The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmed Shaheed [official website] on Wednesday condemned the Iranian government for the high number of executions this year and restrictions on freedom of speech. Despite having been refused entry into Iran since his appointment as special rapporteur in 2011, Shaheed's report expressed concern [UN News Centre report] over the lack of fairness displayed during trial for these victims. Iran Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham described the report and comments as unfair and politically motivated [AFP report].
Last month Shaheed hailed [JURIST report] the recent release of more than a dozen prisoners of conscience but urged the government to release hundreds of other prisoners detained "solely for exercising their rights to freedoms of expression, association and assembly." Additionally, the Iranian government had faced significant international scrutiny for its handling of the post-election protests in 2011 [JURIST news archive] and treatment of thousands arrested as a result. Amnesty International labeled human rights violations committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years [JURIST report]. Alleged human rights abuses of detainees include sexual assault, beatings and forced confessions [JURIST reports]. Many of those detained after the protests have since been freed, but more than 80 have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms and five have been sentenced to death.