UN: Iran has intensified crackdown, executions

Secretary-General's report on human rights in Iran decries persecution of regime's opponents, stoning, torture, unfair trials.

Iran Hangings 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Iran Hangings 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
GENEVA - Iran has intensified its crackdown on opponents as well as executions of drug traffickers, political prisoners and juvenile criminals, the United Nations said on Monday.
In a report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also voiced concern at floggings, amputations and the continued sentencing of men and women to death by stoning for alleged adultery.
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Journalists, bloggers and lawyers have been arrested or had their work impeded, and allegations of torture and unfair trials are rife, he said in a report to the Human Rights Council.
"The secretary-general has been deeply troubled by reports of increased executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials and possible torture and ill-treatment of human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and opposition activists," the UN report said.
Ban called on Tehran to allow UN human rights investigators to go to Iran to assess the situation. No visit had taken place since 2005 despite repeated requests, he said.
His 18-page report was likely to add to pressure on the UN Human Rights Council to scrutinize Iran for alleged violations. The 47-member Geneva forum is to debate the report on March 23.
The United States is lobbying at the council for a resolution that would censure Iran for its crackdown and establish the first UN human rights investigator for the Islamic Republic in a decade.
A Swedish resolution, backed by Washington, is expected to be voted on March 24 or March 25.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for the creation of the independent post in a speech to the council two weeks, days after Washington slapped new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities.
Prominent rights activists in Iran have been charged with national security offenses and given disproportionately heavy sentences and travel bans, the UN report said.
"A worrying trend is the increased number of cases in which political prisoners are accused of Mohareb (enmity against God) offenses which carry the death penalty," it said.
"Despite a moratorium on stoning declared by the head of the judiciary in 2002, the judiciary continues to sentence both men and women to execution by stoning," the report said. Authorities had indicated parliament was reviewing the punishment, it added.