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.