Protecting Human Rights in a Hostile Environment

By Dr Gill Gillespie, UK Director:

As Amnesty International Publishes its Annual Report for 2012 on Iran, the Iranian Refugees Action Network continues to note that more than 250 Iranian refugees are still fleeing from Iran every month.  These are not just political opposition, but journalists, religious minorities, human rights activists and women’s activists.  In addition, as Amnesty notes in its report, religious minorities and even those who defend other political prisoners, such as lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh and Houtan Kian, continue to be subject not only to heavy prison sentences, but also torture, ‘forced confessions’ and the withholding of vital medical treatment.

Often, after torture and forced confessions, political prisoners such as four Ahwazi Arabs recently, are then sentenced to death and executed on the basis of what has been extracted from them under such torture.  Many political prisoners, in desperation, go on hunger strike, because they believe it is the only way for the world to hear their voices.  Often, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter take up their causes in order to further publicise them, in the knowledge that the Iranian regime dislikes attention being drawn to the atrocities they commit.  Despite, however, the European Parliament recently condemning the sentencing to death of political prisoners such as Ahwazi Arabs, the Iran regime continues to administer public hangings, executions, floggings, discrimination, cruel and inhumane treatment.

Amnesty International’s report, and other evidence which has been used to compile it, as well as continuing cases inside and outside Iran, are strong evidence of the need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its human rights atrocities, now, and in the future.

The Distressing Plight of Ahwazi Arabs in Iran – Information and Action

By Dr Gill Gillespie – UK Director

The Iranian Refugees Action Network is very involved in assisting Ahwazi Arab refugees when they are forced to leave Iran due to the persecution they receive there.  We therefore fully endorse the recent action and endorsement of the need to bring a case on their behalf before the UK Government (an EDM, or Early Day Motion), as well as their inclusion in a debate this week in the EU focussed on the persecution of religious and political minorities in Iran.

An organisation working very hard on their behalf, and bringing together human rights activists worldwide, is the Ahwazi Arab Solidarity Network, who have also posted the EU speeches this week on their website.  The Iranian Refugees Action Network urges everyone to view these here.

In addition, we are pleased to note that Amnesty International have issued an article condemning the forthcoming plans of the Iranian regime to execute five Ahwazi Arab political prisoners:

“The Iranian authorities must immediately overturn the death sentences of five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority who were tried unfairly and may face imminent public execution, Amnesty International said after the prisoners were moved to an unknown location at the weekend.
The men were transferred out of the general section of Karoun Prison in the south-western city of Ahvaz on Saturday, prompting concerns their death sentences may be about to be carried out.
The group includes three brothers, Abd al-Rahman Heidari, Taha Heidari and Jamshid Heidari, their cousin Mansour Heidari and Amir Muawi.”

(Amnesty International 11 June 2012)

In the meantime, we have been asked what, if anything, can be done to assist these prisoners and refugees.  The AASN have produced a letter, for anyone residing in the UK, to send to their local MP’s, to support the Early Day Motion in Parliament.  Please, if you can, copy, paste, sign, send and share to help: Letter for MP’s.