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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs