Iran’s Human Rights Abuses

(New York, N.Y.) – Iran’s cruel execution of wrestler Navid Afkari is an example of the regime’s systematic abuse of human rights. Afkari was sentenced to death over a murder during anti-government protests in 2018. But he said he had been tortured into confessing. This is a familiar tactic that Iranian security officials have used in the past to deter further unrest.

A new report by Amnesty International this month highlights these abuses. The report found that following the November 2019 economic protests, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted peaceful protestors, some as young as 10 years old, with cruel and inhumane punishments. It also detailed the violent methods of torture, unlawful arrests and atrocious beatings IRGC members committed towards thousands of Iranians and built upon the report by the UN Special Rapporteur that expressed “grave concern” over the regime’s human rights abuses.

To read UANI’s resource, Cruel and Inhuman: Executions and Other Punishment in Iran, please click here.

In November of 2019, large numbers of Iranians throughout the country again took to the streets to protest the regime’s steep increase in the price of gasoline, as well as rationing thereof. And in January of 2020, widespread protests erupted again after the IRGC accidentally shot down a civilian airliner—killing all 176 onboard, including over 60 Iranians—and initially denied responsibility, ascribing the crash to a mechanical error.

Iran’s judicial system remains among the most brutal and unaccountable in the world. Iran has executed more people per capita than any other country, and carries out more total executions than any nation but China (whose population is over 17 times the size of Iran’s). Tehran continues to target political dissidents and ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities for execution. Capital punishment can be—and often is—carried out against juvenile offenders and for nonviolent crimes. 

The cruelty and inhumanity of Iran’s system of punishment goes well beyond executions, however. Individuals may be arrested and indefinitely detained without charge or on trumped-up offenses; subject to degrading treatment, including torture, in order to extract confessions; denied rights such as access to legal counsel and fair and speedy trial; and incarcerated in overcrowded prisons where they are subject to torture, rape, and other atrocities. 

Navid Afkari’s execution should serve as a reminder to the international community. Statements of condemnation are necessary but not sufficient. More needs to be done to hold Iran accountable for its impunity, including levying sanctions on the regime for human rights abuses and isolating it diplomatically. 

To read UANI’s resource, Iran’s War On Protesters: Death, Detention, And Darkness, please click here.