by WorldTribune Staff, September 5, 2017
While the West may be critical of Iran’s practice of imprisoning, torturing and executing dissidents, the Islamic Republic has no fear that any real action will be taken to stop it, an analyst said.
“Iran will pay no price for clamping down on dissent,” retired Army Col. Robert Maginnis told The Washington Times on Sept. 4.
“We have little leverage in the region, and no other nation in the region will hold it accountable.”
Iran’s regime has a history of crackdowns on dissenters, who in some cases are imprisoned for years or face execution by hanging, according to human rights reports.
Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur for Iran, said that “punishments such as flogging, blinding, amputation and stoning, which violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill treatment, continue to be implemented.
“Major overcrowding in Iranian jails, unhygienic detention facilities, lack of proper medical care, torture and ill treatment by prison officials, and solitary confinement continue to be daily realities for thousands of prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian exile group, says more than 20 political prisoners at Rajaee Shahr Prison, Iran’s most notorious maximum-security prison, are on a hunger strike that has lasted for over a month. Dissidents in other prisons have joined them.
Amnesty International said the dissidents were transferred to a prison section where cells have covered windows and there is no access to clean water, food or beds.
“The fact that detention conditions have become so poor that desperate prisoners feel they are forced to go on a hunger strike to demand the most basic standards of human dignity is disgraceful and highlights the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International.
The dissidents have smuggled out letters telling of their treatment at the prison, reportedly angering the Teheran regime, which subjected them to even harsher conditions.
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the hunger strike indicates growing opposition to Iran’s hard-line Islamic rule.
“While the clerical regime is very savage and has deprived these political prisoners, the majority of whom are from the MEK, from their most rudimentary rights as political prisoners, this episode clearly indicates that the spirit of resistance is alive and growing in Iran,” he said. “These prisoners have turned into a symbol of solidarity for all Iranians as their plight has become a widely discussed social issue.”
The United Nations has posted online Jahangir’s latest report on Iran in which she castigates the mullahs for crushing dissent with sham “revolutionary” courts and for subjecting prisoners to inhumane conditions.
“Those arrested owing to their political or other beliefs or those who challenge the authorities are not granted a fair trial or due process – even the elements thereof that are available under Iranian laws,” she wrote. “Revolutionary courts are viewed not as a forum for granting justice, but as an extension of the coercive executive branch of the government that operates to control all criticism or independent actions for securing rights.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Jahangir relied on “inauthentic sources,” according to a report in the state-run Al-Alam network, an Arabic news channel.
While not referring to the hunger strike, Qassemi said: “Unfortunately, the special rapporteur seems to have turned a blind eye to the multiple cases of human rights advances in Iran and tried to display a dark and one-sided image of the status of human rights in Iran with the repeated employment of vague phrases and expression of unreasonable concern on the basis of inauthentic data.”
Gobadi said that since the regime’s violent revolution, about 120,000 MEK members and allies have been executed.
“Yet, despite such a spell of repression, the network of the MEK supporters and activists is the biggest network outside of the regime and includes people from all walks of life and various social strata, including the vast number of relatives and families of the regime’s victims,” he said.
Gobadi said the regime fears MEK’s “growing attraction. There is almost no day that the state media is not riddled with anti-MEK propaganda.”