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Rampant impunity continues to claim victims, say human rights organisations

(RSF/IFEX) – 8 June 2011 - On the occasion of the second anniversary of the widespread crackdown on public protests in Iran, Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and four human rights organizations called on the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to take a more serious stance in protecting security and human rights of the Iranian people. The human rights organizations included: Reporters without Borders, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Federation for Human Rights, and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights.

"The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Iran should be named soon and his mission to Iran expedited. The country's situation is deteriorating day by day. The arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of citizens, systematic torture and executions with no legal basis continue. People are not only denied the right to peaceful assembly, but government forces and plain clothes security agents even prevent them from having private mourning ceremonies and violently attack them," said Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi.

On 1 June 2011, the political prisoner and women's rights activist Haleh Sahabi was attacked during the funeral procession of her father, Ezatollah Sahabi, a prominent Iranian politician, who had died of natural causes two days earlier. According to credible eyewitnesses, Haleh Sahabi died as a direct result of this physical assault. So far, Islamic Republic authorities have not taken any steps to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. Some officials have announced the reason for her death as a "heart attack" in government media. Under pressure from security officials, Haleh Sahabi's body was buried at night without any investigation into the cause of her death or even without proper burial rituals for a Muslim woman.

Immediately following the disputed 12 June 2009 presidential election and the onset of public protests, thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested and tried in unfair trials without access to their basic legal rights, and received long sentences. According to testimonies by prisoners and their families, many of them were subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane, and insulting abuse during their interrogation and while serving prison terms. Some of these prisoners have published a group letter, formally filing a complaint against the Revolutionary Guards, the Intelligence Ministry, and judicial authorities for psychological and physical torture.

The Iranian Judiciary lacks independence. According to Article 110 of the Iranian Constitution, the Head of the Judiciary is appointed by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although Article 156 of the Iranian Constitution stipulates the Head of the Judiciary's responsibilities as "ensuring the rights of all, and promotion of justice and legitimate liberties," Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, currently heading the Judiciary, not only does not adhere to this article, but by not pursuing the prosecution of those who violate the rights of the public and those officials who carry out and order torture and serious crimes, he promotes greater audacity in their violent acts in society and especially against prisoners.

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To read the full press release, click here
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