Ahmad Shaheed

Ahmad Shaheed, the special UN rapporteur, has published his first report on the state of human rights in Iran.

The International Campaign on Human Rights says Shaheed’s report is divided into six categories of “persecution and prosecution of civil society activists…, the routine denial of freedom of assembly, women’s rights, the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and the skyrocketing rates of executions.”

In describing oppression of civil society activists, the report highlights the house arrest of Iranian opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi, Zahara Rahanvard and Mehdi Karroubi, and notes they have been subjected to “harassment and threats.”

The situation of other political prisoners including jailed journalists, students, artists and lawyers is also documented in the report.

The report cites the death of Hoda Saber, who was a political prisoner at Evin Prison, when describing the “rising concern” over the conditions for Iranian prisoners.

Hoda Saber died from heart complications 10 days into a hunger strike, and many prisoners have testified that he was beaten in prison seven days into his strike.

Sentences given to filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof as well as the prison sentence issued in absentia for singer Mohsen Namjoo have been documented as examples of the persecution of artists.

In the section of the report dealing with human rights violations against detained lawyers, the names Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mohammad Seifzadeh are mentioned.

The report indicates that environmental activists and protesters demanding government action to stop the drying of Lake Oroumiyeh have been arrested and subjected to “torture as well as inhumane and contemptuous treatment.”

The report criticizes the lack of freedom of assembly and also cites the oppression of women’s rights activists.

The report also voices concern for the situation of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, referring to “Arabs, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis, Kurds, Nematollahi Dervishes, Sunnis, Baha’is and Christian communities.”

The rising number of executions is also mentioned as cause for concern. In Iran, crimes such as murder, drug dealing, rape, kidnapping and armed robbery carry the death sentence, and in recent months many prisoners have been sentenced to death for drug-related charges.

Shaheed has expressed hope that Iranian authorities will allow him into the country to corroborate the cases included in his first report.

Iran has denied all allegations of human rights violations and refuses to let Shaheed enter the country.