Iran Focus: Tehran, Dec. 22 – Two antique smugglers had
their death sentences upheld yesterday by an Islamic revolutionary court in the southern town of Jiroft.
The religious judge, Dadkhoda Sallari, also ordered the confiscation and sale of their personal property to cover the cost of trial.

United Press International: The U.N. General Assembly Monday expressed concern at continuing human rights violations in Iran on the reported eve of an execution by stoning. Non-governmental organizations said it was the 52nd time a body of the world organization condemned Tehran's human rights record.

RFE/RL: Along with China and the United States, Iran has one of the highest execution rates in the world. In the last two decades, thousands of political prisoners, drug traffickers, and drug addicts have been executed in the Islamic Republic. In 2003, more than 100 executions were recorded in Iran. Human rights groups, however, say the real number of people put to death is much higher. "Unfortunately, every year there are
some 300 to 400 executions in Iran ," said Abdolkarim Lahiji ...

Reuters: The U.N. General Assembly has criticised Iran for public executions, torture, arbitrary sentencing, flogging, stoning and systematic discrimination against women. Sponsored by Canada, the human rights resolution was adopted on Monday by a vote of 71 in favour, 54 against with
55 abstentions in the 191-member assembly.

BBC: The UN General Assembly has censured Iran for human rights violations, in a relatively close vote. By 71 votes to 54, with 55 abstentions, the assembly on Monday said Tehran restricted free speech, used torture, and persecuted dissenters. The resolution is not legally binding but is an expression of world opinion. Meanwhile, Amnesty International says it fears an Iranian woman convicted of adultery may be buried up to her chest and stoned to death on Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch: The Iranian judiciary is using threats of lengthy prison sentences and coerced televised statements in an attempt to cover up its arbitrary detention and torture of internet journalists and civil society activists, Human Rights Watch said today. Since September, more than 20 internet journalists and civil society activists have been arrested and held in a secret detention center in Tehran.

The Norway Post: Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen has condemned the planned execution of the mentally retarded 19 year-old Leila M in Iran. Among other things, the girl has been accused of prostitution. Norway has sent a formal protest to Iran about the matter. A representative from the Iranian embassy in Oslo was on Monday summoned to the Foreign Office to receive the Norwegian protest.

Aftenposten: Iran's ambassador to Norway refused to meet the local head of Amnesty International on Monday. Amnesty is among those taking up the case of a young, retarded Iranian who's been sentenced to death. The 19-year-old, known only as "Leyla M," was forced into prostitution by her own mother at the age of eight.


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