From: Mehdi Amini, International Relations Coordinator
Subject: Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran
Date: October 1, 2016
Dear Ms. Asma Jahangir,
On behalf of the Union for Secular Republic and Human Rights in Iran, I wish to congratulate you for being appointed to serve as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.
I also take this opportunity to thank your predecessor Dr. Ahmad Shaheed for his admirable efforts to monitor and expose numerous cases of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
While being aware of the inevitable challenges facing you in conducting your investigation, I am certain that you will pursue your goals in a fair and determined manner.
Dr. Shaheed’s reports documenting the mistreatment of dissident thinkers and human rights activists in Iran reveal that authorities in Tehran use imprisonment, torture and threats against family members, including children, to silence their critics. This is why the Iranian government denied Dr. Shaheed’s repeated request to visit the country for the purpose of interviewing well-known victims of human rights abuse and their family members.
We hope you will be able to travel to Iran because in gathering information about human rights situation in a society there is no substitute for on-location observation and face-to-face conversation with victims.
I urge you to give the case of Ms. Nargess Mohammadi the highest priority in your inquiry.
Ms. Mohammadi, Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and winner of 2011 Per Anger Prize for human rights activism, was tried in a secret court and sentenced to 16 years of incarceration. She was convicted of “spreading propaganda against the State” and “running illegal LEGAM,” a group committed to the abolition of death penalty in Iran. It is important to note that Iran’s judicial system, to the extent that it deals with dissident thinkers and activists, has absolutely no independence and is routinely used as a tool of the state’s security apparatus.
It is doubtful that Iran will permit you to visit the country as United Nations Rapporteur. In the absence of this option, we urge you to contact Iranian victims of human rights who have managed to escape Iran and sought asylum in foreign countries. I also suggest that you contact Western diplomats who have served or currently serving in Tehran to see what kind of information they can give you about their interaction with Iranian officials concerning human rights issues. I know for a fact that many of them express concerns about abuse of rights in Iran and, thus, conversation with them can be useful to your work.
Please let me know if our organization can be helpful to you in pursuing your challenging task.
CC: Dr. Ahmad Shaheed