Iran: Appeal for supreme leader to halt 'cycle of repression'

Fresh call for prisoner releases and end to ‘show trials’ on eve of president’s inauguration

Iran is caught in a spiralling cycle of repression, Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General warned on the eve of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s official inauguration (5 August) for a second term as Iran’s president.

Ms Khan called for an immediate end to detentions, torture and unfair trials in response to peaceful protests, saying:

“The inauguration tomorrow should not just be a reinstallation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the moment for the Supreme Leader and those around him to turn the page on the gross violations that have punctuated recent weeks and have been an all too familiar hallmark for many years.

“Governments around the world - especially those that have strong ties and influence with the authorities in Tehran - must impress upon Iran’s leaders the urgent need to respect human rights.

“Iran’s leaders must act, and act now, to stop the violence by security forces, including the Basij militia, whose disregard for the law and for human rights has been so shockingly evident in recent weeks.

“The Supreme Leader and those around him must reverse the current slide into repression and respect the rights of the Iranian people.”

As a first step, Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately release all those being detained for peacefully protesting the hotly-disputed official result of the 12 June presidential election and ensure that anyone accused of violence is prosecuted according to international fair trial standards.

Ms Khan added:

“It is totally unacceptable that more than 100 critics and protestors are standing trial, behind closed doors, forbidden from having access to either their lawyers or family since their arrest and amid allegations that they have been tortured or ill-treated to make them ‘confess’ to fomenting unrest.

“Their trial appears to be a ‘show trial’ intended to obscure the cause of the protests, to justify the lawless methods that the authorities have used in their efforts to suppress them and to deter others from continuing to protest.”

Irene Khan said the treatment of those being tried contrasted markedly with the impunity afforded to the Basij militia and other security forces:

“It is these so-called security forces that are actually perpetrating crimes - human rights crimes - with impunity. They must be held to account, and the Supreme Leader and his associates have an obligation to ensure this.”

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