International rights groups have called on the global community to take a firmer stance in its talks with Iran on respect for human rights.
In a joint statement, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights have denounced the “unacceptable treatment that imprisoned journalists and netizens receive at the hands of the Revolutionary Guards.”
The statement denounces the Iranian judiciary for its death sentences for Saeed Malekpour, a computer specialist and Canadian citizen, Vahid Asghari and Ahmadreza Hashempour, two netizens and IT students, and Mehdi Alizadeh, a website developer and humorist
The statement claims that these four netizens “are the victims of machinations by the Centre for the Surveillance of Organized Crime, an entity that was created illegally by the Revolutionary Guards in 2008. “
These prisoners have been forced to submit to videotaped confessions, in which they admit to “misleading Iranian youth through pornographic and anti-religious sites” and “receiving funds from the U.S. and Israel.”
The detainees have been kept in solitary confinement, in some cases for up to one year. According to the rights groups, the “coerced confessions” were used against them in their trails, while their lawyers were denied access to their clients’ files and even to the clients themselves.
Vahid Asghari and Saeed Malekpour have written at length to the judges regarding the pressure and torture they have been subjected to in prison.
The rights groups write: “We call on the international community to intercede directly with the Iranian authorities on behalf of these four netizens and to request the acquittal and release of all imprisoned journalists and bloggers,” adding that “the issue of respect for fundamental rights must at the same time be raised during ongoing economic and scientific discussions.”
The three international human rights groups also highlighted the plight of Iran’s opposition leaders, who have been under house arrest by Islamic Republic authorities for almost a year. The groups write that they “support the appeal that 39 political prisoners, journalists and intellectuals issued on 25 January, calling for the release of all prisoners of conscience including the leaders of the protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.”
The statement asserts that MirHosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard have been deprived of all their rights for close to year, as they’ve been held in complete isolation without any official charges brought against them.