Annual Report: Iran 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Iran 2011

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  • Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, arrested in December 2009, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on national security charges. When he complained that he had been tortured, the judge told him he "deserved it".

Torture and other ill-treatment

Torture and other ill-treatment in pretrial detention remained common, facilitated by the routine denial of access to lawyers and continuing impunity for perpetrators. Methods reported included severe beatings; forcing detainees' heads into toilets to make them ingest human excrement; mock executions; confinement in very small, cramped spaces; deprivation of light, food and water; and denial of medical treatment. In one case, a male detainee was reported to have been raped; others were threatened with rape.

  • In August, Gholam Reza Bayat, a Kurdish youth, was reported to have died from internal bleeding after he was beaten in custody in Kamyaran.

Details of torture in 2009 continued to emerge. In February, a former member of the volunteer paramilitary Basij force described how tens of boys had been rounded up in Shiraz, thrown into shipping containers and systematically raped. After expressing concerns to a Basij leader, he and others were detained for 100 days without access to their families and beaten. He also alleged that he faced a mock execution.


Members of the security forces continued to violate human rights with near total impunity.

The prosecution of 12 men, including 11 officials accused of committing serious abuses at Kahrizak prison before it was closed in July 2009, appeared to scapegoat low ranking officials for only some of the serious abuses that took place after the June 2009 election, which in several cases had led to the death of detainees. Two of the 12 were sentenced to death but then pardoned by their victims' families, as permitted under Iranian law. Nine others received prison terms.

Judicial proceedings were initiated during 2010 against at least 50 individuals in relation to abuses at a Tehran University dormitory immediately after the 2009 election.

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders were subject to serious human rights violations as they continued to press for greater respect for the rights of women and ethnic minorities and for an end to executions of juvenile offenders and stoning executions. Women's rights activists, lawyers, trade unionists, ethnic minority rights activists, students and others campaigning for human rights, unfairly tried and imprisoned in previous years, continued to be held. Others faced arbitrary arrest, harassment, prosecution and unfair trials. Some were prisoners of conscience; others were banned from traveling abroad. The ban on independent trade unions was maintained.

  • Emadeddin Baghi, a journalist, author and head of a banned NGO that advocated prisoners' rights who was detained between December 2009 and June 2010, began serving a seven year prison sentence in December; he had been prosecuted for his peaceful human rights and journalistic activities.

The authorities harassed and, in some cases, arrested members of grassroots human rights organizations, including the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) and Human Rights Activists of Iran (HRAI).

  • Shiva Nazar Ahari, a CHRR member arrested in December 2009, was released on bail in September, just before receiving a six year prison term. She remained free pending the outcome of her appeal against the sentence, more than half of which is to be served in "exile".

Discrimination against women

Women faced continuing discrimination in law and practice; those campaigning for women's rights were targeted for state repression. Parliament debated draft legislation on family protection whose controversial provisions, if enacted, would further erode women's rights. Women's rights activists, including those mounting the One Million Signatures Campaign to demand legal equality for women, continued to face pressure.