By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Monday, 7 August 2017
Amnesty International released a report on August 2, 2017 about the suppression of human rights defenders in Iran.
The reports read in part, “The election of President Hassan Rouhani to his first term in office in 2013 gave rise to hopes both in Iran and internationally that the human rights situation in Iran might improve. In reality, however, Iran’s judiciary and security apparatus have been ramping up already suffocating levels of repression against the country’s courageous human rights defenders. ….Since 2013, scores of human rights defenders have been imprisoned in connection with their peaceful human rights activities”
One of the cases that Amnesty International has highlighted is Maryam Akbari Monfared. Amnesty International reports:
“Prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared filed, from inside prison, a formal complaint with the Office of the Prosecutor in Tehran in October 2016, seeking an official investigation into the mass executions of several thousand political prisoners, including two of her siblings, in 1988; the location of the mass graves where their bodies were buried; and the identity of the perpetrators involved.
To date, the authorities have not processed the complaint. Instead, they have resorted to various punitive tactics. Since October 2016, they have refused to take her to her medical appointments outside prison to receive adequate treatment for her rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems. As a result, she is experiencing severe pain in her legs. They have also repeatedly threatened to stop her family visits. In May 2017, she was threatened with an additional three-year prison term and exile to a remote prison.111
Maryam Akbari Monfared was arrested on 31 December 2009 and forcibly disappeared for five months. It later transpired that she had been held in solitary confinement for the first 43 days after her arrest, during which she was subjected to intense interrogations without access to a lawyer. She met her state-appointed lawyer for the first time at her trial, which was limited to one brief hearing lasting less than an hour. She was sentenced to 15 years in May 2010 after Branch 15 of a Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted her of “enmity against God” (moharebeh). The conviction was solely based on the fact that she had made phone calls to her relatives, who are members of the banned People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), and had visited them once in Iraq. Her husband has said that during her trial session, the judge told her she was paying for the activities of her relatives with the PMOI. Branch 33 of the Supreme Court upheld the sentence in August 2010.”