Monday, February 20, 2006

Eu-Iran: Nuclear Dispute Must Not Overshadow Human Rights

Amnesty International: Eu Office Press Release
The EU must address Iran’s widespread human rights violations, says Amnesty International, as Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki meets with EU high officials Javier Solana, Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Amnesty International has just released a report, "New government fails to address dire human rights situation" (available here), describing the failure of the new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government to address the serious ongoing human rights violations. READ MORE

This report illustrates an apparent intensification of repression over the past six months since the President took office, which includes frequent use of the death penalty and torture, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and limitations on freedom of speech.

Amnesty International regularly receives new reports of torture and ill treatment of detainees where the denial of medical treatment is increasingly common. The human rights organization is extremely concerned for the safety of journalist Elham Afroutan who has been held incommunicado since 29 January 2006 amid unconfirmed reports that she may be in a coma or may have died while in custody (see also "Concern for Journalist Elham Afroutan").

Between July 2005 and January 2006, Amnesty International recorded 69 executions including those of two alleged minors. Death sentences continue to be imposed for charges such as drinking alcohol or consensual adult sexual relations.

"The EU must not be distracted by the current stand-off surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme," said Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty International’s EU Office "Iran is one of the few countries in the world that continues to execute child offenders. The EU must take this opportunity to demand that Iran introduces a moratorium on the executions of minors."

Amnesty International urges the EU high officials meeting with Mr Manoucher Mottaki to:

- demand that child offenders currently awaiting execution have their death sentences commuted;

- raise the individual cases described in Amnesty International’s report and demand the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience and a fair and free trial for all political prisoners;

- demand that detainees have prompt and regular access to lawyers of their own choosing and to appropriate medical care, if necessary.

The full report "New government fails to address dire human rights situation", is available at:

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels)
Tel: +32-2-5021499
Fax: +32-2-5025686