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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Iran post-election rights abuses worst in 20 years: report
Jaclyn Belczyk at 2:11 PM ET

[JURIST] Iranian human rights violations following the disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive] in June were among the worst in the past 20 years [press release], according to a report [text, PDF] published Thursday by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. The report, "Iran: Election contested, repression compounded," contains testimony from individuals detained during the protests that ensued after the election. According to AI, individuals were unlawfully detained, beaten, tortured, and raped, resulting in numerous deaths in detention. According to the report:

The presidential election on 12 June 2009 heralded sweeping repression and the eruption of mass protests on a scale not seen since the revolution that established the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. Long-standing patterns of human rights violations, including severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, intensified during the protests, and have continued since, leading to the most severe period of repression since the end of the revolutionary period which culminated in the "prison massacre" of 1988. As a result, the many Iranians who dispute the outcome of the election are living with a heightened fear of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, unfair trial and even execution.

AI called on the Iranian government to conduct a full and independent investigation into the allegations to hold accountable those responsible for rights violations. AI has also urged Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to allow UN human rights experts to visit Iran to help conduct the investigation.

Thousands were arrested during the protests following the contested June election, and about 140 have been tried in court to date. Of those tried, 81 have been convicted and sentenced, including former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi who was sentenced last month [JURIST report]. The government's response to the protests has been widely criticized, and human rights groups have called for [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly [official website] to appoint a special envoy to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Iran since the election. Alleged human rights abuses of detainees include sexual assault, beatings, and forced confessions [JURIST reports].

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