News : Human rights

Raisi appointment draws international criticism

Raisi appointment draws international criticism

By INU Staff

INU - Prisoners in Iranian jails are subjected to starvation, torture, and solitary confinement as a matter of course, but those are the lucky ones. The ones that survive. In the summer of 1988, 30,000 political prisoners were executed for their beliefs and human rights groups fear that the recent appointment of ‘Ayatollah Death’ to the head of the judiciary could mean that another such massacre is imminent.

Ebrahim Raisi, who was a key member of the Tehran Death Committee in 1988 and personally sent thousands to their deaths, is now in charge of Iranian jails and the UK-based International Observatory of Human Rights says that this puts thousands of prisoners in mortal danger, including British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe who is held in Iran on bogus charges.

This appointment has drawn criticism from many human rights activists, who believe: “It is not good news and we know the human rights situation is not going to get better in Iran - actually it’s getting worse. If you see the sentences and the verdicts and trials you will see he is worse than the last one. Having Raisi as the chief of justice for Iranian people is like ‘what happened?’ He is one of the architects of human rights violations in Iran and it is people like him who should face trial, not the human rights defenders.”

Human Rights activist Hamid Bahrami has explained the treatment that he suffered in prison to give the world a glimpse into the horrors taking place before Raisi, 58, was appointed, which he fears may get even worse.

Bahrami, who was placed in Isfahan's Dastgerd Prison in 2014 after he was caught filming a protest, says he was locked up like a dog for weeks on end in the dungeon of a prison, kept in solitary confinement and deprived of food, sleep, and light.

Bahrami said: “I was scared when I was told I was going to prison, they repeatedly threatened to lash me and beat me. The place was so small, two meters by two meters. I didn't know if it was day or night, dark and dirty but when birds started to sing I thought it was morning. They even didn't let me sleep. Every morning I heard that some people were lashed and screaming from another part of the prison. The lashing had continued until noon."

Iranian communities rallied outside the Iranian Embassy in London earlier this week to protest the Regime’s imprisonment of women who break hijab laws and the sentencing of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh for defending the women.

Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in jail and 148 lashes on March 11, despite having no trial. Just a day later, Iran was granted a seat on the UN women’s rights committee.

IOHR Director Valerie Peay said: “We are at an ultimate tipping point for human rights in Iran. The utter disregard of women's rights is appalling; more than 112 women have been jailed in 2018 for merely practising their civil liberties and objecting to forced hijab laws.”

She continued: “The renewed US imposed sanctions and the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for many of those arbitrary arrests and violations comes after Iran has ignored the concerns of the international community to respect due process and the Universal Human Right Declarations. In our open letter also handed to the embassy during the protest addressed to Ebrahim Raisi, the new head of the Judiciary who is accused of gross human rights violations, IOHR highlighted the severity of [Sotoudeh’s sentence]. There are lives at stake and Mr Raisi can make a positive change by pardoning Soutodeh and all those unjustly jailed--that is why we are protesting--calling for justice.”