23 June 2009
Iran must recognize the right to peaceful protest

Iran’s presidential election on 12 June, took place against a backdrop of discrimination, worsening repression of dissent and violent unrest.

In the days following the election, hundreds of thousands of people took part in marches and demonstrations across Iran, protesting against both the process and outcome of the election.

The police and security forces, including the volunteer Basij militia, have used excessive force, including beating with truncheons to end demonstrations.  In some cases demonstrators have been shot with live ammunition, The death toll is rising.

Iran is now witnessing sweeping restrictions on the use of communications technology, including telecommunications, satellite broadcasts and internet access, a ban on peaceful demonstrations, armed attacks on students in university premises  as well as the arbitrary arrest of political activists, students, journalists, and human rights defenders,  many – if not all - of whom are prisoners of conscience.

Peaceful assembly is expressly permitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party and is also guaranteed by the Constitution of Iran, Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations, to exercise restraint in the policing of any further demonstrations, to stop using the Basij militia to police protests, and to ensure that firearms are not used except  as a last resort and where strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

Amnesty International also urges the Iranian government to stop restricting freedom of expression which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, and association, and to release immediately and unconditionally anyone detained solely for their peaceful expression of their views, including regarding the outcome of the election.

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