More On Human Rights In Iran

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 26, 2011

The state of prisons in the country is absolutely awful:

Iran’s pattern of prison abuse and neglect demonstrates that the lives of prisoners of conscience are at risk, theInternational Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today, with the publication of a new report, Death in Prison: No One Held Accountable. The Campaign holds Iranian authorities at the highest levels accountable for the health and well-being of eighteen prisoners of conscience now on their sixth day of a hunger strike.

“Iranian prisons are a death trap for prisoners of conscience,” said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign. “Officials must change the culture of unchecked impunity in Iranian prisons and give all prisoners the protections they are promised under international law.”   

The Persian-language report documents the deaths of 17 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who have died while in custody in Iranian prisons since 2003, allegedly due to torture, medical neglect, and misconduct of prison authorities. (English Summary)

Six of the prisoners were detained and died after the 2009 election and the ensuing crackdown on government critics and political opponents. No one has yet been held accountable, despite the fact that in all these instances, family members or lawyers of the prisoners have alleged that authorities were responsible for the deaths due to their physical abuse of the inmate or inadequate medical attention.

In all the cases detailed in the report, Iranian officials never provided full or compelling accounts for the prisoners’ deaths. Authorities failed to launch full or independent investigations in most instances. In several cases, authorities even denied lawyers and family members access to details about the prisoner’s death, such as autopsy reports, and did not allow lawyers or family members to file grievances. In the high profile case of Canadian-Iranian journalist, Zahra Kazemi, prosecutors did bring criminal charges against alleged perpetrators, but only against low-level prison guards who were later acquitted.

See also this. In the meantime, the morality policy are back out in force in Iran. Because, of course, Iran’s most pressing priorities–despite a terrible human rights situation, a lousy economy, a dysfunctional political system, and international isolation–involve ensuring that women who have tanned skin, are fined $23.

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