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International Organizations: Concerns About Detainees in Iran

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Protesters gather in front of the Iranian Embassy in London, supporting anti-government demonstrations in Iran.
Protesters gather in front of the Iranian Embassy in London, supporting anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT, 11 January, 2018--  Several international human rights organizations expressed their concern over the fate of arrested protesters in Iran, calling upon the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran Asma Jahangir to seriously follow up on the situation of detainees in Iranian prisons.

Several scientific figures also stated they are worried about the student that had been arrested during the protests, as Iran’s Education Minister announced that President Rouhani issued an order to release all detained students.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued separate statements asking the Iranian authorities to release the detainees. Both organizations also condemned the death of 23-year-old man in Evin prison in Tehran under “unknown circumstances”.

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani asked Minister of Interior Abdulreza Rahmani Fazli to prepare a detailed report on recent incidents and detained citizens.

Thirty-five members of the Iranian parliament submitted a request to the Intelligence Ministry asking to visit Evin prison, Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency quoted Reformist Bloc spokesman Mohammed Reza Aref.

Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran Mohammad Bagheri denied reports claiming that Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Basij and the police used violence and weapons against the protesters. He added that the laws of armed forces ban any member from carrying weapons on the streets.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that a number of persons responsible for the protests had been arrested.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has strongly denounced a meddlesome resolution adopted by the US House of Representatives regarding the recent riots in Iran.

In a statement on Wednesday, Qassemi said: "The interventionist resolution passed by the US Congress is rejected, and is completely reprehensible and unacceptable.”

US House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday supporting the Iranian people's right to free expression and condemned the country's leadership for crackdowns on recent protests.

The resolution, which passed by 415 votes, reiterated the US support to Iranian people engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive, corrupt regime and condemned the government's "serious human rights abuses against the Iranian people.

The House resolution also called on US President Donald Trump's administration to issue new sanctions punishing human rights violators in Iran.

"In standing with the Iranian people, we must explain that they are not the target of our sanctions," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said.

"US sanctions target the oppressive, destabilizing regime, not the people of Iran," he was quoted by the Agence France-Presse.

New reports of deaths in detention in Iran raise grave concerns about the treatment of thousands of people arrested during the widespread protests by government forces, announced Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“Iranian authorities should ensure that all deaths in detention and allegations of ill-treatment are swiftly and independently investigated and that anyone responsible is brought to justice,” stated HRW.

HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson announced that reports of deaths make it critically important to investigate these cases immediately and to bring anyone responsible for ill-treatment to justice.

“The legacy of Kahrizak prison, where the 2009 protesters were tortured and killed, and persistent impunity for these crimes, casts a dark shadow on the situation for people arrested since these protests began,” she added.

Tehran university announced that 41 of its students had been detained, while other universities didn’t issue any statement concerning the matter.

ILNA news agency indicated that 16 students have been released, and the remaining are expected to be released in the coming few days.

In related news, Center to Combat Racism in Iran issued a statement stating that citizens held several marches against economic corruption and dictatorship. The statement mentioned that over 1,300 protesters had been arrested, two-thirds of which are from the Arab and Kurdish minorities.

The center added that authorities held 6,000 citizens in Shiaban prison while its capacity is 2000, and Karoon prison had been re-opened after it had been closed for months.

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