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Iran’s presidential election in June 2009 heralded sweeping repression and the eruption of mass protests on a scale not seen since the revolution that established the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.
Before the election, the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly were severely restricted and politicians, journalists, students and many others were targeted for arrest. During the widespread unrest that followed the contested election result, thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested, dozens were killed on the streets or died in detention, and many said they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Particularly disturbing were publicized
testimonies by women and – for the first time – men that they had been raped in custody, often with the use of an instrument such as a bottle orbaton. Around 140 of those detained were subsequently paraded on state television in a series of grossly unfair mass “show trials”.
This report includes cases and moving testimonies of individuals whose rights were abused. It shows that the willingness of the authorities to resort to violence and arbitrary measures to stifle protest and dissent has continued long after the post-election protests subsided.
Particularly at risk are political and religious dissidents, members of Iran’s religious and ethnic minority communities, students, trade unionists, human rights defenders and women’s rights activists.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations to the Iranian authorities aimed at ending the impunity enjoyed by the security forces, particularly the volunteer Basij militia, and ensuring greater protection for human rights.
Index number: MDE 13/123/2009
Date published: 10/12/2009