Even as the international community warms up to Iran, the regime’s repressive elements within the judiciary, security and intelligence forces still continue to violate the most basic of political and civic rights of its citizens.
The reckless power-wielding honchos have continued to sanction arbitrary arrests and executions, while the revolutionary courts hand down punitive sentences against the target individuals or groups, fomenting a disturbing and continued pattern of abuses that has led to detentions, loss of lives and decreased opportunities for women.
Iran’s use of the death penalty still remains as one of the country’s stabs at silencing dissidents among its citizens.
On Monday, May 21, a prisoner was hanged in Isfahan Prison. According to the Human Rights in Iran, the man identified as Amir Hossein Nourozi was convicted of drug related charges.
In yet another terrific incidence, another man was sentenced to death by the revolutionary court in Tehran. Mr. Himan Mostafaie, arrested by security forces in 2012 was convicted of the charge of killing an agent of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (RGC). According to court’s ruling, his act of killing the agent was tantamount to “waging war with God”.
After the announcement of his death sentence, civil rights activists and a group of other people gathered outside the Central Sanadaj Prison seeking for the revocation of the man’s death sentence.
Many crimes under Iranian law are punishable by death, including non-violent offenses such as apostacy, “insulting the Prophet,” same-sex relations, and drug-related and adultery.
In 2015, convicted drug offenders formed the majority of prisoners executed after sentencing through flawed trials in revolutionary courts.
Political Prisoners and Curtailed Freedom of Expression
The human rights situation in Iran is further worsened by the clamp down on dissent and free speech by security authorities and handing down of harsh sentences by revolutionary courts handed against journalist, activists and social media users, including death sentences in some cases.
According to Radio Zamaneh, around 55 men and six women were arrested during demonstrations in various locations in Tehran and later on detained in the Vozara Detention Center for interrogations. Surprisingly, the authorities did not give reports on why they were arrested.
The detained women have been identified as, Fatemeh (Mahsa) Bagheri, 19, Sahar Abdulrezaie, 29, ElhamNazari, 30, SaiedehAbdulrezaie, 28, SolmazHosseinizadeh, 35, and FatemehMakrkhoy, 49.
The women were beaten upon arrest to a point where, according to eye witness accounts, the bruises were evident on their bodies when they were taken to EvinPrison. Besides, the security forces also used pepper spray and tear gas to arrest these people.
According to Radio Zamaneh, these women were initially taken to Section 209 in Evin Prison but were later released on May 20 after interrogations.
Cases of arbitrary arrests and reckless exercising of power to intimidate and silence dissidents are on rise in Iran.
In an effort to further erode the independence of the judiciary, the judicial officials have infiltrated the Iranian Bar Association, preventing criminal defendants from choosing the lawyer of their choice, thus preventing them from having a fair trial or conviction.
The Assistant Head of the Judiciary, according to Mehr state-run news agency announced that 225,000 prisoners existed in Iran, adding the Iran is number eight around the globe with regard to the number of prisoners it has so far.
“We do not have good circumstances in terms of prisoner to population ratio. There are 287 prisoners for every 100,000 persons”, he said.
To stamp her authority over citizens, the Iranian authorities have continued to imprison dozens of journalists, activists and human rights defenders on account of their peaceful or professional activities.