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.


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.