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Friday, July 20, 2012

Document - Iran: Further information: Five Ahwazi Arab Iranians to be executed

Further information on UA: 137/12 Index: MDE 13/049/2012 Iran Date: 19 July 2012 UA: XXXXXXXXXX Index: XXXXXXXXX Iran Date: 17 May 2012
five ahwazi arab Iranians to be executed
Five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority have been sentenced to death and may be at risk of imminent execution. They were reportedly tortured. A sixth Ahwazi Arab man was sentenced to 20 years in prison. All were arrested in connection with their activities on behalf of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority and are believed to have been tried unfairly.
On 7 July 2012, Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka, and teachers Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) and Rahman Asakereh were sentenced by Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court after conviction of charges including the vaguely-worded offences of “enmity against God and corruption on earth" (moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz), “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Five received death sentences, except Rahman Asakereh who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be served in internal exile. Two of the men were shown on a government television channel before the trial “confessing” to the allegations. The men are currently held in Karoun prison in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, and are believed to have been denied access to their lawyers and families. All six were arrested at their homes in February and March 2011.
According to his family, Mohammad Ali Amouri was tortured or otherwise ill-treated during his first seven months in detention. Hadi Rashidi was hospitalized after his arrest, apparently as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, and is said to be in poor health. Family members have said that Sayed Jaber Alboshoka appears to have lost 10 kg and that Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka has experienced depression and memory loss as a result of torture or other ill-treatment. Hashem Sha’bani Amouri is said to have had boiling water poured on him.
Please write immediately in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:
Calling on the Iranian authorities not to execute the five men sentenced to death (please name them), to overturn or commute all death sentences or to grant re-trials in proceedings which comply with fair trial standards, and without recourse to the death penalty ;
Expressing concern that the six men (please name them) did not receive a fair trial, and urging the authorities to investigate the allegations that they were tortured and to bring to justice anyone found responsible for abuses and to disregard as evidence in court “confessions” that may have been coerced.
Calling on the authorities to make sure the men are protected from torture and other ill-treatment; are granted all necessary medical treatment; and are allowed immediate and regular contact with their lawyers and families.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei�The Office of the Supreme Leader�Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid�Keshvar Doust Street, �Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran�Email: �Twitter: "#Iran Leader
@khamenei_ir must ensure 5 Ahwazi Arab men are not executed”
Salutation: Your Excellency
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
[Care of] Public Relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency�
And copies to:
Secretary General High Council for Human Rights
Mohammed Javad Larijani�c/o Office of the Head of the Judicary�Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri�Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran �Email: �(Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)�
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 137/12. Further information:
five ahwazi arab Iranians to be executed

