News / Middle East

    UN Monitor Cites Human Rights Abuses of Journalists, Lawyers in Iran

    Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)
    x
    Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)
    Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)
    Margaret Besheer
    The United Nations expert charged with monitoring the human rights situation in Iran warns that there are “alarming trends” in the country’s human rights situation, including the prosecution of human rights defenders and lawyers, executions in the absence of fair trials, and the detention of journalists and Internet commentators.  

    U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed says in his third report to the U.N. General Assembly that the overall human rights situation in Iran is “deeply troubling.”

    The country has one of the highest execution rates in the world, often for crimes, such as drug offenses, which are not considered to be among the most serious and deserving of capital punishment under international standards.

    Just this week, Tehran announced that 10 more persons were executed for alleged drug crimes. Minors also have been subject to the death penalty.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Shaheed reported figures indicating that journalists and lawyers are among Iran’s most persecuted professionals.

    “On the whole the human rights situation in the country still remains disturbing.  For example, Iran currently detains one of the highest numbers of journalists anywhere in the world, with over 40 still in prison,” Shaheed said.

    Shaheed's report says at least 19 journalists were arrested between January and May of this year, 10 of whom have since been released.  He says prison conditions for reporters are poor and often include periods in solitary confinement.

    Shaheed says other journalists have been subjected to constant surveillance, along with the threat of arrest and detention of family members, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

    Citizen journalists and Internet commentators also have been detained under laws that regulate Internet content and activities and require Internet cafés to document and store information about users and their online histories for at least six months.

    “New Cyber Crimes and Cyber Café laws seek to limit freedom of expression and the right to information and have apparently been employed to prosecute those who use media to criticize the government.  Nineteen “Netizens” are reportedly detained, four of whom are sentenced to death,” Shaheed said.

    Lawyers and other human rights defenders have fared equally badly under the current Iranian government.

    Shaheed's report estimates that some 32 lawyers have been prosecuted since 2009, and that at least nine defense attorneys are currently imprisoned.

    The Special Rapporteur, who receives his mandate to investigate and monitor human rights from the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, has not been allowed entry into Iran by the government.  He said he conducted 99 interviews with persons inside and outside the country through other methods.

    His report urges the Iranian government to pay special attention to domestic laws that infringe on rights guaranteed its citizens under the five international rights treaties to which it is a signatory and to properly investigate and remedy violations of human rights.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Migeria
    October 25, 2012 10:13 AM
    Iran and North Korea - two of a kind - a bermuda triangle for normal human life and investigative journalism. The shahs and their mullahs see themselves as god and do not want any mere human that will 'molest' them. Well until the next decade when the present spiritual leader will have found out that he is a mere mortal, by which time the natural course of aging will have taken its pride of place, the people will continue to live subjugated under the illusion that Ayatollah Khamenei is the descendant of a god. At now. the trouble is in its minimum stage, when they succeed in making a nuclear bomb, nothing else will matter but the will of the spiritual leader. But if this fails, the next generation of Iranians will be disillusioned to accept another human as their god.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora