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Human rights violations in Iran are systematic
Throughout Iran, the repressive nature of the regime has become systematic, which has resulted in continued violations of the basic human right to life. The judiciary routinely executes individuals on questionable evidence and confessions obtained illegally, often through threats and torture.

Although the international community has condemned the use of executions and encouraged Iran to initiate a moratorium on the death penalty, the regime still continues to execute Iranians, often in public settings and by means of hanging.

On December 10, a 22-year-old prisoner was executed in Mashhad Central Prison for murder. His verdict was confirmed, and he was hung. Although he was accused of murder, there is little likelihood that he had a fair trial including legal representation. The regime also continued to allow retribution killings. Two people were hung in front of a judge for a retribution killing, but their names were not released.

However, even if a prisoner is not sentenced to death, but to a prison term, there is no end to the regime's pressure and intimidation. A friend of a Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner, was found dead in her home. Zahra Azad Seresht had been under pressure from the Kermanshah Information Office for her connections with Jalalian and for meeting with him. Friends indicated that she had been threatened by telephone and offered financial compensation if she would denounce Jalalian's claims of failing health, which have been published by the Human Rights Organizations internationally.

The use of torture and psychological efforts to break those who the regime targets are a vital part of the prison system. Without those methods of breaking down the prisoners, the Iranian judiciary would be unable to make political prisoners and activists appear to be criminals.

For those political prisoners who are incarcerated by the regime, the risk of execution is high, since the regime will frequently use vague laws to keep them in prison. Two political prisoners were sentenced to death in December 2017, with their sentence to be carried out in January 2018.

"We have been the victims of a political game and a fake scenario for the Sanandaj Intelligence Agency for eight years. Only a person on death row can understand the suffering we have endured by being on death row for all these years and what it means to lose the meaning of life and hope in our hearts," said these political prisoners, Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, in a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ms. Asamaa Jahangir. They also accused the regime of torture, including threats of rape.

Those who have moved outside of the borders of Iran are not immune to the reach of the regime either. These individuals may come back to visit with family and loved ones, only to find that they are now being accused of spying and facing harsh prison sentences, even the death penalty.

That is the case for a scientist named Ahmadreza Djalali, who works in Sweden on improving hospitals' emergency room responses to terrorism and various threats. He was invited to lecture in his home country and was then arrested. No evidence of his spying has been presented, but he is now sentenced to death and currently in prison in Evin.

"Belgium is against the death penalty and we plead that it should be repealed," said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. He also told his Iranian counterpart that he hopes Djalali will not be executed.

Those who have been detained and died while in custody are typically explained as being suicides. Yet, the families of these prisoners have indicated that there are wounds on the bodies that are not in line with suicides.

Some protesters never ended up making it to prison. Nematollah Shafiei was shot from behind during the protests. "They came to our home from the Intelligence Agency and told my mom not to scream and mourn publicly…They took my brother's birth certificate and told us to go to the Intelligence Agency in a few days to get the certificate and also said that they wanted to talk to us," said Hassan Shafiei, his brother.

From the protests through to the prisons, the authorities know they have the ability to do whatever it takes to break anyone who seems to be standing up to the regime in any form or fashion. It is this systematic injustice that needs to be addressed for the benefit of the Iranian people.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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