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Source: European Parliament 2

B9‑0441/2020

European Parliament resolution on Iran, in particular the case of 2012 Sakharov Prize laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh

(2020/2914(RSP))

The European Parliament,

  Having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran;

 

  Having regard to the statement of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, ‘Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released, say UN experts’, of 9 December 2020, to the statement of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, ‘Iran: Temporary release of human rights lawyer a positive first step’, of 13 November 2020; and to the statement of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, ‘Iran: Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh must be freed for treatment, say UN experts’ of 25 September 2020;

 

  Having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Mr Ruhollah Zam of 12 December 2020;

 

  Having regard to the 5th European Union – Iran High Level Dialogue of 9 December 2020;

 

  Having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson for Foreign and Security Policy of 20 November 2020 on the killing of a government official in Absard, Iran;

 

  Having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson for Foreign and Security Policy of 12 September 2020 on the execution of Navid Afkari;

 

  Having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran of 21 July 2020;

 

  Having regard to the EU Action Plan on Democracy and Human Rights for 2020-2024;

 

  Having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders;

 

  Having regard to the EU Guidelines on the death penalty and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the EU Human Rights Guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline;

 

  Having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (ICCPR) to which Iran is a party;

 

  Having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948;

 

  Having regard to the Iranian President’s Charter on Citizens’ Rights;

 

  Having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was sentenced in absentia on 6 March 2019 to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes on seven convictions, including ‘acting against national security’ and ‘encouraging corruption and debauchery’, having been arrested for a second time on 13 June 2018 after she represented a woman facing imprisonment for peacefully protesting against Iran’s compulsory hijab law by removing it in public;

 

  1. Whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh ended a 45 day hunger strike on 30 September 2020, in protest against poor health conditions and the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in Iranian prisons, as well as to demand the release of political prisoners;

 

  1. Whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh was reported to have contracted COVID-19 while in Qarchak Prison; whereas, in light of her underlying health condition, Ms Sotoudeh was temporarily released on 7 November 2020; whereas, on 2 December 2020, Ms Sotoudeh was ordered to return to Qarchak Prison in spite of her doctors recommending a two-week extension of her temporary release on 30 November; whereas Ms Sotoudeh continues to require urgent medical care unavailable in Qarchak Prison;

 

  1. Whereas, on 9 January 2011, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to an 11-year term in prison  following convictions on national security and propaganda-related charges, which was later reduced to 6 years; whereas Ms Sotoudeh was released on 18 September 2013;

 

  1. Whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2012 in absentia for her work and commitment to human rights; whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh has campaigned long and tirelessly for human rights in Iran, and has already spent several years in prison for her efforts; whereas her prosecution and the charges brought against her demonstrate the grave extent to which the Iranian judiciary is criminalising human rights activism;

 

  1. Whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh has on several occasions spoken publicly about rule of law deficiencies in Iran and inadequacies in its justice system; whereas the arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh is part of a broader crackdown against women’s rights defenders in Iran; whereas women’s rights defenders who have actively campaigned to enhance women’s empowerment and rights have suffered harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention, and their rights to a fair trial and due process have been violated;

 

  1. Whereas in September 2018, her husband, Reza Khandan, was arrested while peacefully demonstrating for the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, and accused of ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and of ‘promoting the practice of appearing in public without a veil’ among other charges;

 

  1. Whereas in Iran, civil society protests against poverty, inflation, corruption and political authoritarianism have been met by the Iranian authorities with severe repression; whereas the Iranian intelligence service has intensified its crackdown on civil society workers and human rights defenders, lawyers, environmental activists, women’s rights defenders, students, teachers, truck drivers and peaceful activists;

 

  1. Whereas UN human rights experts have called on Iran to guarantee the rights of human rights defenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protests against the mandatory wearing of the hijab in Iran;
  2. Whereas the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has reiterated the grave concerns previously expressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and his predecessor with respect to the continuing executions of juvenile offenders in Iran;

 

  1. Whereas Iran is escalating its use of the death penalty as a means to stifle dissent, including through legal proceedings that do not meet international fair trial standards; whereas, on 12 December 2020, journalist Ruhollah Zam was executed by hanging following a rushed Supreme Court decision of 8 December 2020 to uphold his capital sentence on vague charges of ‘corruption on earth’, which was based on forcibly extracted confessions; whereas Mr Zam had been granted asylum in France in 2009 and ran a popular Telegram channel critical of the Iranian authorities; whereas his execution for his exercise of his right to freedom of expression constitutes a blatant violation of international human rights law;

 

  1. Whereas Iranian courts fall short in providing due process and fair trials, with denial of access to legal counsel, particularly during the investigation period, and denial of consular, UN or humanitarian organisation visits; whereas sentences by the Iranian judiciary are often based on vague or unspecified national security and espionage charges;

 

  1. Whereas there have been numerous reports regarding the inhuman and degrading conditions in prisons and the lack of adequate access to medical care during detention with the aim of intimidating, punishing, or coercing detainees, in contravention of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;

 

  1. Whereas on  7 April 2020, the Council extended its restrictive measures responding to serious human rights violations in Iran, including asset freezes and visa bans for individuals and entities responsible for grave human rights violations and a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications, until 13 April 2021; whereas the EEAS in the 5th EU-Iran High Level Dialogue of 9 December 2020 conveyed its intention to organise a human rights dialogue as soon as the situation will allow physical meetings;

 

  1. Whereas after more than a year since the mass anti-government in November of 2019, Iranian officials have failed to conduct any transparent investigation into serious violations committed by security forces including use of excessive and lethal force against protestors and have not hold anyone accountable.

 

  1. Whereas Iranian authorities have executed at least two people on allegations of killing security forces during the widespread protests without investigating serious allegations of them being tortured in detention, and several other people remain on death row on charges related to the protests.

 

  1. Whereas dozens of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and activists continue to remain behind bars for peaceful activism and have been excluded from clemency and temporary releases implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce overcrowding in prisons;

 

 

 

 

  1. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, and the hundreds of people arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their human rights, including protesters, journalists, media workers, political dissidents, artists, writers and human rights defenders, including lawyers, women’s rights defenders, labour rights activists, minority rights activists, conservationists, anti-death penalty campaigners and others; emphasises that, pending their release, the Iranian authorities must guarantee their physical and mental safety;

 

  1. Demands that Iranian authorities urgently address concerns about overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of basic sanitation and medical equipment, and deliberate neglect of prisoners’ health problems, which, in turn, are making Iranian prisons a breeding ground for COVID-19; urges Iranian authorities to take immediate steps to protect prisoners’ health and lives; further, given the COVID-19 pandemic, call on the Iranian authorities to urgently release all those detained arbitrarily, release those in pre-trial detention, pregnant women and women in custody with their dependent children and children; urges the Iranian authorities to  consider to release other prisoners  who may be more at risk from the virus, including older individuals and those with pre-existing medical conditions;

 

  1. Condemns the execution of French-based journalist Ruhollah Zam in the strongest terms; reiterates its complete and unconditional opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances; denounces the use of the death penalty as a deterrent to peaceful dissent, human rights activism and the right to exercise one’s freedom of expression; calls on the Iranian government to declare an immediate moratorium on all pending executions with a view to the full abolition of the death penalty;

 

  1. Reiterates its demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all European-Iranian dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Ahmadreza Djalali, Kameel Ahmady, Kamran Ghaderi, Massoud Mossaheb and Morad Tahbaz, who are currently detained in Iranian prisons, unless they are retried in accordance with international standards; denounces, once again, the continuing practice of imprisonment of EU-Iranian dual nationals by the Iranian judiciary following unfair trials and lack of access to consular support;

 

  1. Is particularly alarmed by the pending execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who was moved to solitary confinement in section 209 of Evin prison on 24 October 2020 and transferred to death row on 1 December 2020, and calls for his immediate release; calls on the HR/VP and the Member States to consider imposing targeted restrictive measures on high-level Iranian officials responsible for the unfair trial, detention and threatening execution of Dr. Djalali;

 

  1. Condemns persistence of impunity for serious human rights violations; reiterates its call on the UN Human Rights Council to trigger a comprehensive investigation on the serious violations security forces committed during their 2019 crackdown against the protest, and urges the European Union and its member states to adopt targeted restrictive measures against the officials responsible for those abuses;

 

  1. Requests the publication of all available information and records regarding the number of those killed during the November 2019 protests; their identities and ages; and the location, cause and circumstances of each death;

 

  1. Calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure an independent and impartial investigations into all of the deaths, and that those suspected of criminal responsibility for the killings of protesters and bystanders during the November 2019 protests are criminally investigated, and, where sufficient evidence exists, are prosecuted in proceedings that conform to international fair trial standards and do not involve seeking or imposing the death penalty;

 

  1. Calls on the rotating acting representation of the European Union in Iran and the permanent representations of the Member States to attend the trials and appeal hearings of political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and activists, including of Nasrin Sotoudeh, and to raise their situation with the Iranian authorities at every appropriate opportunity;

 

  1. Urges the Iranian authorities to desist from using internet shutdowns that are incompatible with international human rights law to clamp down on human rights in the future; calls for a transparent and independent investigation into the shutdown and hold accountable those who were responsible for violating human rights;

 

  1. Calls on the Iranian authorities to conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all cases of victims subjected to ongoing enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, to exhume and return of remains to families, the identify and prosecute perpetrators, and provide effective remedies for the victims;

 

  1. Urges the Iranian authorities to allow international human rights observers, including the UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Iran and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, full and unfettered access to the country and to collaborate with international investigations into, and dialogues regarding, Iran’s human rights situation;

 

  1. Calls on the HR/VP for Foreign and Security Policy and the EEAS to continue strongly raising the human rights situation in Iran in the framework of the High Level Political Dialogue between the EU and the Islamic Republic of Iran; welcomes the intention of the EEAS to hold a human rights dialogue with Iran at the earliest possible time and urges the Iranian authorities to participate;

 

  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Members of the Iranian Majlis.

 

 

 

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