David Frum

03.01.13

A Busy Iranian Regime: Torturing and Executing Prisoners, and Persecuting Women, Gays and Religious Minorities

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures as he addresses the faithful at the weekly Muslim Friday prayers at Tehran University on June 19, 2009. Khamenei called for an end to street protests over last week's disputed presidential election, siding with declared winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his first public appearance after daily protests over the official results. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images) ()

The human rights situation in Iran is dismal at best. While Iran is no North Korea, there is overwhelming evidence the situation is closer to the one portrayed in Argo, rather than the modern and civil society Iran's theocratic leaders claim to allow.

The Human Rights Council has released a report on the situation of human rights in Iran. Their findings concluded that:

[T]here has been an apparent increase in the degree of seriousness of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Frequent and disconcerting reports concerning punitive State action against various members of civil society, reports about actions that undermine the full enjoyment of human rights by women, religious and ethnic minorities; and alarming reports of retributive State action against individuals suspected of communicating with the Special Procedure raises serious concern about the Government’s resolve to promote respect for human rights in the country.

The Special Rapporteur also continues to be alarmed by the rate of executions in the country, especially for crimes that do not meet serious crimes standards, and especially in the face of allegations of widespread and ongoing torture for the purposes of soliciting confessions from the accused.

Here, for instance, are concerns about the regime's treament of the gay and lesbian community:

The new draft Islamic Penal Code criminalises same-sex relations between consenting adults. Articles 232-233 of the new Penal Code would mandate a death sentence for the “passive” male involved in sodomy, regardless of whether his role was consensual. Under the new law, “active” Muslim and unmarried males may be subject to 100 lashes so long as they are not engaged in rape. Married and/or non-Muslim males may be subject to capital punishment for the same act. Men involved in nonpenetrative same-sex acts or women engaged in same-sex acts would also face 100
lashes according to the new Penal Code.

According to the Special Rapporteur, an especially disturbing trend is the growing rate of executions. Based on governmental data and inside informatives, the Special Rapporteur concluded that there were 297 official executions and around 200 ‘secret’ executions in 2012 alone.

The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by the escalating rate of executions, especially in the absence of fair trial standards, and the application of capital punishment for offences that do not meet “most serious crimes” standards, in accordance with international law. This includes alcohol consumption, adultery, and drug-trafficking.

Worse, the new Penal Code, which has yet to be adopted, broadens the scope of crimes that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

While Iran claims to the international community that it wants to expand its voice and end economic sanctions, they still must address their grave human rights violations. When 56% of those imprisoned report physical torture, 72% of those imprisoned report psychological torture, and almost 500 people are executed in one year, I doubt we are to see any diplomatic changes between much of the West and Iran.

Oh, and don't forget what the regime did to a young woman named Neda:

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