Iran Must Stop Arbitrary Arrests of Dual Nationals

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with husband Richard and their daughter Gabriella

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with husband Richard and their daughter Gabriella.

By Kaitlyn O’Shaughnessy

At any one time, there are around 10 million people in prison worldwide. Of these, an estimated 3.2 million haven’t yet had a trial. International human rights law prohibits arbitrary detention—detention that occurs for no legitimate reason or without legal process—and requires fair and independent public hearings to determine rights and obligations related to criminal charges.

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines every individual’s right to be free from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, while Article 10 enshrines an individual’s right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal when faced with criminal charges.

A recent uptick in arrests of dual nationals by Iranian authorities serves as a reminder that constant vigilance is required to ensure freedom from arbitrary detention and fair trial rights are respected worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Saving young lives from execution in Iran

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Mohammad Reza Haddadi's execution has been postponed six times. © Private

Mohammad Reza Haddadi’s execution has been postponed six times. © Private

To mark 1 June – International Children’s Day – Raha Bahreini from our Iran team describes how Amnesty has managed to raise awareness about the death penalty and save juvenile offenders from the gallows in Iran.

It starts with a panicked phone call.

Our contact tells us that a juvenile offender (a person aged below 18 at the time of their crime) has just been transferred to solitary confinement – the final step before execution.

This is often our first glimpse of this young person and the desperate situation they are in. Why? Because the families of those on death row often fear reprisals if they publicize the plight of their loved ones. They sometimes believe that international lobbying and public campaigning will only complicate the situation and hasten the execution. At times, the authorities themselves give families false assurances, claiming that if the family does not publicize the case, their loved ones might be spared. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

“I will never stop” – a mother’s campaign to free her son in Iran

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By Ezat Taheri, mother of prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri

Iranian spiritual teacher and prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has been in pre-trial solitary confinement for five years, and has launched over a dozen hunger strikes in protest at his detention. His mother Ezat tells us of her long fight for his release:

The day my son was arrested, every single cell inside my body was trembling with fear. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Nowruz Action to Bring Comfort to Prisoners of Conscience in Iran

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An Iranian boy holds a fire cracker in southern Tehran on March 19, 2013 during the Wednesday Fire feast, or Chaharshanbeh Soori, held annually on the last Wednesday eve before the Spring holiday of Noruz. The Iranian new year that begins on March 20 coincides with the first day of spring during which locals revive the Zoroastrian celebration of lighting a fire and dancing around the flame. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI        (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iranian boy holds a fire cracker in southern Tehran on March 19, 2013 during the Wednesday Fire feast, or Chaharshanbeh Soori, held annually on the last Wednesday eve before the Spring holiday of Noruz. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

For the past eight years, activists have been sending messages of solidarity and support to prisoners of conscience in Iran and their families around Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which marks the beginning of Spring. Sadly, scores of people in Iran—labor activists, journalists, social media users, artists, women’s rights activists and human rights defenders—will not be able to celebrate this important holiday with their family and friends because the Iranian government has slammed them into prison, just for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Executions of Juvenile Offenders in Iran Are an Affront to the World’s Conscience

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In a very rare piece of good news in an otherwise bleak landscape, Iranian authorities recently postponed the scheduled execution of juvenile offender Salar Shadizadi at the eleventh hour. He was to be hanged on November 28 for a killing that occurred when Mr. Shadizadi was just 15 years old.

Iran is one of the very few countries in the world that continues to execute juveniles. At least four juvenile offenders — including one female — have been executed already in Iran in 2015. This is a blatant violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has ratified; Article 37 of the Convention states: “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

From Animal Cartoons to Opposition to the Death Penalty: Just About Anything Can Land You in Prison in Iran

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Artist Atena Farghadani

Artist Atena Farghadani

It seems that not one single thing escapes the attention of hardliners in Iran, bent on using the extraordinary powers they hold to suppress every effort by Iranians to exercise their right to freedom of expression. They have even decreed that men should refrain from sporting various hairdos and—yes I am not kidding—from plucking their eyebrows, because those are considered to be indications of “devil worshipping” and homosexuality.

Although such preoccupations may seem risible to some, the people who are caught up in this dragnet are suffering very real and harsh consequences. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

For Women’s Rights Defenders: Every Day is International Women’s Day

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Each year on International Women’s Day, the world celebrates the acts of courage and determination of women worldwide.  It’s a global celebration of the accomplishments, legacy, and rights of women.

What International Women’s Day also highlights, however, is the continued struggle for women’s rights.  And no one knows that better than women’s rights defenders like Bahareh Hedayat of Iran and Norma Cruz of Guatemala. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Amnesty’s Death Penalty Report

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Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. Although 2013 saw more executions than in previous years and several countries resuming executions, there was also progress towards abolition in all regions of the world. Below, see the top 10 things you need to know from our newest report:


5 Death Penalty Myths Debunked

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In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.

The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.

There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.

More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.