regime to rescind capital punishment for drug offences and juveniles in accordance with international law and ensure fair trials and due process for the accused.

Dr. Shaheed is scheduled to present his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, which states, “High priority should be placed on amending laws and policies that undermine or violate internationally recognized rights and standards.” He said that laws that “restrict the press, criminalize expression, limit access to information and give rise to the ongoing arrests of civil society actors and members of vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities” ought to be rescinded.

Dr. Shaeed has not been given permission to visit Iran. His report is based on interviews conducted with several people, both currently residing in Iran and other living in exile mainly in Western Europe due to the situation in their home country.

He said, “Journalists arrested or prosecuted are often accused of contact with foreign media and are seemingly targeted due to their criticism of government leaders or for discussing sensitive policy issues.” He added, “The blocking and filtering of websites also continues to be ubiquitous and is apparently ordered by multiple agencies.”

Dr. Shaheed expressed concerns over several draft bills in the pipeline that aim to “further negate human rights”. They are designed to increase government’s influence over media, civil society, political organisations and other aspects of Iranian life. Rouhani’s administration is doing nothing to stop the onslaught.

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