By Jubin Katiraie
The human rights situation in Iran continues to concern international human rights organizations. During the month of August, there has been additional pressure put on political prisoners. Many have been given extremely harsh sentences, and many have been flogged.
The Iranian regime has been under increasing domestic and international pressure in the past few years and it is trying to regain some of the control that it has lost by trying to silence the people who are speaking out more and more about the regime.
There are at least 20 political prisoners that have been sentenced to death, with half of them being protesters during the past three major uprisings.
Furthermore, the conditions in prisons remain very worrying, especially because of the Coronavirus health crisis. With every day that passes, more and more prisoners are contracting the virus. And worse, they are not being given the medical treatment that they need. The prisoners are extremely vulnerable because they are not provided with hygiene products and social distancing is impossible in such overcrowded places.
Executions are still being carried out with great frequency and it is thought that at least 28 prisoners were executed during the month of August. Four of them were on drug-related charges, two were female and one was a prisoner that was a minor at the time of the alleged crime. Political prisoner Mostafa Salehi was executed at the beginning of the month. His crime was to participate in a major protest.
Approximately 140 female prisoners in the Central Prison of Urmia initiated a hunger strike because of the prison’s failure to appropriately respond to cases of COVID-19. Several contagious prisoners were not isolated, leaving the other prisoners at risk. Their concerns have been ignored.
During the month of August, there were numerous protests and strikes across the country. The regime’s response has once again been one of violence. It does not want people to rally in the streets because it is aware that the number of participants can grow quickly. For this reason, the regime has been handing out harsh prison sentences to deter dissent.
The families of imprisoned protesters are also put under incredible pressure and have been threatened by security forces.
Religious minorities continue to be suppressed. Religious freedom is non-existent in the country and the regime’s persecution has been criticized by religious leaders across the world. Four Christians from Rasht were sentenced to 13 years imprisonment last month and their crime was to participate in peaceful religious activities, attending church gatherings, and promoting their religion. The regime considers this as acting against national security.
The Baha’i community is also continually persecuted by the Iranian regime and during the course of last month, many members have been subjected to harsh and unfair treatment because of their faith. Several were given prison sentences for “insulting the sanctities of Islam” and others were arrested and sent to jail after having their homes raided and personal items confiscated.
And these are just some examples of a human rights situation that continues to degrade.