MEK Iran: Regime Must be Held to Account for Human Rights Abuses
The Iranian regime’s human rights abuses across the Middle East are growing in number and scale, with Iran’s leaders and proxies seemingly acting with impurity, according to political scientist Dr. Majid Rafizadeh.
Suppressing political prisoners
The regime has been suppressing political prisoners, and even executing them, at unprecedented levels over the past year. They executed over 230 people in 2020, including juvenile offenders, women, and religious and ethnic minorities.
Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy, said: “The recent escalation in executions of Balochis and Ahwazi Arabs raises serious concerns that the authorities are using the death penalty to sow fear among disadvantaged ethnic minorities, as well as the wider population.”
Physical and mental torture to force confessions
Many of these were political prisoners imprisoned on intentionally-vague charges, like enmity against God and sowing corruption on Earth. Human Rights Watch notes the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari who was arrested for taking part in protests in August 2018 and subjected to physical and mental torture to force confessions from him and his brothers.
Before his death, Afkari wrote: “For around 50 days, I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures. They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen, and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose.”
Another prominent person to be executed was journalist and French-resident Rouhollah Zam, kidnapped by Iranian proxies while working on a story in 2019, and killed in December 2020, sparking the delay of a trade conference between the EU and Iran.
Tehran is attempting to instill fear in society
Rafizadeh wrote: “By executing such high-profile figures, Tehran is attempting to instill fear in society and send a warning to the population that any opposition to the political establishment will be harshly dealt with.”
The Iranian legal system further suppresses political prisoners by denying them counsel, due process, and a fair trial, while also subjecting them to physical or psychological torture; all issues raised by HRW in their latest report.
Harassing dissidents, and repressing women’s rights activists
Outside of Iran, the regime’s militias in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have been launching rockets into Saudi Arabia, using landmines and causing civilian casualties, harassing dissidents, and repressing women’s rights activists.
Hold Iran responsible for its human rights violations
Rafizadeh praised a bill introduced by US congressman Joe Wilson to hold Iran responsible for its human rights violations, including those committed by militias, but said that it is not enough.
The UN to intervene and act immediately
He wrote: “It is incumbent on the UN to intervene and act immediately in order to hold the Iranian leaders and their militia groups accountable for the crimes against humanity they are committing.”