Nabz News Review - October 20, 2014

2014/10/21
Theme: 

This week in human rights in Iran

Prisoners' Rights

Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amooe, who was sentenced to five years and four months for acting against national security, was released from Evin prison on October 4. Jila Bani Yaghoub, his wife and a former imprisoned journalist told the BBC that he was held for an extra two and half days before his release. Ahmadi was arrested after he wrote news articles criticizing the Ahmadinejad administration after the 2009 elections.

The news that Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi was simply informed of his death sentence orally while in his prison cell and not during a formal court hearing, continues to draw considerable news coverage. The Ayatollah’s views about the separation of religion and state are not in line with those of the ruling clerics in Iran, and he has been in prison since the 1990’s. On October 5, Iranian diaspora news outlets reported that he was moved from his prison cell in Evin Prison to an unknown location and according to his relatives he was tortured. His family was told that he will remain in isolation until his execution.

Last month, and during the visit of Hassan Rouhani to the UN, another Iranian prisoner of conscience, Amir Aslani, was executed after nine years in prison.

Children’s Rights

The topic of punishment at school once more made headlines in Iran after a schoolmaster in the southern city of Bandar Abbas announced that he punished all the students of a class after they did not cooperate with him to identify noisy classmates. According to Iranian law, punishment is illegal at schools; however, there are currently no strong enforcement mechanisms to ensure that school officials do not use violence against students. Parents also tend to not be well informed about these regulations, though legally it is a violation of children’s rights. According to experts, to address the issue of violence against children in Iran will require both a cultural shift and legal support.

Nabz-Iran released a new cartoon on children’s rights in Iran and asks users to think about how we can better provide for our children. According to the latest figures, more than 22% of children in Iran are not registered at schools.

Children's Rights

Journalists' Rights

On October 7, a group of students brought notes to a ceremony where President Hassan Rouhani was giving a speech to mark the start of a new new academic year. Questions posed in the notes addressed a varity of issues, including one that read, “Mr. President, don’t we have journalists in prison?” This question was in response to comment the president made regarding prisoner journalists in Iran during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

On October 12, Mohammad Nourizad, an Iranian journalist who openly criticizes the supreme leader was arrested but released the following day. According to report, Nourizad was beaten while in custody.

Religious Freedom

During an interview with Saham News on October 7, Bishop Behrouz Sadegh Khanjani said that despite all promises, the situation of religious minorities, especially Christians, has not improved during Rouhani’s administration. He believes that the Islamic Republic does not have the political or cultural will to show tolerance toward minorities, particularly new converts, as they continue to be arrested and convicted on vague charges like Moharebeh, acting against national security or corruption on Earth.

International

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, published the Persian translation of his latest report on the situation of human rights in Iran. On October 9, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran’s judiciary human rights council, called Ahmad Shaheed's mission in Iran illegal and unnecessary. Larijani argues that there are still countries in the region where people lose their lives to vote, but no one looks into the human rights situations in those countries because of their close relationships with the US and its allies. Larijani claims that Iran is the greatest democracy in the region and believes that a special rapporteur is unnecessary.