20 May 2011  AI Index: MDE 13/051/2011

Amnesty International is concerned by the Iranian government’s continuing clampdown on dissent, including arbitrary arrests and the torture or other ill-treatment of people who express views opposed to those of the government. Some of those arrested have even been executed, after apparently unfair trials, including at least one minor. Amnesty International wrote to the Head of the Judiciary to express concern about these developments on 13 May 2011, but without response; the Iranian authorities rarely reply to communications from Amnesty International.

 The cases described below represent a small number of those known to Amnesty International involving similar violations of human rights.

Amnesty International continues to call on the Iranian government to end the continuing cycle of repression and fully respect Iran’s obligations under international human rights law.

In particular, Amnesty International urges the government to:

• release immediately and unconditionally anyone held solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, or solely on account of their family links to individuals who oppose the Iranian authorities;

• release all other detainees unless they are to be tried on internationally recognizable criminal charges in proceedings which meet international standards for fair trial, without recourse to the death penalty;

• allow all detainees prompt and regular access to their families and to lawyers of their choice, and to any necessary medical assistance;

• protect all detainees and other prisoners from torture or other ill-treatment, ensure that all allegations of torture or other ill-treatment are immediately and impartially investigated, and bring to justice anyone responsible for torture or other ill-treatment;

• cease immediately all executions, including executions of juvenile offenders – those convicted of crimes committed while under the age of 18 – which is strictly prohibited under international law – and declare and institute a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

Arrest of relatives of residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq

According to information received by Amnesty International, the following individuals were arrested on 1 May 2011. The individuals concerned all have relatives residing in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, where members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) reside and which was attacked by Iraqi forces on 8 April 2011. Amnesty International fears they may be held solely on account of their family links to members of the PMOI or for their own imputed political opinions, in which case, they are prisoners of conscience.

Mahmoud Azimi, a former political prisoner imprisoned in the 1980s for his membership of the PMOI. He has two children who live in Camp Ashraf and his niece, Nastaran Azimi, was among those killed in the 8 April attack on Camp Ashraf. He was reportedly arrested after he and other members of his family sought to hold a memorial ceremony for his niece.

Aria Haeri, whose son and brother in law live in Camp Ashraf and her daughter, Negar Haeri. Aria Haeri’s husband Mashallah (known as Hamid) Haeri is also a political prisoner in poor health who was arrested on 6 December 2009 while ill at home recuperating from a car accident and later sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment in exile in June 2010 after being convicted of "moharebeh", apparently in connection with his links to the PMOI. Prior to this, he is believed to have visited his son in Camp Ashraf. He previously spent three years in prison in the 1980s;

Hossein Haj Aghaei, the son of Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei who was executed in January 2011 after being convicted of “moharebeh” for links with the PMOI, and “propaganda against the system”;

Nasser Sodagari, a former political prisoner in the 1980s, and his wife Tahereh Pour-Rostam. Both were previously arrested in September 2007 along with several other individuals. Tahereh Pour-Rostam was later released on bail but Nasser Sodagari was sentenced to one year's imprisonment for having taken part in a ceremony at the Khavaran cemetery marking the 19th anniversary of the 1988 "prison massacres" in which thousands of political prisoners were executed. Their daughter Pouyan Sodagari was also arrested on 1 May 2011.

Sedigheh Moradi, in her 50s, who previously spent four years in prison for her links to the PMOI