Bahai News - Human Rights In Iran

Human Rights In Iran

Sir, - I write on behalf of Amnesty International (Dun Laoghaire branch) to draw your readers' attention to the appalling human rights situation in Iran. With the World Cup football matches, many windows on Iran seem to be opening. Much of this openness is illusory.

The fate of Ahmad Batebi and Akhbar Mohammadi, both peaceful dissenters, should caution us. Ahmad was arrested in July 1999 after peaceful demonstrations against new laws curbing press freedom. He held up the bloodstained shirt of another beaten demonstrator. A vigilante group attacked the protesters and Ahmad was arrested.

In Evian prison, he was reportedly beaten until he lost consciousness. He had his head held underwater in a toilet bowl. He suffered partial loss of hearing and sight and lost a number of teeth after being kicked repeatedly in the head. The torture continued until he signed a false confession to "endangering national security".

On the strength of this, he was sentenced to death in December 1999, later commuted to 15 years' imprisonment.

Akbar was arrested for taking part in the same demonstrations and was reportedly suspended by his arms, whipped on the soles of his feet with electric cables, and beaten to near unconsciousness by guards who said he only had to blink to accept the charges against him. He went on hunger strike to protest against his detention and sentence of 15 years. He was refused hospital treatment for kidney failure despite repeated referrals by the prison doctor.

We appeal to Irish Times readers to send both men New Year greeting cards at Evin Prison, Chamran Hwy, Shahid Kotchou Street, Darakeh, Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran as soon as possible.

We continue to receive regular appalling reports of persecution against journalists, opposition politicians and members of the Ba'hai faith despite repeated promises of change. Outside pressure is responded to. - Yours, etc.,

Roland Evans, PRO, Dun Laoghaire-Blackrock branch of Amnesty International, Fleet Street, Dublin 2.

©Copyright 2001, Irish Times

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