Iran Focus: London, Feb. 16 A top international rights group blasted on Thursday the hard-line government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for failing to address the dire human rights situation in that country. Iran Focus
London, Feb. 16 A top international rights group blasted on Thursday the hard-line government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for failing to address the dire human rights situation in that country.
Amnesty International issued a report accusing Tehran of locking up scores of its critics and opponents. It added that torture was common and that Tehran used the death penalty following grossly unfair trials against such individuals.
The authorities maintain strict controls on freedom of expression and association, and religious and ethnic minorities are subject to persecution. Women are severely discriminated against in both law and practice and those lawyers, journalists and others who dare speak up in support of human rights – Irans community of courageous human rights defenders do so at constant risk of harassment, imprisonment or other abuses by security authorities who are able to act with impunity, the group said.
Since President Ahmadinejads election, several people have been killed and scores injured by security forces possibly using excessive force, in the context of ongoing violent unrest in Khuzestan Province. Hundreds of Arabs have been arrested in the volatile region since Ahmadinejad came to power, Amnesty said.
Since President Ahmadinejads election, members of Irans religious minorities have also been killed, detained or harassed solely in connection with their faith. Even the recognized religious minorities of Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians face discrimination in law and practice with respect to employment, marriage, and criminal sanctions, it said.
Torture has been used systematically in Iran for many years for the purpose of extracting information and confessions. Torture is facilitated by laws and procedures governing detention and interrogation which permit solitary confinement and ban access of detainees to lawyers until the process of investigation is completed, and by the existence of parallel and sometimes informal institutions which run their own detention centres to which the judiciary has no access.
In addition, Iranian legislation permits the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments which amount to torture, such as flogging and amputations.
The group called on Iran to end torture and release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.