News / Middle East

UN Expert Says Iranian Rights Abuses Increasing

Bust of Neda Agha Soltan, a student killed during Tehran's 2009 election protests, before pictures of what rights advocates say are victims of Iranian human rights violators, Rome, Feb. 11, 2010.
Bust of Neda Agha Soltan, a student killed during Tehran's 2009 election protests, before pictures of what rights advocates say are victims of Iranian human rights violators, Rome, Feb. 11, 2010.
Lisa Schlein
Iran is blasting the findings of a United Nations researcher who alleges an increase in torture, executions and repression of free expression in the country.
Citing many accusations of abuse in Iran, U.N. Special Investigator Ahmed Shaheed says he is concerned at the high rate of executions, the majority of them drug offenses, which do not meet international standards for “most serious crimes.”
According to Shaheed, about 500 executions took place in Iran last year, including some 200 secret executions acknowledged by family members, prison officials or members of the judiciary.
“My current report also presents what appears to be unimpeachable forensic evidence that torture is occurring in Iran on a geographically widespread and systemic basis, and that methods applied to victims are done so systematically, as similar methods re-appear in multiple testimonies submitted by individuals in cities across the country," he said.
Shaheed says the Iranian government continues to persecute religious minorities, and that 110 Baha’is and at least 13 Christians are currently being held in detention centers for exercising their faiths.
Iran’s delegate at the Human Rights Council, Ali Ardashir Larijani, blasted Shaheed’s findings, calling the report a compilation of unfounded allegations and accusations.
“The report ... is a product of an unhealthy, non-objective and counter-productive exercise initiated by the United States of America and its European allies," Larijani said. "Therefore, we never expected to receive and consider a balanced and impartial report out of hostile policies of these states.”
Officials in Tehran have refused to grant Shaheed access into the country.
Still, Shaheed acknowledged Iran has made some significant advances in the area of women’s rights. These include advancements in health, literacy and in enrollment rates of both the primary and secondary school levels.
However, Shaheed says, recent policies bar women from pursuing a number of fields of study. And women, he adds, are generally restricted in their freedom of movement and prevented from holding certain decision-making positions in the government.
“A majority of human rights defenders, including those that defend the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, as well as those that work to advance protections for the environment, workers and children, continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, interrogation, and torture and are frequently charged with vaguely-defined national security crimes," he said.
Shaheed is the former foreign minister of the Maldives who was named the U.N.’s Iran monitor in 2011.

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Comment Sorting
by: Hassim Baltanar from: Iran
March 13, 2013 10:17 AM
"secret executions" - these are executions sanctioned by Islamic religious decree for the suppression of "deviant behavior" like not wearing the veil or questioning Islamic authority or a political party, or if you belong to minorities groups considered profaned to the "Prophet" mainly in rural villages and remote regions of Iran are prevalent and increasing. these so called "Executions" are nothing but Islamic murders of minorities, Sunny Arabs, Hazaras, Kurds... and unproven allegations of drug abuse. Iran is Islamic hell

by: kanaikaalirumporai
March 13, 2013 8:09 AM
Well, sovereign Iranian state should not be humiliated like this, if there's anything that is of any concern, then it should be investigated by the Iranian authorities themselves.

by: Anonymous
March 12, 2013 7:57 PM
Irans government will get a serious smack on the hand soon enough. They have been acting like idiots in front of the world stage. Everyone in Iran dislikes the Iranian government but cannot do anything about it. I've heard from several Iranian people that the moment they can topple their own government they absolutely will, preferably when the UN security council starts bombing the strategic locations. Hats off to the Iranian people, they are next. Bye Bye tyrant world leaders, hello peace.

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