Amnesty calls on Iran to release peaceful protesters after mass arrests

Protests over the tough economic situation in Iran began last December, spreading to more than 80 cities and towns and resulting in at least 25 deaths. (Getty Images)
Updated 08 August 2018
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Amnesty calls on Iran to release peaceful protesters after mass arrests

  • Amnesty urged the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of dozens of detainees whose families have not heard from them since their arrests
  • The world’s leading human-rights organization also urged the authorities to conduct an investigation into the killing of a protester in Karaj

LONDON: Amnesty International has called on Tehran to release peaceful protesters following a wave of arrests over demonstrations against Iran’s dire economic conditions and its foreign military interventions.

The world’s leading human-rights organization also urged the authorities to conduct a “prompt, impartial and independent” investigation into the killing of a protester in Karaj, north-west of Tehran, on Aug. 3.

“Amnesty International is also urging the authorities to protect all detainees from torture and other ill-treatment and to reveal the fate and whereabouts of dozens of detainees whose families have not heard from them since their arrests,” the rights group said in a statement.

“Among those detained and at risk of torture and other ill-treatment is human rights defender Nader Afshari, who was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials on 1 August 2018 in the city of Karaj, north-west of Tehran, and whose whereabouts are unknown as he is being held in a secret detention facility.”

Protests over the tough economic situation in Iran began last December, spreading to more than 80 cities and towns and resulting in at least 25 deaths.

They have intensified in the past week, with a fresh wave of demonstrations in cities including Esfahan, Karaj, Rasht and Tehran, resulting in what Amnesty described as a “wave of mass arrests.”

“Since 31 July 2018, thousands of people have taken to the streets to voice their grievances over increasing economic hardship in Iran caused in part by high inflation and the steep devaluation of the rial currency,” Amnesty said.

“Most of the demonstrations appear to have been peaceful, but in some instances protesters have engaged in acts of violence, including stone-throwing, arson and other damage to vehicles and buildings.”

“According to reports from journalists and human rights activists inside Iran, as well as independent news groups outside the country, security forces have detained scores of people in jails and secret detention facilities notorious for torture and other ill-treatment over the past week, denying many of them access to their families and lawyers.”


Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

Updated 8 min 56 sec ago

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation could be forced into skipping next week’s UN General Assembly because the United States has yet to issue them visas, state media said Wednesday.
Rouhani and his delegation had been scheduled to travel to New York for the annual UN gathering on Monday, but that was now looking unlikely given the lack of visas, state news agency IRNA said.
“If the visas aren’t issued in a few hours, this trip will probably be canceled,” IRNA reported.
The delegation includes Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, who the United States imposed sanctions against on July 31.
The foreign minister had been due to travel to New York on Friday morning, according to IRNA.
The absence of Rouhani would ruin France’s bid to arrange a meeting between him and US President Donald Trump as part of European efforts to de-escalate tensions between the arch-foes.
“Iran’s absence will show that in contrast with its commitments to the United Nations and international organizations within the framework of agreements, diplomacy has no value for the United States,” IRNA said.
“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has not left the scene and it continues its active diplomacy, the US government must answer for its behavior,” it added.
The UN General Assembly debate is due to begin on Tuesday.
As the host government, the United States generally is obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at UN headquarters.
But Iran and the United States have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of “maximum pressure.”
Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear program.