GENEVA (Reuters), March 5, 2018 – Iran has arrested activists and political opponents in a clampdown on freedom of expression as use of torture continues despite promises of reform, a United Nations report said on Monday.
The report was compiled by Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer serving as U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran who died suddenly last month. Her report to the U.N. Human Rights Council was finalised, although diplomats said Tehran had tried to block its publication.
More than 20 people were killed and 450 people arrested in nationwide street protests in December against economic hardship and corruption – the biggest in Iran since the post-election unrest of 2009.
Jahangir called on authorities to carry out independent investigations into the crackdown and the deaths in custody of some of those arrested and to hold perpetrators accountable.
Jahangir wrote that she had seen “a worrying picture developing in the human rights situation” in Iran since her previous report in August. “Despite assurances from the Government, improvements are either not forthcoming or are being implemented very slowly and in piecemeal.”
New restrictions had been placed on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and access to information, she said, accusing Iran of torture and other ill-treatment particularly to coerce confessions.
Jahangir called for a halt to flogging and amputations. More than 100 flogging sentences were handed down in Iran last year, 50 of which are believed to have been carried out, as well as five out of 19 sentences of amputation, she said.