[JURIST] A UN official on Thursday released a report indicating that the government of Iran is torturing human rights activists and threatening the activists’ families with rape or death. In a report to the UN General Assembly [official website] UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed declared that human rights activists in Iran are being subjected to beatings [Reuters report], mock hangings, sleep deprivation and threats that their family members will be killed or raped. Protests in Iran have become more frequent recently due to the nation’s currency decreasing in value allegedly because of sanctions and mismanagement. In the report, Shaheed also noted that Iran has cracked down on freedom of the press [International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran report] by detaining and constantly watching journalists. This report was the third issued by Shaheed on the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.
Iran’s human rights record has come under international scrutiny recently. On Friday the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged Iran [JURIST report] to halt all executions because the government has failed to provide the accused with fair trials and due process of law. In June three UN Special Rapporteurs condemned [JURIST report] Iran for executing four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority without providing them fair trials. The three UN Special Rapporteurs further stated that there is no transparency to Iranian court proceedings and that the death penalty should be reserved for only the most serious of crimes. In November the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] about the protection of individuals’ rights in Iran, including the frequency of the use of the death penalty. In January 2011, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran claimed that Iran is on an “execution binge” [JURIST report], killing one prisoner every eight hours. In January 2010 Amnesty International [advocacy website] condemned [JURIST report] Iran for executing 11 individuals on charges of mohareb, or being enemies of God, after appearing in televised show trials for their roles in post-election protests in 2009 .