ADditional Information

All six were arrested in advance of the sixth anniversary of widespread protests by Ahwazi Arabs in April 2005. Mohammad Ali Amouri was arrested 20 days after his forcible return from Iraq. He had fled from Iran to Iraq in December 2007: he was said to have been sought by the authorities for organizing protests during the widespread anti-government demonstrations in April 2005. He was arrested in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, charged with entering Iraqi territory illegally and sentenced to serve one year’s imprisonment in al-‘Amara prison. He completed his prison sentence (see UA 3/09, 7 January 2009, and was forcibly returned to Iran in January 2011.
Hashem Sha’bani Amouri and Hadi Rashidi were featured in a programme aired by Iran’s state-controlled English-language TV station, Press TV, on 13 December 2011, in which they appeared to “confess” to the allegations against them. International fair trial standards guarantee the right not to be forced to incriminate oneself or to confess guilt. Both men were reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention. Iranian courts frequently accept “confessions” extracted under duress as evidence.
Another Ahwazi Arab man, Taha Heidarian, was shown in the same programme making a “confession” in connection with the killing of a law enforcement official in April 2011 amidst widespread protests in Khuzestan. On or around 19 June 2012, he and three other Ahwazi Arab men were executed in Karoun Prison, according to activists close to the family, after apparently being convicted by a Revolutionary Court of “enmity against God and corruption on earth" in connection with the killing.
The Ahwazi Arab minority are one of many minorities in Iran. Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the south-western province of Khuzestan. Most are Shi’a Muslims but some are reported to have converted to Sunni Islam, heightening government suspicion about Ahwazi Arabs. They often complain they are marginalized and subject to discrimination in access to education, employment, adequate housing, political participation and cultural rights.
There were mass demonstrations in Khuzestan province in April 2005, after it was alleged the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to take other measures to weaken their Arab identity. Following a series of bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in 2005, which killed at least 14 people, the cycle of violence intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arbitrary arrests. At least 15 men were later executed as a result of their alleged involvement in the bombings.
Hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab minority were reportedly arrested before, during and after demonstrations on 15 April 2011. The demonstrations had been called a “Day of Rage” to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2005 mass demonstrations. At least four Ahwazi Arab men reportedly died in custody between 23 March and mid May 2011, possibly as a result of torture or other ill-treatment. Others – including Hadi Rashidi - were hospitalized around the same time, apparently as a result of injuries sustained from torture or other ill-treatment.
Between 10 January 2012 and the beginning of February, in the lead-up to parliamentary elections held on 2 March, between 50 and 65 people were reportedly arrested in at least three separate locations in the province; at least two deaths in custody were also reported. In the immediate lead-up to the 15 April anniversary, from late March until mid-April 2012, at least 25 Ahwazi Arabs were reportedly arrested following protests in cities across the province.
Name: Mohammad Ali Amouri, Rahman Asakereh, Hadi Rashidi, Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka
Gender m/f: all m
UA: 137/12 Index: MDE 13/049/2012 Issue Date: 19 July 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Iran steps up crackdown against its Arab minority

Iran has stepped up its crackdown against its Arab minority with mass arrests of activists and death sentences passed in closed-door courts.
At least five Arab prisoners who are currently kept at Karoun prison in the southern city of Ahwaz are at imminent risk of execution, activists have warned.
The men, Hadi Rashedi, 38, Hashem Shabani, 32, and Mohammad-Ali Amouri, 34, and two brothers Seyed Mokhtar Alboshokeh, 25, and Seyed Jaber Alboshokeh, 27, have been sentenced to death following trials described by activists as grossly unfair.
According to Human Rights Watch, the five were arrested by security forces in February 2011.
They have all been found guilty of being linked to a terrorist organisation and involvement in shootings that authorities say occurred in and around the town of Ramshir (also known as Khalafabad) in Khuzestan province.
"The judiciary has put forth no public evidence suggesting that these men should spend one more day in prison, let alone hang from the gallows," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The lack of transparency surrounding these men's convictions and sentences is just one more reason why these execution orders should be quashed."
Ahwazi Arabs in Iran often face state discrimination in spheres including education, employment politics and culture. In recent years, many members of the community have taken to the streets to protest at the discrimination against them. Groups advocating a separate Arab state have also been demonstrating, but not all protesters have been separatists.
In June, three members of Iran's Ahwazi Arab minority, Abd al-Rahman Heidarian, Taha Heidarian and Jamshid Heidarian, were executed in connection with killing of a law enforcement official. The activists said the charges might have been trumped up and politically motivated because of the secrecy surrounding their trials and the fact that they have had poor legal representation.
Several other Arab activists have also been arrested in recent years and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, including Rahman Asakereh, 34, who has been sentenced to 20 years and Esmaeel Abiat, 29, who has received five years in jail. Ali Badri, 31, has got 6 years, and Shahid Amouri, 42, one year, according to Human Rights Watch.
"The source told Human Rights Watch that the nine men are among at least a dozen Iranian-Arab activists from Khalafabad arrested by security forces since February 2011," the HRW said. "Authorities have since released several others on bail, but Human Rights Watch has no specific information regarding the status of their cases."
In the face of recent crackdowns, Justice for Iran, a non-profit human rights organisation, has called on the European Union to impose sanction on Iranian officials involved in the persecution of the country's Arab minority.
The group has accused Morteza Kiasati and Seyed Mohamad Bagher Moussavi of Ahwaz's revolutionary court of being responsible for the persecutions against the minority. Justice for Iran also pointed its finger that Iran's state-run English language television, Press TV, for broadcasting the "force false confessions" of the men on television.
"January and February 2012 saw the start of a wave of arrests of Arab activists in Iran," said Justice for Iran. "In the city of Shush alone, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence arrested over 30 people who were actively supporting and advertising the boycotting of the March 2012 parliamentary elections."
It added: "Shortly after these arrests, which resulted in the detention of over 60 people in the province of Khuzestan, sources close to the families of some of the detainees reported that at least two of the protesters were killed under torture while in custody at the detention centres."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Iran: Halt Execution of Arab Activists

