Following the mass arrests of demonstrators and opposition activists in Iran over recent weeks in connection with the disputed presidential election, Amnesty International has compiled a list of the names or identities of 368 people arrested since 12 June. Some of those detained have since been released, but may face prosecution in the future. The organization has also obtained photographs of lists of cases under judicial review which indicate the scale of arrests, in Tehran, in recent weeks.
While it is not possible to individually confirm each name received, Amnesty International is publishing them to draw attention to the suffering of thousands of families in Iran, whose family members may have been arrested arbitrarily or who ignore the whereabouts of arrested family members who have virtually been subjected to enforced disappearances. The Iranian authorities have a responsibility to immediately disclose the identity of anyone in their custody and to inform their families of their whereabouts. Amnesty International is concerned that many of those still detained are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, possibly to extract ‘forced confessions’ which could be used against them in courts.
In response to the ongoing arrests and clampdown, and in order to try and gather further information regarding arrests in recent weeks, Amnesty International has called on all those with concerns or information about arrests and excessive use of force, including killings, to email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. In particular, any information about the individuals included in the list, or about others whose names are not mentioned would be helpful. Amnesty International hopes to update the list as more information becomes available and will deal with information confidentially.
The pictures of the lists posted on the wall of offices of the judiciary at the crossroads of Shariati and Moalem Streets in Tehran show the names of those whose cases are under judicial review. They also reveal how the authorities facilitate abuse after arrests by concealing, in black pen, the identity of the detaining authorities of the scores of people arrested. A hand-written note on the side of each sheet, each labelled ‘new’ informs family members that they should return in 15 days’ time to enquire about the fate of their family members, thereby consigning detainees to a limbo for prolonged period of time.
International law and standards – and Iranian law – require the Iranian authorities to bring detainees promptly before a judge, in order to review the basis of their arrest, but this right is routinely flouted by the authorities which rely on a note to an article in the Code of Criminal Procedures which allows a judge to extend pre-charge detention indefinitely in cases relating to ‘national security’. Amnesty International considers 15 days to be far too long a period for families to wait for news about their families, particularly in light of the long history of torture in detention in Iran. Many of those arrested have been detained for their political views, or for their peaceful participation in demonstrations. Anyone detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly or association should be released immediately and unconditionally. Others suspected of recognizably criminal offences should be released, on bail if necessary, unless they are charged and brought to trial promptly and fairly.