London, May 26 â€“ The London-based international human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, in its 2005 annual report, released this week, strongly criticized Iranâ€™s theocratic regime for its continuing gross violation of human rights.
â€œScores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve prison sentences imposed following unfair trials in previous yearsâ€, the report noted. â€œScores more were arrested in 2004, many in connection with press articles or publications both in print and on the Internet which were alleged to â€˜endanger national securityâ€™ or defame senior officials or religious precepts. Many of the families of those arrested also faced intimidationâ€, the rights groups said.
â€œThe 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 â€“ including arbitrary arrest, denial of legal representation and detention in solitary confinement â€“ were responsible for most of the human rights violations reported in the countryâ€.
On the current European dialogue with Tehran, the human rights group said, â€œThe 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 widespreadâ€.
â€œThe death penalty continued to be handed down for charges such as â€˜enmity against Godâ€™ or â€˜morality crimesâ€™ that did not reflect internationally recognizable criminal chargesâ€, it said.
â€œTorture continued to be routine in many prisonsâ€, Amnestyâ€™s report added.