The Iranian authorities are intensifying their crackdown against human rights defenders, who have already been working under suffocating levels of repression. Human rights defenders are routinely portrayed in official statements and court verdicts as “criminals” and “foreign agents” bent on harming national security. Since 2013, dozens of human rights defenders have been imprisoned on spurious national security-related charges based solely on their peaceful human rights activities. Many others have faced surveillance, interrogations and drawn-out prosecutions, coercing them into silence. Amnesty International urges the Iranian authorities to release all imprisoned human rights defenders immediately and unconditionally, and to create a safe and enabling environment in which defenders can defend and promote human rights without fear of reprisals.
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