 Five Men Sentenced to Death Following Closed Trials
 (New York) – Iran’s judiciary should immediately quash execution orders against five activists from Iran’s ethnic Arab minority and allow the men’s lawyers and family members to visit them in detention. Human Rights Watch expressed grave concern for the safety of these and other Iranian-Arab detainees following reports on June 17, 2012 that authorities had executed four Arab men charged with terrorism-related activities.
Hadi Rashedi, 38, Hashem Shaabani(nejad), 32, and Mohammad-Ali Amouri(nejad), 34, are at imminent risk of execution, a close family friend of the men told Human Rights Watch. A revolutionary court convicted the men behind closed doors of terrorism-related charges that carry the death penalty for their alleged membership in an armed Arab separatist group and participation in armed activities. The judiciary has also issued death sentences for two Iranian-Arab brothers – Seyed Mokhtar, 25, and Seyed Jaber Alboshokeh, 27 – who were arrested around the same time. Due to the information blackout and secrecy surrounding security trials in Iran’s majority-Arab Khuzestan province where all of these men live, there is little information available about the evidence used against the men except for televised confessions.
“The judiciary has put forth no public evidence suggesting that these men should spend one more day in prison, let alone hang from the gallows,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The lack of transparency surrounding these men’s convictions and sentences is just one more reason why these execution orders should be quashed.”
Security forces arrested the five men sentenced to death in February 2011 in connection with their alleged membership in a terrorist organization and involvement in shootings that authorities say occurred in and around the town of Ramshir (also known as Khalafabad) in Khuzestan province.
The family friend told Human Rights Watch that the same court recently sentenced four other men from the same town to prison following what seem to be politically motivated charges. The men are Rahman Asakereh, 34, sentenced to 20 years; Esmaeel Abiat, 29, to 5 years; Ali Badri, 31, to 6 years, and Shahid Amouri, 42, to one year. Except for Abiat, all of the men sentenced in the case are currently residents of Khalafabad, a small town 120 kilometers southeast of Ahvaz. Most are well-known educators or cultural activists, and a few, including Asakereh and Amouri, had previously been targeted by authorities for their political activities and ties to reformist parties during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency.
The source told Human Rights Watch that the nine men are among at least a dozen Iranian-Arab activists from Khalafabad arrested by security forces since February 2011. Authorities have since released several others on bail, but Human Rights Watch has no specific information regarding the status of their cases.
According to some Iranian-Arab rights groups, authorities arrested the twelve or so Arab men from Khalafabad in anticipation of planned demonstrations on April, 15 2011, which commemorated the six-year anniversary of protests by the province’s ethnic Arab majority who have long complained about the lack of socioeconomic development in the region. Khuzestan’s Arab residents also accuse the Iranian government of systematically discriminating against them, particularly in employment, housing, and civil and political rights.
In April 2011, Human Rights Watch documented the use of live ammunition by security forces against protesters in cities throughout Khuzestan province, killing dozens and wounding many more. No Iranian officials have been investigated in connection with these killings.
The source told Human Rights Watch that Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz, headed by Judge Seyed Mohammad-Bagher Mousavi, issued the five death sentences. He said that the authorities informed the men’s lawyers and family members of the execution orders after Iran’s Supreme Court apparently affirmed the sentences, but did not know exactly when the trial court had originally issued its rulings.
Human Rights Watch has not been able to obtain a copy of either the execution orders or the convictions against the men, nor can it independently verify that Iran’s Supreme Court has affirmed the lower court’s ruling. But Iranian-Arab rights groups report that the revolutionary court convicted the men of terrorism-related charges including moharebeh (“enmity against God”) and efsad-e fel arz (“sowing corruption on earth”), for which the penalty is death. Under articles 186 and 190-91 of Iran’s penal code, anyone found responsible for taking up arms against the state, or belonging to an organization taking up arms against the government, may be considered guilty of “enmity against God”and sentenced to death.
