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UN rights experts concerned over Iran's treatment of activists

[JURIST] UN human rights experts on Monday called [press release] for the immediate release of two human rights defenders in Iran after reports emerged that the two defenders had been subjected to beatings in detention.

Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee were allegedly transferred from prisons after being ill-treated. They subsequently staged hunger strikes in protest against their treatment, and on March 12, "the two defenders were reportedly beaten by riot guards following a disturbance, and then transferred to the general ward of the prison."

Atena Daemi is serving a seven-year term for her human rights work, after she criticized Iran's execution record on Twitter and Facebook. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is serving a three-year term for writing a fictional story on the stoning of women to death for adultery.

UN experts have attempted to initiate dialogue with the authorities, to no avail. The experts are calling for the immediate release of both prisoners, "as well as the release of all those who have been imprisoned for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."

The experts said Iran's actions are instilling a sense of fear and creating an environment hostile to public debate and the exercise of rights.

"Their cases are illustrative of a continuing pattern of harassment, intimidation and imprisonment of those undertaking peaceful and legitimate activities in the defense of human rights and prisoners of conscience, often through using vaguely worded or overly broad national security-related charges."

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