The government of Iran has been in violation of international human rights norms both for restrictions and punishments that follow the Islamic Republic’s constitution and law, and for actions that do not, such as the torture, rape, and killing of political prisoners, and the beatings and killings of dissidents and other civilians.
Restrictions and punishments lawful in the Islamic Republic include punishment for fornication, apostasy and poor-observance of the hijab; execution of offenders under 18 years of age; restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, including the imprisonment of journalists; unequal treatment according to religion and gender in the Islamic Republic’s constitution – especially in relation to members of the Bahá’í religion.
Other abuses, falling outside of the laws of the Islamic Republic, include the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, and the widespread use of torture on political prisoners.
Following the disputed June 2009 election hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets in protest at the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the days of unrest that followed around 40 protestors are confirmed to have been killed and thousands of innocent people were arrested, many of whom are still being detained. There have been widespread reports of the abuse and torture of detainees.
In January 2010 two men were executed after being convicted in unfair trails of ‘enmity against god’. These were the first executions related to the post-election crackdown. Since then the situation for human rights activists and civil society has become extremely perilous, scores of activists, bloggers, film makers, lawyers and journalists have been arrested, imprisoned, tortured and sometimes killed. Many activists are now fleeing to neighbouring countries in order to continue their work.