On December 13, 2011, Press TV, a government English-language station, aired a documentary featuring Rashedi, Shaabani, and another Arab man, Taha Heidarian, who has since been reported to have been executed. In the documentary, Rashedi and Shaabani appear to confess to being part of an armed Arab terrorist group called the Al-Moqawama al-Shaabiya (“People’s Movement”), which was responsible for shooting at four government employees, a few of whom are named in the program. The program said the terrorist group is supported by the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as foreign-based Iranian Arabs who fronted as human rights activists.
The Press TV program did not provide any additional information regarding the date of the alleged attack or whether anyone was injured. The informed source told Human Rights Watch that he is not aware of any terrorist shootings that have taken place in Khalafabad in the past couple of years, and that the individuals named during the program as victims of the armed attack are alive and well.
Iranian-Arab rights groups maintain that the confessions by Rashedi and Shaabani were coerced under duress and torture during their detention at a local Intelligence Ministry facility, and that they denied the charges against them in court. The informed source told Human Rights Watch that Rashedi has injuries in his pelvic area as a result of torture. In May, Al Arabiya reported that intelligence ministry agents forced Shaabani to confess to crimes he had not committed by pouring boiling water on him.
Since May 2011, authorities have executed at least 11 Iranian-Arab men and a 16-year-old boy in Karun prison for their alleged links to groups involved in attacking security forces, Human Rights Watch said. Rights activists previously told Human Rights Watch that at least another six people have been tortured to death in the custody of security and intelligence forces in connection with anti-government demonstrations that swept across Khuzestan province in April 2011 and 2012.
Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases in which Iranian security forces used physical and psychological coercion including torture to secure false confessions in security-related cases, and courts have convicted defendants on terrorism-related charges in trials in which prosecutors relied primarily, if not solely, on confessions and failed to provide any convincing evidence establishing the defendant’s guilt.
“No terrorism trial in Iran will have credibility as long as the government’s primary evidence is televised confessions and the proceedings are masked in secrecy,” Whitson said. “Death penalty verdicts produced at breakneck speed without a modicum of due process protections for the accused invites nothing but skepticism about the merits of the government’s case.”
Human Rights Watch has previously expressed its serious concern regarding the condition of Rashedi, Shaabani and other Iranian Arab activists detained by security and intelligence forces, and is particularly worried about their fate in light of reports regarding the execution of Taha Heidarian and three other Arab men in June for their alleged role in the killing of a police officer. On June 9 officials in Ahvaz’s Karun prison transferred brothers Taha, Abbas, and Abdul-Rahman Heidarian, as well as another man, to an unknown location. About a week later authorities informed the men’s family members that they had been executed.
Several days after reports surfaced regarding the men’s executions, Iranian-Arab rights groups circulated a video purporting to show the men reading a plea to save their lives to Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the newly appointed United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, after their arrest by security forces. Human Rights Watch has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because of its irreversible, cruel, and inhumane nature.
“What we are witnessing today in Iran’s Khuzestan province is state-sanctioned killing that, by many accounts, is aimed at silencing voices that are critical of the government’s policies in the region,” Whitson said.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Defected Syrian envoy raises suspicion

