U.N. Report on “Systemic” Human Rights Abuses

October 16, 2011
The U.N. Special Rapporteur for Iran released a report on Oct. 15, 2011 detailing human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic. The following is a key excerpt, with a link to the full report at the end.
      A number of individuals and organizations provided the Special Rapporteur with first-hand testimonies, the preponderance of which presents a pattern of systemic violations of the aforementioned fundamental human rights. In that regard, and without prejudice to subsequent communications, the most urgent issues that have been brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur include multifarious deficits in relation to the administration of justice, certain practices that amount to torture, cruel, or degrading treatment of detainees, the imposition of the death penalty in the absence of proper judicial safeguards, the status of women, the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, and the erosion of civil and political 
rights, in particular, the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society actors.
     Furthermore, reports frequently communicated the use of physical and psychological mistreatment and torture for the purposes of inducing self-incrimination. In that regard, several personal interviews revealed that individuals were often held in solitary confinement for long periods during the investigative phases of their cases. All of those interviewed with regard to their detention reported the consistent use of blindfolds when being transferred from
solitary confinement, as well as during their interrogations. Several persons reported being threatened, beaten, insulted or intimidated by threats against family members, and they speculated that those actions were intended to encourage admission to knowledge of or association with persons reportedly unknown to the detainees. Incidences of the arrest and/or intimidation of family members were also often reported.
    Charges brought against human rights defenders, as well as civil society and religious actors, include: (a) acting against national security; (b) participating in an illegal gathering; (c) insulting the Supreme Leader; and (d) spreading propaganda against the regime. The latter charge appears in a significant number of cases discussed below.
    The majority of reports also highlight exorbitant bail requirements, reportedly totalling between $10,000 and $500,000, to guarantee the appearance before the court of those arrested for activities pertaining to civil, political or human rights. Defendants and/or their guarantors must often furnish deeds or sign promissory notes that are later used to garnish the wages of guarantors. All reports maintain that deeds used to guarantee appearances were never returned to the guarantors, even after acquittals or final convictions. Since these parties no longer possess the deeds to their properties, they are deprived of financial control of their assets, which produces a disturbing level of persistent punishment, even beyond the conclusion of the cases.
     Moreover, several reports allege that prosecutors are aware of the sentence to be imposed prior to the defendant’s appearance in court for sentencing and often inform the defendants accordingly. Those reports contain speculations that this reflects a lack of independence of judges in such cases, which is of deep concern to the Special Rapporteur.
For the full report click here.