Iran: Amnesty International Says Iran Focused on Covering Up Horrific Abuses Committed During Post-Election Period

Press Release
December 9, 2009

Iran: Amnesty International Says Iran Focused on Covering Up Horrific Abuses Committed During Post-Election Period

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
PRESS RELEASE
December 9, 2009

Amnesty International Says Iran Focused on Covering Up Horrific Abuses Committed During Post-Election Period

Organization Urges Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Allow UN Special Rapporteurs to
Conduct Inquiry in Iran

(New York) -- Six months after Iran's disputed presidential election, authorities are focused on covering up the horrific abuses they committed, according to Amnesty International, which documented the extensive human rights violations that occurred since June 12 in a new report published today. The organization documented unlawful killings, mass executions, torture, rape and sexual abuse of men and women, arbitrary arrests and harsh sentences imposed after flawed show trials.

"The authorities have resorted to exceptionally high levels of violence and arbitrary measures to stifle protest and dissent," the Amnesty International report said. And rather than holding security forces accountable, the courts "have acted as part of the repressive state machinery to allow the security forces to act with impunity," the report said.

Although official figures place the number of people killed in the post-election crackdown at 36, opposition web sites maintain that more than 70 were killed. At least 4,000 people were arrested while over 200 remain in detention.

And, in the last weeks, more than 90 student activists have been detained, and others banned from study, in a clear attempt to forestall demonstrations and to warn students not to continue their activities demanding human rights and academic freedom, Amnesty International said.

Elise Auerbach, Amnesty International USA’s Iran country specialist, said: “Although the authorities have done everything possible to suppress knowledge of the abuses and to further punish those victims and witnesses who courageously reported them, the massive scale of the violations is impossible to hide, while the calls for accountability and justice are only growing, both from within and outside Iran."

Amnesty International interviewed people who suffered and witnessed egregious violations, including the rape and sexual abuse of both male and female detainees. Journalists, opposition politicians and scholars have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences following a mass show trial that was a travesty of justice.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said, “Anyone who is arrested or detained must be protected from torture or other ill-treatment, prisoners of conscience must be released and those convicted after unfair trials – including the 'show trials,' which made a mockery of justice – must have their cases reviewed, or be released. All death sentences should be commuted, and others not yet tried must receive fair trials.”

The organization is calling on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to allow the United Nation's Special Rapporteurs on torture and extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions to conduct rigorous and independent investigations inside Iran. Both have requested permission to enter Iran and are waiting for a response from the government.

“The onus is on the authorities to address the widespread human rights violations that occurred during the unrest in an open, transparent and accountable manner," said Hadj Sahraoui.
Amnesty International interviewed many individuals who were detained during the protests, some of whom have since been forced to flee the country.

Ebrahim Mehtari, 26, a student, described to Amnesty International in November the torture he suffered following his arrest by the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran on August 20. He said he was taken to a place resembling a military camp where for five days he was abused. "They frequently beat me on the face; I was burned with cigarettes under my eyes, on the neck, head. I was beaten all over the body including arms and legs. They threatened to execute me." He also described being sexually abused and punched in the face, which broke a tooth.

He was examined by a doctor after he was released and the medical report substantiated his torture. The text of the report, dated August 25 and addressed to the commander of police station 134, Shahrak-e Quods, is included in the Amnesty International report. The authorities told Mehtari and his family that there would be severe consequences if they talked about the torture he had suffered.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

# # #