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Iran

    March 26, 2020

    Several prisoners of conscience began a hunger strike in Evin Prison out of fear that they would be at high risk of contracting COVID-19. Photo via wikipedia.org

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 40/20 HERE

    The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing pre-trial detainees and those who may be at particular risk of severe illness or death. 

    While Amnesty International is aware of measures announced by the Iranian authorities to release some prisoners in response to the outbreak, the organization is concerned that hundreds of prisoners of conscience remain jailed. They include human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and others detained solely for peacefully expressing their rights to freedom of expression, association and/or assembly. They should not be in detention at all.

    March 03, 2020

    An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.

    At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.

    The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ - Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests.

    “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    March 03, 2020

    Responding to reports that the jailed British charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be released on furlough from Tehran’s Evin Prison following reports from her family that she could have contracted coronavirus in the jail, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “We sincerely hope reports of coronavirus in Evin and other prisons in Iran are untrue, but this should be a wake-up call to the Iranian authorities to improve conditions of detention and access to health care for everyone in detention. 

    “We renew our call to immediately and unconditionally release Nazanin, a prisoner of conscience who shouldn’t even be behind bars at all.

    “Nazanin’s health has already suffered because of her mistreatment in prison, where she has previously been denied vital medical care. From numerous past cases, we know the Iranian authorities will sometimes use the denial of medical treatment as an extra layer of punishment for prisoners of conscience, so there are already heightened fears for Nazanin.

    January 23, 2020

    Houshmand Alipour via Twitter

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 166/18 HERE

    Houshmand Alipour, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, is at risk of execution after he was sentenced to death on 29 December 2019 following an unfair trial. Mohammad Ostadghader, also an Iranian Kurd, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in the same trial. Both were denied access to lawyers of their own choosing and say they were forced to give “confessions” under torture and other ill-treatment.

    January 15, 2020

    Verified video footage, photographs and testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses on the ground obtained by Amnesty International, confirm that Iranian security forces used unlawful force against peaceful protesters who gathered across Iran following the authorities’ admission that they had shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on 8 January.

    The evidence indicates that on 11 and 12 January security forces fired pointed pellets from airguns, usually used for hunting, at peaceful protesters causing bleeding and painful injuries. Security forces also used rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters as well as kicking and punching them, beating them with batons and carrying out arbitrary arrests.

    December 13, 2019
    Thousands arrested including children as young as 15 Detainees subjected to enforced disappearance and torture At least 304 people killed according to credible sources

    Iran’s authorities are carrying out a vicious crackdown following the outbreak of nationwide protests on 15 November, arresting thousands of protesters as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students to stop them from speaking out about Iran’s ruthless repression, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization has carried out interviews with dozens of people inside Iran who described how, in the days and weeks during and following the protests, the Iranian authorities have held detainees incommunicado and subjected them to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment.

    At least 304 people were killed and thousands were injured between 15 and 18 November as authorities crushed protests using lethal force, according to credible reports compiled by the organization. The Iranian authorities have refused to announce a figure for those killed.

    December 02, 2019

    The number of people believed to have been killed during demonstrations in Iran that broke out on 15 November has risen to at least 208, said Amnesty International, based on credible reports received by the organization. The real figure is likely to be higher.

    Dozens of the deaths have been recorded in Shahriar city in Tehran province – one of the cities with the highest death tolls.

    “This alarming death toll is further evidence that Iran’s security forces went on a horrific killing spree, that left at least 208 people dead in less than a week. This shocking death toll displays the Iranian authorities’ shameful disregard for human life,” said

    Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 25, 2019

    The international community must denounce the intentional lethal use of force by Iranian security forces that has resulted in the killings of at least 143 protesters since demonstrations broke out on 15 November, Amnesty International said today.

    According to credible reports received by the organization, those killed include at least 143 people. The deaths have resulted almost entirely from the use of firearms. One man was reported to have died after inhaling tear gas, another after being beaten. Amnesty International believes that the death toll is significantly higher and is continuing to investigate.

    “The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 19, 2019

    Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony from people on the ground and information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices on 15 November, said Amnesty International today.

    At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed. State media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces.

    Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.

    November 19, 2019

    Saba Kordafshari © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 158/19 HERE

    Iranian women’s rights defender Saba Kordafshari, 21, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for her peaceful human rights work which includes campaigning against Iran’s discriminatory forced veiling laws. If her verdict is upheld on appeal, she would be required to serve 15 years of her prison sentence. She is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released. 

    On 27 August 2019, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Saba Kordafshari, unjustly, to 24 years in prison for her peaceful human rights work, including campaigning against Iran’s discriminatory and abusive forced veiling laws and communicating about human rights violations. 

    October 15, 2019

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.

    In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.

    “We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.

    “We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.

    October 11, 2019

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.

    In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.

    “We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.

    “We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.

    September 09, 2019

    Responding to reports of a Revolutionary Court’s decision on 7 September to hand four journalists and three labour rights activists between six and 18 years in prison and, in one case, 74 lashes on bogus national security charges, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

    “These outrageous sentences are just the latest to be meted out by Iran’s cruel justice system and expose the authorities’ complete disregard for journalists and workers’ rights. 

    “These individuals are blatantly being targeted and punished for their work defending human rights and for publicizing human rights violations. This disgraceful injustice must be reversed. We call on the Iranian authorities to quash these unjust verdicts and cruel sentences and immediately and unconditionally release all seven individuals.

    August 13, 2019

    Monireh Arabshahi ©Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 96/19 HERE

    UPDATE OF AUGUST 8:

    Yasaman Aryani and Monireh Arabshahi have each been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Mojgan Keshavarz has now been sentenced to 23 years and six months in prison. If the verdicts are upheld on appeal, they would each be required to serve 10 years of their prison sentences. The request for action (see below) remains the same as posted originally.

    Defenders of women’s rights Monireh Arabshahi, Yasaman Aryani and Mojgan Keshavarz have been arbitrarily detained in Shahr-e Ray prison outside Tehran since April 2019. They have been charged with offences including “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution” through promoting “unveiling” only because they campaigned against abusive forced veiling laws. None have had access to a lawyer. All are prisoners of conscience.

    August 08, 2019
    Portrait of Saeed Malekpour

    On August 2, Maryam Malekpour was finally reunited with her brother Saeed in Vancouver after she had campaigned tirelessly for 11 years to free him from prison in Iran.

    “The nightmare is finally over!” Maryam wrote on Twitter. “Together we prevailed.”

    Maryam thanked “every single person who supported us throughout this time.”

    Saeed, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in Iran in October 2008 while on a visit to his dying father.

    Saeed was a web programmer and it was alleged that a program he developed was used to upload pornographic photos to the internet. Saeed had no knowledge of the program being used for that purpose.

    After his arrest, Saeed was held in solitary confinement for more than a year. Ill-treated, tortured and denied medical care until he "confessed", Saeed’s televised “confession” was the only evidence used against him.

    Following an unfair trial, Saeed was sentenced to death. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.

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