Iran Human Rights

Amnesty International continues to document serious human rights violations in Iran including detention of human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience, unfair trials, torture and mistreatment in detention, deaths in custody and the application of the death penalty. Iran executes more people than any country in the world, other than China. Ethnic, religious and linguistic minority communities face persistent persecution. However, some signs of hope have appeared since the election of Hassan Rouhani in June 2013. In September 2013, human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, on whose behalf Amnesty International activists and its partners campaigned since her arrest three years ago, was released from prison, along with other prisoners of conscience.

Human Rights Concerns

For the past several years, Iranian authorities have been engaged in the brutal repression of Iranian civil society. Targets include labor activists who seek to form independent trade unions, women's rights activists, in particular those involved with the Campaign for Equality who work for equitable treatment under family law, students, journalists, bloggers, and those who advocate for cultural rights for Iran's ethnic and linguistic minorities. Hundreds of people are in detention; many of those serving prison terms have been convicted in unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts on vague charges including "propaganda against the state" or "endangering the security of the state." Iranian authorities have used these vague charges to suppress the right of its citizens to peaceful expression and association. The Iranian government has also endeavored to prevent Iranians from accessing information by blocking internet sites and even harassing the family members of journalists for BBC Persian and VOA Persian, which continue to broadcast news into Iran.

Many people have reported having been tortured in order to force them to make public confessions that can be used against them in legal proceedings. Some detainees – including Sattar Beheshti – have died in custody after being subjected to torture. Furthermore, Iran executes more people than any other country in the world except for China. Iran executed at least 544 people in 2012. Iran is also one of the handful of countries in the world that continue to execute juvenile offenders. Most of the people executed have been convicted of drug-related offenses while many executions are carried out in public.


Upcoming Iran Programs on Repression of Academic Freedom

In anticipation of Amnesty's upcoming campaign on the persecution of students, scholars and scientists in Iran, AIUSA is holding two public programs: one at the New School University in New York on November 13 (in partnership with the New School's Center for Public Scholarship, Scholars at Risk, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and the other at Georgetown University in Washington on November 16 (in partnership with the Committee of Concerned Scientists, the American Physical Society, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran). Hundreds of students in Iran have been banned from continuing their higher education because of their political activities or involvement in peaceful expression of their opinions, while scholars are fired from their jobs or even imprisoned for their scholarly activities.

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Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi

Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Cleric Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi are in Urgent Need of Medical Care

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Nowruz Action

The Persian holiday Nowruz ("new day") is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. On this Nowruz we want to remember several courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran with Nowruz greetings. Please send cards with Nowruz greetings to let our imprisoned friends know we are thinking of them at this time.

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Baha'i Community Leaders

The seven Baha'is – two women and five men – were sentenced to twenty years in prison on 7 August 2010, They are prisoners of conscience, persecuted solely for exercising their right to freedom of religion. The estimated 300,000 members of Iran's Baha'i community-Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority-are subjected to systematic persecution, including the exclusion from higher education.

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Iran Newsroom

October 2, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Victim of domestic and sexual violence, arrested as a child, is executed after unfair trial

Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand was executed early this morning in Urumieh central prison, West Azerbaijan province, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is a sickening demonstration of the Iranian authorities’ disregard for …

September 4, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Husband of hunger-striking human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

Responding to the arrest in Iran this morning of Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said: “First the authorities jail Nasrin Sotoudeh on bogus charges, then harass, intimidate and threaten her family and friends, …

August 23, 2018 • Press Release


Responding to news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been granted a three-day “furlough” release from Evin Prison in Iran, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said: “This is welcome news and a much-needed respite for Nazanin. “We hope two things will now happen – first, that this three-day period will be extended, but far more importantly …

July 30, 2018 • Press Release

Coroner’s findings on preventable death of Iranian asylum seeker on Manus Island must prompt government action

In response to today’s damning coronial inquest findings into the tragic death of Hamid Khazaei, an Iranian man who died in Australia in 2014 from an infection acquired in the Manus Island detention centre, Amnesty International’s Refugee Researcher Kate Schuetze, who was present at the Brisbane court today, said: “The Coroner today outlined a litany of errors …

June 13, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Arrest of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is an outrage

The arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, is an outrageous attack on a brave and prolific human rights defender, Amnesty International said today. Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home in Tehran this morning and transferred to the prosecutor’s office of Evin prison, according to her husband, Reza Khandan. In an …

April 29, 2018 • Report

Iran: New evidence reveals deliberate desecration and destruction of multiple mass grave sites

New evidence including satellite imagery, photo and video analysis show that the Iranian authorities are deliberately destroying suspected or confirmed mass grave sites associated with the 1988 massacre in which thousands of prisoners detained for political reasons were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed, according to a report released by Amnesty International and Justice for Iran today. Criminal cover-up: Iran destroying …

March 9, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: New evidence of appalling treatment of women human rights defenders held in Shahr-e Rey prison

Two women human rights defenders jailed for defending women’s rights and opposing the death penalty are being subjected to escalating ill-treatment in Shahr-e Rey prison, a former industrial chicken farm in Varamin, a town on the outskirts of Tehran, Amnesty International revealed. The organization is calling for the women’s immediate and unconditional release. Atena Daemi …

February 26, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Dozens of women ill-treated and at risk of long jail terms for peacefully protesting compulsory veiling

A warning by Iranian police that women could be jailed for up to a decade for joining protests against compulsory veiling has put dozens at immediate risk of unjust imprisonment and represents an alarming escalation of the authorities’ violent crackdown on women’s rights, said Amnesty International. More than 35 women have been violently attacked and …

February 12, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Authorities refuse to release Canadian-Iranian academic’s body for independent autopsy in “callous cover-up”

In response to reports that the Iranian authorities have said they will refuse to release the body of the Canadian-Iranian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami to his family unless there is an immediate burial and no attempt to conduct an independent autopsy, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty international’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa said: “The authorities’ …

January 10, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Easing of deadly drugs laws may spare hundreds from gallows

Responding to news today that Iran will implement amended drugs laws and remove capital punishment for some drug trafficking offenses, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said: