October 06, 2004

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:End limitations on the work of human rights defenders


Public Statement

AI Index: MDE 13/039/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 248
6 October 2004

Iran: End limitations on the work of human rights defenders
The confiscation of the passport of a leading member of the Society for the Defence of the Rights of Prisoners (SDRP), Emaddedin Baqhi, on 4 October 2004, as he was about to travel abroad to take part in several conferences and meetings concerning human rights, is another blow to Iran’s implementation of international human rights standards and part of an emerging pattern of harassment of independent human rights defenders.

The order to ban Emaddedin Baqhi from travelling reportedly came from the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC), an extra-constitutional institution which Amnesty International and several United Nations bodies have urged be fundamentally altered or abolished on account of the Court’s inherent incapacity of providing the basic guarantees of due process.

Preventing Emaddedin Baqhi from taking part in human rights conferences, by the SSC, which has never sentenced, tried or even summoned him, is contrary to Article 7 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance".

Amnesty International urges the authorities to investigate allegations that Emaddedin Baqhi has been harassed, for his passport to be returned and for the apparently arbitrary travel ban placed on him to be lifted.

Amnesty International calls on the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran to grant recognition to those seeking to promote and protect human rights in Iran and to direct the judiciary, government and parliament to implement the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

For more information about Emaddedin Baqhi and the Society for the Defence of the Rights of Prisoners (SDRP), please see: http://web.amnesty.org/wire/September2004/Iran

For more information about the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC), please see the Amnesty International report, Human Rights Violations against Shi’a Religious Leaders and their followers (3 June 1997; AI Index: MDE 13/18/97): http://web.amnesty.org/library/print/ENGMDE130181997

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