Prisoner executions and detention of journalists rampant in Iran

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Over 600 prisoners were executed by Iran during 2011 according to a UN human rights expert.

Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, said the prisoners were executed in the absence of proper judicial processes including the access to legal representation.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Mr Shaheed said media freedom is severely restricted with over 42 journalists detained for alleged security crimes.

He said although Iran has declined to honour his requests to visit the country, he had gathered credible evidence to the effect that human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, restrictions to freedoms of expression, association and assembly were rampant the country.

"In many cases witnesses reported that they were arrested for activities protected by international law, and that they were detained in solitary confinement for prolonged periods with no access to legal counsel or family members and in the absence of official charges. Individuals also frequently reported the use of torture for purposes of soliciting confessions. Several stated that they were subjected to prison conditions that fall well below minimum standards defined by the United Nations. A majority of those interviewed maintained that they were denied reasonable access to legal counsel, and that they and/or their lawyers were denied access to evidence, case files or witnesses testifying against them and in some cases judges reportedly issued verdicts on the basis of coerced confessions in trials that only lasted a few minutes."

Duration: 49″

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