Attacks against human rights defenders on the eve of the presidential elections anniversary

Press release
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Paris-Geneva, June 11, 2010. The Observatory for the human rights defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses its deepest concern following the recent attacks against human rights defenders on the eve of the presidential elections anniversary.

On Thursday June 10, 2010, Ms. Nargess Mohammadi, Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), was arrested at her home, in the presence of her three-year-old twins. No mandate was reportedly shown to her. She would be presently detained in Evin prison.

On the same day, in the evening, the husband of Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, also DHRC Secretary General, made forced confessions, a usual practice of the Iranian authorities. He indeed declared that Ms. Shirin Ebadi would have “left the country in June 2009 in order to plot against the regime abroad”.

“The crime of treason is punished by death in Iran. Those fake accusations obtained under duress exclusively aim at silencing Iranian human rights defenders on the eve of the anniversary of the presidential elections, on June 12”, declared Karim Lahidji, President of LDDHI and Vice-President of FIDH. While Reporters Without Boarders (RSF) and FIDH just launched a campaign for the liberation of all prisoners of conscience in Iran (, the arrest of Ms. Nargess Mohammadi and the new attacks against Ms. Shirin Ebadi witness once more the importance of such a campaign.

“We call upon the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Nargess Mohammadi as well as all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience currently detained in Iran, and to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity. We also call upon the international community to put human rights at the core of its discussions with the Iranian regime”, concluded Eric Sottas, OMCT Secretary General.

The Observatory condemns those acts of harassment as they seem to merely aim at sanctioning the above-mentioned defenders’ human rights activities, and recalls that several human rights defenders remain currently detained in Iran.

More generally, the Observatory calls upon the Iran authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against human rights defenders in Iran, and to conform in all circumstances with international human rights standards and instruments ratified by Iran.

For further information, please contact:

· FIDH: Karine Appy / Fabien Maitre, + 33 1 43 55 25 18

· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau, + 41 22 809 49 39

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