Iranian government does not fulfill its international obligations on human rights: Nobel Laureate (INTERVIEW)

Iran Materials 10 June 2009 09:02 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 9 / Trend , D.Khatinoglu /

Trend Persian Desk's interview with the Nobel Peace Prize 2003 Laureate, human rights activist Shirin Ebadi

Trend : Two days ago You sent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad an open letter that criticized human rights situation in Iran. What is the current situation with human rights in Iran as compared with the period of governance of reformist President Khatami?

Shirin Ebadi: Over the past four years, the human rights situation in Iran has not been satisfactory. There was pressure on those who worked with regards to human rights. We can give an example from Muhammad Sadig. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for establishing a committee for human rights protection in Kurdistan province of Iran. Currently he is in prison and is sick. Over the past three years, criminal cases have been filed against 50 people protecting the rights of women. Some of them were sentenced to long arrest. The criminal case against Alia Igdamdust was completed. Currently, she is in prison.

Q: In autumn last year, the office of the Human Rights Protection Committee in Iran was closed by State. You were Chair of this Committee. For what reason, was the Committee closed? What steps to You take currently to re-establish the activity of the Committee?

A: The office of the Human Rights Protection Committee was illegally closed on November 21, 2008. In connection with this illegal action of the government, we made a complaint to the Prosecutor's Office. Unfortunately, my complaint was not considered, and the office of the Committee is still closed. When the Committee's office was closed, the secretary of the organization stayed in arrest for 55 days. In addition, when it was revealed that I and other human rights activists did not suspend their activities, a person in police uniform came to my office where I am engaged in advocatory activity and took computers and criminal cases, and two weeks later, all were returned. I do not know what computer and criminal cases they copied. It is also illegal. We made a complaint on this, which has not yet been considered.

After several days after this event, several people under the guise of volunteer students gathered in front of my house and office. They insulted me, wrote different words on the walls of the office. I asked help from the police. Two police officers came and only looked at everything, without any work.

Q: When Your office was closed, who was pressured besides the secretary?

A: Yes, most of my colleagues were subjected to pressure, they were repeatedly called to national security agencies. Also, some of them were banned to travel outside the country. For example, the court prohibited lawyer Abdulfattahu Sulatni, Deputy Chair of the Human Rights Protection Committee Nargiz Mohammedi and journalist Abdurrze Tajik to leave the country. All these are illegal. The Iranian government should follow its international obligations. Because Iran is a member of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. On the other hand, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 1999, and Iran supported it. The resolution envisages the need for cooperation of the authorities with human rights activists. However, the government of Iran does not follow its obligations in this regard.

Q: In connection with the act of terror in the city of Zahidan, three people were arrested, who were executed in 30 hours. In Iran still there are facts of lynching and executing people not reaching 18 years of age. How do You assess this?  

A: Unfortunately, the law still contains issues of lynching and executing people under the age of 18. We, as human rights activists, have been protesting against it over the years, but changes have not been made to the law yet. On the other hand, some court agencies do not follow the law and create conditions for greater human rights violations.

Regarding to the act of terror that occurred in the Shiite mosque in the city of Zahidan, I can say that firstly I condemn it. I offer condolence to the families of the victims of this accident. But it is worthy to consider that arresting the perpetrators, it is necessary to make sentence and punish them. It is reported that the three people arrested in connection with the fact were in prison during the accident. And it is interesting, how could they commit an act of terror in the mosque while they were in prison? How was it possible to execute these three people, accusing them of an act of terror?

Do you have feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]