The Persecution of Iranian activists…

23 May

Various human rights organisations have recently reported a series of Iranian state persecutions against civil society activists.

Of most serious and requiring immediate concern is the continuing imprisonment of journalist and human rights defender, Emadeddin Baghi. The writer’s plight has been highlighted previously in this blog who has been detained since October last year. He suffered a seizure on 7 May and the human rights NGO has again appealed to the Iranian authorities, urging them to release the prisoner of conscience and providing him with appropriate medical care. Details of the appeal and letter- writing campaign can be downloaded from the AI website as a pdf.

Six Baha’i leaders: Fariba Kamalabadi Taefi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm were arrested by officers on 14 May after their homes were raided. The Baha’i religion is not recognised by the Iranian authorities and its followers are subject to discrimination. The human rights NGO has also created a letter writing campaign demanding the Iranian state to stop the persecution of these believers. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center has also corroborated the arrests and documented another earlier arrest, Mrs. Mahvash Sabit, whom has been detained by the Ministry of Intelligence since March 5 this year.

Six women activists in Iran are currently being convicted for having participated in peaceful protests outside a court on 4 March last year when 5 other women activists were on trial for a demonstration urging an end to gender discrimination. While the sentences of these six women are currently suspended, they could be imprisoned again by the authorities. AI is urging the authorities to suspend the prison and flogging sentences. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has also recently released a report ‘The Systematic Repression of the Women’s Rights Movement in Iran’ documenting the worsening situation for women since President Ahmadinejad came into power.

Another international human rights NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported on April 10 that four detained student activists might have been tortured by officers from the Ministry of Information. HRW suspects that these students have been detained for exercising their freedom of protest. A HRW report on Iran which was published in January this year, ‘You Can Detain Anyone for Anything, Iran’s Broadening Clampdown on Independent Activism’ provides a more in-depth description of the state’s human rights violations against human rights activists.

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