Imprisoned women HRD Atena Daemi faces new charges

Association

Amnesty International has strongly condemned the Iranian authorities’ treatment of human rights defenders in a new report released on 2nd August 2017. The report entitled Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack” documents the scores of cases of human rights defenders who have been targeted since President Hassan Rouhani was first elected in 2013. According to the report, under Rouhani’s administration, the authorities have used vague national security legislation to target and imprison human rights defenders.

Human rights defender Atena Daemi whose case was previously covered on the Monitor has reportedly had a new charge brought against her and has been denied medical treatment. According to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, on 26th July 2017 the Evin Court in Tehran formally charged Daemi with “insulting officials” and “disturbing public order”.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran has expressed concern over the situation of 53 political prisoners in Iran who are on hunger strike to protest their transfer to a high security prison. In a statement released on 31st August 2017, the Rapporteur said: 

“I am deeply alarmed by reports about the deteriorating medical conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike, and that their torture and ill-treatment have continued since their transfer”.

Expression

Iranian authorities continue to violate freedom of expression and target journalists. In recent weeks two journalists have been arrested; one has been sentenced to three years imprisonment. In addition, BBC journalism staff have had their assets frozen.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), on 11th August 2017 Sasan Aghai, deputy editor of the daily newspaper Etemad, was arrested at the paper’s office. GCHR reports that he was ordered to remain in detention for a month and that his first two weeks of detention were in solitary confinement. His family was denied visiting rights, despite having a permit to do so.

On 21st August 2017, Yaghma Fashkhami, a journalist with the Dideban news website was arrested, also at his office. According to RSF, no information has been given as to the reasons for the arrest of either journalist. In addition, on 12th August 2017 Alieh Motalebzadeh, a photojournalist and women’s rights activist, was sentenced to three years imprisonment on a charge of “activity against national security”.

According to a statement from the BBC released on 15th August 2017, a court in Tehran issued an order freezing the assets of BBC staff, former staff and some contributors, without giving any reason for the order. The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the actions of the Iranian authorities against BBC, stating that:

“Iranian authorities should stop punishing the BBC Persian service's journalists for their independent reporting”.

According to Radio Free Europe, the appointment of Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi to lead Iran’s communications ministry in recent weeks has provoked concerns among civil society and human rights organisations. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was allegedly involved in the interrogation of dissidents and protesters during Iran’s 2009 crackdown against mass protests. 

Peaceful Assembly

According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a number of protesters were arrested on 24th Jul 2017. The protesters had gathered to mark the anniversary of the death of poet Ahmad Shamlu. The protest was dispersed by police and security officers, who also prevented them from gathering around the poet’s grave.