February 17, 2006 (Stop Fundamentalism) – On February 16, Amnesty International released a new report about Iran under the new government of Ahmadinejad. In this report Amnesty expresses concerns that the standoff between Iran and the West may distract attention from this countryâ€™s human rights abuse record.
"The Iranian government should take concrete steps to improve the human rights situation in the country," said Amnesty International. "The current standoff regarding the country’s nuclear program must not distract the government or the international community from addressing the country’s long-standing human rights problems."
â€Harassment, intimidation, attacks, detention, imprisonment and torture of activists and journalists has continued under the new government.â€
Before the referral of Iranâ€™s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council, government jail officials warned families of political prisoners that their loved ones will be executed if and when the file was sent to the Security Council. Iranian mullahs say that the whistle on their nuclear activities was blown by the Iranian opposition so they should take revenge by executing political prisoners.
Last week a longtime political prisoner, Hojjat Zamani, disappeared from a government jail. After a few days the families of Mr. Zamani were told that he had been executed. Jail officials, after one week, still refuse to return his body to the family.
Similar reports of intimidations are following in from other prisoners whom their families fear for their lives now.
Amnesty report also expressed deep concerns about the status of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. â€œIranian legislation severely restricts freedom of expression and association and human rights activists often face reprisals for their work.â€ Amnesty report says adding,â€Harassment, intimidation, attacks, detention, imprisonment and torture of activists and journalists has continued under the new government.â€
According to â€œReporters without Bordersâ€ Ms. Elham Afrootan, 19, a young journalist is currently in a coma after a suspicious attempt to commit suicide in a prison. Ms. Afrootan was arrested after her publication, Tamaddon Hormozgan, published an article claiming that the HIV virus found its way into Iran at the same time Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, entered the country in 1979.
Amnestyâ€™s report continues to ask the authorities in Iran to â€œdemonstrate their respect for the inherent right to life by ordering a moratorium on executionsâ€ and invites this government to take â€œconcrete measures to ensure that the fundamental human rights of all persons in Iran are protected irrespective of their gender, ethnicity and faith."