Nawaf Fares, the first Syrian ambassador to defect to the
opposition, was widely seen as a regime hardliner and his decision to break ranks has triggered suspicion among activists.
Some dissidents say Fares has been likely groomed by the West to play a role in a transitional government while others have spoken about his "criminal" past.
Fares, who has served as governor in several Syrian provinces and has held senior security and Baath Party posts, hails from the prominent Oqaydat Sunni tribe in eastern Syria, which also has members in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
A former policeman, Fares had close ties to the dreaded intelligence services before becoming governor and later Syria's first ambassador to Iraq following a 30-year rupture in ties between the two neighbors.
He announced his defection on Wednesday, as the regime battles a growing rebellion that has claimed, according to monitors, more than 17,000 lives since it erupted in mid-March 2011.
"I announce my defection from my post as representative of the Arab Syrian Republic in Iraq and my withdrawal from the ranks of the [ruling] Baath Party," Fares said in a message aired on Al-Jazeera satellite channel.
"I call on all free and worthy people in Syria, particularly in the military, to immediately rejoin the ranks of the revolution," said Fares, a grey-haired man who sports a bushy moustache and wears glasses.
"Turn your cannons and your tanks towards the criminals in the regime who are killing the people," he added.
On Thursday the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Fares has been "discharged" and "needs to be legally prosecuted and subjected to disciplinary action" due to his remarks which contradict his duty.
Fares, the first ambassador to break ranks with the regime, announced his defection only days after Manaf Tlass, a top general with close ties to President Bashar al-Assad, deserted.
Fares hails from the city of Abu Kamal in the eastern province of Deir az-Zour, near the border with Iraq. He holds a degree in law and graduated from the Deir Ezzor police academy.
He began his career as head of political security in the coastal province of Latakia (1990-1994) before heading the ruling Baath party in Deir az-Zour until 1998 when he served as governor of Latakia for two years.
For the next two years he was governor of the northeastern province of Edleb, where anti-regime sentiment is now strong, and from 2000 he served eight years as the governor of Quneitra, capital the Golan Heights most of which is annexed by Israel.
On September 16, 2008, Assad appointed Fares as Syria's first ambassador to Iraq in 30 years—a clear show of trust in the new envoy.
His new mission was delicate and centered on healing ties between the two neighbors, particularly as Iraq was accusing Syria of allowing Islamist fighters to cross the border to carry suicide attacks in the country.
On Wednesday, Fares, who is now believed to have sought refuge in Qatar, a vocal critic of Assad's government, turned on the regime.
His change of heart however has failed to persuade opponents of the regime and activists.
"I know this man is a criminal," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which has tallied the death toll from 16 months of violence at more than 17,000 people.
"It's quite similar to the Manaf Tlass story. If the ambassador defects, he does it because he is greedy for power because Western intelligence agencies are looking for figures who can fit into a transitional phase," Abdel Rahman said.
An activist in the central Syrian city of Hama, who identified himself as Abu Ghazi, shares this view. "People are very wary of the reasons he has defected," he said.
"This defection could be part of a scenario at a time when Russia is starting to slightly shift in its position, and while the international community and the regime are searching for ways to establish a transitional government," Abu Ghazi added.
"We want to live in a democracy, in a state of law and you can't build that with people who have so much blood on their hands and who have been complicit for so long with the regime."
Not so, say supporters of Fares on the website of his Oqaydat tribe.
"He excelled in all his public duties... He honored his tribe and has become a symbol for Deir az-Zour thanks to his modesty and the love he has for people," wrote one supporter.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

