Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Iran, recently addressed the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. During her speech, she called for a comprehensive and independent investigation into the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Jahangir pointed to the increasing number of petitions, protests, and continued calls for an investigation as a sign that there was a deeper pain for the Iranian people that needs to be addressed.
“The killings themselves have been acknowledged by some at the highest levels of the State. Almost on a daily basis, I receive heartfelt letters from the relatives of those killed calling for answers. The families of the victims have a right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of these events and the fate of the victims without risking reprisal,” said Jahangir.
High number of executions
As part of her report to the committee, Jahangir also pointed to the high number of executions within Iran, despite the election of the supposedly ‘moderate’ President Rouhani. There have been approximately 435 executions since the beginning of 2017. Additionally, the executions include people under the age of 18 who are being sentenced to death. Prisoners also are undergoing torture, deprivation of medical care as a form of punishment for protesting or speaking out about the treatment within the prisons.
However, the regime’s response from its United Nations representative shows the mullahs are unwilling to acknowledge the oppressive nature of their government.
Mohammad Hassaninejad, Iran’s UN Representative, called Jahangir’s speech full of “unrealistic accusations”, which are “biased” and “totally political against Iran”. His entire response was focused on making the mullahs’ regime appear to be free and open, although the evidence indicates that is not the case.
“We denounce the appointment of the country-specific Special Rapporteur…, no country should change its way of life because of Western dictation,” said Hassaninejad, who was the face of the regime, expressing outrage at the exposure of the regime’s dirty laundry, including its brutal and systematic violations of human rights throughout the region.
Hassaninejad noted that minorities in Iran are free to act as they wish as long as those activities are not deemed harmful to Iranian society, which is clearly represented by the Iranian regime.
Execution of juvenile offenders
Yet despite his protests, the evidence gathered from multiple sources demonstrate that the human rights situation is worse than the regime is willing to admit. Currently, Iran has the highest execution rate per capita and is one of the few countries in the world that still executes juvenile offenders. This is a clear violation of the UN’s Rights of the Child charter.
“At least four juvenile offenders were executed, and 86 more are known to be on death row, although the actual figure may be higher. I take the opportunity to reiterate my request for a list of all juvenile offenders on death row and reiterate my appeal to the Iranian authorities to urgently abolish the sentencing of children to death, and to engage in a comprehensive process of commutation of all death sentences issued against children in line with juvenile justice standards,” said Jahangir.
Mohammad Ali Taheri
There was also concern expressed about the vague charges used by the regime to punish those who can be seen as any part of a perceived threat against the regime. One such example is Mohammad Ali Taheri, who is being charged with corruption on earth. His trial is believed to have violated several international standards, including due process.
“I call for the immediate withdrawal of charges against Mr. Taheri and for his unconditional release, and the withdrawal of charges against all individuals held for peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, religion or belief,” said Jahangir.
Punishment for those who live in Iran can often be cruel and unusual. Physical punishments, often done in a public setting, are used to coerce confessions and to make examples of those who would stand up against the regime.
“I regretfully note that amputation, blinding, flogging, and the continued use of prolonged solitary confinement continues to be regularly practiced. I am also deeply concerned by consistent reports of the denial of access to proper and necessary medical treatment of detainees, including the deprival of medical care as a form of punishment,” said Jahangir.
This doesn’t even begin to address what happens to those who try to get information out to the international community. Journalists, activists, and bloggers, just to name a few, are dealing with harassment, arrests, and prison time, just for standing up and telling the truth about the reality of living in Iran under the rulership of the mullahs.
There are those who also report that they are not only be targeted, but their families and associates are being targeted by the regime as well. The call for an investigation seems to indicate that the international community is ready to stand with the Iranian people against this dictatorship.