Friday, 22 August 2014

Human Rights abuses in some Islamic countries. (Part 3)

What follows is proof that there are countries that are too much of a hazard to live in. Here is another one of them.                    


The human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered to be poor. The Islamic revolution brought a reign of terror where many thousands of Iranians who were associated with the Shah were either imprisoned, tortured or executed or all three. Not much has changed since then.

The government of Iran is criticized both for restrictions and punishments as per the Islamic Republic's constitution and law, and for actions that include the torture, rape, and killing of political prisoners.  More than 7,900 were executed between 1981 and 1985. Then there were also the beatings and killings of dissidents and other civilians.

Restrictions and punishments in the Islamic Republic of Iran which violate international human rights norms include harsh penalties for crimes, punishment of ‘victimless crimes’ such as fornication and homosexuality, execution of offenders under 18 years of age, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press (including the imprisonment of journalists), and restrictions on freedom of religion and gender equality in the Islamic Republic's Constitution (especially attacks on members of the  Bahá'í religion).

With the rise of the Iranian reform movement and the election of moderate Iranian president Mohammad Khatami in 1997 numerous moves were made to modify the Iranian civil and penal codes in order to improve the human rights situation. The predominantly reformist parliament drafted several bills allowing increased freedom of speech, gender equality, and the banning of torture. These were all dismissed or significantly watered down by the Guardian Council and leading conservative figures in the Iranian government at the time.

While he was in power, I wrote this particular president and told him how democracy works in Canada. I received a letter back from one of his staff saying the president received my letter.
Under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s human rights record had deteriorated markedly according to a report by Human Rights Watch, and following the 2009 election protests there were reports of killing of demonstrators, the torture, rape and killing of detained protesters, and the arrest and publicized mass trials of dozens of prominent opposition figures in which defendants read their confessions that bore every sign of being coerced.  In October 2012 the United Nations human rights office stated Iranian authorities had engaged in a severe clampdown on journalists and human rights advocates.                                                                                                                                                                                     
Officials of the Islamic Republic have responded to criticism by stating that Iran has "the best human rights record" in the Muslim world that it is not obliged to follow the West’s interpretation of human rights; and that the Islamic Republic is a victim of biased propaganda of enemies which is part of a greater plan against the world of Islam. According to Iranian officials, those who human rights activists say are peaceful political activists being denied due process rights are actually guilty of offenses against the national security of the country, and those protesters claiming Ahmadinejad stole the 2009 election are actually part of a foreign-backed plot to topple Iran’s leaders. As you are obviously aware, hogwash can be found in every country.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a bumbling fool who actually claimed that the Holocaust against Jews never existed. After he was booted out of office, a more moderate president, Hassan Rouhan came into power and one of the first things he did was to announce that the women of Iran must enjoy equal opportunity, equal protection and equal social rights. Unfortunately, that proposal didn’t trickle down to many of his minions. Iran still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality. The topic of women's reform is contentious in Iran. It doesn’t help that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini said that gender equality was “one of the biggest mistakes of Western thought.”

 In 2003 the UN resolutions began again with Canada sponsoring a resolution criticizing Iran’s confirmed instances of torture, stoning as a method of execution and punishment such as flogging and amputations following the beating death of an Iranian-born Canadian citizen, Zahra Kazemi, in an Iranian prison. The resolution has passed in the UN General Assembly every year since.

One observation made by non-governmental sources with respect to the state of human rights in Iran is that the Iranian public is afraid to criticize its government publicly to strangers whereas the citizens of Iran apparently talk of nothing else amongst themselves.

Human rights abuses in the Iran are not as severe as they are in Syria, Afghanistan when the Taliban was in control or Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in control but despite that, they are pretty bad.

Iranian officials have not always agreed on the definition of human rights in Iran. In April 2004, reformist president Mohammad Khatami  admitted “We certainly have political prisoners in Iran and people who are in prison for their ideas.”  Two days later, however, he was contradicted by Judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi who said, “We have no political prisoners in Iran.” That was hogwash simply because Iranian law does not mention the existence of such offenses. He also said, “The world may consider certain cases, by their nature, political crimes, but because we do not have a law in this regard, these are considered ordinary offenses.” It would appear that his concept of truth is not unlike a shattered mirror. What you see is distorted.

Iran's former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other government officials compared Iran's human rights record favorably to other countries, particularly countries that have criticized Iran's record such as the US.  In a 2008 speech, he replied to a question about human rights by stating that Iran has fewer prisoners than the United States has.  He was right but that is because the population of Iran is 77 million whereas the population of the  United States is 317 million. He was twisting the truth as if it was a pretzel.
No woman is safe from domestic violence in Iran. According to a UN report, one in three women in Iran will be raped, beaten, or abused during her lifetime. Of course that also applies elsewhere.

