Amnesty: Torture and injustice are systematic, impunity prevails in Iran

In its annual report on Iran, Amnesty International noted that torture and injustice are systematic and impunity prevails.

Amnesty Organization wrote at length about Iran in its annual report, which draws attention to the "hypocrisy" of the world's states in the face of rights violations.

Some of the report’s highlights are as follows:

LGBTI people

“LGBTI people suffered systemic discrimination and violence. Consensual same-sex sexual relations remained criminalized with punishments ranging from flogging to the death penalty. State-endorsed “conversion therapies” amounting to torture or other ill-treatment remained prevalent, including against children. Hormone therapy and surgical procedures, including sterilization, were mandatory for legal gender changes. Gender non-conforming individuals risked criminalization and denial of access to education and employment. In August, LGBTI rights defender Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani, known as Sareh, and another woman, Elham Choubdar, were sentenced to death for “corruption on earth” by a Revolutionary Court in Urumieh, West Azerbaijan province, due to their real or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity and their social media activities in support of LGBTI communities.6 The Supreme Court quashed their conviction and sentence in December and sent their case for retrial. Women and girls The authorities continued to treat women as second-class citizens, including in relation to marriage, divorce, child custody, employment, inheritance and political office. The legal age of marriage for girls remained at 13, and fathers could obtain judicial permission for their daughters to be married at a younger age. Women and girls were at the forefront of the popular uprising, challenging decades of gender-based discrimination and violence, and defying discriminatory and degrading compulsory veiling laws that resulted in them facing daily harassment and violence by state and non-state actors, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and denial of access to education, employment and public spaces. There was stricter enforcement of these laws in mid-2022, culminating in the death in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in September, days after she was violently arrested by Iran’s “morality” police amid credible reports of torture and other ill treatment. Authorities failed to provide adequate gender-specific healthcare to women prisoners. The “Defending dignity and protecting women against violence” bill, introduced over a decade earlier, stalled in parliament. Lawmakers failed to revise the bill to define domestic violence as a separate offence, criminalize marital rape and child marriage, or ensure men who murder their wives or daughters face proportionate punishments.

Death penalty

Executions increased from the previous year and public executions resumed after a two- year hiatus. The authorities used the death penalty as a tool of political repression against protesters, dissidents and ethnic minorities. The oppressed Baluchi minority made up a disproportionate number of those executed. The death penalty was imposed after grossly unfair trials, including for offences not meeting the threshold of the “most serious crimes”, such as drug trafficking, financial corruption, vandalism and for acts protected under international human rights law, including the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression. Several people were executed for offences that occurred when they were children; scores of others who were below 18 years of age at the time of the crime remained on death row.

Arbitrary detention and unfair trials

Thousands of people were arbitrarily detained and/or unfairly prosecuted throughout the year for peacefully exercising their human rights; many remained unjustly imprisoned. According to a leaked audio-recorded official statement, between 15,000 and 16,000 people were detained during the first weeks of the uprising. The authorities continued mass arbitrary arrests until the end of the year and subjected many to unjust prosecutions and unfair trials. Two young men were arbitrarily executed in relation to the nationwide uprising after sham trials and without advance notice to their families, while scores of others were under the sentence of death or remained on trial for overly broad capital charges including “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel-arz). The authorities further suppressed civil society, subjecting hundreds of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, political dissidents, activists, conservationists, writers, artists, musicians, university students and schoolchildren, to arbitrary detention and/or unjust prosecution. Hundreds of workers, including teachers, faced arbitrary detention for going on strike, taking part in International Workers’ Day rallies, and/or otherwise raising concerns about workers’ rights.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Torture and other ill-treatment, including through prolonged solitary confinement and deliberate denial of medical care, remained widespread and systematic. Forced “confessions” obtained under torture and other ill-treatment were broadcast on state television. Prison and prosecution authorities, working under the judiciary, held prisoners in cruel and inhuman conditions characterized by overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate food and water, insufficient beds, poor ventilation and insect infestation. Dozens of people died in custody in suspicious circumstances involving credible reports of physical torture and/or denial of medical care. No investigations were conducted in line with international standards.