Friday, May 05, 2006

EU presidency expresses "serious concern" about human rights in Iran

Khaleej Times:
The European Union on Friday expressed "serious concern" about the human rights situation in Iran.

In a statement from Austria's government, which holds the rotating EU presidency, the 25-nation bloc said it was particularly worried about 10 executions carried out at Iran's Evin prison on April 19 and the indictment of human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani.

"The EU calls on Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Soltani's right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law," the statement said. It also called on the Tehran regime "to stop penalizing individuals for contacts with embassies." READ MORE

"The European Union also expresses its serious concern about the general increase in executions in Iran. This trend is confirmed by the 10 executions carried out recently in the prison of Evin," the EU said.

"The EU reiterates that it is, as a matter of principle, opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances and calls for its universal abolition. Where the death penalty still exists, the EU calls on states to progressively restrict its use ..."

Relations between the EU and Iran have deteriorated as the West's standoff with Iran over its nuclear program has intensified.