London, 17 Jan – Human rights abuses are systematic under the repressive Iranian regime, with even the right to life being routinely ignored.
As a result, the so-called justice system often executes people for crimes (sometimes minor offences or made up crimes) based on circumstantial evidence or confessions extracted through torture.
In December, for example, a 22-year-old prisoner was executed in Mashhad Central Prison for murder, but there is little chance that he received a fair trial with access to legal representation. Another two people were hanged in front of a judge in a retribution killing.
The world has largely condemned Iran’s executions and asked them to halt the death sentence, but Iran continues to hang its own people, largely in public.
For political prisoners, the threat of execution is high with the Regime using vague laws to keep them in prison before sentencing them. Two political prisoners, Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, were sentenced to death in December 2017 and their sentences are set to be carried out in January 2018.
In a letter to Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, the Moradis wrote: “We have been the victims of a political game and a fake scenario for the Sanandaj Intelligence Agency for eight years. Only a person on death row can understand the suffering we have endured by being on death row for all these years and what it means to lose the meaning of life and hope in our hearts.”
Even if a prisoner does not receive the death sentence, the Regime will still find ways to pressure and intimidate them. They consistently use physical and psychological torture (including rape) against prisoners in order to make them confess to things they didn’t do or hurt their friends and family on the outside.
Zahra Azad Seresht, a friend of Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian, was found dead in her home after receiving threats from and being offered bribes by the Kermanshah Information Office in order to denounce the claims of Jalalian failing health, which had been published by global human rights organizations.
Even those living outside Iran are not able to avoid the Regime’s horrific justice system.
Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, a specialist in disaster medicine, returned to Iran to give a lecture and was promptly arrested and charged with espionage- despite a lack of evidence- and is now sentenced to death.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said: “Belgium is against the death penalty and we plead that it should be repealed.”
Of course, many who die at the hands of the Regime do not even go through the appearance of a trial. Many are tortured to death inside the prisons, with their death ruled a suicide, and many are the victims of extrajudicial killings in the streets, like Nematollah Shafiei who was shot from behind during the ongoing Iran protests.
His brother Hassan said: “They came to our home from the Intelligence Agency and told my mom not to scream and mourn publicly…They took my brother’s birth certificate and told us to go to the Intelligence Agency in a few days to get the certificate and also said that they wanted to talk to us.”
It appears that there are no depths to which the Regime will not sink to keep control of Iran, which is why the international community must stand against them.