UN expert slams crackdown on journalist and activists in Iran

The United Nations Special Rapportuer on Situation of Human Rights in Iran expressed concern about the arbitrary and unlawful arrest and prosecution of journalists and activists in Iran has warned that their persecution weakens the protection of human rights of all in Iran.

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation in Iran said: “Silencing these critical voices is unacceptable – it undermines public debate and deprives Iranians and the rest of world of important information on the reality in the country.”

“The recurrent use of vague references to threats to national security, propaganda against the system and insult to authorities to prosecute and detain journalists or activists is in contradiction to both international norms relating to freedoms of expression and association and the principle of legality,” Mr. Shaheed stated.

The independent expert expressed concern at the arrest, detention of Jason Rezaian, Atena Farghdani and Nargis Mohammadi.

“Human rights defenders play a fundamental role in ensuring a democratic society which respects human rights,” the expert said.

Mr. Shaheed’s call has been endorsed by human rights expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Michel Forst; on freedom of expression, David Kaye; on independence of the judiciary, Gabriela Knaul; and on torture, Juan E. Méndez.

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