- UN Human Rights Commission's Special Representative underscores executions, torture, abuse of rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities continue in Iran
-Mr. Rajavi underlines need to adopt strongly-worded resolution against mullahs, refer hum an rights issue in Iran to UN Security Council

In his report to the fifty-fifth session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Professor Maurice Danby Copithorne, the Commission's Special Representative on the situation of human rights in Iran, underscored that executions, torture, violations of the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities are continuing in Iran. He said that "he has not been able to visit Iran since February 1996" and that "the Government has not issued an invitation to him."

Emphasizing that "many executions are not reported in the media," the Special Representative said in his report that "there were probably some 155 executions from January to mid-December 1998, of which 60 were said to have taken place in public." He added : "It is safe to say that torture has been practiced in Iran for a very long time." Prof. Copithorne also expressed his concern over "a rash of unexplained disappearances and suspicious deaths of intellectuals and political activists [that] has set nerves on edge."

The report noted that despite "significant publicity about the importance of women," "little improvement in the condition of Iranian women" has been achieved. The report also referred to the adoption of the law to segregate medical and health centers, add ing: "The construction of walls continues." The Special Representative also quoted the judiciary officials as saying: "the most important problem women face in the courts is 'the biased approach to their rights.' "

As regards the rights of religious minorities, the Special Representative enumerated cases of exerting pressure on them and stressed that: "The status of minorities continues to be an apparently forgotten one in the Government's plan" and continues to suf fer "neglect."

In reviewing the situation of courts in the clerical regime, the Special Representative expressed concern over the "sweeping" mandate of the "Cleric's Court" which "denies a defendant... a fair trial," and is used as "instrument of denial of human rights. " He stressed that this Court must be "abolished." Prof. Copithorne saw "the appointment of a press jury in the Cleric's Court as an ominous expansion of its jurisdiction."

While pointing to a number of the clerical regime's hideous crimes, the report paradoxically spoke of "President Khatami's plans for a tolerant, diverse and law abiding society" which "continue to unfold and their full implementation could have a major im pact on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran."

In truth, however, two years after taking office, not once has Khatami condemned the atrocities perpetrated by the regime, including the execution of 120,000 political prisoners. More importantly, those responsible for these crimes are among Khatami's clo sest colleagues, deputies and advisors. In the case of recent political murders, Khatami did his utmost to protect the Intelligence Ministry, the clerical regime's main organ of suppression, and to prevent the identification of the masterminds and perpetr ators of the murderers who are none other than the regime's leaders. Moreover, with Tehran's approval, the governor appointed by Khatami in Iranian Kurdistan issued the order to brutally crush the demonstration by the people of Sanandaj on February 22. In this protest, at least 20 people were killed by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, dozens wounded and 2,000 were arrested.

Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, stressed: "Atrocities mentioned in the report deal with a small part of the clerical regime's abysmal record. They, nevertheless, underline the need that the upcoming session of the Human Rights Commission adopt a strongly-worded resolution, condemning the flagrant and continuing human rights abuses in Iran.

Mr. Rajavi added: The emphasis laid by the Special Representative on the persistence of human rights violations in all areas since Khatami took office, again demonstrates that any expectation of change and reform in the context of this religious dictators hip is absolutely futile.

The report has remained silent vis-a-vis the bloody suppression of scores of demonstrations and strikes by various sectors of society in Iranian cities, the sweeping arrests of former political prisoners and the arbitrary killings of youngsters in the str eets by the security and intelligence forces.

The NCR President noted: A number of optimistic conclusions and predictions in the report about the prospects for change in the status quo due to the "plans" of the clerical regime's President blatantly contradict the realities addressed in the report abo ut the continuation of executions, torture, cruel punishments, censorship in the press, and ruthless discrimination against women and religious and ethnic minorities since the Special Representative's last report to the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Rajavi said: Allowing Khatami, the highest executive in the country, to evade responsibility for crimes perpetrated on a daily basis in Iran, only provides the mullahs the opportunity to evade accountability before the international community and a fr eer rein to continue their atrocities.

In light of the Iranian regime's continuing crimes against the Iranian people and disregard for the expressions of concern by the international community, including 43 resolutions of censure by different organs of the United Nations, the NCR President cal led on the fifty-fifth session of the Human Rights Commission to refer the case of human rights abuses in Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 28, 1999

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