Iranian regime 'jailed 1.7 million people' in 30 years after revolution

Iranian authorities jailed, and sometimes executed, 1.7 million people around the capital Tehran alone in the first 30 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution, a leaked document has revealed. (AFP)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Iranian regime 'jailed 1.7 million people' in 30 years after revolution

  • Confidential file registered judicial procedures contains details on some 1.7 million people
  • Reporters Without Borders said the figure also included 860 journalists

PARIS: Iranian authorities jailed, and sometimes executed, 1.7 million people around the capital Tehran alone in the first 30 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution, according to a leaked file.

The number included regime opponents, Baha’is and other religious minorities and at least 860 journalists, media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said. At least four of the journalists were executed.

The information was based on a confidential file of judicial proceedings obtained by whistleblowers, the group said on Thursday in Paris.

The file registering judicial procedures contains details on some 1.7 million people, including minors, locked up in Evin prison in the first three decades of the Islamic regime that overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

“The very existence of this file and its millions of entries show not only the scale of the Iranian regime’s mendacity for years when claiming that its jails were holding no political prisoners or journalists, but also the relentless machinations it used for 40 years to persecute men and women for their opinions or their reporting,” the rights group’s secretary general Christophe Deloire said in a statement.

Deloire added that the findings would be sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

One of the prominent journalists included in the file is Farj Sarkhohi, editor of a political magazine, who Tehran said disappeared en route to Germany in 1996.

“The regime staged a press conference at the airport at which it produced Sarkhohi and claimed he had just returned from Turkmenistan. In reality, he had just spent two months in prison,” the report said.

Another was Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, who according to a medical examiner died of her injuries after being beaten at Tehran’s Evin prison in 2003. She was accused of taking pictures of families waiting outside the facility.

Iran denied her killing, with an official report on her death failing to disclose the cause of death.

The report also includes details of more than 6,000 people who were arrested for protesting the re-election of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, all accused of “action against national security.”

Full round-up of RWB's findings can be found here.


France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

Updated 25 April 2019
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France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

  • The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning

PARIS: Eight international NGOs including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded on Thursday that France suspend the delivery of boats to Libya’s coast guard on concerns they would be used to intercept migrants.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly had in February agreed to donate six boats to the Libyan navy, under which the coast guard operates, in a move she said was aimed at helping them “in the fight against illegal immigration.”

But the offer angered rights groups who said they would be used to block migrant boats seeking to reach Europe, forcing those on board to return to war-torn Libya.

The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning.

In it, the groups demand “the suspension of the decision” until the court decides whether or not the donation is legal. The court has 48 hours to make a decision.

The NGOs believe forcing people to return to Libya would expose them to “serious human rights violations.” Massimo Moratti, regional director for research at Amnesty International, said the pledge to deliver boats to the Libyan coast guard was “an unlawful and reckless decision.”

He said it was all the more dangerous at a time when fighting has intensified after Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital Tripoli earlier this month.

“Doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” Moratti said in a statement, warning the donation would make France “complicit” in trapping people inside the country.

The NGOs accused the coast guard of having a bad track record in respecting those in distress at sea, saying it should not be given the logistical means to step up such abuses.

The statement accused the coast guard of abuses including pushing those in distress back into the water, threatening them with weapons and firing toward them.

The six vessels, which are to be delivered in the coming weeks, are 12-meter, semi-rigid boats made by French specialist Sillinger.

Besides Amnesty and MSF, the legal petition was joined by France’s Human Rights League, immigrant support group GISTI, Lawyers Without Borders, migrant aid groups La Cimade and Migreurop and Italian research and aid group ASGI.