London,4 Aug - Amnesty International is calling on the European Union to speak out against the egregious human rights violations in Iran, following the publication of a report, which details the war that the Iranian Regime has been waging against human rights activists ever since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013.
The report, called Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack, explains how those defending human rights are often arrested on spurious “national security” charges and labelled “traitors” in the media. Often, their so-called crimes are as trivial as being in contact with a human rights organisation like Amnesty.
Arash Sadeghi, a critically ill human rights activist, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for communicating with Amnesty International, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran and members of the European Parliament. Despite his critical condition, he has not been allowed to transfer to a hospital despite medical advice.
He went on hunger strike last year to protest the imprisonment of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, for writing a fictional and unpublished story about stoning.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The international community, and in particular the EU, must not stay silent over the outrageous treatment of human rights defenders in Iran. Instead of appeasing Iranian officials, the EU should forcefully call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those jailed for their peaceful human rights activism and for an end to the misuse of the justice system to silence activists.”
He pointed out the bitter irony of the Iranian Regime bragging about their involvement with the international community, while punishing their citizens for attempting to reach out.
He said: “Rather than propagating the dangerous myth that human rights defenders pose a threat to national security, the Iranian authorities should focus on addressing the legitimate concerns they raise. These are people who have risked everything to build a more humane and just society - it is appalling that they are so viciously punished for their bravery.”
The report is a comprehensive overview of the crackdown, covering key areas of concern, like women’s rights and reparation for mass extrajudicial executions, and going over 45 specific cases of the Iranian Regime’s abuses against human rights activists.
Rouhani, often mistaken for a “moderate” in the West, made many claims about human rights reforms and freeing political prisoners in his first election campaign, but has so far failed to do any of it. Indeed, since his presidency began, the length of sentences for human rights activists have sharply increased.