Global perspective Human stories

Iran: UN rights expert voices deep concern over continued detention of 10 activists

Iran: UN rights expert voices deep concern over continued detention of 10 activists

A United Nations human rights expert has expressed deep concern over the continued detention of about 10 Iranian activists and has called on Tehran to honour its commitment to release the detainees and guarantee them a fair trial.

On 8 January, the second trial for supporters of the Freedom Movement of Iran and the Religious-Nationalist Alliance got underway behind closed doors, according to Maurice Copithorne, the Special Representative of the UN Commission on Human Rights for the situation of human rights in Iran. The detainees have been held since March and April of last year.

The first trial started last November, and defense lawyers for both cases have been denied access to files because they refuse to sign non-disclosure commitments.

In several urgent communications last year, Mr. Copithorne urged the Iranian Government to use all the resources at its disposal to have the detainees released and to guarantee the protection of their rights to physical and mental integrity, as well as to a fair trial.

In his letters, the Special Representative expressed concern at the issuing of temporary detention orders in apparent disregard for the Iranian Constitution, which clearly limits the cases in which judges can resort to this measure and in a situation in which no evidence has been made public in support of the charges brought against the detainees.

Mr. Copithorne also conveyed his deep concern for the denial of their right to contact their families and lawyers, and the later practice of arranging periodic meetings under stressful conditions.