Saturday, September 21, 2019 12:50

Rights group slams political-prisoner denial

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Mohammad Javad Larijani

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has condemned what it calls “false” statements by the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, after Mohammad Java Larijani announced that there are no political prisoners in the Islamic Republic and that there is no mistreatment of any prisoners.

The Campaign posted a statement on its website on July 12, saying: “Iranian officials should cease spreading lies and disinformation about the existence of political prisoners as they are simultaneously imprisoning hundreds for exercising their legal rights.”

In an interview with ISNA on July 8, 2012, Mohammad Javad Larijani denied that the Islamic Republic has any political prisoners, saying: “A political prisoner is someone who has been politically active within the framework of the law but he has been unjustly imprisoned because the rulers and state authorities did not like what he was doing. According to this definition, there are no political prisoners inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Larijani maintained that it’s the enemies of the Islamic Republic that level such accusations.

However, Campaign spokesman Hadi Ghaemi says: “Larijani has an infamous record of disinformation and outright lies. His latest uttering adds insult to injury — it is an outrage for the hundreds of suffering political prisoners and their families.”

Larijani also denied that any prisoner is being mistreated in Iranian prisons, saying: “On principle, mistreatment of prisoners, whether they are political or non-political, is condemned. Mistreatment of prisoners is against Sharia and the law.… A tone that would suggest that first of all there are political prisoners in Iran, and secondly that prison mistreatment is a usual and routine procedure, is an untrue statement and an injustice to the Iranian nation….”

Meanwhile, a report released in March by Ahmad Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on Iran, documented reports regarding at least 160 political prisoners held for charges such as “propaganda against the regime” and “illegal assembly” or for having links to opposition groups.

The Campaign’s Ghaemi says: “It is high time for Larijani and his brother Sadegh Larijani, who heads the Judiciary, to be held accountable as two of the figures leading and justifying the current repression.”