Amnesty International censures Iran rights abuses Thu. 26 May 2005

amnestyLondon, May 26 – The London-based international human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, in its 2005 annual report, released this week, strongly criticized Iran’s theocratic regime for its continuing gross violation of human rights.

“Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve prison sentences imposed following unfair trials in previous years”, the report noted. “Scores more were arrested in 2004, many in connection with press articles or publications both in print and on the Internet which were alleged to ‘endanger national security’ or defame senior officials or religious precepts. Many of the families of those arrested also faced intimidation”, the rights groups said.

“The emerging political trend in parliament gave impetus to members of the semi-official Hezbollah, which occasionally attacked gatherings of people they believed supported opposition political movements. It also encouraged the judiciary and its security force to limit public dissent, resulting in arbitrary arrests and the detention of prisoners in secret centers. In the latter half of the year in particular, practices employed by the judiciary – including arbitrary arrest, denial of legal representation and detention in solitary confinement – were responsible for most of the human rights violations reported in the country”.

On the current European dialogue with Tehran, the human rights group said, “The ongoing Human Rights Dialogue process between the EU and Iran led to few lasting benefits. In March, the EU stated that it had seen little improvement in human rights and that violations remained widespread”.

“The death penalty continued to be handed down for charges such as ‘enmity against God’ or ‘morality crimes’ that did not reflect internationally recognizable criminal charges”, it said.

“Torture continued to be routine in many prisons”, Amnesty’s report added.