The prevalence of domestic violence has been cited as a cause of high rates of suicide, mostly through self-immolation, among Kurdish women in Iran. Misogynous in character, fundamentalism or religious fanaticism, best represented by Khomeini and his successors in Iran, is threatening all the achievements of the civilized world brought into Iran, particularly those of women in Iran. Under the banner of Islam, the fundamentalists are denying the equality of women compared to those afforded to the men of Iran.  Islamic fundamentalism establishes its thesis on the differences between the sexes and the conclusion that the male is superior, and hence, the female is a slave at his service. A parliamentarian in Iran is on record as saying, “Women must accept the reality of men dominating them and the world must recognize the fact that men are superior.” Utter trash talk.

Islamic fundamentalism in Iran conceives woman as being sinister and satanic.  Most men in Iran think of their women as the embodiment of sin and seduction. She must not step beyond her house, lest her presence in society breed sin. She must stay at home, serving her husband’s carnal desires and if she fails to comply, she is compelling her husband to commit adultery outside the home. Of course this applies in all Islamic countries so Iran is not the exception.
Here is an example of Iranian justice. Traffic was brought to a halt in Qazvin, 90 miles west of Tehran, the capital of Iran as more than 1,000 men gathered behind barricades to watch the public flogging of a man who was convicted of abusing alcohol and having sex outside of his marriage. The public lashings had been endorsed by the judiciary as a way of deterring alcohol abuse at a time when it is on the increase among young men.

He was marched to the centre of the square under the watch of blue-uniformed guards carrying machine guns. A four foot long metal bench was taken from a police van and the convicted man was made to lie on it on his stomach, his shirt pulled-up to his shoulders to expose his back and waist. One police officer held his hands together beneath the bench, two others gripped his legs to ensure there was little movement. Two police officers stood-by, their faces covered with balaclavas as each administered 40 lashes across his back. Both men took the cane back behind their heads to guarantee maximum impact, each stroke leaving a distinctive red mark and bruising on his back. Several wounds began to bleed. He may have suffered kidney damage also when whipped on his waist.

Last year a man who raped and murdered a young woman was sentenced to 200 lashes and death by hanging. On the night before his execution, he was given 100 lashes on his back by the guards in his prison and on the morning of his execution, he was taken to a public square where he was placed on top of a small structure so that the thousands of spectators could see him. He was then whipped another 100 times on his back by relatives of the victim. After the whipping was finished, the one of the executioners in a mobile crane that was nearby lowered a noose at the end of a rope that was attached to the large hook of the crane and the other executioner secured the noose around the shackled man.  Then the man was hoisted high into the air so that everyone could see him dangling in the air while kicking his feet. His death was much easier than when condemned men where thrust into prison furnaces while alive.

Human Rights groups say there are a large number of people sentenced to executions and floggings in Iran. Actually the number is thousands. They included a woman, who had been forced into prostitution as an eight-year-old, receiving 99 lashes because of acts contrary the laws of chasity. A man was flogged after a copy of the Bible was found in his car.

There have been many cases of rape and other forms of sexual abuse in Iran`s prisons since 1979. A teenager using the name “Ardeshir” described his detention in an unofficial detention center where he was repeatedly sodomized and watched others being taken from cells to be sodomized. A young woman using the name “Sara” reported being repeatedly raped by her interrogator after refusing to disclose the whereabouts of her brother. She reported that her interrogator raped her “from top to bottom” and “stuck up his arm deep into her body.” She was forced to falsely confess to having sexual intercourse with her brother. Her interrogator even continued to summon and rape her after her release from prison. It soon became public that many demonstrators were detained and severely mistreated at the Kahrizak Detention Center outside Tehran. A former detainee reported hearing screams of younger detainees being raped and sodomized. It is ironic when you thing about it. Homosexual activities are punishable by death and yet guards are sodomizing boys who are in prison and getting away with it.

 A number of years ago, the United Nations had planned to hold a UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Iran. There were so many objections by many governments about attending that conference in Iran so the Congress was held in another country. Perhaps they suspected that if they criticized Iran`s record of human rights abuses, they would end up disappearing in one of Iran`s infamous prisons. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to Iran to speak at that Congress if it was held in Iran. Being an outspoken critic of human rights abuses, I would probably never be heard from again if the Congress was held in Iran and I attended it.  

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