IRAN: ‘Unfair’ death penalty trials bring growing concern to UN Special Rapporteurs

Karoun Prison in Ahwaz, Iran(WNN) UN GENEVA, Switzerland: Three United Nations Special Rapporteurs* on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, Christof Heyns and Juan E. Méndez condemned the recent execution of four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority in Ahwaz’s Karoun Prison in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They were sentenced to death and executed on or around 19 June, 2012 following a what advocates have called an “unfair trail.”
“Given the lack of transparency in court proceedings, major concerns remain about due process and fairness of trials in cases involving the death penalty in Iran,” said the independent human rights experts, recalling the execution of Abdul Rahman Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, Taha Heidarian and Ali Sharif. The four men, three of whom are brothers, were reportedly arrested in April 2011 during a protest in Khuzestan and convicted of Moharebeh (enmity against God) and Fasad-fil Arz (corruption on earth).
“Under international law, the death penalty is the most extreme form of punishment, which, if it is used at all, should be imposed only for the most serious crimes,” they said. “Defendants in death penalty cases should also receive fair trial guarantees stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Iran in 1975.”
“Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of those international obligations is tantamount to an arbitrary execution,” the three UN Special Rapporteurs stressed.
Persecution and selective discrimination of Ahwaz Arabs has been occurring for decades in the region. A more recent outline of discrimination against Ahwaz women in Iran was outlined in detail during a United Nations Human Rights Council Forum on Minority Issues by human rights advocate Jamileh Sharhani, herself an Ahwaz Arab minority from Southwestern Iran, last November in Geneva.
“Ahwazi Arabs constitute an indigenous, ethnic, national and linguistic minority in Iran,” said Sharhani in a statement outlining needs for . “Historically this indigenous Arab community, women and men alike, have been marginalized, excluded and discriminated against by successive governments in Iran,” she continued.
According to human rights advocates, it is estimated that 10 percent of all Iranians are Ahwazi Arab today, which equals approximately 8-10 million Iranians.
“Our right to education in our mother language, Arabic, has been denied,” outlined Sharhani. “We have no access to Iran’s justice system as we do not speck the language and are not allowed to take [an] Arabic translator to court,” she continued highlighting the need for adequate representation under Iranian law for all Ahwazi.
Rights experts have also recently noted with concern that a high numbers of executions continue to be carried out in public, despite a circular issued in January 2008 by the Iranian Chief Justice that banned public executions. At least 25 executions have been carried out in public this year.
“Executions in public add to the already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty and can only have a dehumanizing effect on the victim and a brutalizing effect on those who witness the execution,” underscored independent experts.
The Special Rapporteurs have concern that the authorities continue to apply the death penalty with alarming frequency, despite numerous calls to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to establish a moratorium on executions. At least 140 executions are known to have been carried out since the beginning of 2012, with some sources indicating the figure to be as high as 220. The majority of these are for drug-related offenses, which the experts do not believe constitute the “most serious crimes” as required by international law.
The UN independent experts urged the Iranian authorities “to halt immediately the imposition of the death penalty for crimes which do not constitute the most serious crimes, as well as ensure stringent respect for fair trial guarantees.”
SPECIAL NOTE: *The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is Ahmed Shaheed; the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is Christof Heyns; and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is Juan E. Méndez.
(This breaking news has been issued in part by the Iranian Human Rights League – FIDH and OHCHR – UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.)

Continued Imprisonment of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and Repression of Minorities in Iran

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal We note that July 8 marked 1,000 days Christian pastor
Youcef Nadarkhani has spent in an Iranian prison. Pastor Nadarkhani still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith, and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately.
Unfortunately, Pastor Nadarkhani is not alone in his suffering. The Iranian regime continues to deny and abuse the human rights of its citizens, in particular those of its many ethnic and religious minorities. We are troubled by reports of the execution of four members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab community, whose sentences were carried out with little due process. In March 2012, Iranian state media broadcast the forced confession of one of those executed.
We are also concerned by credible reports that prominent author Mohammad Soleimani Nia is missing following his release in May after five months in prison on unspecified charges.
We call upon Iranian authorities to respect and protect the freedoms and dignity of all its citizens, and to uphold its own laws and international obligations which guarantee such rights to all Iranians, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.