The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres has introduced a report on the situation of human rights abuses in Iran to the current session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The report has been welcomed by human rights defenders in Iran for making reference for the first time by the Secretary General about the 1988 massacre of the political prisoners in Iran. The report cites that in November, Mr. Ahmad Montazeri, a 60-year-old cleric, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a clerical court in the city of Qom on charges of “acting against the national security” and “releasing a classified audio file”, and for “propaganda against the system”. In August, he had released an audio recording of a discussion dating back to 1988 in which his father, Mr. Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, reportedly argues with leaders of the judiciary and condemns the execution of thousands of prisoners in 1988. The trial of Mr. Montazeri was reportedly held behind closed doors, and he was prevented from choosing his own lawyer. The Secretary-General’s predecessor expressed deep concern over the imprisonment of Mr. Montazeri and the apparent lack of investigation into the revelations contained in the audio recording.The UN secretary General reports that during the last months of 2016, the UN human rights body received the copies of 31 letters addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. These letters are complaints from families of persons killed in the mass executions which reportedly took place in 1988.
“In October, Ms. Akbari Monfared, who was serving a fifteen years prison sentence in relation to her alleged membership in the banned opposition group known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, or MEK), was reportedly denied medical treatment after publishing a letter demanding justice for her brothers and sisters who were reportedly executed in 1988.”, the Secretary General reports
The report is very critical of the human rights violations in Iran. The Secretary General reports that the application of the death penalty, including in relation to juvenile offenders, has continued at a very high rate. A large number of human rights defenders, in particular women rights activists, journalists have continued to be arrested, detained and prosecuted for the mere and peaceful exercise of their profession or of their legitimate rights to freedoms of expression and association. Members of minority groups have continued to face persistent discrimination and persecution. Women’s rights remain a priority concern, particularly underage marriage, the underrepresentation of women in the labour force and in decision-making positions, and the harassment of women’s rights activists.
The current session of the UN Human Rights Council is expected to pass a resolution condemning blatant violations of human rights by the Iranian mullahs.