Reports of torture, unfair trials in Iran trigger fresh alarm over fate of protesters
Published in News & Features
Rights groups warned that several young people, including teenagers who’ve been jailed by Iran for their involvement in anti-government protests, are at risk of being executed and have been tortured.
In a statement, London-based Amnesty International urged Iran to immediately quash death sentences for three protesters — ages 18, 19 and 31 — charged with at least two capital offenses each after court hearings that lasted less than an hour.
Widespread demonstrations against the leadership of the Islamic Republic erupted in mid-September over the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman. She collapsed at a police station after being arrested for allegedly flouting Iran’s strict dress code for women.
Iran has been condemned by many countries for its use of violence and executions to suppress the protests, which have been largely led by women and young people and have presented a major challenge to the hard-line clerical leadership.
Arshia Takdastan, Mehdi Mohammadifard and Javad Rouhi are each accused of “inciting arson or vandalism by dancing, clapping, chanting or throwing headscarves into bonfires” during protests in a town in northern Iran on Sept. 21, according to Amnesty.
The men have have been subjected to “floggings, electric shocks, being hung upside down and death threats at gunpoint” by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in order to extract confessions, Amnesty said, citing “informed sources on the ground.”
In its statement, Amnesty added that one of the men had been raped and another sexually tortured while in detention. Rouhi was also charged with a third capital offense of apostasy after being accused of burning a copy of the Quran.
Activists have also called for the release of 21-year-old Armita Abbasi, who was arrested in October after criticizing the Islamic Republic in social media posts and is due to stand trial on Sunday. According to a Nov. 21 report by CNN, citing interviews with unnamed doctors in Iran, she has been repeatedly raped in detention and needed treatment in hospital for severe bleeding.
Iran’s state-run media denied the reports.
According to the BBC, Abbasi’s father confirmed in an Instagram post on Saturday that she’ll be represented by a court-approved lawyer after her original attorney resigned from his position because he was barred from meeting her.
Abbasi is being held in a prison near the city of Karaj, on the western outskirts of Tehran. The Oslo-based Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on Jan. 6 that she’d joined a group hunger strike involving 14 other women prisoners.
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