Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Human Rights Watch denounces Iran for using security laws to suppress dissent

In announcing the release of a report on the Iranian government’s crackdown on civil society, Human Rights Watch said Monday that Tehran is “relying on its broadly worded ‘security laws’ to suppress virtually and public expression of dissent.”

The government “uses these laws to subject those arrested to prolonged incommunicado detention without charge, solitary confinement, and denial of access to counsel,” HRW said.

According to the article, the report, “‘You Can Detain Anyone for Anything’: Iran's Broadening Clampdown on Independent Activism,” “documents the expansion in scope and number of the individuals and activities persecuted by the Iranian government over the last two years.”


“Dozens of Iranian laws provide the government cover for suppressing any peaceful activity they perceive as critical of their policies,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities can trample over people’s basic rights and still claim to be acting legally.”


“Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in August 2005, government officials have increasingly used ‘security’ as grounds for persecuting independent activism,” HRW said.  “A set of laws within Iran’s Islamic Penal Code entitled ‘Offenses Against the National and International Security of the Country’ lay the groundwork for the government to suppress peaceful political activity and deny due process rights to those arrested.”


The press release added: “Iran’s vague security laws allow the government to arbitrarily suppress and punish individuals for peaceful political expression, association, and assembly, in breach of international human rights treaties to which Iran is party. Prison units such as Evin 209 and the treatment of detainees inside its walls are also in violation of Iranian laws governing the operation of detention centers and the rights of detainees.”


For the HRW press release and to access the full report, click here.


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