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NCRI: Pervasive and systematic denial of human rights in Iran

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The National Council of Resistance of Iran has called upon the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, to investigate the conditions inside Iran’s prisons. Activists both inside Iran and abroad have consistently exposed the pervasive and systematic denial of human rights in the country, but so far foreign powers have failed to exert pressure on the Iranian regime to curb future abuses.

Currently, Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison, located on the outskirts of the city of Karaj, have tightened internment measures against Sunni prisoners. Insider reporting has revealed that six Sunni prisoners were transferred to the infamous “Intelligence Ward” after 1st November, mostly likely to begin or resume rounds of interrogation and torture.

 

Moreover, in Godhardasht, another six Sunni prisoners currently waiting on death row have been put into solitary confinement.

 

In Evin Prison, located in northwestern Tehran, poor fuel-burning capacity in the engine house has led to a carbon monoxide leak, causing headaches in prisoners in the adjoining Ward 8. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is serious and can lead to respiratory problems and even death.

 

Similarly, conditions in the Zahedan Central Prison are not much better. A viral disease recently broke out among hundreds of political and non-political prisoners in wards 6 and 7. Despite the mass suffering – prisoners are experiencing chills, fevers, muscle pain and vomiting – prison administration has not appeared to have done anything to alleviate this.

 

Revelations of mistreatment in Iranian prisons comes just one month after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani postponed a visit to Paris after the brutal November 13th terrorist attacks.

 

Much work has been done by the NCRI and a network of Iranian and French supporters to expose the extent of Iranian human rights infringements both before and after the postponed event. On 9th November, a letter addressed to French President François Hollande by the CFDT, CFE-CGC, CFTC, CGT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA, called for the French government to exert pressure on Rouhani due to his breach of international labour laws; the case of Mahmood Salehi, a veteran labour rights activist detained and sentenced to 9 years in prison for his agitations, put a human face on these demands.

 

An appeal calling for an end to Iran’s flagrant human rights abuses was also launched by the President-elect of the NCRI, Maryam Rajavi, last month. Entitled “Breaking the Silence on Executions in Iran”, the initiative aims to raise awareness and expose the barbarity of Rouhani’s regime. Only with greater visibility and recognition of Iran’s record of human rights assaults can the process of reform begin; for instance, by foreign powers exerting pressure and ensuring that all further relations are contingent on honoring the UN Declaration of Human Rights.   

 

Under Rouhani, 2000 individuals, including 59 women, have been executed, in many cases hanged by crane in public. Since 1979, over 120,000 political opponents have been murdered by the state and architects of past and present massacres continue to occupy positions of power in the Rouhani government, such as the current Minister of Justice, Mostafa Pourmohammadi.

 

This strategy of inciting widespread terror among its population cannot be seen apart from the problem of Sunni extremism currently engulfing parts of the Middle East and Western Europe. An event held on Tuesday 8th December at the NCRI’s headquarters in Paris, entitled “United Against Fundamentalism: Role of the Iranian Resistance”, highlighted the role of the Iranian regime in fuelling the global threat of Islamic extremism by their meddling in Syria.  

 

Restrictions on freedom of expression are also pervasive and widespread. Bloggers, journalists and artists are under constant threat of imprisonment unless they censor their material. In October, two Iranian poets, Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi, were given long prison sentences and are set to receive 99 lashes for shaking hands with the opposite sex.

 

The PMOI and their supporters in Iran and France are calling for international recognition of Rouhani’s human rights abuses and an end to the policy of silence and ignorance adopted by Western powers. Only with a concerted international effort to bring Iran’s leadership to account can the systematic abuses on Iranian life and liberty – and greater stability in the Middle East region – be assured.



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