Report: While Arab World Explodes, Iran Cracks Down With Impunity
While the world’s attention has been focused on tumult in the Arab world, Iran has cracked down with impunity on dissent and is feared to come down even harder as elections approach, Amnesty International said in a sweeping report.
The global human rights monitor documented “widespread and persistent human rights violations in Iran.”
“It is essential if further mass human rights violations are to be avoided that the international community act on behalf of the hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners imprisoned after unfair trials in Iran,” Amnesty International said in the report.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini celebrated the popular revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, saying that they reflected an “Islamic awakening” based on Iran’s 1979 revolution.
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But since the 2009 election, the Islamic republic has repressed similar voices within its own borders, Amnesty International said.
“Since the 2009 crackdown, the authorities have steadily cranked up repression in law and practice, and tightened their grip on the media,” according to the Amnesty International report, which came out just hours after the United Nations Human Rights Council convened for its latest session in Geneva.
“In Iran today, you put yourself at risk if you do anything that might fall outside the increasingly narrow confines of what the authorities deem socially or politically acceptable,” said Ann Harrison, of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program.
“Anything from setting up a social group on the Internet, forming or joining an NGO or expressing your opposition to the status quo can land you in prison,” she said.