Friday, September 03, 2010

Iran: AJC calls upon UN to seek release of Iranian activist Shiva Nazar Ahari

AJC's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) is calling on the UN Secretary General to secure the release of Shiva Nazar Ahari, a prominent Iranian women's rights activist who faces trial Saturday on trumped-up charges, with a possible death sentence if convicted.

"The case of Shiva Nazar Ahari exemplifies the sorry state of human rights in Iran," said JBI Chair E. Robert Goodkind.

Charges against Nazar Ahari include "actions against national security" and "propaganda against the regime" for her participation in demonstrations and human rights activism. An additional charge, muharib, or "waging war against God," for her alleged membership in the Mujahedin-e Khalq, carries the death penalty. Ahari has denied any connection to the organization.

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon can help protect this remarkable advocate of justice, whose life is in danger," said Goodkind. "He should insist that Iran respect the concerns of UN human rights bodies by promptly releasing Nazar Ahari from prison."

A UN General Assembly resolution adopted last December expressed concern over "increasing harassment, intimidation and persecution of political opponents and human rights defenders from all sectors of Iranian society, including arrests and violent repression."

The resolution also called on Iran to allow UN human rights rapporteurs and experts to visit. Regrettably, not one UN expert has been permitted to visit the country in the past four years.

Nazar Ahari, founder of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), was arrested on December 20, 2009. She has since been detained at the infamous Evin prison with little access to her lawyer and family members, and long periods of solitary confinement.

AJC's Jacob Blaustein Institute, founded in 1971, works to narrow the gap between the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reality in compliance with those norms.

Source: American Jewish Committee

Related i On Global Trends article:

Thursday, September 02, 2010: Human Rights: Imprisoned Iranian rights activist Nazar Ahari, awarded inaugural "Advocate Behind Bars" award

Wednesday, June 09, 2010: Iran: One year on - hundreds unjustly imprisoned; torture and executions widespread