By Dr. Kamal Sido*
Back in August 2013, when Hassan Rohani was elected as the new President of Iran, people believed that the situation of human rights in the country will improve now. It was like a sigh of relief.
But today, two years of Rohani’s reign, it is obvious that hope is evaporated. For example, the United Nations (UN) said that the number of execution has increased by 20 % since august 2013.
By the increasing number of death penalties and the longstanding arrest of opposition members the Iranian Regime has fanned a climate of anxiety. Every Iranian, no matter if Persian, Kurd, Ahwazi, Baloch people, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Bahá’í or Christian- is supposed to be always aware of the omnipotence of the regime in Tehran. Nobody should dare to challenge the mullahs.
According to the UN, at least 753 people were executed in 2014. 13 of them were even underage.
This year, so in the first three months, at least 252 death penalties were executed. This makes almost three per day! In fact it might be distinctively more, because most of the executions are carried out in secret. In 2014 the Iranian government officially announced only 252 executed capital punishments. Members of ethnical minorities can be found under the victims of those secret executions, too. Lately, at the beginning of March, six Kurd were hanged. Not even their lawyers were informed about the executions early enough.
According to human rights activists, at least 895 people are arrested in Iran for political reasons. More than one third of the political prisoners are members of religious minorities: 136 prisoners are Bahá’í, 90% are Sunni, 50 are Christians, 19 are dervish Muslims, four are Yarasan and two are Zoroastrian.
Ethnic and religious minorities face a wide range of discrimination. The basis for this maltreatment can be found in the Iranian constitution: Article 4 lies down that each lawful order has to be in agreement with Islamic law. The whole political structure of Iran is based on the Shiite interpretation of the Sharia. That is way every political activity, that promotes other religious belief or confession- such as the Bahá’í, dervish, Christians, Yaresan or Sunnis – is regarded as a rejection of Shia-Islam and thus punished as a crime. As a consequence the judges and attorneys of the revolution court often justify their sentences that the ‘criminals’ pose a threat to the national security.
Instead of imposing reforms and of opening his country, Rohani choose to worsen the situation of human rights in Iran. Minorities and political activists have to be in fear of their lives and the rest of the population has to live in a climate of anxiety, too. A better future, where human rights are respected and minorities have the right practice their religious belief freely, seems to be a long way away. Hopefully not too long away. Because, otherwise 895 political imprisoners might not live to see this better future.
Dr. Kamal Sido, Middle East Departement, society for threatened people.