UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed said Monday that human rights violations in Iran are on the rise, as he presented a report [text, PDF] to the UN General Assembly [official website]. Citing an increase in persecutions among political activists and journalists, Shaheed criticized detention conditions [Reuters report], the torture and mistreatment of detainees and the significant administration of the death penalty to people under 18 years of age [FP report]. The report also criticizes "exorbitant bail requirements" for human rights defenders and religious practitioners, as well as the detention conditions of opposition leaders and their wives. In 2011, there have been more than 200 known executions performed, while the report alleges that at least 146 executions have been conducted in secret [PTI report] for crimes such as drug dealing. The scathing report comes on the heels of Shaheed's August request for Iran to comply with a mandate to abide by International human rights obligations [JURIST report]. Shaheed recognized some Iranian progress in its cooperation and implementations of recommendations for universal periodic review and observation, but reaffirmed his observations of the increasing trend of human rights violations:
[Shaheed] stresses the urgency for greater transparency from the Iranian authorities and closer engagement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international community in strengthening human rights safeguards for its citizens. ... [He] wishes to stress the importance of freedom of expression and assembly for a democratic, open society governed by the rule of law, and encourages the Government to refrain from repressing dissent. The Special Rapporteur would also like to underscore the importance of perpetuating a culture of tolerance, and urges the Government to prevent discrimination against women, as well religious and ethnic minorities, in all spheres of public life and services, and to protect their freedoms to freely associate and express themselves.The special rapporteur requested that he be able to continue to visit Iran in order to work closely with authorities in addressing human rights abuses.
Iran has been heavily criticized for its alleged human rights abuses. Jailed Iranian journalist Isa Saharkhiz [Iran Press profile] in July urged [letter, DOC, in Persian] Shaheed to investigate prison conditions in Iran [JURIST report]. In May, rights groups decried [JURIST report] Iran's persecution of lawyers. In January, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran [official website] claimed that Iran is on an "execution binge" [JURIST report], killing one prisoner every eight hours. In January, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced [JURIST report] to 11 years in prison. Sotoudeh was found guilty [Guardian report] of "acting against national security" and "making propaganda against the system" for which she will serve five and one years, respectively. She was the lawyer for Arash Rahmanipour, who was arrested for his role in the post-election protests on charges of moharebeh, or being an enemy of God. Rahmanipour was executed [JURIST report] in January 2010. Also in January, Iranian chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi delivered a speech at Tehran University indicating that he would prosecute opposition leaders [JURIST report] for political unrest that took place after the country's 2009 presidential election [JURIST news archive].