Iran: Thousands detained for peaceful protest must be released, urges UN

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The UN human rights office, OHCHR, on Tuesday called for the immediate release of thousands of Iranian citizens who have been detained after peacefully demonstrating against the government following the death of Mahsa Amini for violating strict hijab rules two months ago.

OHCHR spokesman Jeremy Laurence briefed journalists in Geneva, reporting that on November 8, Iran’s prosecutor had said that more than 1,000 indictments had been issued against protesters in Tehran province alone, with hundreds of others. out of the capital.

“We urge the authorities to immediately release all those detained in connection with the peaceful protests and drop the charges against them. Human rights law protects people’s rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” he said.

He said that instead of opting for dialogue to air legitimate grievances, the authorities were responding to the unprecedented protests sparked by the death of Ms. Amini in police custody, “with ever greater harshness”.

And on Sunday, the recriminations reached a new level with the first death sentence of a protester by an Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, which found the unnamed defendant guilty of moharebeh, or “waging war against God,” and efsad-e. fel-arz or “corruption on earth” for allegedly damaging public property.

At least nine other protesters have been charged with crimes carrying the death penalty, OHCHR said.

Under international law, countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty can only impose it for the “most serious crimes,” which are interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional homicide, Laurence recalled.

“Crimes that do not directly and intentionally result in death can never serve as the basis for the imposition of the death penalty,” it added.

According to news reports, the protests have spread to at least 140 towns and cities, and more than 300 have been killed during the violent crackdown, including more than 40 children and two dozen women.

The OHCHR Spokesperson urged Iran to “immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty, refrain from indicting capital crimes and revoke death sentences issued for crimes that do not qualify as the most serious crimes.”

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