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Iran: Catalogue of abuses detailed in new report on 30th anniversary of Islamic revolution

As Iran prepares to mark the 30-year anniversary of the change in government that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic on 10 February, Amnesty International today issued a new report raising its concerns over a range of human rights abuses that have persisted over the past 30 years.

Amnesty International has been documenting human rights violations in Iran since the middle of the 1960s.The report details a catalogue of ongoing human rights violations in the country, including:

-Torture and other ill-treatment, including electric shocks, sexual abuse, sleep deprivation, beatings and suspending people from a height;

-Extensive use of the death penalty, with at least 346 people executed in 2008 alone, including the execution of child offenders and two executions by stoning;

-Arbitrary arrest, often by plain-clothes police without producing a warrant;

-Unfair trials, often relying on “confessions” extracted under torture;

-Widespread discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities;

-Severe restrictions on freedoms of belief, expression, association and assembly, including the closure of NGOs, newspapers and websites;

-Discrimination against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, both in law and practice;

-Impunity for past human rights abuses, including the 1988 “prison massacres”.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“People in Iran are still enduring a catalogue of human rights abuses, thirty years after the Islamic Revolution.

“Amnesty continues to record executions, torture and the arrest of people who voice dissenting opinions.

“Hopes for human rights reforms have been all-but crushed since President Ahmadinejad took power. The Iranian authorities should turn their back on torture and unfair trials and release all prisoners of conscience.”

On the occasion of this anniversary, Amnesty International urges the Iranian authorities to:

-Release all prisoners of conscience;
-Review the cases of all political prisoners and release or give a fair trial to those who were unfairly tried in previous years;
-Release detainees who have not yet been put on trial unless they are to be tried promptly and fairly;
-End impunity for past human rights violations;
-Make it clear to state officials that torture and other ill-treatment will not be tolerated and bring to justice anyone found responsible for such abuses;
-Reform key areas of the administration of justice to ensure that no one is arbitrarily arrested or subjected to unfair trial and that evidence obtained under torture and other ill-treatment is not admissible in courts.

Previous governments appointed by the former Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi were widely regarded as corrupt and responsible for egregious human rights violations. The Islamic Republic of Iran was created following a nationwide referendum on 1 April 1979. Another referendum, in December 1979, approved the constitution and confirmed Ayatollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader.

Despite promises made by Ayatollah Khomeini that all Iranians would be free, the past 30 years has been characterised by persistent human rights violations. The vast scope and scale of those violations of the early years of the Islamic Republic did decline with time. Limited relaxation of restrictions on freedom of expression during the period of reform under former President Khatami raised hopes of a sustained improvement in the human rights situation, although the situation remained poor. However, these hopes have been crushed since the accession to power of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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